Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale National park is one of the best tropical rain forests to visit during your safari in Uganda. Located in Western Uganda within present day Kabarole District, Kibale Forest contains one of the loveliest and most tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. It’s covered with patch of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and the central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.

Kibale Forest National Park was created in 1993 and it has emerged as the best safari destination for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda. It is situated in the districts of Kabarole and Kibale approximately 320km (200) by road, west of Kampala.

The park adjoins with Queen Elizabeth national park and it is a vital ecotourism destination. In addition to the habituated chimpanzees, it is also popular for 12 other species of primates.

This park is the best place to go chimpanzee tracking, attracting thousands of tourists ayear interested in watching chimpanzees from the wild. Kibale Forest is one of Africa’s most attractive tropical rain forest to visit for chimpanzee safaris. The park is also a home to over 70 mammal species, 13 species of primates including the chimpanzees. There are also 375 species of birds. This park also adjoins Queen Elizabeth National park to the south to create a long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha sectors were one can also view tree climbing lions.

This is also one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. This park also lies to the tranquil NdaliKasenda crater area and also within half a day’s drive of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains and also Semuliki national park and also the Toro Semuliki wildlife Reserve. This destination has greatly attracted many people to come for chimpanzee tracking safaris to the country.

Things to Do in Kibale Forest

Kibale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. There are also 13 species which can be sought and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, the most are the chimpanzees. These chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. The guided walks start at exactly 8:00am and end at 2pm and it lasts for three hours. The chimpanzees have greatly attracted many tourists to come for chimpanzee tracking safaris to Uganda.

The full day chimpanzee habituation Experience also works with the chimp community which is undergoing habituation. The early visitors can also watch chimps leaving their overnight nests in between 6:00 -6:30 am before feeding, hunting, copulating, breastfeeding , patrolling, resting and also displaying until the time to build the new nests around 7pm.

Birding in Kibale

Kibale forest is also one of the biggest forest birding spots in Uganda. With more than 350 species include green breasted pitta and shoebill stork and papyrus gonelock. Hiking through the forest is most amazing. On a nature walk; you can spot many primates such as Ugandan mangabey, red colobus monkey, blue monkeys, and grey checked mangabay, black and tailed monkeys as well as see plants, butterflies, orchids, and flowers.

Bigodi wetland and bird sanctuary is located about 4 km from the park’s visitor center. It is worth a full day or half day tour to add great bird watching experience with over 200 species and a variety of plants, monkeys. Eco-tourism is developing with many projects runs by local people. You can support them in many ways and get memorable traditional cultural experience including crafts, local food and friendly locals.

Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest

Many of Kibale’s chimps are habituated to human visitors, as a sustainable eco-tourism initiative, allowing people to visit has been running since 1992. You can be sure to find chimps when the sticky fruit of the huge fig trees ripen, at other times your guide will know where to find them.
However, once they decide to move on at high speed through the branches, keeping up with them can be quite a challenge.

As you walk through this forests , different abundance of life in an exotic tropical rainforest is revealed. Trees stretch up to 170 feet high (52 metres), held in place by broad buttress roots and in places the undergrowth is extremely dense.

Birds are abundant with at least 325 species such as colorful Turacos and noisy hornbills who squawk loudly as they fly.

The buzz of life is audible here, but a silent encounter to take your breath away is standing amongst clouds of fluttering butterflies, of which this park boasts 144 different species!

The swampy grasslands are home to buffaloes and antelopes, while the shady wooded inclines slopes hide the elusive forest elephant – smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart.

Dry Season: June to September is the driest time when most animals remain near water, but be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms at any time. The hot dry time is January to February and is a good time to visit. Dry season temperatures average 80°F (25°C).

Rainy Season: It rains anytime from October to December and March to May when many roads become impassible.

Where to Stay in Kibale Forest

Tree house which is part of UWA Accommodation

  • Kibale Forest camp
  • Ndali Lodge
  • Fort motel

Luxurious accommodation:

  • Kibale Primate Lodge
  • Mountains of the moon Hotel
  • Kibale Forest camp
  • Nyabulitwa Country resort and safari camp


Kibale Forest National Park is located in the west of Uganda covering an area of 296 miles² (766 km²).