Kibale Forest National Park
With lush tropical forest and fascinating diversity of animals, Kibale Forest National Park (KNP) is one of the most beautiful and stunning forest in Uganda. Kibale forest is certainly worth protecting as it is the home to the largest number of our closet living relative, the ENDANGERED CHIMPANZEE as well as the threatened red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest monkey (ref. CITES). The forest has one of the highest diversity and density of primates in Africa totaling 13 species including the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkey and grey-checked manangabey, red tailed monkey, bush babies and pottos. The park also hosts over 325 species of birds including the yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinkerbird, little greenbul, breasted pitta, the African pitta and the black bee eater.
There are number of impressive mammals including forest Elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, duikers and bats. A keen observer may also see a number of reptiles and amphibians as well as colorful variety of butterflies. Furthermore, over 250 tree species have been recorded. The most famous inhabitants of Kibale National Park are the Chimpanzees with over 1,450 individuals are protected within the park.
A high light of visit to Kibale National Park will be the Chimpanzee tracking excursion that leave from Kanyankyu at 0800hrs and 1400hrs daily. Chimp sighting are not guaranteed on these walks but the odds encountering them have improved greatly in recent years and stand at over 90% in 2006.
Whilst in the forest, you can expect to see at least two or three other types of primates most probably the grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey. You will hear plenty of bird song but it is very difficult to see any bird (bird watching) in the heart of forest-you are better off looking for them in the rest of the camp and along the road.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
This is a small sanctuary which protects the magombe swamp, adjacent to Bigodi trading centre and immediately outside the National park boundary. Run by The Kibale Association for the Rural and Environmental Development, all money raised from the trail is used to in community development in Bigodi-It has so far funded the creation of a small local library in as well as construction of a secondary school in the village.
The sanctuary is known for a wide range of biodiversity including species of primates such as red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus monkey, grey-checked mangabey, red tailed monkey, I’hoest monkey, vervet monkey, blue monkey and baboon. Mammals like sitatunga, bush pigs, bush bucks, otters, mongoose and Chimpanzees. 138 bird species have so far been identified, one of the main bird species found in the sanctuary is the great blue turacco.
This walk starts from Kanyankyu River Camp at 8:00 am or 3:00pm. It lasts for 2-4 hours and is the most popular walk, highlighting the diversity of different animals and plant species within the forest. This walk is restricted to four groups of four persons each, in the morning and the same number in the afternoon.
This is a seasonal 12 Kms hike that is restricted to the dry season (mid-November to Feb and June to September). It highlights the diverse habitats of the park including tropical rainforest, riverine forest, swamp and grassland. Visitors will have a chance to see a variety of bird and monkeys and sometimes duikers and bush pigs.
Long Distance walk
For the adventurous visitor who wants to enjoy more in the forest, you may take a 64Km guided walk, which starts from either Kanyankyu or Sebitoli and end at either site, passing through different habitants and local communities over a period of 2-6 days, camping at the community camp grounds.
On offer are educational walks that last 1-2 hours followed by the creative activities. This is especially caters for children under the age 12 years and are not allowed to view the Chimps. This enables visitors to enjoy their chimpanzee experience or nature walk whilst their children are supervised, educated and entertained by the rangers. The children access the forest and learn about the ecosystem and its inhabitants through interesting walks games and creative activities such as pond-dipping, paper-making, cyanotype, photography and batik making.
Ndali Lodge; Situated about 1 km from Kabata trading centre by road, the family-run Lodge is one of Uganda’s most widely praised up market retreats.
Rwenzori View Guest House; The Rwenzori View Guest House is run by a Dutch/English couple. It is a comfortable place with a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. The guest house is situated in lush green countryside, within walking distance of the local market, post office and the town centre. Signposts will guide you to the guesthouse.
It has five rooms and one family room en suite. All rooms are provided with hot and cold running water, shower, toilet, emergency lighting and private veranda.
Kanyanchu River Campsite: Located in the National Park next to the Kanyanchu Visitors Center. Bandas for rental and a very well maintained campsite. Staff will bring you hot water for bathing on request. The bandas are excellent value and in top condition. Check out the double story banda. The campsite has a large covered cooking and eating area. Both the campsite and bandas are set in the forest. There is a small canteen run by the Bigodi Women’s Group at the Visitors Center where basic meals can be ordered and sodas are available.
Rujuna Guest House;
This new establishment enjoys a fabulous location 6km south of fort portal. The 2-storey house is set on a high grassy slop above the Kasese road looking towards the Rwenzori Mountains. Foods include full English, African traditional buffet and international cuisine.
This has an idyllic position on the lushly vegetated rim of Lake Nyabikere and is conveniently located for Chimp tracking in Kibale National Park.
Chimpanzee Forest Guest House;
This lovely new guest house lies on a hill side close to the Kibale road and just beyond the KNP headquarters.
Fort portal is the closet town to Kanyankyu River camp, 36 Kms away ad Sebitoli Forest Centre is 12 Km away. Public transport is available from Fort portal in a matatu (Local minibus) from Kamwenge stage to Kanyankyu bus stop. Vehicles are available at all times throughout the day up to about 6pm. As there are several sites in Kibale National Park, ensure you ask the driver to drop you at the right site.