CHIMPANZEE TREKKING IN THE JUNGLE
Kibale Forest National Park
Wildlife in Kibale Forest National Park.
There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee, as well as several species of Central African monkey including the Uganda mangabey (Lophocebus ugandae), the Ugandan red colobus (Procolobus tephrosceles) and the L’Hoest’s monkey.
Other primates found in the park include the guereza colobus monkey and the blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), Uganda Red colobus, Redtailed monkey, The park’s population of elephants is commonly sighted along forest trails. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bushpigs, giant forest hogs, warthogs, and buffalo. The carnivores that are present include leopards, african golden cats, servals, different mongooses and two species of otter.
Bird Watching in Kibale Forest
Bird life in the park is so prolific, boasting over 375 sited species of birds, including the western green tinker bird, olive long-tailed cuckoo, two species of pittas (African and green-breasted) and the African grey parrot, Imperative to note that the ground thrush (Turdus kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale National Park.
Chimpanzee Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park
With around a 90% chance of finding chimpanzees on any particular day, Kibale National Park is undoubtedly the most popular place to track them in Uganda. There’s a morning (8am) and afternoon (2pm) departure, and while there are plenty of hills along the trails, the walking isn’t difficult if you’re in shape. Children aged 12 and under aren’t permitted.
While you’ve a good chance of being issued a chimp permit (US$150) at the park, it occasionally gets booked out during holiday season, so reservations at the UWA office in Kampala are a good idea. Regular trackers get just one hour with the playful primates, but those on the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience can spend the whole day with them.
Note that chimpanzees have been in the process of being habituated in the Sebitoli sector, 12km east of Fort Portal, for some years now, but permits for this group were still not being issued to travellers.
Where To Stay?
It lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley. Its mist-covered hillsides are blanketed by one of Uganda's oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s population, including several habituated groups, which can be tracked.
Best Time to Visit
The drier months of December to February and June to July are best for chimpanzee trekking. However, you can still go looking for the primates in the wetter months (March to May and August to November), which have the added attraction of low-season prices. The East African sky is also less hazy outside the drier periods.