The most accessible of Uganda’s major rainforests, Kibale is home to remarkable 13 primate species, including the much localised red colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey. Kibale’s major attraction, however, is the opportunity to track habituated chimps- these delightful apes, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are tremendous fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. A net work of shady forest trails provides much to delight botanists and butterfly lovers, while birders are in for a treat with 335 species recorded including the endemic prirogrine’s ground thrush. The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hirer than its savannah counterpart, moves seasonally into the developed part of the park, while other terrestrial mammals include buffalo, giant forest hog and a half dozen antelope species.
Size: It covers approximately 795sq km.
Location: In the west, near Fort Portal.
How to get there: Fort portal lies 320km from Kampala along a newly surfaced road, or an hour’s drive from Kasese (near QENP). Kanyanchue visitors centre 35km from For Portal is reached via a dirt road and is accessible on public transport.
Activities: Chimp tracking and other guided forest walks, even night walks. Birders shouldn’t miss Bigodi wetland sanctuary, a superb community development fringing the park. A field of beautiful Crater Lakes lies between Fort Portal and Kibale Forest.
When to visit: Any time of the year.
Where to Stay: Affordable bandas and campsites at Kanyanchu, with a luxury tented camp and up-market lodge nearby. Budget lodges at Bigodi, the Crater Lakes, and Fort Portal.