Kibale Forest National covers an area of 766 km2. The park contains pristine lowland tropical rain forest, montane forest, and mixed tropical deciduous forest. There are small areas of grassland and swamp.
The lowland and montane rainforest is home to a diversity of wildlife popular for its large numbers of the endangered chimpanzees in Uganda and threatened red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. Other mammals you might see are bushbuck, Harvey’s red duiker, blue duiker, genet, bush pig, and African civet. More difficult to spot are buffalo, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, and giant forest hog. Forest Elephant have become more and more rare, and now are seldom seen, athough the signs of these elephants’ presence is abundant.
Kibale forest has the highest concentration of primates in Africa, with a large number of chimpanzee populations. The park is habitant to over 325 bird species including including the olive long-tailed cuckoo, western green tinkerbird and African grey parrot, 13 other primate species , over 60 other mammal species like elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs, duikers and bats and over 250 tree species
The park is mostly famous for her chimpanzees with over 1,450 individuals protected within the forest. One can also have the opportunity to track habituated chimpanzees at Kanyanchu, habituation activity has been going on since 1991.
Bird life is very difficult to observe in the forest but on the fringes in open areas it is apparent there is substantial bird life. 325 species have been identified here.
Activities around Kibale Forest NP
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary:
Entrance fee Ushs20,000- p/p effective 01 December 2002.
Rubber boots are available for hire. The above fee includes the guide fee.
With effect from 1st June 2008 entrance fees will increase to: Foreign tourists: Ushs30,000-, Foreign residents: Ushs25,000- and Ugandan nationals: Ushs10,000-.
The extra income will be utilised to improve the current facilities whereby the:
1) The “squat” toilet will be changed to a “sit-down” toilet
2) Wellingtons/rubber boots will be made available at no charge to visitors as opposed to hiring them
3) The Tree house will be renovated
4) A second trail circuit will be opened to avoid congestion, monotony and adverse environmental impacts.
The Bigode Wetland Sanctuary is situated some 5 kms from the visitors center at Kanyanchu outside the Kibale Forest National Park on the road to Kamwenge. This is an eco-tourism project run by a community based environmental organisation established in 1992. The projects revolves around activities in the Magombe Swamp a 3 sqkm area fed by the Magombe River.
The swamp is home to wide range of primates which includes Red Colobus and Black and White Colobus monkeys, Grey Checked Mangabey, Red-tailed monkey, LHoest, Vervet and Blue monkeys and Baboon.
Birding is a major activity around the swamp with paths cut and areas of the swamp board walked to give access to areas of the swamp that would be otherwise inaccessible. Several tree houses have also been constructed to give vantage over the swamp. Specialities for Bigode include Great Blue Turaco, Black Billed Turaco and White Spotted Crake.
The Village Walk:
This activity also starts from the offices of the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and provides an interesting insight into the lives of the local community.
This is for visitors interested in primate behaviour. A special guided trip, commencing at 0500 hrs in the morning and ending as late as 2100 hrs at night, offers a complete insight into the group behaviour from daybreak until nightfall. The denesting in the morning and the nesting in the late afternoon can be observed at close quarters, for groups currently not exceeding 4 per day.
Commercial Filming Fees:
Commercial filming fee in this Category ‘A’ Protected Area is US$200- per person plus a refundable fee of US$1,000- when you provide UWA a copy of the film.
Getting there and away:
Public transport from Fort Portal to Kamwenge via Kanyanchu, Nkingo and Bigodi is available from the Kamwenge stage (next to the Fort Portal market) between 8am and 5pm. Private hire vehicles (roughly Ushs40,000-) can be arranged at the Taxi Park in Fort Portal.