Kibale National Park Situated on the Fort Portal plateau in Western Uganda, this forest park has a good reputation for apes, with 13 primate species inclusive of both new world monkeys and old world monkeys like chimpanzees. Its other specials include 70 mammals’ species like baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, forest elephants, forest duikers, L’Hoest monkeys, and black and white colubus.
It boasts a spectacular range of habitats thanks to its abundance of 351 species of towering indigenous trees. On one side, it is surrounded by scenic tea plantations and on the other, it blossoms with enchanting crater lakes, most of which have crystal-clear water.


On the part of chimp trekking, the hiking experience here is considerably easier than for gorilla trekking. The terrain is mildly undulating and the vegetation is far less dense.
To avoid interfering with the ecosystem, the chimps here are not fed. They look for food on their own in the park’s 795 sq. km. expanse. The chimps roam freely in search or food, sometimes disappearing 10 kilometres into the heart of the park. As such, the hike to see them lasts between 30 minutes and 5 hours. On reaching their location, the first thing you are likely to see is a mother and baby up on the tree, being very quiet.
In comparison with gorilla’s, chimpanzees are extremely loud and very, very active. It is such a rewarding experience to watch them nest and also stand amongst them while they sleep, play, and eat figs and fruits. Don’t expect to see many other primate species around them because they are noisy and aggressive.
To double the amount of protein in their system, they sometimes hunt black and white monkeys for meat.
The ranger guides here are great hosts. On the other hand, the porters, while not as polished as those for the Gorilla, are also very good and knowledgeable.
If it is your lucky day, you might come across so many chimps on the ground. This is a huge blessing, considering these primates prefer to spend their days in the canopy.
To see how these primates behave at night, you can give the night forest walk a try. You are likely to witness how they make their nests by bending over branches and stuffing them with leafy twigs to make them more comfortable for sleep.
Along the way, you might spot forest leopards.
A decent array of accommodations in or near Kibale National Park caters to most budgets.


A nature walk in Bigodi wetland is a must for any bird lover; within 30 minutes, you will have seen at least 60 different bird species, especially if you visit early in the in the morning. It is a pristine swamp where there are great chances of monkey and bird species, to which Kibale National Park is home. This is thanks to its varied vegetation cover, which is comprised of wild palms, pista fig trees, and papyrus jungle. Brace yourself for the Great Blue Turaco, Papyrus Gonoleks, Flycatchers, Hornbills, Waxbills, Cuckoos, Kingfishers and Weavers
The trails at this community-owned swamp are mostly flat and well maintained. Even when you go off-trail, the terrain is very manageable. This makes the experience easier than gorilla tracking.
Tag along with binoculars so you can see the birds better. Also, as always, have a bottle or two of water to keep you rehydrated.


By the end of this half-day jungle walk, you will leave with thousands of unforgettable memories and pictures. It is more intense and rewarding than chimpanzee trekking, as it entails pursuing chimpanzees that are still 100% wild. Be warned though; the forest is thick and chasing after chimpanzees can be challenging as they are very fast. You need to be in fairly good shape for this experience, with comfortable hiking boots. The good news is that most of the ground is flat.
You will get closer than you can imagine. As the chimps move through the trees, the trackers often need to wait for their calls before being able to choose the right direction to follow. In the dry season, when food is scarce, sub-groups who find food tend to stay quiet and not advertise their find. This means a lot of walking around in the forest. To this effect, it is wiser to travel light and only carry items you intend to use. We are happy to hire a porter to carry your heavy cameras with you when hiking.
Along the way, you will see many plant species which your guide can easily identify. Here, you can also amuse yourself with butterflies and Colubus monkeys.


Considering that Kibale receives sudden rain, you are advised to bring a brimmed hat or poncho. You could also bring some camera protection from possible rain.
Wear comfortable hiking boots as you will walk over rough terrain for long duration.


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