Kibale National Park is located in Western Uganda near Fort Portal. The park covers an area of 795 square kilometers. It is one of the most beautiful tropical rainforests in the country. Kibale National park was opened in 1995 mainly to conserve the forest. Tracking of the chimpanzee has remained the major attraction for years. Apart from watching the chimpanzee, this park is a home to 13 primate species.
Due to the difference in altitude, Kibale flora ranges from evergreen rain forest, dry tropical forest, savanna to woodland, which supports a variety of habitats. Kibale park is joined by Queen Elizabeth National Park to the South, which allows wildlife to move freely. The park has a population of about 1,450 chimpanzee, making it the most populated with the primates. Other primate species include; the red-tailed monkey, black and white colobus, blue monkey, olive baboon and grey checked Mangabey.
Other animals found in this park include the elephant, buffalo, leopard, bush pig, Duiker, warthog, hippo and many more. You will also spot some reptiles, amphibians and many butterfly species. This park is also a bird watchers paradise. About 325 bird species have been recorded in this area. You will see birds such as black-bee eater, little Greenbul, crowned eagle, African Pitta, yellow spotted Nicator, black-eared ground thrush, Uganda woodland warbler, tiny sun birds and many more.
The main activity in this park is tracking the chimpanzee. Tracking these endangered primates is done in groups of four to six people who must be accompanied by a tour guide. The maximum time visitors are allowed to stay with the primates is one hour. Visitors are requested to follow all the rules and regulations given by the guides. Sick visitors are restricted from entering the forest to avoid contaminating the primates. Almost all the park is densely populated with forest cover therefore, visitors are advised to put on long-sleeved shirts and trousers to avoid being bitten by ants.
Tracking the chimpanzee is not hard as compared with the gorilla. These primates like spending most of their time in tall trees where they feed on fruits. Tracking of the primates is done early in the morning and tourists are recommended to prepare ahead of their journey. Visitors interested in tracking the chimpanzee are recommended to book early enough especially during the peak season to avoid missing a chance. Other than the primates, about 60 mammal species have been recorded in Kibale National Park. Hiking in the forest is done during the dry season between the month of November to February. This park is accessible by road from Fort Portal.
Source by Jackline Mwathe