Kibale National Park is located in Western Uganda, created in 1993 to shelter a large area of woodland formerly administered as a logged forest reserve. The 766 km2 Park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park with this adjoining of the parks creating a 180 km wildlife corridor.
Despite the Park carrying mainly moist evergreen forests, it also has a varied range of terrain. Kibale is one of the last remaining regions with both lowland and Montane woodlands. There are about 229 tree species recorded within the Park including rare timber species like the Lovoa Swynnertonnii, the Cordia Millenii and the Entandrophragma Angolense. The shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs including the Pollia condensata and the Palisota schweinfurthii as well as ferns and broad leaf grasses.
Kibale National Forest has one of the top concentration and variety of primates on the continent with thirteen primate species recorded. These include the scarce Common Chimpanzee, the rare L’Hoest’s Monkey and the Red Colobus Monkey, the Uganda Mangabey, the Black-and-white Colobus and the Blue Monkey. Other animals found in the Park include the Elephant, which roams between the Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park, the African buffalo, the Red and Blue Duiker, the Common Warthog, the Bushbuck, the Giant Forest Hog, the Sitatunga, the Leopard, the Lion, the Bushpig, the African Golden Cats, the Mongoose, the Serval and the Otter.
Bird life in the Park is also inexhaustible with 325 bird species recorded. These include the Grey Parrot, the Olive long-tailed Cuckoo, the African and green-breasted western Pitta, the Tinkerbird and the Ground Thrush.
The Park is easily accessible by road from Kampala through Mubenda as well as Fort Portal and this is said to be the shortest and fastest route. From the south, one can use the Mbarara or Kamwenge roads to access the Park. There is also a bus that runs daily from Kampala via Sebitoli then Fort Portal along with Kamwenge via Kanyanchu.
There are several accommodation options for visitors, which suit individual budgets and needs. At Isunga Lodge, located on the edge of the dense jungle of Kibale National Park, visitors are offered seven quiet, private cottages spread over the hillside. These cottages, furnished with hot showers, flush toilets and solar powered lighting, have outside seating areas with beautiful views of the Park.
There is also the Kibale Forest Camp a chic tented camp situated in a patch of evergreen woodland, just outside the southern part of Kibale Forest National Park. The Camp offers a variety of restful accommodation options. The first option are the 12 African safari style tents, equipped with twin or double beds, private en-suite bathrooms with a flush toilets, dressing rooms, hot water showers and private verandas. There are also 9 non-self-contained tents equipped with cosy beds, a bedside table and a power outlet for charging your electrical equipment with a shared communal ablution block with showers and flushing toilets. Also on offer is a bar and restaurant set in a stunning wooden grass-thatched building where breakfast, delicious two course lunches and four course dinners are served.
Another option is the Primate Lodge, an elite eco-lodge set in the centre of the Park and enclosed by an abundant tropical forest. The Lodge offers nine spacious and en-suite secluded luxury cottages furnished with double sized beds or King sized beds, sitting areas with comfortable arm chairs, a reading table and an adjoining large veranda. There are also seven mid-level forest cottages with en-suite bathrooms, twin size beds or King size beds as well as spacious verandas over-looking the rain-forest. with lounge chairs. The famed double-storied Elephant Banda comes with an upstairs bedroom furnished with a giant King size bed and a downstairs living room.
Best Time To Visit
Kibale National Park is open to visitors all year round. However, the best time to visit the Park for game viewing is during the dry seasons from June to September and December to February where vegetation is thinner and grass is shorter thereby making game spotting easier.
Weather and Climate
Kibale enjoys a generally pleasant climate with a mean annual temperature range of 14 – 27 °C . In the south where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor, Temperatures are highest and precipitation lower whilst in the north, it is wetter, receiving a mean annual rainfall of up to 1 700 mm. The period from June to September is the arid season with temperatures averaging 25°C. It is the wettest rains from October to December and March to May when the Park receives rains.
Other Safety Considerations
Kibale National Park is located in the western highlands of Uganda where the human population in these districts is subjected to malaria. Visitors need to take the necessary precautionary measures to stay safe. These include taking malaria pills, sleeping under treated nets, covering bare skin at dusk as well as using insect repellent sprays.