Kibale National Park – The Primate Capital of the World 

Located within the Albertine region in the western part of Uganda, Kibale National Park sits on a 795 km2 piece of land neighbored by other safari destinations like Queen Elizabeth National Park, Rwenzori Mountains, and Semuliki National Park. It is 1590 meters above sea level and contains a diverse ecosystem made up of lush vegetation cover, woodland, and savanna containing trees that are over 55 meters tall. The trees and vegetation formed a semi-closed canopy towering the forest. This vegetation is a perfect habitat for Chimpanzees for which Kibale National Park is famously known. These primates are the most sought-after, second only to the endangered Mountain gorillas. There are over 1450 chimpanzees subdivided into families therefore holding the highest number of chimpanzees in Africa.

Chimpanzee trekking is a must-do activity on a Uganda safari

Due to the existence of such a large population of chimpanzees, trekking them was encouraged and therefore Kibale National Park is a well-known destination for chimpanzee trekking. This involves visiting habituated chimpanzee groups and spending about an hour with them. Unlike gorillas that stay in small families, chimpanzee groups are more of a community. They are more aggressive compared to the calm gorillas and therefore habituating them is a challenge however, there are set rules and regulations that visitors must obey during the trek.

Besides the chimpanzees, Kibale is home to other primates like the endangered red colobus monkey, black and white colobus, red red-tailed monkeys among others. Animals like buffaloes, leopards, elephants, and duikers also share a habitat with the chimpanzees not forgetting a variety of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and butterflies.

Chimpanzee habituation is another interesting adventure in Kibale National Park; remember this long process takes over 2 years before completion. During this process, researchers and park rangers are the ones who continuously visit primates until they finally get used to humans. However, nowadays visitors are allowed to visit chimpanzees still undergoing the habituation process and they get to spend over 6 hours with them just observing their behaviors and habits and also how they react to humans.

In addition to Kibale Forest, which is the best location in Uganda for chimp trekking, there are other places where people can travel to see chimps. Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park, Kalinzu Forest, and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park are among them.

Activities in Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee trekking involves paying a visit to any of the habituated groups found in Kibale National Park and tourists get to trek to where the group is located in the company of park rangers. Once they get there, they are allocated an hour to see chimpanzees and observe their behavior. Permits for chimpanzee trekking cost $200 for foreign non-residents, $150 for foreign residents, and $50 for East African Citizens.

Chimpanzee Habituation experience

Similar to chimpanzee trekking, this activity also involves visiting chimpanzee groups and the only difference with these groups is that they are not fully habituated so they might behave aggressively around humans. Tourists who want to get a wild feel of the primates always take part in this.

Visitors usually spend almost the whole day with them, a maximum of 6 hours just studying and identifying them. Participants in this activity would have to pay $250 for foreign non-residents, $200 for foreign residents, and $80 for East African Citizens

Cultural Tours near Kibale National Park

Different communities live near Kibale National Park such as the Batooro and Bakiga. When you visit these communities, you get to mingle with them and see how they can survive. You can also visit their cultural sites and get an opportunity to watch them perform their cultural dances. The communities have established hospitals, places of worship, and schools you can visit too.

Bigodi Swamp Walk

This swampy section within the forest is a popular destination for tourists who visit this national park. This wetland Sanctuary hours different kinds of animals like primates, birds, and mammals. Therefore while here you will be able to see different bird species and primates. It is a must-visit spot for all tourists visiting the National Park


Kibale Forest is a birds’ haven with over 138 species sighted in the different parts of the forest, some are seen flying over the forest and most are seen at the Bigodi Swamp where you’ll also notice the birds that are endemic to the Albertine region such as Blue-headed sunbird, purple-breasted sunbird, Black-capped apalis among others. These unique birds can only be seen here.

Crater Lakes expedition

Explore over the 50 craters lakes created along the steep volcanic slopes found in the Ndali – Kasenda area of Fort Portal. They were formed during the active volcanic eruptions era. They form a beautiful and distinctive view hardly missed by visitors.

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