With over 1400 chimpanzees and other 12 primates , Kibale forest is one of Uganda's best primate destination second only to Bwindi forest. Kibale natioal park is located in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge, southern Uganda and west of Kampala Uganda’s capital and Fort Portal is the large city nearest to the national park. Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites where many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates gazzeted in the park.

Chimpanzee tracking tops the list of activities to do in the moist evergreen rainforest, which contains up to 13 species of primates, including black and white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, and grey-cheeked mangabey and chimpanzee. The is also inhabited by a total of 70 mammal species where there are estimated 500 elephants, buffalos, leopards, and bush pigs that live there and other terrestrial mammals which include red and blue duikers, bushbucks, sitatungas, bush pigs, giant forest hogs and common warthogs.

Bird life is also interesting in this park where bird-watchers can enjoy sighting around 350 bird species, such as the olive-tailed cuckoo, African grey parrot and the ground thrush.

The park has a tropical type of climate with two rainy periods, March to May and September to November where annual mean temperature range rises from 14° - 15°C to 26° - 27°C minimum and maximum respectively and annual rainfall is 1,100 - 1,600 mm. There is a pronounced dry season in December to February and rain falls more in the North than in the South.

Kibale National Park conserves moist evergreen rain forest and located between 1,100 meters to 1,600 meters in elevation but despite the primarily moist evergreen forest, it also has a diverse array of landscapes where in eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of pre-montane forest.
The park has almost 351 tree species where some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years’ old found within the moist tropical forests which has endangered timber species of trees include Cordia millenii, Entandrophragma angolense, and Lovoa swynnertonnii and also dominated by shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs, which include Palisota schweinfurthii and Pollia condensata, in addition to ferns and broad leaf grasses.

Tourist Activities in Kibale Forest

Chimpanzee Trekking & habituation.
Kibale forest is commonly visited by Uganda safari visitors mostly for chimpanzee tracking. This makes it the primate Capital of East Africa because it’s the best place for Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda. Kanyanchu is where the the best primate walks takes place. Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are high. A guided walk at Kanyanchu can last for three hours, depending on various factors.

A primate walk through Kibale forest offers tourists chance to encounter a variety of primates including chimpanzees, L'hoest monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Black & white colobus , Red tailed monkey , Blue monkey among other plus a variety of bird and plant species.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) can be done for a full day, whereby you meet a chimp community which is undergoing habituation. You will have a one-hour experience with a chimpanzee group. However, there are other great chimpanzee trekking places but none like Kibale Forest.

Birders can enjoy bird watching starting at Kanyanchu where rare bird species can be seen like Papyrus Canary, White-collared Oliveback, and Papyrus Gonolek.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a habitat to 138 bird species such as Black-crowned Waxbill, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat among others. A 3 hour guided walk along the boardwalk trail is the perfect opportunity to spot a variety of birds.

Hikes & Nature Walks
Nature walks and hiking can be conducted around Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda. There are plenty of day-hikes where you can see varied habitats found in the forest, swamps, grassland, and the tropical rainforests.
There are also a number of night walks especially when chimpanzees and other forest residents go to rest at dusk. Here, you will use powerful torches to seek rare seen creatures such as the Potto, bushbaby, cricket, nightjar and the serval cat.

Cultural Encounters

During a village walk, you will discover the daily life of the Batooro. The tour stops by the village’s primary school, church, and traditional healer. You will learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies, and the history of Bigodi is told through the story of the “Village of Two Tribes”, describing when the indigenous Batooro were joined by migrating Bakiga from southwestern Uganda in the 1950s.

Tourists Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is situated in Magombe Swamp. It’s a simple swamp with a beautiful scenery and very many natural wonders that attracts many Uganda safari visitors to trek primates such as chimpanzees, black and white colobus, red-tailed, l’Hoest’s, blue monkeys and olive baboons through this jungle swamp every year.
This wetland is commonly known for being a birder’s palace with over 138 bird species including the large Blue Turaco, African grey parrot, western tinkerbird, and the ground thrush. A 3 hour guided walk can enable you experience interesting birding watching while at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
However, Bushbucks and mongooses, incredible palms, and endangered tree species such as Cordia millenii, Entandrophragma angolense, and Lovoa swynnertonnii can also be found here so Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary has become a must visit place near Kibale Forest.

Kanyanchu River Camp
Kanyanchu is found in the central part of Kibale Forest. It is the main trailhead for the park’s famous forest walks giving you an opportunity to track chimpanzees. A group of chimpanzee has been habituated in this forest since 1991 and the probabilities of encountering the good indeed (over 90%). Note that the park is just acc foot; in that location are no motorable tracks open to tourists.

The Chimpanzee Experience (CHEX) is done on a daily routine to allow chimpanzees to get used to human presence without changing their nature. The Experience runs all through the tourist low season months of March, April, May & November.
However, not only chimpanzees are trekked but there are other species of primates such as black and white colobus, red-tailed and grey cheeked mangabey. Bird watching, nature walks for both kids and adults and guided night treks are also available at Kanyanchu River Camp.

Sebitoli Forest Camp
Sebitoli is located along Kampala-Fort portal main road, just 12km away from Fort portal town. This camp offers excellent bird watching along with primate viewing such as red colobus, black-and-white colobus, blue monkeys and velvet monkeys. Uganda Safari travelers may also spot a variety of aquatic, forest and savannah birds and enjoy views of the Mpanga River.

Kihingami Wetland Sanctuary

Located adjacent to Kibali Forest near Sebitoli area, this community-based project offers excellent bird watching where bird species like Green-headed Sunbird, Western Citril (with nesting material), Tawny-flanked Prinia, Brimstone Canary, Violet-backed Starling, Holub's Golden Weaver, Great Blue Turaco, Black-crowned and Common Waxbills, Green Hylia, Luhder's Bush-shrike, Red-bellied Paradise-flycatcher, Grey-headed Nigrita, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Red-headed Bluebill, White-spotted Flufftail.
Nature walks will bring you up close to primates such as the black-and-white colobus, red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. Other animals like otters, mongooses and bushbucks can be observed in the wetlands.


Interested in tracking chimpanzees or any other primates in Uganda, make a tour to Kibale forest for an affordable and adventure primate safari, Get in touch with us today by sending an email to or call us on +256-700135510.