Kibale Forest National Park

Formerly called Kibale Forest National Park, Kibale National Park is without doubt the leading chimpanzee tracking destination in Uganda and Africa at large. Famous as the primate capital of the world, Kibale National Park is a home to all 13 primate species that are of primate enthusiasts on Uganda safaris.



Kibale National Park is a magical primate safari park located in Kabarole District, Western Uganda. The dense tropical rainforest protected area is about 26kms from Fort Portal tourism city, 3-4 hours’ drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park, 6 hours’ drive from Kampala capital city of Uganda.

Kibale lies at altitude of 1100-1600m and it mainly consists of tropical forest, savanna grassland and woodland patches. Established in 1993, Kibale National Park spans on land area of 795sq.kms and it is generally an interesting primate safari destination worth visiting in Uganda.


Kibale National Park is a stronghold of numerous wildlife including 13 primate species such as blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, l’hoest monkeys, 1500 chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, pottos. The mammals that reside in the extensive 795sq.kms Kibale Forest include forest elephants, duikers, sitatungas, bush bucks, buffaloes etc.


Over 375 bird species make Kibale National Park a birder’s paradise. A birding tour in Kibale is a great opportunity to look out for its 23 Albertine rift endemic birds and other resident birds. The park’s birds include blue headed bee-eaters, Cassin’s spine tail, Nahan’s francolin, lowland masked apalis, scaly breasted illadopsis, white headed wood hoopoe, yellow throated nicator, red headed malimbe, African green breasted pitta, red faced woodland, white napped pigeon, dusky blue flycatchers, black bee-eaters, little greenbul, purple breasted sunbird and yellow spotted barbet.


A total of about 250 species of butterflies all reside within Kibale National Park. This makes it a potential butterfly watching spot in Uganda. In addition, the park is a home to significant amphibian and reptile population.

Kibale National Park Activities

Chimpanzee trekking/tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is Kibale National Park’s most sought for safari activity. The park protects up to 1500 chimpanzees and a good population of these have undergone through habituation. Chimpanzee tracking is done twice a day in Kibale starting from Kanyanchu Tourist Center.

It takes visitors at least 2-4 hours to track chimpanzees and upon locating them, you enjoy 1 hour face to face with them. Have an in-depth exploration about chimpanzees and their behaviors, take photos etc.

Chimpanzee habituation

Chimpanzee habituation is another popular activity offered at Kibale National Park. This mainly focuses on making the wild/semi-habituated chimpanzees get used to human presence. Habituating chimpanzees takes a process and normally, trackers, researchers take 2 years or more and when they become familiar to human presence they are opened for chimpanzee tracking. This experience is enjoyable provided that you have a valid chimp habituation permit which costs USD250 per person.


Birding is one safari activity any nature enthusiast shouldn’t miss on Uganda safari in Kibale National Park. The park is a home to significant bird species such as dusky blue flycatchers, black bee-eaters, African green breasted pitta, white headed wood hoopoe, blue headed sunbird, yellow throated nicator, scaly breasted illadopsis, Nahan’s francolins, white napped pigeon, red faced woodland and more.

Nature walks

Nature walk in Kibale is an interesting option for visitors to have exposure of what the park has to offer. Kibale National Park is naturally endowed and on a guided nature walk or forest walk, expect to keep an eye on colorful butterflies, primates, birds, reptiles, floral species etc.

There are designated trails to start your guided nature walking journey in and around Kibale including crater lake, forest trail, Bigodi wetland walk and Amabere cave trail. A guided walk in Kibale starts in the morning at 8:00am and in the afternoon at 2:00pm lasting for about 3 hours but this may depend on some factors.

Community walk – enjoy unforgettable local experiences from learning the distinct traditions, lifestyles, norms, cultures of the local residents while on a visit to Batooro community. Or enjoy the different cultural dances, music performance and have hands on experiences during art and craft making.

Best time to visit

Kibale National Park safaris are open to visitors all year-round. However, the park experiences favorable weather conditions during the dry season- the extended or short dry season. This is from June to September for long dry season and December to February then if you are a bird enthusiast, March to April/October-November are the months to consider visiting Kibale National Park.

Places to stay- Accommodation

The various accommodation in and around Kibale National Park to book for overnight sleep include Ndali Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp, Kibale Forest Lodge, Kibale Safari Lodge, Sebitoli Camping Ground, Chimp’s Nest;

Kibale Forest Camp, Primate Lodge, Chimpanzees Forest Guesthouse, Papaya Lake Lodge, Crater Valley Kibale Lakeside Resort, Safari Hotel Bigodi, Rwenzori View Guesthouse, Nyinabulitwa Resort and Safari Camp.

Accessing Kibale

There are many routes leading you up to Kibale National Park. The Kampala or Entebbe- Mityana-Mubende route takes 6 hours to drive to Kibale and a 4×4 tourist vehicle is more preferable for your road trips. Queen Elizabeth National Park via Kasese to Fort Portal city, 3-4 hours’ drive or spend 7-8 hours to drive from Murchison Falls National Park to Kibale.

By air, you can fly up to Mweya/Kasese then drive to Kibale National Park meaning, you can even incorporate game viewing experiences in Queen Elizabeth National Park with primate encounters at Kibale.