A gorilla in the wild. Use the route from Fort Portal to Kamwenge, that takes you to near the bridge over the Mpanga River in Fort Portal and is clearly sign posted. Diverge to the left at the junction, 12 kilometers from Port Portal and follow signposts for more than 24 kilometers to Kanyanchu Tourist Centre.
This park accommodates the greatest diversity and numbers of primates found anywhere in East Africa. It is a large National Park, protecting a vast block of rainforest which provides some excellent forest for bird viewing. Birds and primates combined with easy access, a good infrastructure; a diversity of fascinating activities that make this forest important for viewing safaris in Uganda.
Most of the facilities are community based and therefore offering the local community with the required revenue to keep their interest focused on the long-term protection safety of the area.
The area is mainly inhabited by two tribes; the Bakiga and Batooro. Traditionally, 2 tribes use the forest for their food, fuel, medicines and building materials.
MATTERS CONCERNING KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
* Its elevation is between 1110 metres to 1590 metres.
* The best time to be there is March and September to December.
* Time needed is two days.
* Status: National Park since 1993.
* It occupies an area of 560 kilometers.
* It is found in Kibale district
The forest section of the park [77%] is covered by medium altitude mist evergreen forest in the north and medium altitude moist semi-deciduous forest at lower altitudes in the south. The remaining 23 percent is covered by grassland swamps and some plantations with exotic conifers.
The registered bird species here total to 335.
Main species of birds present
White-napped pigeon, Green-breasted pitta, Red-chested flufftail, African Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Abyssinian Ground Thrushi, Grey -throated flycatcher, whiter-bellied crested flycatcher, masked and black-capped Apolises, Uganda woodland warbler, Chestnut-winged starling, Orange-tufted and tiny sunbirds, Grey-headed olive-back, Grey-winged Robin, Red-winged francolin.
Kibale has a customary chimpanzee-tracking program, with high success rate.
Other primates which may be found in these guided walks include; L.Hoest’s Gentle (Blue) Olive Baboon, Grey-checked mangabeys, Gueneza Colobus and Red-tailed monkeys which are most likely to be found in open places near the forest. You may find evidence of elephant, bush pig and buffalo on the trails, whilst bushbuck, Blue Harvey’s and Peter’s Duikers are other shy inhabitants of the forest interior. African civet and marsh mangrooses, Itchneuman, Swamp other, Alexander’s cusimanse,Ratel (Honey Badger) and African palm civet. Albeit Golden cat, serval lion, leopard, warthog. Giant Hog together with hippopotamus, are registered from the park, they are not likely to be encountered in the Kanyanchu region. Sitatungas are known to be in Bigodi swamp, however, they are not usually viewed. The spectacular and beautiful Rhinoceros viper is somehow common here but is, unfortunately less often got alive than dead on the road. The guided night walks are also rewarding; Patto, Spectacled Demidoff’s and Thomas Galogos, Lord Derby’s Anomalive.
Mantana luxury Tented is found in the middle of the forest. Bush type accommodation excellently comfortable. The Kanyanchu tourist centre possesses five 2-bed bandas. The beautiful campground is at three dollars per person. There is a cooking shelter and pit latrines, water plus firewood is offered. The community-based canteen provides cheap basic foods and drinks.
Another option, there is the safari Hotel 3 kilometers further on the road to Kamwenge.
Basic rooms are at 4 dollars per person including all the tea you can take, plus free laundry. There is Ndali lodge, a luxury accommodation owned by a white man. It is a cottage overlooking a crater lake. There is also the Rwenzori View Guest House found at Fort Portal about 30 kilometers from the forest.
The park provides very cheap chimpanzee tracking. Groups with a maximum of six people depart everyday at 6:00am in the morning and 3:00pm in the evening, the walks take a round 3 hours. The best recommended right walks leave from Kangando visitor centre at 7:30pm but you should book earlier on and probably come around with your torches.
The facilities at Bigodi include; an observation tower plus a boardwalk, which crosses the papyrus beds. The track together with the boardwalk may be flooded and muddy after the heavy rain thus, gumboots are encouraged to be brought. They can be hired at the visitors centre. In length, the walk is approximately 4 kilometers, consuming 3-4 hours at birding pace. With all proceeds from eco-tourism going back into the community, this is a conservation project well worth supporting, mainly to the indigenous people.
FOREST REGULATIONS AND RULE
* The biggest number of people in a group is four tourists for each guided walk.
* The longest time allowed with the chimpanzees is one hour, however, the time may be decreased or made less under the guide’s direction, to avoid stressful conditions for the chimpanzees.
* You are encouraged to remain in a tight group and follow the guide’s directions always while trekking.
* You should know that this is a Zoo, therefore it is a tropical rainforest and viewings depend on factors like time of the day, presence of fruits, weather plus how quite the primate group is.
* Please stay at a distance of 8 meters away from the chimpanzees or the distance that your guide tells you.
* There are no circumstances when you will be allowed to chase chimpanzees as they go down or move on higher ground.
* Children below the age of twelve are not allowed to see the chimpanzees for security purposes.
* If you want to go for a short call, please do so off the trail system.
* If you want to go for a long call, please do so off the trail system and bury all waste in a hole.
* Please do not eat near the chimpanzees and other primates.
* Please refrain from shouting while in the forest.
* You are encouraged to put on long boots which cover your toes, plus long trousers for there are red ants and slippery trails, also come along with water-proof clothing during the rainy season.