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KIBALE NATIONAL PARK



While watching most animals in the wild is exhilarating, the feeling of watching our closest genetic relatives perform organised patterns of behaviour in their own community is often life-changing. This is an apt description of the Kibale National Park - one of the most remarkable places to visit the Chimpanzees in their wild habitat. Situated near the city of Fort Portal in Southern Uganda, the Kibale National Park is one of the most sought after locations when it comes to Chimpanzee tracking for tourists as well as Chimpanzee conservation and rehabilitation.This is an experience one must not miss while planning an Uganda adventure.


Description
While watching most animals in the wild is exhilarating, the feeling of watching our closest genetic relatives perform organised patterns of behaviour in their own community is often life-changing. Th...
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✔ Camping
✔ Budget lodges
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✔ Luxury lodges
$501

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Description
Mountain gorilla tracking in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a habitat with a minimum of 400 mountain gorillas which is close to a half of the 880 numbers that are known to thrive in the world....
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✔ Camping
✔ Budget lodges
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$1486

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Description
Kibale National Park has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in Africa. It is home to a large number of endangered chimpanzees, as well as the red colobus monkey and the rare L'...
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✔ Camping
✔ Budget lodges
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✔ Luxury lodges
$1882

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Description
This 7-days safari takes you to the misty Bwindi Impenetrable forest, which is home to more than half the population of the remaining 720 Mountain Gorillas in the world. Gorilla tracking is the most e...
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✔ Camping
✔ Budget lodges
✔ Mid-range lodges
✔ Luxury lodges
$2072

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Description
This 9-days safari takes you to the misty Bwindi Impenetrable forest, which is home to more than half the population of the remaining 720 Mountain Gorillas in the world. Gorilla tracking is the most e...
Stay Options
✔ Camping
✔ Budget lodges
✔ Mid-range lodges
✔ Luxury lodges
$2576

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Description
Spanning over 11 days, this Uganda tour is a spectacular choice to cover almost everything that the country has to offer. The glorious Bwindi National Park which is renowned for its gorilla tracking...
Stay Options
✔ Camping
✔ Budget lodges
✔ Mid-range lodges
✔ Luxury lodges
$2771

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Introduction

With the national park comprising of areas in altitudes 1100 to 1600 metres, the Kibale National Park houses 13 species of primates in approximately 750 square kilometres of land area. While the national park is known for its chimp tracking, there are quite a few other species of rare primates that belong here. The red colobus monkey as well as the L’Hoest’s monkey are a couple such species that can be found in the lush forests of the Kibale national park. Not only is Kibale known for the largest population of the red colobus monkey, there are other birds and mammals that are found there. Native birds like the dusky crimsonwing and the blue headed sunbird can also be found at the Kibale national park with so much diversity that the park has to offer, it is definitely something you shouldn't miss on your Uganda adventure.

Having understood that wide variety of animals that call the Kibale national park home, it is apt to delve into those animals that have made Kibale famous - our closest relative, the Chimpanzee. More than 1200 east African chimpanzees (pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) reside in the forest areas of the national park. These animals are different from most other in the wild due to their ability to socialise and perform acts of organised behaviour within their communities. Exposure to human beings also elicits certain acts of behaviour than relate to recognition and acceptance. The same has been studied in detail when it comes to research conducted on them and their genetic association to the human race.

There are 4 major communities residing within the Kibale national park that are habituated to humans: Kanyawara, Kanyachu, Ngogo and Sebitole. The Kibale conservation project is based on the Kanyawara chimpanzee that inhabit the northwestern section of the park. There are approximately 50 to 60 individuals in this community. The Ngogo Chimpanzee project covers over 200 Chimpanzees in the central area of the national park and also conducts a lot of research on the animals, while the Kanyachu project is inclined more towards tourism.

When it comes to the experience of spending time with these creatures, it is as mesmerising as it gets. While they do not look very different from many other primates, you will begin to notice organised and intelligent behaviour upon spending some time observing them. Using tools like rocks to break nuts and hollowed out sticks to drink water, their ability in problem solving and reasoning on the primitive level is visible. This makes for a novel and unexpected element in observing animals, allowing us to associate deeply with these creatures. They can express emotion and show over behavioural changes in response to emotional changes that they experience. The habituation experience is something that sticks with you for very long after the initial encounters, largely owing to the association that we can develop to the activities we observe these chimps do.

While maintaining that they are an animal species in the wild, many tourists often account of developing an empathic and emotional connection to these animals that are clearly more intelligent, social and emotional as compared to most other species. It is certainly an experience to look forward to, unmatched in more than one ways.


Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park
 Black and White Colobus Monkey,Kibale National Park

Kibale is open for chimpanzee trekking throughout the year. December to February and the months of June and July are the driest months and are therefore the best times for this activity. Walking the trails is easier at this time and the overall experience tends to be more enjoyable.

Best Seaon to visit Kibale National Park

Owing to tremendous habitat dispersal as well as encroachment through human activities, the need for conserving these species of primates has become critical to their survival. It becomes all the more necessary for studying and research when we realise their genetic similarities to the human race. The Jane Goodall foundation has played a tremendous role in creating awareness for the need to conserve the species as well as creating institutional measures to ensure their survival and build a deeper understanding of the species as a whole.

With Ugandan Wildlife Authority providing several resources to encourage other such research efforts, many universities have come to conduct large-scale research on genetics as well as conservation of these animals. While the forest is open to tourists all year round, the best time to visit would be December to February and June-July mostly because the dry season makes the chimp tracking process easier and also more enjoyable in its entirety. The trails are better marked, insects and parasitic animals are lesser and the need for protective clothing is also lower. Finally, whatever the time of the month, Chimpanzee tracking at the Kibale national park will certainly leave a long-lasting impression on you.



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