Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest is one of the most attractive national parks with a variety of wildlife species. Kibale Forest National park is known to be the primate capital of East Africa with 13 different primate species.
It is home to more than 1,450 chimpanzee protected within its borders of 795km2. It is by far the best place to see Chimps in East Africa. Many tourists come into the country to track chimps.
Birding in Kibale forest is a rewarding experience, The park is home to a variety of birds including the Albertine rift endemics. Morning focus for any birder in Kibale forest is to search for the Green breasted pitta.
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale National Park is found in Kamwenge district-western Uganda. The park protects moist evergreen rain forest on 766 square kilometers in size and is located between 1100 metres to 1600 metres in elevation. Despite encompassing primarily moist evergreen forest, it contains a diverse array of landscapes. Kibale is one of the last remaining expanses to contain both lowland and Montane forests and in Eastern Africa, it sustains the last significant expanse of Pre-Montane forest.
The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park. This adjoining of the parks creates a 180 kilometers wildlife corridor.
Kibale Forest National Park has special features which include;
Magombe swamp located within the park is a top birders spot. It’s also famous for wildlife such as Chimpanzees, Red colobus, Black and White colobus, Red tailed monkey, Bushbucks as well as Mongoose. It has about 138 bird species that can be seen on nature walks within.
The nature walk begins from Kanyanchu or Sebitoli and it takes about 2-6 days. The enroute will help discover the forest and late rest in the community-run campsites close to the villages of Kikoni, Nyakalongo and Nyaibanda.
There are 13 species of primates in Kibale National Park. The park protects several well-studied habituated communities of common chimpanzee as well as other species of Central African monkey including the Uganda Mangabey, the Ugandan Red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey. Other primates that are found in the park include; the Black-and-White colobus and the Blue monkey. Other terrestrial mammals that are found within Kibale National Park include; Red and Blue duikers, Bushbucks, Sitatungas, Bush pigs, giant forest Hogs, common Warthogs and African buffaloes. The carnivores that are present include leopards, African golden cats, Servals, different mongooses and two species of otter. In addition, lions visit the park on a few occasions.
Bird life is also prolific. The park boasts of about 325 sited species of birds including the olive long-tailed cuckoo, western Tinkerbird, two species of Pittas (African and green-breasted) and the grey parrot. The ground Thrush (Turdus kibalensis) is endemic to Kibale National Park.
There are approximately 229 species of trees found within the moist tropical forests of the park. Some endangered timber species of trees include Cordia millenii, Entandrophragma angolense, and Lovoa swynnertonnii. The forest is dominated by shade-tolerant shrubs and herbs which include Palisota schweinfurthii and Pollia condensata in addition to ferns and broad leaf grasses.
The people living around Kibale National Park are mostly Batoro and Bakiga. The Batoro are native to the region while the Bakiga are just immigrants from the thickly populated southwestern part of the country. The Batoro carry pride in the ethnical heritage of the Kingdom of Toro, a scion of the ancient kingdoms of the Great Lakes region of Africa. The king (Omukama) and the kingdom personify the traditions along with cultural values of the Batoro. The immigrants (Bakiga) still hold their culture and tradition as expressed in their dance,folklore, as well as language.