Kibale Forest National Park
The Primate Capital of the World
Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale Forest National Park has two notable distinctions that make it a superb safari destination in Uganda. First, the park has one of the highest diversity and concentration of primates in any habitat in Africa – a record 13 species. Second, it is home to a prolific 320 bird species including four that have not been recorded in any other park in Uganda. Not surprisingly, the two key activities that are done in Kibale Forest National Park are Chimpanzee Trekking and Bird Watching.
Kibale Forest National Park was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 and acquired National Park status in 1993. Today, it ranks among Africa’s foremost research sites. Kibale Forest National Park t is located in Southwestern Uganda stretches over 795sq. km of magnificent tropical rainforest interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp. It adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long migration corridor for wildlife between Ishasha in the remote southern corner of Queen Elizabeth National Park and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale.
Community Conservation is a key factor to the success of this National Park and more work is being done to ensure that both communities and wildlife prosper.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Uganda is one of the top experiences to do whilst on safari. This is because there is a concerted drive towards the conservation of approximately 5,000 chimpanzees that inhabit the country. Kibale Forest has the highest population with about 1,500 followed by Budongo Forest with about 650. In Queen Elizabeth National Park, about 250 chimpanzees live in the Kyambura Gorge and on Ngamba Island Sanctuary, 49 orphaned and rescued chimpanzees undergoing rehabilitation. The Kalinzu Forest Reserve in the Maramagambo Forest, one of Uganda’s biggest forests was recently gazetted and it too has chimpanzees.
Birders will have their binoculars glued to their faces as they try to keep up with the over 375 recorded species of birds in the park. On the western edge of the forest, the Bigodi swamp is home to the Great Blue Turaco and 200 other species. Other popular sightings include:
Abyssinian Ground Thrush, White-bellied Fly-catcher, Red-chested Flufftail, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Chestnut-winged Starling, Grey-winged Robin, and Grey-headed Olive-back.
The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is located in Magombe swamp just outside Kibale Forest National Park. The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is one of the leading examples community-based approach in preserving a natural resource which offers an alternative source of income for local residents. The area has several primates species:
Red colobus monkey,
Black & white colobus monkey,
Grey cheeked, mangabey
Additional Mammals such as chimpanzees, Sitatunga, mongooses, bush pigs, otters plus Bushbucks, also visit this swamp coming from the adjacent Kibale National Park.
The name “Bigodi” come from a local Rutooro word, “kugodya”, that means ‘to walk tiredly / wearily’. It is supposed that when visitors reached the Bigodi swamp on foot, they actually were at all times too tired to go on and visit the jungle; and for this reason they decided to rest there.
Tooro region stretches over a high plateau in western Uganda located between Lake Albert and Lake George, bounded on the west by the Rwenzori Mountains, the south by Queen Elizabeth National Park, and to the north by Bunyoro-Kitara.
The Tooro Kingdom is Uganda’s youngest kingdom and it shares the same roots as that of Bunyoro-Kitara up until the 1820s when a renegade prince of Bunyoro established the new Kingdom of Tooro. For this reason, the two kingdoms share almost identical cultures and traditions.
Fort Portal is the cultural centre and official seat of the kingdom and the Tooro Palace that is the official residence of the Omukama is perched atop a hill, commanding a majestic view of the town. Tooro is an amazing cultural destination with a lot to explore the kingdom’s culture, including the traditional royal palace and the tombs. In addition, the Bunyaruguru Crater Lake region on the outskirts of Fort Portal has over 40 crater lakes that are a wonder to explore
This is Nyinambuga Crater Lake which is one of the many crater lake you can see when in the Fort Potral area. This picture was taken after Chimpanzee Trekking as we explored the area. The lake also featured on the back of the 20,000 UGX note.
Crater lakes were formed in this area around 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. They are artistically dotted around the Fort Portal region and add immense beauty to the already stunning landscape.