Experience the Magic of Kibale National Park

A guest at Kibale National Park in Uganda

Experience the Magic of Kibale National Park

Imagine a dense tropical rainforest with the Rwenzori mountains, Ndali-Kasenda crater lakes and tea plantations as your backdrop and you’ve arrived in Kibale National Park. The region is truly beautiful and the local people have a rich and fascinating culture they love to share.

Tourists tend to visit this tropical rainforest for two main activities: chimpanzee tracking and birding.

Uganda is famous as a primate destination and most safaris will include a chimp tracking experience. Join a small group for a thrilling jungle trek and when you find your chimp family, spend an hour observing them in their natural habitat. Along the way, there’s the chance to spot other primates too, like Red-tailed monkeys, Grey-cheeked mangabey, Blue monkeys and L’Hoest monkeys.

Uganda is also one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world and Kibale forest is home to a staggering 375 bird species, including some sought-after species like the Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black Bee-eater, Green-breasted Pitta and Zenker’s Honeyguide. You’ll find a large number of butterfly species here too.

There is so much to see and do in this region, you could easily spend 2-3 weeks holidaying here, but if you are instead taking a classic safari circuit in western Uganda, Kibale is a highlight on your route.


What To Do in Kibale National Park

Kibale is known as the Primate Capital of East Africa because it’s home to large populations of primates and a wide variety of primate species – around 15 types. The forest is also home to a number of elusive species like the forest elephant, duiker and bush pig and some rare mammals like the African Golden Cat.

The forest itself has various zones, mainly the medium-altitude, ever-green and moist semi-deciduous woodland containing interesting species from ancient mahogany trees to rare ferns. Come and explore the flora and fauna of this wonderful park.


Chimp relaxes in Kibale National Park - Picture: Uganda Tourism Board

Half-Day Chimpanzee Tracking

Into the heart of the rainforest, you go, guided by an expert who will spot signs of chimpanzee activity as you venture closer to these mesmerising primates.

Upon finding a chimpanzee family, you will spend an hour in complete awe, watching, taking photos and learning about the behaviours and personalities of these magnificent creatures, before hiking back through the forest, thrilled with your forest experience.


Habituation Experience

A chimpanzee habituation experience gives you a more immersive opportunity. Starting early, you can spend up to a full day with the chimps from dawn til dusk.

During this activity, you will join researchers and guides as they observe these primates, working to gain a better understanding of their behaviour whilst the chimpanzees are gently introduced to human presence, enabling further research and tracking opportunities.


Black and white casqued Hornbill.

Half-Day Birding

The rich diversity of Kibale means that during a half or full-day birding experience, you can encounter forest, grassland and wetland birds. These may include birds like the Nahan’s Francolin, Yellow-spotted Nictor, Red-chested Flufftail, Black Bee-eater and White-thighed Hornbill.


Night-Time Guided Forest Walks

Kibale gives nature lovers the opportunity to soak up the magic of a tropical rainforest, so why not take that opportunity further with a guided forest walk after dark? Experience the rainforest at night and spend time on the lookout for nocturnal creatures such as bush babies, nightjars, and civet cats.


Nearby Activities

Kibale is a great base from which to explore the wider region, as it has much to offer.

Bigodi wetlands, Uganda

Bigodi wetlands, Uganda

Take a peaceful nature walk through the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary and see the rich biodiversity, including 200 bird species and an abundance of primates. Alternatively, experience the stunning crater lakes on foot or by canoe, visit the Sempaya male and female hot springs or get involved with community activities like weaving baskets, preparing local food or brewing banana gin.

Mountaineers can climb the snow-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains, while mere mortals can simply walk in the beautiful foothills. Semliki National Park is nearby too and is especially good for birding.

Where to Stay in and around Kibale National Park

There are plenty of places to stay when you visit Kibale. We’re happy to recommend somewhere to suit you but, for now, here are a couple of our favourites:

Kyaninga Lodge

Kyaninga Lodge

This luxury lodge is one of our favourite properties. Established by a British master carpenter and his Ugandan wife, it was constructed with the help of local people. Private cottages sit on the rim of a crater lake with views of the Rwenzori Mountains in the distance.

Each cottage is spacious, with an outside deck and provides every comfort as well as special touches like a bathtub with a view. The bar and restaurant offer delicious meals made with fresh, homegrown produce and a wide range of drinks, all served by attentive staff in a relaxed and cosy atmosphere.

The lodge has a lovely spa overlooking the lake, a range of gentle sports and walks, and there is plenty to do in the surrounding area. Consider staying for a few days – this is about as magical as it gets.


Chimpanzee Forest Lodge, Uganda

Chimpanzee Forest Lodge

If you’re looking for somewhere comfortable to stay with tasty food, attentive service and panoramic views of the forest and tea plantations, then Chimpanzee Forest Lodge is the ultimate place to set up base.

The lodge spans over 100 acres of well-kept gardens and hosts a series of lovely cottages (bandas), where you can unwind as the sun sets on another blissful day in the wild.


Book Your Stay at Kibale National Park

Explore the magic of Uganda’s rainforests when you visit Kibale National Park. Whether you’re tracking chimpanzees, marvelling at the plethora of birds, admiring the breathtaking beauty or taking part in nearby cultural activities, your visit here will be nothing short of extraordinary. 

Want to include this national park in your itinerary? Get in touch to find out more by contacting us here: +256 784 824 902 (WhatsApp) philo@ventureuganda.org

Download the free Kibale National Park guide

Plan your trip to Kibale National Park with our guide to the national park and subscribe to our newsletter for lots of helpful advice on visiting Uganda

Kibale Impenetrable National Park guide on an iPad by Venture Uganda