Kibale National Park


This forest park is beyond words!!! It lies in the shadows of Mountain Rwenzori, at a hilly setting surrounded by some of Uganda’s most enchanting crater lakes and tea plantations.

Among the 13 species of primates to which Kibale National Park is home, the principle attraction is chimpanzee. You will be amazed by these subtle primates during the quality time you will have with them

Looking at them is like staring at wild version of yourself in the mirror. They look and act so much like man except for the fact that they don’t speak but rather communicate through loud vocalizations. One of the most gripping encounters is watching them drum buttress roots with more bravado that pleasure. You will definitely be carried away. Although there will be other guests on the walk, you will have an ample opportunity to get good pictures. However, don’t spend the entire time on lens. Put your camera down for some time and take in every sense of the experience. It will leave you with sweet memories of full immersion in the moment.

Before leaving the forest, you are likely to run into several families of both old world and new world monkeys as they roam around the park. It could be a troop of baboons, a pack of black and white monkeys or vervets. Alternatively, it could be red colubus or even L’Hoest’s monkeys. Having been habituated, all of the mentioned species interact freely with humans. As such, there is a great chance some of their members they might draw so close to you, especially the babies.

If you take a chance on the night forest walk, you are likely to encounter nocturnals like bushbabies and big forest mammals like buffaloes, elephants. In total, the Kibale National Park has 70 mammal species.

Botany In Kibale Forest

Away from animals, Kibale’s forest itself is a gem worth paying attention to. It is enriched with 350 species lying between 1,100m-590m above sea level. You could spend a full week trying to count the number of its trees which are over 200 years old.  So many of them are spread over its 795km2 expanse. The forest is largely vertical and dense. Its growth of foliage, however, makes the trails seem like tunnels. It crosses small rivers and winds over hilly terrains that offer a great climbing challenge. A perfect opportunity for you to stretch your muscles. It is largely a gentle ascend. As such, you don’t need to prior mountain hiking experiences to be able to pull off the nature walk Kibale offers.

Best Time To Visit Kibale Forest

It is possible to trek chimpanzees in Kibale National Park throughout the year. If you wish to explore the park when its trails are dry and thus easy to maneuver, December to February and the months of June and July are highly recommendable but Kibale forest can be visited any time.

Things To Do In Kibale Forest National Park…

Chimp Tracking and Habituation

There are two shifts for chimpanzee trekkers that is 08:00 and 14:00. The most preferred time to visit chimps is in the morning shift but depending on your time of booking you could end up in the afternoon shift. Whichever time you go, chances of seeing chimps is always above 90% as much as there is not to seeing them.

Whereas Chimp trekking costs $200 and allows you only one hour with the chimps, Chimpanzee habituation costs $250 and allows you up to four hours with the chimps. Booking in advance is very important since only 72 permits are issued daily.

Bird watching in Kibale National Park

For the avid birdwatcher, a visit to Bigodi wetland is a must. It is a community owned wetland system where several of the park’s 375 recorded bird species hang out. The Queen in this part of the world is the Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola Cristata), a radiant African near-passerine with dark blue plumage, a black crown and a yellow-red bick. Other species to look out for include Green- Breasted Pita, Black bee-eater, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Little greenbul, Yellow rumped tinkerbird and more.  You can wrap up your bird watching experience in Kibale National Park with a tour of the scenic crater lakes in its neighbourhood. They are nothing short of picture perfect.

Bigodi Swamp Walk

This is one of the most admirable conservation by community that directly benefits the locals. This project is run by KAFRED (Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development. This walk offers one of the top ranking birding and primate viewing in Uganda. It is possible to identify more than 45 species on a single trail and with a good number being rare. Example of species to look out for include; the beautiful Great blue Turaco, grey headed Negro Finch, Papyrus Gonolek, Snowy headed robinchat and more. Concerning primates, you are likely to encounter red colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, red tailed monkey, black and white colobus monkey and more. You can rule out the possibility of coming across chimpanzee and the shy Sitatunga as much as this is very rare.


  • Mpanga Falls
  • Sebitoli Sector


Lodges Of Kibale National Park

Chimpanzee Forest Guest House/Lodge

Chimpanzee Forest Guest House is hard to forget for its unobstructed views of rolling hills and the pristine jungle of Kibale National Park.  It is surrounded by scenic tea plantations that are a historic treasure to Uganda.

During Uganda’s colonial period, it was a residence of a British district commissioner. In 2003, it was converted into a fully-fledged Guest. It features a charming lounge with an excellent collection of colonial African literature, some dating back to the 1800s.

Each of the lodge’s small bandas and spacious cottages are furnished and equipped to a high standard.

Brace yourself for a warm welcome by its staff.  The tour around the lodge not only offers a great way for one to stretch their muscles ahead of their chimp trek, but also refreshes the senses with endearing sights of a colourful flower garden. Here, you will find different birds—with stunning calls inclusive of grey parrots, swallows and great blue turaccos.

The lodge stands out as a good base for guided village walks and Crater Lake excursions thanks to its proximity to them. There is always plenty of food to replenish you after that exhausting chimpanzee trek. We have never gone hungry here.

Primate Lodge Kibale

Thanks to this lodge’s super location at the heart of the park, you are almost guaranteed of watching vervet monkeys and red tailed monkeys from the time you check in to the time of checkout. It is within five minutes’ walk from the starting point of chimpanzee trekking which is one of the most genuinely breathtaking wildlife experiences on earth.

Both its midrange and luxurious bungalows have good bed arrangements. To ensure the privacy of guests, the chalets are spread in the forest. Best of all, they have all modern conveniences and no problems. Despite being in the jungle, the lodge’s Wifi is pretty good albeit limited to only areas around the main lobby. Other lodge amenities include a spacious dining terrace, a well-stocked bar, complimentary room service, a secluded lounge area with a small library, an evening camp fire, laundry service (at a small fee).

One of the reasons why our guests have a soft spot for this hotel is the service of the staff. They go above and beyond to make you feel like you are family. It was a quite a sweet surprise when they took our shoes after the trek to wash the mud off them!

Not forgetting the delicious food and well stocked bar and a big glass of welcoming juice on the arrival.

Turaco Tree Tops

A midrange safari lodge that we remember as a gorgeous place to stay! Thanks to its surrounding forest, you will feel totally immersed in nature as you enjoy beautiful views of Africa’s highest mountain, Rwenzori.

Its rooms are spacious with a hot shower and balcony where you are guaranteed of seeing or at least hearing enthusiastic vocalizations of chimps and calls of all kinds of birds. The communal area where the restaurant is found is comfortable and stylish with an African theme. It also features a lounge area with a cozy fireplace, a bar, an outside terrace, and a first-floor lounge.

Upon arrival from your long trip or return from you chimpanzee trek, you will be treated to a warm welcome by staff—who will offer you a revitalizing glass of juice. Much appreciated after a hot and active day. The food is superb and well done in every aspect.

Kids can play in the kid’s corner while parents are enjoying their refreshing beers.

You can’t miss the five mile community walk during your stay here. It offers a great way to see the native way of life of the Batooro and Bakiiga ethnic groups.

Crater Safari Lodge

Famed for its tranquil atmosphere and spectacular bungalows, Crater Safari Lodge is a premium beachfront property at the shoreline of one of the most beautiful crater lakes in Uganda.

It features nine ultra-luxurious double/twin cottages and two larger cottages each with two rooms to sleep up to four. The view of Nyinabulitwa Crater Lake from each room is a feast for the eyes.

At the main lobby, you will find a Wifi and a charging station where you can power your gadgets and cameras. Crater Safari Lodge has many on-site activities including an introduction to tea. This guided agro-tourism experience entails having a guided walk through the plantations as you learn different species of tea leaves. You will also mix and mingle with the workers picking the leaves as you discover their traditional ways of life. The experience is crowned with a tasting experience as you savour the flavor of several teas along with a few sweet nibbles.

Best of all, this lodge is also an excellent position for chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park. Very convenient!