Kibale National park is the Uganda’s leading destination where tourists can see primates. It is visited all year round though it’s better to visit in the dry seasons from June to September and December to February. March to May and September to November mark the wet season, where wildlife viewing is quite challenging, but it is a good time for bird watching.
Kibale National Forest protects a 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’Hoest’s monkey. The park is also home to over 325 species of birds, 4 wild fellids, 13 species of primates, a total of at least 70 other species of mammals, and over 250 tree species. The predominant ecosystem in Kibale is moist evergreen and semi-deciduous forest. Much of the forest was logged during its time as a Forest Reserve, and some exotic species of trees were planted in plantations (pines and eucalyptus). Since the national park was gazetted many of these introduced trees have been removed and logging has ended.
It should be noted that the chances of meeting chimps on a primate safari in Kibale are more than 90% and the best time to visit is June to September and December to February (trails are drier and chimpanzee trekking is easier)
Low season is March, April, May, and November (it is the rainy season and some camps and lodges are closed)
Best weather conditions: June, July and December to February (there is less rainfall during this time.)
Worst Weather conditions: March to May and September to November (there is heavy rainfall and trails become hard to travel)
The dry season: June to September, December to February
During the dry season, chimpanzee trekking is more interesting and easier because the forest is less dense.
In Dry season, there is less chances of contracting malaria – because it is peak season, there are a number of tourists, so it is common to encounter other people while chimpanzee trekking but the park and forest never gets really crowded.
Wet season in March to May, September to November
In wet season, the park is typically green to attract the migratory birds in the park, making this the best time to go bird watching. It becomes hard to trek Chimpanzees in dry season since the trails are slippery and challenging to traverse during this period.
Read More About the Park
Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south.
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. It is a must visit for visitors taking Uganda safaris that focus on primates. The forest cover interspersed by patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau. The park is home to a total of 60 mammal species, most famously the 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee. It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180-km long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, as Sebitoli in the north of Kibale.
Northern Kibale is the park’s wettest area, receiving mean annual rainfall of up to 1700mm, mostly during March-May and September-November. The climate is generally pleasant with a mean annual temperature range of 14˚-27˚C. Temperatures are highest (and rainfall lower) in the south where the terrain drops down onto the hot rift valley floor and forest gives way to open grasslands.
In dry Season of June, July and September the temperatures average 80˚ (25˚) when most animals remain near water, but be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms at anytime. The hot dry time is January to February and is good time to visit.
In wet season, hiking boots are ideal for forest walks although stout walking shoes are adequate. Lightweight rain coats are advisable. Altitude and forest environment makes evenings cool and a light jacket is recommended. If you choose to bring a camera, be aware that the dark-haired chimpanzees in typically dim conditions present challenging subjects.