Kibale forest national park is situated in the western part of Uganda in Kabarole district near the town of fort portal. The park is one of the famous moist and evergreen rainforests in East Africa covering an area of about 766 sq km. it also has a diverse array of landscapes because it is situated in an average feet of 5200 ft elevation and it is one of the remaining forests that are both on lowlands and also montane forests.
The park was established in 1993 with the aim of protecting the large forest previously managed as a logged forest reserve. The park is currently well known for its diverse attractions and activities like the commonly known the chimps, the primates , the birds, the butterflies, other mammal species and the diverse vegetation cover of the area like the various tree species.
Kibale Forest National Park is also known as the primate capital because of the presence of different primate species like the endangered chimpanzees, the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoests monkey, which is one of the vulnerable monkeys. In total Kibale forest national park is home to 13 different primate species such as the Uganda Mangabey,Uganda red colobus and the L’Hoest’s monkey , 1500 chimpanzees ,some of them are well habituated, 325 birds species and some of other mammals that resident in this park .
Though the park is well known for the primates safaris, it is also diverse in other terrestrial mammals that can be seen in the park, including; the red duikers, blue duikers, bushbucks, common giant forest hogs and others. The park is also diverse in butterflies, not forgetting the 325 sighted species of birds, including; the olive long-tailed cuckoo, Patas grey parrot and the ground thrush which is endemic to Kibale national park.
Due to the diversity of the park it has interesting nature walks that are always memorable for any visitor. The park offers both day and guided nocturnal nature walks which is normally done at night with spotlights.
The day nature walk is interesting for the trekking of the chimpanzees and some of the other residents of the park and as they go to rest, the nocturnal walk begins after supper at 7.30 pm and it normally lasts for approximately 2 hours. This night walk is so interesting because it is for spotting rarely seen nocturnal creatures such as the potta, nightjar, tree hyrax, cricket and the bush baby, and the occasional Serval cat. The powerful torches give clear viewing of the nocturnal creatures.
A nature walk during day is interesting for butterfly viewing and for birders as it is known that Kibale forest is a diverse birding destination housing over 325 bird species. Birding can also be done in the Bigodi wetland sanctuary, which is apparently home to the great Turaco as well as amazing cultural encounters, biking, and other community activities.
Kibale national park offers activities for the children under the age of 15 because they are not allowed for chimpanzee trekking but they are shown the wonders of the forest, wildlife, birds, trees, plants and the monkeys. The park also has bush craft classes and activities for children not for getting exploring the surrounding communities.
Night nature walks are a ‘must do’ while in this tropical forest; Beginning after dinner, visitors undertake the amazing nocturnal walk not just to view the sleeping jungle life, but to experience the remote African rain forest life.
Beyond viewing the nocturnal creatures of Kibale forest, it is the feeling of the jungle with its night echoes, plants and trees that seem to take a different expression at night. An outstanding feature of the walk is experiencing the jungle echoes in the night on your Nocturnal Forest Walk in Kibale Forest, that alone is an out of the ordinary experience.