Known in the safari circles as the primate capital of the world, Kibale National Park is a destination for wildlife tourism in Uganda with the highest density of primates on the continent. The 796 Square Kilometer park is an area characterized with a moist tropical Forest that inhabits to 13 primate species and more than 300 species of birds, hills and swampy valleys. Kibale National Park is situated in western Uganda, south of Queen Elizabeth National Park and north of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
The main primate capital of the world chief attraction is the Chimpanzee, a cheeky and intelligent tailless ape with 99% human DNA and human-like limbs and behavior. There are more than 1000 Chimps in the park. Some Chimp families are habituated for tourism and research while others are left to wander and multiply in the thick jungle.
Because it’s the Primate capital of the world, there are several other primate species found in the park including; Olive baboon, Red colobus, Eastern black and white colobus, blue monkey, Potto, grey cheecked mangaby, red tailed monkey, bush baby, coppery tailed white nosed monkey, Vervet monkey, and L’Hoest’s monkey.
However, besides the primates in this National Park, Kibale National Park is also home to Uganda’s best nature walk wetland destination; Bigodi wetland. Many tourists that visit Kibale Forest National Park, under take a very rewarding and rich walk in this wetland.
Bigodi Wetland Nature walk
Located 6km south of the Kibale National Park’s visitor centre; Kanyanchu, Bigodi wetland was established by the local development organization to protect the 4-sq-km Magombe Swamp. Its name “Bigodi” was derived from a local Rutooro word, “kugodya”, that means ‘to walk tiredly. This is because when people reach this wetland, they are supposed to walk to the swamp on foot. This area is recognized for an extensive collection of biodiversity among which are several primates, bird, butterflies and plant species. It is also home to additional mammals such as chimpanzees, Sitatunga, mongooses, bush pigs, otters plus bush bucks.
Tourists that have visited this wetland have appreciated its rich biodiversity and scenic beauty that catches a good number of the tourists who safari Uganda or undertake Uganda safaris to Kibale National Park Uganda for chimpanzee trekking safaris Uganda. As part your adventure, you will undertake a nature walk into the Bigodi wetland swamp; a haven for other mammals such as sitatungas, bushbucks and otters. Our Uganda safari guide will take you on an interpretive tour as they escort you through the lush vegetation. This is the perfect opportunity to view the wildlife from the forest pathways, and over a tree house tucked high in the canopy.
This wetland is a very rich birders’ haven including “the Great Blue Turaco”, one of the most sought-after birds by tourists on Uganda birding safaris. This wonderful wetland shelters over 200 species of birds including Hornbills, Turacos, Parrots, Cranes, Kingfishers and many more swamp endemics. For primate lovers, the Bigodi wetland sanctuary is the home of 8 species of primates, including the Black and White Colobus, Red Colobus, Red Tailed Monkey, Grey Cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon, L’hoest Monkey, Vervet Monkey and the Blue Monkey.
The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a great example of a community-based approach to the natural resources management which can be of good economic benefit to the different local residents living within this area plus the Uganda safaris industry as well.
Other Uganda safari activities in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda‘s Kibale National Park are very pleasing in the dry season and this runs from mid-November to late February making it the busiest time for Chimpanzee tracking at the park. Uganda Chimpanzee trekking safaris start at 8am in the morning with a briefing at Kanyachu by the park rangers about the conduct of chimp trekking. After the briefing, you will be led by the park rangers into the forest, through beaten paths and muddy trails in the thick woods in search for loitering Chimp families which usually consist of an average of 18 members. The longest hike is about ten Kilometers, but lucky visitors can go half way, or a quarter way, or just a few meters of the distance if the Chimp families are feeding or resting close by.
The best time for Chimp tracking is in the morning as the primates set out to look for their first meal, or in the evening as they catch their last meal and build nests to sleep in.
The number of Chimpanzees that can be seen in a single visit varies greatly depending on the season, weather, time of the day, and the discipline of the trackers. (The Chance of seeing the Chimps is more if the noise is kept low).
Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale National Park
Chimpanzee habituation is a simple activity that does not require hiking, or trekking. It is only a deep attention to animals in animal psychology. Tourists are always amazed to learn how similar the Chimps are to humans in their feeding routines, patterns, the way they take care of their young and elderly, and in the way, they create order through clear family hierarchy. Chimpanzees are natural entertainers and very dramatic creatures you should miss on your safari in Uganda.
Chimpanzees may actually be the funniest creatures in Uganda’s wild parks. For visitors that would love a fascinating safari Uganda, full of discovery and laughter, Chimp habituation should be the first item on your Uganda safari tour itinerary.
Habituation involves learning how Chimpanzees are trained and trained to interact with humans.
During the walk, Uganda chimpanzee trekkers see large families of Olive baboons, Eastern black and white colobus, blue monkeys, Potto, grey cheecked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, bush baby, coppery tailed white nosed monkeys, Vervet monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Being the thickest area in the park, Kanyanchu also has large populations butterflies, amphibians as well reptiles.
Kibale National Park is a rewarding primate viewing spot, hence it makes all the thirteen-primate species be seen with little effort. The nature walks start early in the morning through the park’s trails to Bigodi wetland Sanctuary giving you opportunity to see several bird species.