Activities in Kibale National Park are the things that the visitors engage in while on the safari in Kibale national park to make the safari memorable, exciting and interesting. Kibale national park is a park located near Fort Portal and Kasese in western Uganda protecting the most evergreen rain forest. It is 766 square kilometers and is located between 1100 meters to 1600 meters. It takes 2hours from Kasese to Kibale national park and 6 hours from Kampala city. Kibale national park has the highest diversity of wildlife species which comprises of 13 primate species which include the endangered chimpanzees as well as monkeys like the L-hoest monkeys, red colobus monkeys, black and white monkeys red-tailed monkeys and many more.
Activities are the things that the visitors engage in while on the safari in Kibale national park to make the safari memorable, exciting and interesting.
Kibale national park is a park with a number of activities that the tourists can engage in while on a safari and they include chimpanzee tracking, chimpanzee habituation, nocturnal forest walk, Bigodi wetland sanctuary, Bushcraft children activities, bird watching, cultural encounters, nature walks and hikes, Amabere Ga Nyina Mwiru, Crater lakes among others which gives the visitor an opportunity to choose any activity to engage in for a great experience in Kibale.
Activities in Kibale national park :
Chimpanzee trekking is the main activity that involves walking through the forest in search of the chimpanzees. When they are found, the visitors are limited or given 1 hour to be in their presence taking pictures and observing the behaviors of the chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most popular and common activities done in Kibale national park and during this activity, the visitors have 99% of seeing the chimpanzees on any day.
Kibale national park is the best known national park for chimpanzee tracking in east Africa because is a home of over 1500 chimpanzees and the chimpanzee tracking starts at Kanyachu information center found in the center of the park very early in the morning at 8:00 am and in the afternoon at 2:00 pm and it takes 2-3 hours and an hour with the chimpanzees while observing. Visitors who wake up very early like at 6:00 am will be able to see the chimpanzees breastfeeding their young ones, feeding, patrolling hunting, resting, making their beds and many other activities.
Chimpanzees live for 40 years in the wild and 60 years in captivity. They weigh about 150 lbs and the males are bigger than the female chimpanzees. Chimpanzee arms are longer than the legs and they use both the arms and legs while moving but can also stand on the two legs and hold things with their hands. During chimpanzee trekking, there are other primates that can be spotted and they include the blue monkeys, red colobus monkeys, L-hoest monkeys among others and some baboons, bush babies among others.k
Chimpanzee habituation is the process undertaken to get the chimpanzees used to the human presence before visiting them in the wild. Chimpanzee habituation is always best carried out in the months of March, April, May, and November and is done or carried out at Kanyachu information center which is also famous for the chimpanzee trekking and nature walks.
Chimpanzee habituation is a great activity carried out by the visitors who visit Kibale national park in that it gives them an opportunity to learn more about the chimpanzees in terms of their habits, way of feeding, mating and many more because they have a whole day with the chimpanzees. Chimpanzee habituation starts very early at Kanyachu at 6:00 am and therefore the visitors should have taken their early breakfast and also carry lunch since it’s an all-day activity.
The chimpanzee habituation requires a researcher, trackers, and a guide, during the process the visitors will be able to see the chimpanzees breastfeeding their young ones, feeding, patrolling, hunting, making their beds for the day and many more hence gives the visitors a memorable moment because they will spend a whole day with the chimpanzees rather than the 1 hours given during the chimpanzee tracking.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary: The wetland is located in the magombe swamp and is situated outside the park about 6km from Kanyachu information center southern part of Kibale national park. Bigodi wetland is run by the community surrounding the park whereby people in the community are trained as guides for the wetland, therefore, the wetland is responsible for supporting eco-tourism enterprises to ensure that the local community surrounding the park benefits from tourism.
The wetland is a home butterflies for visitors who like butterflies, bird species and is known to have over 138 birds which include the great blue turaco, purple breasted sunbird, African pitta, black-capped apalis, weavers, cuckoos, hornbills, bee-eaters among others, 8 primate species including Vervet monkeys, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys among others and also mammals like mongoose, bushbucks, warthogs and many others. Visitors who want to visit the Bigodi wetland are given a guide from the community project and the wetland walk takes 2- 4 hours walk trail through the swamp and the visitors will be able to see the beautiful grasslands, tress, palms, plants and also spot different bird species, primates, mammals and many more, they will also be able to see the communities around the wetland their ways of living and so on.
Bird watching, this is the practice of observing different bird species in their natural environment by the visitors in Kibale national park. Kibale national park is a home of over 370 bird species including white-winged warbler, papyrus Gonolek also found in Bigodi wetland, African pitta, African pied wagtail, common fiscal, slender-billed weaver, tropical boubou, pin tailed whydah, blue breasted kingfisher, blue heads bee-eater, crowned eagle, African grey parrot, olive long-tailed cuckoo, breasted pitta among others. The bird watching activity can be done throughout the year. Bird watching starts at the Kanyachu information center and it starts very early in the morning at around 7:00 am and usually takes the whole day. The best time for bird watching in Kibale national park is from March to May and from September to November and the migratory birds are best found from November to April.
Cultural encounters, this is the process where visitors visit the local communities surrounding Kibale national park to interact with them and learn more about their lifestyle, how different communities live, and their traditional dishes among others. The people who live around the park are mostly the Bakiga and the Batooro,
The local people have grouped themselves in an association called KAFRED Kibale Association For Rural Environment Development and through this association the people have benefited both directly and indirectly through selling their traditional crafts to the visitors, entertaining them through traditional dances, serving them visitors their traditional dishes and many others. During the cultural encounter with the local people, the visitors will also be able to view different things like people’s farms the Vanilla and Tea plantations, the Rwenzori Mountains and the beautiful Crater lakes.
Bushcraft children’s activities are the activities that children can engage in or participate in while on the safari in Kibale national park for a great experience. Children under the age of 12 years are not allowed to track chimpanzees in Kibale national park, therefore, the park has organized a number of activities specifically for the children in that while the parents are tracking chimpanzees the children are also engaging themselves in different activities.
Kibale national park is among the few paces or parks where the children are given a great experience on their safari and this is done through the bushcraft activities and classes that are led by a qualified kid-friendly driver who makes the children comfortable. Children participate in different activities like viewing wildlife, birds, monkeys, trees, plants, baboons and many others hence giving them a great experience.
Nocturnal forest walk, this is an activity that is carried out at night by the visitors so as to be able to spot the nocturnal animal and also see the chimpanzees and other animals in the forest sleeping. Visitors who go for the nocturnal forest walks first have their dinner and then required to carry equipment like boots, long trousers tucked in the socks to prevent the insects from entering their trouser, long-sleeved shirt, a hat, a rain jacket, and some water and they are guided by the park rangers for the night walk which starts at 7:30 pm from the park headquarters and takes 1-2 hours as the visitors follow the trails. The rangers are always equipped with the battery spotlights for better viewing at night. Various animals are spotted during the nocturnal forest walk which includes the bush babies, pottos, night birds, tree hyrax, nightjar, forest cats and other nocturnal animals.
Kibale national park has a number of various lodges that the visitors can go for while on the safari, for example, Kibale safari lodge, chimps nest, Kibale Forest Camp, Mantana Tented Camp, Kyaninga lodgeamong others. The lodge cottages are mostly designed using African or traditional crafts and Bandas thatched with grass, the lodges have self contained rooms with bathrooms and flushing toilets. They also offer different types of dishes and drinks to the visitors have sauna, massage and swimming pool services plus free WI-FI services accessible from the main lodge. Visitors are able to choose any lodge of their choice that will give them a comfortable stay while on the safari in Kibale national park.