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The top primate attraction in Uganda and a prime location for chimpanzee monitoring is Kibale Forest National Park. The protected 766 square km woodland region, which extends 50 kilometres south of Fort Portal town, is home to 13 species of monkeys. Kibale Forest National Park’s main attraction and activity is chimpanzee tracking, which begins at the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre. It is one of Africa’s best research points on chimpanzees and tree species.

Kibale Forest National Park

It was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 and later upgraded to a national park in 1993. It covers the largest forest cover in the Kabarole district, which presents a closed forest upper. On a visit of Uganda, the park is rewarding to explore. Its highest point is located at a height of 1100–1590 metres above sea level, and it borders Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south, forming the renowned Ishasha wildlife corridor, which is noted for its tree-climbing lions.

The national park has a mix of grasslands, swamps, and rainforest that dominates the landscape. It also has a typical east African montane and lowland forest with over 200 tree species that have been identified thus far, a canopy that rises to 60 metres above the ground and supports a dense undergrowth of wild robusta coffee, 60 mammal species, 13 primate species, including chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkey, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkey, red colobus and four species of nocturnal kinds.

A considerable number of chimpanzees lives in several societies, four of which have formed human-hybrid relationships. The largest chimpanzee colony in the world is the Ngogoset aside for research; the Kanyantale group in Kanyanchu has been open for exploration since 1993. Elephants, buffalo, big forest hogs, bush pigs, bushbuck, red and blue duikers, and over 300 species of birds have been documented, four of which aren’t found anyplace in Ugandan parks, including the Nahan’s francolin. Large animals are also unusual on the list, including elephants, buffalo, and red and blue duikers.

The most popular activity in Kibale Forest National Park is chimpanzee tracking, which starts at the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre and is offered twice daily at 8:00am and 2:00pm. The excursion lasts 2-3 hours per day and there are 36 permits available for each group. Permits must be purchased in advance from the Uganda Wildlife authority and cost $200 USD for foreign non-residents. Chimpanzee habituation takes a full day experience and allows visitors to accompany researchers and trackers into the forest. Early travellers can have the chance to see chimpanzees. Chimpanzees don’t create troops as other primates do; instead, they establish communities of up to 100 people, each of which is led by a single male alpha.

Bigodi wetland sanctuary is the best place in the national park to see birds and monkeys. There, you may see well-known bird species as papyrus gonolex, yellow spotted barbets, and yellow-throated tinker birds. In addition to chimpanzee tracking, crater lakes in Kibale National Park are an unexpected highlight of the journey. These lakes are concentrated in the NdaliKasenda crater area, which is dominated by numerous volcanic depressions.

The lakes are thought to have formed many thousands of years ago as a result of volcanic activity, and the area is elevated to a higher level above sea level than other areas of the park, extending to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Fort Portal Town is 40 km away from the Kanyanchu visitor centre, which is around a 5-hour trip from Entebbe via lovely rolling hills, banana and tea plantations.

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