Kibale National Park | Forest | Chimpanzee Tracking | Uganda | Fees | Lodges

Kibale forest National park is known for its captivating primate adventures -chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation experience, Kibale National Park is amazingly a biodiverse primate safari destination in Uganda & Africa. Kibale National Park boasts of its distinct landscape characterized by rainforest where most of its alluring attractions reside.


Kibale National Park is found in Kabarole district, Western Uganda, and in the surrounding, there are also Kamwenge, Kasese, and Kibaale districts. Fort Portal city/town is the nearest city/town to Kibale National Park and from Kampala, it is about 6 hour's drive.

Kibale National Park lies near the scenic Ndali-Kasenda Crater Area. Other surrounding National Parks lying near Kibale include the Semuliki National Park, Rwenzori Mountains National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.


Kibale National Park’s vegetation is mixed and each shelters distinct wildlife. The vegetation variation at the park ranges from the moist evergreen forest/wet tropical forest, dry tropical/moist semi-deciduous, and woodland plus savanna found especially on the rift valley floor.

In the heart of Kibale (Kanyanchu, there are mainly evergreen trees plus deciduous with evergreen species dominating. The park’s vegetation grows tall about 55m and creates a semi-canopy. Beneath, there are several shrubs, herbs, and broad-leaved forest grasses. In total, over 351 species of trees range in the Kibale National Park.


More than 13 primate species live in Kibale National Park, Uganda. This is the highest primate population in Africa and they include 1500 chimpanzees, blue monkeys, olive baboons, l’hoest monkeys, Uganda red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, Uganda mangabeys, pottos, bush babies, black and white colobus monkeys, etc. many other mammal species also reside in the park and these include buffaloes, bush pigs, duikers, forest elephants.


Kibale National Park (KNP) is one of the leading birding spots in Uganda, with bird species of about 375. They include black-crowned chakra, yellow spotted nicators, African green-breasted pitta, African pied wagtail, yellow-rumped tinker bird, collared Apalis, Abyssinian ground thrush, Blue-breasted kingfishers, black-billed weavers, Cameroon somber greenbul, African shrike flycatcher, Chubb’s cisticola, white collared olive.

Other bird species include 4 species not existing anywhere else in other Uganda safari parks- the Nahan’s francolins, Cassin’s spine tail, masked Apalis, blue-headed bee-eater; ash flycatchers, black-billed turacos, etc.

Activities in Kibale National Park (KNP), Uganda

Chimpanzee tracking

The largest chimpanzee population lives in Kibale National Park with about 4 habituated communities, making it a preferred chimpanzee trekking spot in Uganda and entire East Africa. Chimpanzee trek offers a close encounter with habituated chimpanzees in the wild whose DNA is believed to be 98.7% similar to that of human beings.

Tourists on Uganda safari to Kibale can only be allowed to visit chimpanzees if they have valid chimpanzee permits. Each of the Kibale Chimpanzee tracking permits costs USD200 per person and you can book one via your reliable local tour operator- All in Africa Safaris -email us via or call directly at +256 (0)751725672/+256 (0) 393208065.

The whole trekking exercises to see chimpanzees takes 2-4 hours whether you embark on the morning or afternoon session. In the morning, tracking chimpanzees begins at 8:00 am after briefing and at 2:00 pm- all beginning at Kanyanchu Tourist Centre.

Chimpanzee habituation

Also, most popular as CHEX, the habituation experience is slightly distinct from the usual trek to see chimpanzees. With chimpanzee habituation, you have a full day/half day to follow semi-habituated chimpanzee communities with researchers/park trackers. The idea is to make these apes familiar with human presence before they are opened for actual tracking by Uganda safari holidaymakers. During chimpanzee habituation, permits are issued at USD220 per person.


A birding expedition in Kibale National Park is a great chance to identify/observe the variety of bird species in this pristine forest. They include the green-breasted pitta, papyrus gonoleks, blue-headed sun-eaters, pin-tailed whydahs, yellow-rumped tinker bird, browned crowned chakra, yellow spotted nicator, brown-backed scrub-robin, black bee-eaters, black-capped Apalis, grey winged robin chat, red-faced woodland warblers, African grey parrot, masked Apalis, Rwenzori Apalis, white-spotted fluff tail, dusky crimson wing, red chested owlet, superb sunbird, among others.

Forest walk

Kibale National Park offers amazing forest walk/hiking experiences. Tourists can enjoy a 12kms long hike through Kibale Forest perfectly explored during the dry season -June, July, August to September, or November, January to February. A forest hike takes about 2-4 hours and you immerse yourself into the Kibale National Park habitats rich in distinct wildlife, butterfly species, birds, etc.

Cultural safaris

Go cultural tour with an experienced guide in the adjacent communities to Kibale National Park. The local communities to interact with on cultural safari in Kibale include the Bakiga immigrants from Southwestern Uganda and Batooro. In these communities, you will explore more about the unique traditions, cultures, dances, and norms, among others. The key area of interest for cultural encounters on Uganda safaris in Kibale is KAFRED- Kibale Association For Rural Environment Development.  

The Crater Lakes safari

Plenty of magnificent Crater Lakes is spread in the area where Kibale National Park is located. Over 50 scenic Crater Lakes exist in this area or go bushcraft making, perfect for children as their parents go for chimpanzee tracking.

Best time of the year to travel to Kibale

Kibale National Park is open for visitor exploration all year round, but regardless of this fact, the dry season is the best to hit the trails for hiking or chimpanzee tracking. This is during any of the two phases- from June to September/December to February.

Where to stay

A range of accommodations makes Kibale National Park safaris complete- budget, midrange, and luxury. They include Chimps Nest, Primate Lodge, Kibale Forest Camp, Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse, Papaya Lake Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Kanyanchu River Camp, Kyaninga Lodge, and others.

Getting to Kibale National Park-KNP

By road: Use a rental car in Uganda and your journey can start from Entebbe/Kampala via Mityana-Mubende to Fort Portal (6 hours’ drive) or Entebbe/Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese/Kamwenge (the longest route).

By air: There are 2 access airstrips to fly to from Entebbe Airport/Kajjansi airfield which is Kasese airstrip/Nyakisharara airstrip. From any of these airstrips, drive to Fort Portal or connect via the Ndali route to Kibale National Park, a 1-2 hours drive.

Wildlife Kibale Forest National Park

Kibale Forest National Park: Uganda's Wildlife Paradise

Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda is a haven of amazing biodiversity, well known for its chimp population. Aside from these distinctive monkeys, the park is home to a varied range of species that flourishes in its lush woods and breathtaking scenery. Let's go on an adventure to discover the fascinating fauna that lives in Kibale Forest National Park.


Kibale Forest is renowned as one of the best places in Africa to observe wild chimpanzees. Embark on a chimpanzee tracking adventure to witness these intelligent creatures up close, swinging through trees and interacting in their natural habitat.

Other Primates

Beyond chimpanzees, Kibale is home to a remarkable variety of primate species, including red colobus monkeys, L'Hoest's monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and more. These primates add a sense of enchantment to the forest's canopy.

Birds Galore

Kibale's avian diversity is impressive, with over 375 bird species recorded within the park. From colorful turacos and sunbirds to the elusive African pitta, birdwatchers are in for a treat.

Forest Elephants

Kibale is home to a population of forest elephants, known for their smaller size and unique adaptations to forest life.

Small Mammals

The park's undergrowth is home to various small mammals, including duikers, bush pigs, and African civets.

Reptiles and Amphibians

The forests and swamps of Kibale are also home to a variety of reptiles and amphibians, adding to the park's biodiversity.

Butterflies and Insects

Kibale's diverse ecosystems support a myriad of butterfly and insect species, offering a fascinating world of tiny wonders.

Unique Flora

While not wildlife in the traditional sense, the park's diverse plant life adds to its allure. The dense forests are rich with a variety of trees, plants, and fungi.

Nocturnal Creatures

Kibale's night walks provide opportunities to spot nocturnal creatures such as bushbabies, potto, and various owl species.

Kibale Forest National Park Chimpanzee Tracking: An Enchanting Adventure

Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park is an enthralling activity that provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch these sophisticated monkeys in their natural habitat. Kibale is considered as one of the greatest areas in Africa for chimp tracking due to its vast woods, diversified habitats, and plentiful animals. Let's go over everything you need to know before embarking on this enthralling voyage.

Getting Started

Chimpanzee tracking requires obtaining a permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It's advisable to book your permit in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, as the number of permits available per day is limited to ensure the well-being of the chimps.

The Adventure Begins

The tracking adventure typically starts early in the morning. After a briefing by experienced guides, you'll set off on a guided trek through the forest in search of the chimpanzees. The trek can take a few hours, and the pace can vary depending on the location of the chimps on that day.

The Encounter

When the chimps are located, you'll have the incredible opportunity to observe them in their natural environment. You might witness their playful antics, social interactions, grooming sessions, and even see young chimps swinging through the trees.

Guided by Experts

Experienced guides accompany you on the tracking expedition. These guides are well-versed in the behavior and habits of chimpanzees, ensuring both your safety and a respectful wildlife encounter.

Respectful Observing

It's important to remember that chimpanzees are wild animals. While observing them, it's crucial to maintain a safe distance, follow your guide's instructions, and refrain from making sudden movements or loud noises.

What to Bring

Pack essentials such as comfortable hiking shoes, long trousers, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and sufficient water. A camera is a must to capture the magical moments you'll encounter.

The Duration

The duration of the tracking experience can vary based on the location of the chimpanzee group. It can range from a few hours to a half-day adventure, making it important to be prepared for an immersive experience.

Health and Etiquette

To protect the chimps and yourself, ensure you're in good health before embarking on the tracking. If you're feeling unwell, it's best to delay your visit. Additionally, it's crucial to follow park etiquette, such as refraining from touching the chimps and minimizing your impact on the environment.

Unique Insights

Chimpanzee tracking not only provides a chance to witness these primates up close but also offers insights into their social structures, behaviors, and the vital conservation efforts that safeguard their habitat.

Choosing the Best Time to Visit Kibale Forest National Park

When visiting Kibale Forest National Park in Uganda, the date of your visit might have a significant impact on your safari experience. Seasonal changes have an impact on the park's distinct ecosystems and diversified animals. To make the most of your journey, let's look at the ideal periods to visit Kibale Forest National Park, each with its own set of benefits.

Dry Season

(June to August and December to February): The dry seasons are widely regarded as the best times to visit Kibale Forest National Park. These months bring relatively dry and stable weather, creating ideal conditions for various activities.

Optimal Chimpanzee Tracking

The dry seasons offer the best conditions for chimpanzee tracking. Clear weather makes it easier to spot these intelligent primates swinging through the trees and interacting with one another.

Birdwatching Extravaganza

Kibale is a haven for bird enthusiasts, and the dry seasons coincide with the arrival of migratory bird species. This makes it a prime time for birdwatching, with a variety of species on display.

Comfortable Weather

The dry seasons offer pleasant temperatures, making hikes, nature walks, and other activities enjoyable without the challenges of heavy rainfall.

Shoulder Seasons

(March to May and September to November): While the shoulder seasons bring occasional rain showers, they offer their own unique advantages.

Fewer Crowds

Visiting during the shoulder seasons means encountering fewer tourists, allowing for a more intimate and peaceful safari experience.

Lush Landscapes

The wetter months transform Kibale's landscapes into vibrant greenery. This creates picturesque backdrops for photography and adds a layer of enchantment to your experience.

Wildlife Births

The shoulder seasons often coincide with wildlife births, providing a chance to witness young animals taking their first steps in the wild.

Kyaninga Lodge

Papaya Lake Lodge

Ndali Lodge

Primate Lodge

Turaco Treetops

Kibale Forest Camp

Isunga Lodge

Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse

Kibale Guest Cottages