Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor. Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.
Kibale National park is home to the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. There are 13 primate species found within the forest including chimpanzees, red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, blue monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, red colobus and black-and-white colobus. There is also a healthy population of larger mammals including lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo, although the dense vegetation means that these are not commonly sighted.
Within the forest little light filters down to the foot of the massive trunks smothered in lichen, whilst above epiphytes sprout off tree branches and lianas hang from the canopy down to leaf litter. Due to its location at the meeting point of the wet rainforests of West Africa and the drier East African forest, Kibale supports an unusually rich array of tropical plants and animals.
Kibale Forest National Park: The Experience
With 13 different species, the number and diversity of primates in Kibale National Park is the highest in the whole of Africa. The most popular of these are the chimpanzees with over 1450 individuals living here making it the best destination to enjoy a Chimpanzee Tracking Tour. A Uganda safari will enable you to see all these primates. In addition Kibale is home to the uncommon L’Hoest’s monkeys, East Africa’s biggest population of the endangered red colobus monkeys, the black & white colobus, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, bush babies as well as potto among many others. There is a number of other wildlife in Kibale National Park however they are hardly seen. These consist of buffaloes, leopards, bush pigs, elephants, and duikers. A keen viewer may also be able to spot some amphibians, reptiles and a variety of colorful butterflies.
Kibale Forest National Park: Birdlife
The park is a home to 325 different bird species, including 6 that are native to the Albertine Rift area like the dusky crimsonwing, black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, red-faced woodland warbler and purple-breasted sunbird. Other Kibale specials are the green breasted pitta, African pitta, black bee-eater, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spotted nicator, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown chested alethe, yellow rumped tinker bird, blue-breasted kingfisher, along with the crowned eagle.
The Bigodi nature walk offers the best bird watching opportunities in the park as the swamp alone has approximately 138 bird species. It’s also famous for wildlife such as chimpanzees, red colobus, black and white colobus, red tailed monkey, bushbuck as well as mongoose.