KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Some 35km south of Fort Portal lies a vast piece of equatorial rainforest, the Kibale Forest National Park. This recently established reserve is home to the highest concentration of primates in the world. Eleven different species have been counted there, including Black-and-White and Red Colobus, L’Hoest’s Monkeys and Galagos. The main attraction, however, are the 500 Chimpanzees, which have been habituated to human visitors since 1992. You can search for some of our closest relatives on a guided 4-hour forest walk.
More than likely, the Chimps will be found on one of the huge figtrees where they spend the day, feeding on the sweet ripe fruits. Every once in a while, a young male tries to threaten the visitors, but those mock-attacks are more funny than scary.
Compared to montane forests, the trees here grow much higher and reach incredible circumpherences. Broad roots support the giants, small streams find their way through the dense undergrowth, and once in a while, the forest opens into swampy clearings, where buffalos and antelopes graze. The forest is also home to Uganda’s third largest population of Elephants. With its varied flora providing a plentiful habitat to many species of butterflies and birds, including Hornbills and Turacos, it is a paradise for botanists and ornithologists alike.
There are a number of hotels in Fort Portal.
The Ruwenzori View Guesthouse is situated in beautiful and quiet Surroundings. All rooms have hot and cold running water, shower and toilet. In this family-run establishment the ambience is friendly and the food is extraordinarily good.
At Ndali Lodge, each of the four cottages face the Mountains of the Moon. On a clear morning, the snow on the peaks is clearly visible. All cottages have private facilities. The lodge sits near a delightful crater lake. Mark Price provides a friendly welcome and an interesting stay.
CVK (Crater Valley Kibale) Resort Beach Lodge, 21 km from Fort Portal town and just on the border of the Park, 10 km from Kanyanchu, is another alternative to the above. It is elevated to provide beautiful views of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and has a myriad of crater lakes to which tourists can walk. CVK is a beautiful example of ECO-TOURISM being practised.
Kanyanchu Tourist Camp just 35 km from Fort Portal town.
With an open forest and large community of chimpanzee, Kanyanchu offers an enjoyable chimpanzee tracking experience. There is an on-going habituation project of chimpanzees and monkeys run by The Jane Goodall Institute & Uganda Wildlife Authority. All of the guides are actively involved with the Kibale Habituation Project. Visitors are assured that they are supporting a sustainable eco-tourism initiative for effective conservation of the Park.
At the nearby villages of Bigodi and Nkingo, there are simple Lodges and Camps, and meals are available.
A good spot for campers and backpackers is Rwengo Lakeside Tourism Camp.
Inside the park, camping facilities are available. There are two, private campsites, each with a tent which sleeps two. Bedding is provided. There are four additional campsites, where you must bring your own tent and bedding. At all sites, you must bring your own food and utensils. Fuel can be provided for cooking.
This is the richest forest in Uganda, in terms of the number of plant species, as the area is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane communities merge. The valley bottoms contain a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs with only a few trees hence its name, the ‘impenetrable forest."