Kibale National Park
With lush tropical rainforest and a fascinating diversity of animals, Kibale National park is one of the most and stunning forests in Uganda. Kibale forest is certainly worth protecting as it is home to the largest number (in Uganda) of our closest living relative, the endangered chimpanzee, as well as the threatened red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoesti monkey.
The forest has one of the highest diversity and destiny of primates in Africa totaling 13 species including the black and white Colobus, blue monkey and grey-cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, bush babies and pottos. The park also hosts over 325 species of birds including the yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinkerbird, little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the African pitta, the crowned eagle and the black bee-eater. There are a number of impressive mammal including forest elephants, buffaloes, bush pigs duikers and bats. A keen observer may see some of the reptiles and amphibians as well as colourful variety of butterflies. Furthermore, over 250 tree species have been recorded. The most famous inhabitants of Kibale National Park are the Chimpanzees with over 1,450 individuals protected with in the park.
At the Kenyanchu, a community of chimpanzees has been habituated since 1991, allowing visitors the unique opportunity to view these great apes in their natural environment (with more than a 90% chance of viewing). The chimpanzee habituation experience is an on-going activity that entails following up the chimpanzees to get them used to human presence without necessarily altering their natural behaviour. While on habituation, you expect to experience the chimps de-nesting (coming out of nest) between 5:30am and 6:30am and you can then follow them in their daily activities up to resting (Making nests and going to sleep) time between 6:30Pm and 7:30Pm.
Therefore, a visitor has to be ready to start on this activity by 5:30am. At the eastern edge of Kibale National Park, there is Bigodi wetland sanctuary, which is managed by the local community. The sanctuary is situated in Magombe swamp and it is known for a wide range of biodiversity including many species of primates such as red colobus monkey, black and white colobus monkey, grey checked mangabey, red tailed monkey, L’Hoest monkey, vervet monkey blue monkey and baboon. Mammals like sitatunga, bush pigs bush bucks, otters, mangoose and chimpazees, also visit the swamp from Kibale National park. 138 bird species have so far been identified. One of the main bird species found in the wetland is the great blue turaco. What is happening at Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a good example of a community based approach to natural resource management that can be of economic benefit to the local residents of the area as well as the tourism industry.