​Expert Reviews – Kibale NP

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Expert
Tim Bewer   –  
United States US
Visited: August

Tim is a travel writer who has covered 10 African countries for Lonely Planet's Africa, East Africa and West Africa guidebooks.

2 people found this review helpful.

The Highest Density of Primates in Africa
Overall rating
3/5

It’s not a typical safari stop, but if you love primates you’re going to love Kibale. This lush jungle near several gorgeous crater lakes has 13 primate species including black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkey, l’Hoest’s monkey and chimpanzee. The latter is what brings most people here because some have been habituated to humans and the chances of finding them are very good, plus the tracking is not very difficult. There’s the usual option to spend an hour with the chimps, but Kibale offers a day-long habituation experience too. You might also see elephants, buffaloes, or leopards, but don’t count on it – the dense forest makes finding them very difficult. On the other hand, night walks are excellent here with bush baby and civet sightings fairly common. Bird-watching is also very good, though most birders focus their efforts outside the park in small preserves like Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which harbors grassland and wetland birds alongside Kibale’s forest species.

Expert
Lizzie Williams   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Wet season

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

2 people found this review helpful.

Observing the Busy Lifestyle of Chimpanzees in Kibale
Overall rating
3/5

Kibale is an enchanting equatorial rainforest of very tall trees (some over 50 metres high), broad buttress roots and dense undergrowth. It’s best known for its large population of chimpanzees, though other primates can be spotted including red-tailed and black-and-white-colobus monkeys. The highlight is to go chimpanzee tracking, and surprisingly I found it quite different to gorilla tracking, simply because chimps are far more agile animals and the pace is much faster. While the guides located them quickly (you can hear their distinctive screeching long before you see them), once they decided to move at high speed through the canopy of branches, keeping up with them was quite a challenge. But it was fascinating to see how clever they are – scaling giant trees, feeding, communicating and caring for their young – and they seemed to have no fear of their curious human audience.

Expert
Stephen Cunliffe   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: September

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

1 person found this review helpful.

The Place To Go for Habituated Chimps in Uganda
Overall rating
3/5

Gorillas aside, Kibale is the epicentre of primate trekking in Uganda. The park is home to 13 different primate species with habituated chimpanzees, l’Hoest’s monkey and the threatened Uganda mangabey and Ugandan red colobus being the big four. However, most tourists come here because a visit to Kibale almost guarantees them a chance to see very relaxed chimps going about their daily business. Because this is one of the most popular spots for chimp treks in East Africa, the chimps have become extremely habituated over time and I like this from a quality of sightings and purely photographic point of view. Primate densities are high and chimps are abundant, so few leave this park without having enjoyed a good sighting of these often-elusive primates that are, in fact, our closest relatives. Birders will also enjoy spending some time here and the variety of forest types will ensure they probably add a few lifers to their bird lists.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.8/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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