Monday, October 15, 2012

What to expect from a safari to Kibale National Park for birding and Primates

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Kibale is an extensive National Park protecting a large block of rainforest that offers some excellent forest birding. It harbors the greatest variety and concentration of primates found anywhere in East Africa. superb birds and primates combined  with easy access, a good infrastructure and a variety of interesting activities make this forest a worthwhile destination. Many of the facilities are community based, thus providing the local community with the necessary revenue to keep their interest focused on the long-term promotion of the area.

The park is located about 322 kms (199.6 miles) from Kampala. 
Kibale is well known for its various and large population of Primates in Africa. The most popular include the great chimpanzees and its acknowledged that Kibale is about 1450 chimpanzees. It also habours a rare species called L’Hoest’s monkey along with the colobus monkeys. Among others include blue monkeys, black and white colobus,red tailed monkey, bush baby and cheeked mangabey.The rare seen wild animals include leopard, bush pig,duiker,buffalo,elephant,bufferflies,reptiles along with amphibians. You can take a bus to Fort Portal and then get a taxi from there to the park. Alternatively, you can hire a private vehicle at $95 per day (includes drive but excludes fuel of about $150).  
Public transport from Fort Portal to Kamwenge via Kanyanchu, Nkingo and Bigodi is available from the Kamwenge stage (next to the Fort Portal market) between 8am and 5pm. Private hire vehicles (roughly Ushs60,000-) can be arranged at the Taxi Park in Fort Portal.
The best forest birding is along the main road from the main visitors' center (Kanyanchu) to the bridge and a few meters beyond that. This quite road runs through the beautifull rainforest allowing good views into the canopy and understorey. Before you enter the forest, check the scrubby fringes of the overgrown culivation for the Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra,  the scarce Grey-headed Olive black and a host of seedeaters such as Black-bellied Seedcracker, Fawn-breasted and Brown-crowned Waxbills, Green backed Twinspot and Black-and-white Mannkin.

The Forest is superficially similar to that at Budongo although a number of species are more easily found here. Watch the flocks of the rare and localised White-maped Pigeon in flight overhead or sunning themselves in the treetops in the early morning. Fruiting trees attract a plethora of frugivores including Afep Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Pied Hornbill, Yellow Spoted, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbets, and Purple-headed and Chestnut-winged Starlings.  Kibale is also a good site for Joyful Greenbul, reasonably common and conspicious here but inexplicably scarce elsewhere in Uganda. Search the well-developed canopy and mid-storey flocks of White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Black-capped Apalis, Petit's Cuckoo-shrike, Superb, Green-throated and Green-headed Sunbirds, and Dark-backed and Yellow-mantled Weavers. Furthermore, you have a good chance of seeing Dusky and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoos, Scarce Swift, the superb Black Bee-eater, Grey-throated Flycatcher and White-bellied Crested Flycatcher. Thick-billed and Willcock's Honeyguides and Cassin's Honeybird may be seen  at the nest holes of their brood hosts, barbets and tinkerbirds, but are incosipicious during the non-breeding season. The scarce Orange-tufted and Tiny Sunbirds have been observed around forest edges.
The secondary forest and thicket around the clearing of Kanyanchu is also a productive birding area, African Goshawk and the majestic Crowned Eagle may be seen soaring overhead in the morning and Yellowbill, Uganda Woodland Warbler and Black-necked Weaver are reasonably common near the visitor center. This is also a good place to seacrh the Masked Apalis, recently split from the highland Montane Masked Apalis. Large noisy flocks of Grey Parrots fly over the campsite to their roost in the evenning.
The park is also very famous for other wildlife. Kibale is a well-established Chimpanzee tracking site with very high success rates. Other Primates that may be found on guided forest walks include the Guereza Colobus, Olive baboon, Grey-tailed Monkeys (all common and frequently seen). Vervet monkey is more likely to be found in open areas adjacent to the forest. 
You may also find evidence of Elephant, Bush pig and Buffalo along the trails, whilst Bushbucks, Blue, Harvey's, and Peter's Duikers are other shy inhabitants of the forest interior. The guided night walks in Kibale National Park are also rewarding: Potto, Spectacled, Demidoff's and Thomas's Galagos, Lord Derby's Anomalure, African Civet and Common Genet are all possible.
Other interesting mammals from the list of over 60 species include Ichneumon, Banded and Marsh Mongooses, Alexander's Cusimanse, Swamp Otter, Ratel (Honey badger) and African Palm Civet. Although Golden Cat, Serval Lion, Leopard, Warthog, Giant Hog and Hippopotamus are recorded from the park, they are unlikely to be encountered in the Kanyanchu area. Sitatunga are well known from Bigodi Swamp but infrequently seen. The spectacular and beautiful Rhinoceros Viper is fairly common here but is, unfortunately, less often found alive than as a roadkill.

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To get lower rates than the advertised standard accommodation rates please contact or call +256 772 979425. They always give rates lower than those offered by the lodges or hotels.
The park has excellent accommodation and each of them has an attached campsite, restaurant and bar.

Ndali Lodge set stunningly amidst the Bunyaruguru crater lake region of Western Uganda, 24 kilometres south of Fort Portal
Kibale Forest Camp situated in a patch of indigenous forest, just outside Kibale Forest National Park. The camp consists of 7 African safari style tents, which are comfortably furnished with twin or double beds
Kyaninga Lodge Fort Portal Kibale - PoolKyaninga Lodge located 15 minutes outside Fort Portal town. Perched atop a hill overlooking a stunning blue crater
lake, the lodge enjoys spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscape

Primate Lodge Kibale Primate Lodge Kibale Campis located at the Kanyanchu Visitors Centre in Kibale
National Park. From Fort Portal follow the road to Kamwenge for 36 kms and branch off at the sign post directing to Primate Lodge Kibale.

Chimps Nest Kibale National Park KibaleChimps Nest Kibale near Nyabubale, a small village between Nkingo and Bigodi. It's only a 15-minute drive from Kanyanchu, the starting point of UWA chimp-tracking and other activities in Kibale Forest.
CVK Lakeside Resort.CVK Lakeside Resort Kibale - Budget Price AccommodationThis picturistic low budget priced accommodation is located near a beautiful Crater Lake Nyabikere
Mountain Of The Moon Hotel Fort PortalMountains of The Moon Hotel This is a large resort-style hotel, just outside of the center of Fort Portal. It features a large main building with a central garden and rooms surrounding an inside courtyard.
Rwenzori View Guest House  Fort PortalRwenzori View Guesthouse This is a small scale beautiful guest house in Fort Portal. The owners managed to get the perfect informal atmosphere for this place.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary:  
The Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is about 5kms from the park head quarters Kibale Forest National Park  (the visitors center at Kanyanchu). This is an eco-tourism project run by a community based environmental organisation established in 1992. The projects revolves around activities in the Magombe Swamp a 3 sqkm area fed by the Magombe River.
The swamp is home to wide range of primates which includes Red Colobus and Black and White Colobus monkeys, Grey Checked Mangabey, Red-tailed monkey, LHoest, Vervet and Blue monkeys and Baboon.

Birding is a major activity around the swamp with paths cut and areas of the swamp board walked to give access to areas of the swamp that would be otherwise inaccessible. Several tree houses have also been constructed to give vantage over the swamp. Specialities for Bigodi include Great Blue Turaco, Black Billed Turaco and White Spotted Crake.
Entrance fee Ushs40,000 per person.
The Village Walk: This activity also starts from the offices of the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and provides an interesting insight into the lives of the local community.
Foreign tourists: Ushs25,000-, Foreign residents: Ushs20,000- and Ugandan residents: Ushs10,000-.

1 comment:

  1. I like the safari very much and go over there time to time. I also like to make sure that while safari my safety measurements are complete and I have a tour guide.