Kibale Forest National Park Uganda, Chimpanzee trekking safari tours in Kibale Forest national park
Kibale Forest National Park Uganda, Chimpanzee trekking safari tours in kibale Forest national park, when to visit, where to stay, attractions & Safari activities in kibale Forest National Park Uganda, when to visit, accommodation and history / background of the park. Kibale National park dubbed the world’s primate Capital is located in the two districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge in western part of Uganda. The park covers an approximated area of about 795km and it’s acknowledged to have one of Uganda’s most gorgeous tropical forests. Spanning on 795 square kilometers of land, Kibale National Park was established in 1993 to help protect and conserve the vast area of natural forest that was earlier on managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only one in east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests.
Kibale national park was established to help protect and conserve the extensive area of natural forest that was earlier on managed and protected as a logged Forest Reserve. The park is the only one Left Park in the whole of east Africa that has both montane and lowland forests. It’s also considered to the only park in Uganda the pearl of Africa that has the loveliest as well most varied tracts of tropical forest in the whole country. Kibale Forest is covered with vast interspersed of the patches of grassland and the swamps which mainly cover the largest parts of the northern and central parts of the Kibale national park on a raised plateau.
The alluring and exotic natural environment of Kibale forest national park houses about 375 birds species, 4 wild felids as well as 13 famous species of primates, a total of at least 70 individual species of mammals and a total of 351 tree species. The most common species of the 13 primates include the charming endangered Chimpanzees and the most common but precious ecosystem in the park is moist evergreen as well as the semi-deciduous forest which characterize Kibale forests. The new exotic tree species that were reintroduced to the forest include the eucalyptus and pines species. Due to the park’s being eco-diversified and location of Makerere University Biological Field Station, its research site for all the researchers in the African continent
Kibale forest national park is located in an area inhabited by mainly two tribes identified as the Batooro who occupy the largest area and Bakiga who are the minority. The two tribes mainly depend on the park to extract some useful resources and among these include timber for construction purposes, some plant life as source of food, local herbs for curing diseases, among other resources and this done with permission from Uganda Wildlife authority the bode responsible for protecting and managing national parks in the country Uganda.
Tourist Attractions in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale national park plays has a wide range of attractions and these include; over 5000 common chimpanzee species with over 80 habituated chimpanzee communities consisting of about 1000 individuals, 70 mammal species that are found here such as Bush elephants, Bush buffaloes, African golden cats, civets and mongoose. Kibaale national park plays host to 13 primate species such as the common chimpanzees red colobus monkeys red tailed monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys. Kibaale is also home to over 350 tree species, over 350 bird species, 200 butterflies species
Chimpanzees in Kibale Forest National Park
These are close relatives of humans with a 99% matching DNA to that of humans, there are two species of chimpanzees, Common chimpanzee species and the Bonobo species, Kibale national park has the common chimpanzee species with an estimated population of about 5000 chimpanzees of which 80 communities of chimpanzees have been habituated for tourism purposes and this makes Kibaale national forest a sanctuary with the highest number of chimpanzees in the world. An adult Common chimpanzee can weigh between 40-60 kg with a height of 1.6 meters or 5ft3inches while an adult female can weigh between 32-47kg with a height of 1.3 meters or 4feet3inches. Common chimpanzees have coarse black hair except on their toes, face, fingers, palms of the hands and the soles of their feet.
The chimpanzees have a firm grip because their thumbs and big toes are opposite to each other. These chimpanzees live in communities usually between 10-100 individuals, chimpanzee communities are led by a dominant male called the alpha male. The alpha male might not be the strongest male chimp in the community but rather the most canning and political. Besides protecting the community from external invasion and internal bickering among the individuals, the alpha male also spends its time grooming the other young males in the community.
The females on the other hand spend time taking care of the young ones. Chimpanzees reach puberty stage between 10-12 years and an adult female can produce between 4-6 babies throughout their lifetime. The chimps sleep in a different nest everyday which they build using a tree branches, twigs and leaves. Chimpanzees have a life span of up to 40 years in their natural habitat, this can increase to up to 50 years of age in captivity. The chimps have a gestation period of 8 months.
Black and white colobus monkeys
These monkeys have a black color with a strip of white color on the side of their body, limbs and around their face and also at their tail ending and these strips are called the mantle, these monkeys live in groups of 5-15 members led by a male, their weight ranges between 4-14 kg, they have a body length of up to 75 cm or 30 inches. The black and white colobus are herbivores primates and mostly eat young and fresh leaves at the top of tree canopies. They have a gestation period of 4-6 months giving birth to completely white babies which will turn to resemble its parents when its 3 months old, with a lifespan of about 22 years.
These monkeys have a short, dark brown coat with a chestnut color across its back and a dark under belly. They have a pale moustache with light grey cheeks. their body length ranges between 32-69 cm, with a long hooked like tail that has a length of 48-99 cm, adult males weigh up to 6 kg while adult females can weigh up to 3.5 kg. the L’Hoest monkeys live in groups with many females and only one male which stays temporary with the group for mating. They have a gestation period of about 5 months and they maintain an herbivorous diet.
Grey cheeked mangabey
The grey cheeked mangabey can also be referred to as the white cheeked mangabey. This monkey is dark due to its thick brown coat that is almost black in its natural habitat the montane forest. This monkey is small in size and hairy like a baboon. The males usually have an average weight of 4.3kg and length of 1.1m and the females weigh in at2.9kg and body length of 99cm. these monkeys are dark in color with white or grey cheeks. The mangabeys have a gestation period of about 183 days and can live up to 30 years. they can live both in forests and swamp or primary forests, these monkeys live in groups of 5-30 individuals with no dominant male. The female mangabeys will always stay in their birth group while the males will live their birth group when they become sexually mature and join other groups.
Unlike what its name suggests, the blue monkey isn’t entirely blue but rather it has little hairs on its face with a bluish color and these led to naming this monkey species blue monkey. The blue monkey in actual sense is mainly grey or olive but its face is dark with a pale or yellowish patch on the forehead. Its feet, front legs and cap are blackish while its mantle may be brown, olive or grey. The blue monkey as a body length of between 50-65cm with the tail included and an adult male weighs about 8kg while an adult female weighs about 4kg hence exhibiting sexual dimorphism. these monkeys live in groups of 10-40 individuals and the females will stay in their natal groups throughout their lifetime while males live their parent group when they mature. The family is usually led by an adult female and its consists of many other females, babies and juveniles and one adult male. These monkeys practice allomothering with many females monkeys usually juveniles looking after the babies. Their gestation period is about 5 months wwhile their diet consists of mainly fruits during periods of abundance but they can also feed on flowers twigs and insects, figs and leaves.
Ugandan red colobus monkey
The Ugandan red colobus monkey has a rust red cap a dark grey to black face. The male Ugandan red colobus is larger than its female counterpart weighing in at 10.5kg while female weighs in at 7.5kg. this species of monkeys is purely herbivores with a diet dominated by leaves. these monkeys live in groups with many males and they consist between 3-85 individuals. The size of the group is majorly determined by the number of males available in it and female Ugandan red colobus will easily leave a group with few males and join another one with many males. The Ugandan red colobus female monkeys groom all other monkeys in the group. These monkeys have exhibited a strange character of associating with other species of monkeys mainly for protection purpose from predators like the crown eagle and chimpanzees
Flora and Fauna as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
Kibale’s diverse altitude supports distinctive forms of natural habitat, ranging from moist evergreen forest (wet tropical forest) on the Fort Portal plateau, through moist semi deciduous (dry tropical forest) to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.
In the central part of the park in Kanyanchu area, the high forest contains a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees with the evergreen plant life species occupying the largest area. Trees rise to over 55m and display a semi-closed canopy of arranged tree crowns. The undergrowth is scarce with shade tolerant shrubs, herbs, a variety of broad leaved forest grasses and ferns, 351 tree species have been recorded in the park.
The diversity and density of primates in Kibale is the highest in Africa. The most famous of its 13 species is the chimpanzee, our closest relative, Kibale’s 1450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Kibale is also home to the rare I’Hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened red colobus monkey. Other primates include the black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto.
Other Wildlife as a tourist attractions in Kibale National park
Though Kibale is famous for its varied primate species, the natural habitat in the park also house an estimated 70 mammal species and these are thriving in the highly endowed perimeters of the park .The park has the ground-dwelling animals but these are rarely seen in the dense ever green forests of Kibale national park. Among the other species which can be easily encountered in the park include the approximated number of 500elephants that are reported to be living in the forest park, other mammal species involve the buffalos, bush pigs species, warthogs, leopards, duikers and golden cat .The rare species that may be only sighted by keen observers include the reptiles, amphibians and also the colorful variety of 250 individual species of butterflies.
The forest Elephants: These are relatively smaller than their cousins the bush elephants. The forest elephants have an average height of 2.5m or 8.2ft with 900kg or 1980Ib as average body weight their tusks are longer and narrower than the those of the bush elephants growing up to 1.5m or 5ft and weighing between 45-100Ib or 23-45 kg. this is because they need these tusks to navigate through the thick undergrowth in the forest jungles where they habituate.
Forest buffalo: The forest buffalo is sometimes referred to as the dwarf buffalo because its smaller than the cape buffalo and also have a different skin color which is reddish brown unlike the cape buffalo skin which is dark. The forest buffalo weighs in at 250-320kg or 550-750Ib. The forest buffaloes also stay in much smaller herds of between 3-30 buffaloes and almost stay together for the greater part of the year unlike the cape buffaloes who usually herd together during the wet season mostly. These animals are herbivores and have a gestation period of between 281-334 days with an average life span of 20-25 years.
Giant forest hogs: This belongs to the pig family and is considered the largest of all wild pigs. The forest hogs have extensively black hairs on the surface but the smaller hairs that lie near the skin of the hogs have a deep orange color. The hairs of the forest hogs tend to become less pronounced as the animals grows to old age. These pig species have tusks protruding out of their mouths but these tusks are smaller than those of warthogs but bigger than those of bush pigs, these tusks have a length of 35.9cm or 14.1in in adult male forest hogs. When running this animal will lift its tail and direct it towards the direction to which its running to. It has a body length of 1.3-2.1m or 4ft3in -6ft11in and also an average shoulder height of 0.75-1.1m or 2ft6in-3ft7in. the body weight of these hogs can range between 100-275kg or 220-606ib. female giant forest hogs are usually smaller than their male counter parts.. The giant forest hog live in groups called sounders with one adult male and usually one female and its offsprings.
Lions: Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average. Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water. Male dominant lions are responsible for protecting the pride and they will fight off other male invaders, in case the dominant male is defeated by the invading lions, the victor lions will kill off all the cubs that are off springs to the defeated dominant male as a way of ending its blood lineage. Lions are carnivores and are at the top of the food chain feeding on almost all browsers and grazers within their domain due to their ability to hunt as a pride and carry out well coordinated and planned attacks which enables them to take down prey that can even be between 2-4 times bigger than them such as zebras, elephants and buffaloes. Lions usually hunt at night because of their well-developed sense of sight especially at night where their vision is almost 6 times better than that of humans due to the presence of white patches around their eyes which enable them to absorb even the smallest amount of light available during the cover of darkness. Hunting among lions is an affair carried out by female lions mostly and juvenile males and when a kill has been made by the lionesses in a pride, it’s always the dominant male lion who will eat first up to his fill then the rest of the pride will feed on what has remained after the he has finished eating. They have a gestation period of 97 days and a life span of about 10-14 years.
African golden cat: The African golden cat is quite a small animal with a body length of range between 61-101cm or 24-40in. The tail is 16-46cm long while its shoulder height is 38-55cm or 15-22in and an average body weight of 5.5-16kg or 12-35ib and it exhibits sexual dimorphism as males are larger than females. The African golden cat resembles the caracal but this golden cat is shorter with untufted and rounded ears, longer tail and shorter in body length. The fur of the African golden cat is either chestnut, reddish-brown, greyish brown or dark slaty and some of these cats have spots that are of a faded tan color or black. The underbelly, throat, cheeks, eyes and chin have a light shade of color that’s almost white. This cat can be identified by its whorled ridge of fur in front of the shoulders and in this ridge the direction of fur changes. This cat is almost double the size of the domesticated cat.
Bird species as a tourist attractions in Kibale National park
The park boasts of more than 375 birds species and these include the 6 birds species that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region, namely black-capped apalis, blue-headed sunbird, collared apalis, dusky crimson-wing, purple-breasted sunbird, and red-faced woodland warbler. Other Kibale species include the African pitta, green breasted pitta, black bee-eater, yellow spotted nicator, yellow rumped tinker bird, little greenbul, black-eared ground thrush, brown-chested alethe, blue-breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian gound-thrush, and the crowned eagle.
Green breasted pitta: The green breasted pitta has a body length of 17-19cm. it has a black head, a broad golden buff supercilium with rare superciliary feathers which are paler and erectile. Its upperparts are of a dark green color while the tail and rump and also the tail coverts are of a sky blue color. The green breasted pitta makes a short bell like whistle voice call of 0.25-0.5 seconds that’s repeated several times.
African pitta: The African pitta has a body length of 18-20cmwith males weighing between 79-92g while females weigh about 81-98g hence having reversed sexual dimorphism. The bird has a black head with its supercilium being broad and buff in color, the African pitta’s coverts are in a deep green and tipped turquoise blue or black and tipped turquoise and royal blue colors, its mantle and back are green while the rump and upper tail coverts are of pale turquoise blue. This bird makes a voice call with a short loud and sharp “ouit or wheet” sound.
Black bee eater: This bird has a body length of 20cm and its weight varies between 25-34g. The male black bee eater has a black head while its fore head and supercilium is blue and it has a blue line below its eyes. It has dark grey scarlet throat feathers and basal part. This bird is usually silent but it makes a high pitched strident “tsi-ip” voice call sound once in a while.
Crowned eagle: The crown eagle has a body length of 80-99cm making it the fifth longest eagle in the world. The male crowned eagle weighs in between 2.55-4.12kg or 5.1-9.1ib while females weighs less than males between 3.2-4.7kg or 7.1-10.6ib. These eagles have a wingspan of over 1.51-1.81m or 4ft 11in-5ft11in. The crowned eagles have long tails that measure between 30-41cm or 12-16in they have a medium sized bill compared to their body size and this bill is 5.5cm. their feet and legs are thicker and heavier and these give them the ability to carry prey that is can be almost double their body size or even more. Adult female crowned eagles have a striking plumage. The crown of this eagle is dark or rufous tinged brown and their prominent often raised black tipped double crescent. the grey crowned eagle’s diet consists of small mammals like the rock hyrax, vervet monkeys, duikers.
Yellow spotted nicator: It has a body length of 20-23cm, males weigh between 47-67g while females weigh between 32-51g. this bird can easily be identified from its distinctive shrike like bulbul, it has a relatively heavy hooked bill and its wings have conspicuous yellow spottings on them. The voice call of the yellow spotted nicator is powerful and melodious with explosive crescendo of clear whistles.
Black eared ground thrush: It has a body length of 16.5-18cm and an average weight of 42-57g. the male species has a distinctive broad dark double bar on a paler face and it quite resembles the small billed version of Z. guyneyi. this bird makes a sound call of a thin high “ssree” which might be a distress call.
Abyssinian ground thrush: The Abyssinian ground thrush is also called kivu ground thrush. It has a body length of 19-20cm and a body weight of 43-65g. The male species is pale olive brown from cheeks to hind crown and upper parts. This bird has dark wing coverts and double white spotted wind bars. It makes a voice call that has a low concealed perch in deep twilight.
Blue turaco: The blue turaco can be easily spotted give its large size. it has a body length of 70-75cm, the male great blue turaco can weigh between 857g-948g while females weigh between 822g-1.23kg hence exhibiting reversed sexual dimorphism. The great blue turaco is mainly grey blue or greenish blue and it has a yellow plumage. This bird makes a deep gobbling reasonant trill comprising of drawling “rou-ou” notes.
Trees in Kibale Forest National Park
Kibaale national park is gifted with over 350 tree species, and some being over 200 years old, Kibaale national park spoils any botanist for choice because a lot is offered here and below is the sample of the wide variety of tree species in kibaale park.
Codia millenii: This is also called the drum tree in English and in Luganda which is a local dialect in Uganda, this tree species is called mukebu tree. This tree thrives best in wet tropical forest climate and it can grow to reach heights of over 50meters. It forms a large canopy with broad leaves and a thick bark. This tree has a somewhat straight trunk making a favorite for loggers because of its big trunk that is of hard wood. In Buganda kingdom this tree can be used to make musical instruments like drums.
Entandrophragma angolense: This tree species is found in only in tropical Africa and its sometimes labelled as mahogany tree. This tree can grow up to 50m tall with a big trunk of 2m in diameter. This tree has a big canopy with pinnate leaves that have between 5-9 pairs of leaves with each leaflet ranging between 8-10cm long.
Lovoa swynnertonnii: This tree species is referred to as browm mahogany in Zimbabwe. This is a large evergreen tree that can grow up to the excess of 50m tall with a large trunk of up to 2m in diameter. This tree has paripinnate leaves and white flowers in large axillary panicles. This tree thrives well in well drained slopes of river banks.
Kanyanchu River Camp as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
Kanyanchu area is located in the central part of bio-diversified Kibale national park and it’s the main trailhead for the park’s popular interesting forest walks. The major attraction in this area is the habituated chimpanzees which can be trekked in the dense rainforest. Chimpanzee populations have been habituated in this area since 1991 and the opportunities of setting eyes to the Chimpanzees in the Kanyanchu area are high almost 95%.
Local people as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
The people living around the park are mainly Batoro and Bakiga. The Batoro are indigenous to the area while the Bakiga are immigrants from the densily populated southwestern part of Uganda. The Batoro take pride in the cultural heritage of the Toro Kingdom, a scion of the ancient kingdoms of Africa’s Great Lakes region. The Omukama (King) and the kingdom embody the traditional and cultural values of the Batoro. The Bakiga immigrants still maintain their tradition and culture as expressed in their folklore, dance, and language.
The park plays an important role in the lives of the local people who enjoy a variety of benefits from the forest. The forest provides them with many traditional forest products such as wild
Sebitoli Forest Camp as a tourist attraction in Kibale National park
This is described as Kibale’s secondary tourism Centre. It’s found in the north of the forest and it offers opportunities for visitors to encounter primate’s species like the red colobus, blue monkeys, white-and-black colobus and vervet monkeys. It’s the best place to view a variety of aquatic species as well as the forest and savannah birds’ .Above all is the opportunity to enjoy views and sights of the Mpanga River.
Areas of Interest outside the Park
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Bigodi is the only Sanctuary in the park that is diversified with variety of beautiful scenery and of eco-system; the impressive wetland is safe haven for bird loves. It houses an approximated number of 138 bird species. Situated outside the park in Magombe Swamp, Bidogo wetland is home to around eight individual species of primates and these include the white-and-black colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey ,the red-tailed and East African’s threaten species of the L’Hoest’s and blue monkeys and the olive baboons. Bushbucks and mongooses can also be sighted in the sanctuary. The sanctuary was gazzatted to help of preserve the threatened environmental features and the wetland resources. The wetland Sanctuary is managed and preserved with the local community around the park and the revenue generated from tourists is used to fund community development projects.
Being birding destination in Kibale, the wetland has nature guided walks and the viewing platforms that allow bird watchers to enjoy the elusive sights and views of the unique bird species housed in the park.
This is situated near Sebitoli in the northern part of Kibale and it’s a community-run project that offers the best bird watching point in kibble national park. The wetland offers visitors chance to visit the local tea estates and the factory. A nature walk that originates from this wetland leads tourists to watch the primates’ species such as the white-and black colobus , the red colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The other animals which can be spotted in this wet land include the otters, bushbucks and mongooses.
Tourists Activities In Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale national park has various activities to offer to anyone who visits this primate capital of the world and these include the following; chimpanzee tracking, birding, game viewing and nature walks
Primate Walk and Chimpanzee Tracking
Kibale Forest is habitat to 13 primate species and a guided forest trek can be taken in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world’s primate Capital. This highly rewarding activities in Kibale start from the Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00 and 15.00 and lasts 2-3 hours. Out of 9 diurnal primates namely L’Hoest’s , vervet, red-tailed, greycheeked manabey, blue monkeys, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon, Chimpanzees are the most sought after by visitors, Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with the chance of encountering them standing at .Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be entertained by the bird song and can expect to see at least 5 or 6 other types of primate, most probably the grey-cheeked managebey and the red-tailed monkey.
Chimpanzee tracking Kibale National Park: With a population of over 1000 chimpanzees, that have been habituated in about 80 communities tracking experience, it’s therefore a no brainer that all primatologists will feel attracted to come here and indulge themselves in their favorite hobby. Chimpanzee tracking is usually done following the Kanyanchu trail. This trails enables a tourist to get up-close and personal with habituated chimps in their natural habitat. Tracking begins at 0800hrs, 1100hrs and 1400hrs and it lasts between 2-3 hours. when the habituated community is found, the guide will allow you a maximum of an hour to be in company of these great apes to observe and photograph them while in their natural habitat. Note should be taken that not more than six individuals can visit the same group of chimps at the same time, tourists should avoid dumping their food wastes while tracking and only individuals aged 16 and above are allowed to go chimp tracking. Chimpanzee tracking in kibale costs 150$ for foreign nonresidents, 100$ for foreign residents, while east African citizens are charged 100000ugx. These fees for chimpanzee tracking include entrance and nature walk fees in this park.
Chimpanzee tracking process
This involves travelling to National Park Headquarters to meet your guides for early morning briefing about the do’s and don’ts when trekking the Chimps. Experienced guides and trackers will accompany group of eight trekkers on an early morning trek into the forest to trek the wild chimpanzees as well as several other species of primates in their natural habitat.
You be allocated one hour to be with these charming and very social apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Chimpanzees, our closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5000 remaining in Uganda. After the one hour, trekkers will return to the starting point and hence the end of the activity.
Please note: tracking may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile as they search for food throughout the forest. Also, chimpanzees are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed. However viewing success rates are over 80%.
Chimpanzee tracking regulations
For visitor’s safety and the protection of Kibale’s chimpanzees, Visitors are requested to observe the following points:
Visitor should keep a distance of 8 metres between him or her with the chimps.
Visitors who are sick are requested not to enter the forest because when one is sick and he or she enters the forests, it puts the chimps at risk of contracting disease.
Tourists are not allowed to eat near the chimps.
Children of 12 years and below are not permitted to view the chimps for safety reasons.
Do not enter the forest without a park guide.
If you need to defecate, do so off the trail and bury waste and toilet paper in a hole 30 cm deep.
Do not scare or attempt to provoke the chimps.
Flash photography is strictly forbidden.
Follow the instructions of your guide.
Please remember that Kibale is not a zoo but a natural tropical rainforest. Sightings of chimpanzee and other primates depend on several factors, such as time of the day, fruit availability, weather, and how quiet your group is.
What to bring
Carry warm clothing and rain gear as the mornings and evenings can be cold and wet, especially during the peak rainy seasons. Wear enclosed shoes and remember to bring a camera, binoculars, wildlife guidebooks, hat, and mosquito/insect repellent.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
Chimpanzee Habituation is a life time and almost incredible experience for aspiring researchers and chimp lovers. The activity involves staying with the chimps all day. Having the time to really connect with the group and learn about their different characters and habits. This experience offers a real chance to develop fieldwork skills and learn about behavioral research about Chimpanzees.
This gives you an experience like no other as you get to get up close and personal with the chimpanzees that are not very accustomed to visitors in their natural habitat so as to acclimatize them to visitors without changing their natural characters as they carry out their daily routines from waking up from their night nests at about 06:00hrs to feeding, breast feeding, copulating, patrolling their territories and displaying and finally to building their new nests for the night ahead at about 19:00hrs. This activity is available on full and half day basis hence giving you more than ample time to observe and understand the characteristics of these amazing creatures. Chimpanzee habituation costs 20$ for both foreign nonresidents and foreign residents and 150000ugx for east African citizens
Birding in Kibale forest
Kibale national park is birding destination in Uganda and the park boast of an estimated number of more than 375 Bird species which can be watched in the various parts of the park. Bird watching tours in the park mainly starts at 7am at Kanyanchu which is located in the Centre of the park but visitors interested in bird watching are requested to book in advance. The rare species of birds which can be viewed in the park include the Papyrus Gonolek that can be easily found in the wetlands of the park, White-winged Warbler as well as the White-collared Olive back and Papyrus Canary.
One of the recommendable bird watching areas in the park include the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is situated just small distance outside the park, .The wetland is home to roughly 138 bird species and these can be easily seen by the visitors participating in guided walks along the trails developed in the wetland and also other visitors can use the viewing plat forms set in the broad walking trails to enjoy the sights and sounds of the various bird species found this area.
The various bird species which bird lovers can have chance to enjoy their sounds and watch their bright shining colours include the White-spotted Fluff tail, Brown-backed Scrub-robin ,Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black Bishop as well as Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet plus the rare White-breasted Negrofinch , unique Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Black-crowned Waxbill, Bocage’s and Bush-shrike among other interesting bird species..
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
This small, but impressive wetland sanctuary protects the Magombe swamp and is an important contribution to Ugandan conservation. It is run by Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) and all the money raised from tourism is used in community projects in Bigodi. The trail developed in the Sanctuary offers one of the best guided bird trails in East Africa and gives walkers the attractive prospect of seeing various different primate species in just a few hours. The swamps are a haven for a huge number of bird and butterfly species and so ornithologists will be in great delight as they trek through the rich swamplands accompanied by the great diversity of sights and sounds of the beaked and tuneful residents. Visitors can also expect to see at least 5 to 6 of the different primate species which reside in Kibale Forest National Park.
Cultural Encounters in Kibale
Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED) is a community-based organization which promotes local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation through ecotourism. This famous association in Kibale National Park offers visitors unique cultural encounters and this starts in form of nature walks. During the nature walk, a local guide will takes you along the boardwalk through the Magombe swamp wetlands. You are likely to see wildlife at close-hand, including several of the 200 species of birds, eight varieties of primates and numerous butterflies, along with unusual swamp vegetation.
The daily life of the Batooro can be discovered during the village walks. The tour stops by the village’s primary school, church, and traditional healer. You will learn about the role of women in the village and traditional ceremonies, and the history of Bigodi is told through the story of the “Village of Two Tribes”, describing when the indigenous Batooro were joined by migrating Bakiga from southwestern Uganda in the 1950s. Income from this activity is invested in education, health, sanitation and improving the livelihood of local residents. It is also used to help raise awareness of the value of biodiversity through music, dance, and drama performances at local schools. In 2010, KAFRED they won the prestigious UNDP’s Equator Initiative Award.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Kibale
Nature walks in Kibale National Park. Nature walking can be done in kibaale national park following trails like kanyanchu trail- this trail is famous for primate viewing like chimpanzees, monkeys like the Ugandan magabeys, blue monkeys, red colobus monkeys. Bigodi wetland trail is famous for the wide range of bird species like the crowned eagle, Abyssinian ground thrush, yellow spotted nicator, the black bee eater. Ndali crater walk- this takes you the top of the world by visiting Ndali crater lake giving you sweeping views of the entire fort portal town, all the other crater lakes in the region.
There is also the night walk which are carried after sunset beginning at around 19:30hrs lasting for about 2 hours. this walk will reveal to you some of the best night walkers in the forest like the bush baby, night jar, civets or serval cat which are spotted occasionally doing their night rounds. In Kibaale national park, if you have done chimpanzee tracking, you get yourself a free day time walk on any of the trails available but the night walk will cost you 40$ foreign nonresidents, 20$ foreign residents and 15000ugx east African citizens.
When chimpanzees and other forest residents rest up at dusk, a nighttime shift of rarely seen creatures becomes active. Night walks though the darkened forest use powerful torches to seek nocturnal creatures such as the potto, bushbaby, nightjar, cricket and tree hyrax, with its chilling shriek, as well as the occasional civet or serval cat. Night walks leave the camp at 7.30pm and last between one and a half and two hours.
How to get to Kibale Forest National Park
Kibale National Park is located in western Uganda, 26km south-east of Fort Portal town. Kanyanchu River Camp, the primary centre for tourism activities, can be reached from Kampala either from the north, via Mubende and Fort Portal, or the south through Mbarara and Kamwenge. Kampala via Mubende to Fort portal (300km) link to Kanyanchu (36km). The northern approach is shorter and quicker, with a 300km tarmac road running to Fort Portal followed by 36km on murram to Kanyanchu. Sebitoli Forest Camp, a secondary tourism centre, is even easier to reach. This stands directly on the Kampala road, 16km before Fort Portal. Public transport runs throughout the day between Kampala and Fort Portal (passing Sebitoli) and Fort Portal and Kamwenge (passing Kanyanchu).
Using road transport there are two routes
Kampala- Mubende- Fortportal via Kanvanchui park centre. This route is about 312kms from Kampala or 5-hour drive. From kampala to Fortportal the road is fully tarmacked while from Fortportal to kanvancui the tourist will have to bare 22 km of murram road. This route will enable the visitor access the park from the northern side.
Kampala- Mbarara-Kamwenge-Kanvancui through the southern side of the park. This route is about 382 km or about 6-hour drive. Between Kampala and Mbarara the road is fully tarmacked and between Mbarara and Kamwenge is also tarmacked but Kamwenge to Kanvancui the road is gravel.
You can access Kibaale national park using public transport. You can buy a bus ticket for a bus service from Kampala- Fortportal town via Mityana- Mubende from Kisenyi bus terminal and this will cost you between 20000-25000ugx. After arriving in Fortportal town, you can hire a private taxi to take you to the Kanvancui park headquarters via Kanyanchu gate which lies 22km away from fort portal town.
Although Kibaale national park doesn’t have an airfield of its own, it is tentatively served by two airstrips one is Nyakisharara airstrip in Mbarara connecting you through Kamwenge to Kanvancui. This involves 98km of ground travel. The other airstrip is Kasese airstrip which is 150 km way from Fortportal. This involves 172 km of ground travel to reach Kanvancui center.
Kibaale national park is served by the following charter companies
Aerolink club. Aerolink club has flights operating from Entebbe international airport to Mbarara airstrip or Kasese airstrip, the flights to Kaese usually depart in the morning but the timing may change depending on the flight routing. Aerolink club uses an 11 seater and 2 flight crew Caravan aircraft equipment that is highly comfortable. The cost of this flight varies from 230-260$ one way per person depending on the seasonal demand.
Fly Uganda. Fly Uganda operates private flight charters around Uganda from Kajjansi airstrip. The minimum number of passengers required is 2 passengers. The flights usually depart from Kajjansi airfield in the morning hours but this is subject to flight routing and demand. The cost for a flight to Kasese town with fly Uganda ranges about 290$ per person one way
Air-Serve Limited and Mission Aviation Africa (MAF) also do private charters to Mbarara airstrip and Kasese airstrip.
Get a premium safari vehicle for hire in Uganda from our wide range of cars available at Prime Uganda Safaris and Tours Ltd. Take your safari in Uganda comfortably with a great choice for a long road trip or family vacation in a safari vehicle that meet your needs. From 4X4 Land Cruisers, Land Rovers to custom omnibuses, we have a car that makes your safari in Uganda’s Parks and Rural countryside a memorable one. Our car hire is mainly based on limited mileage and applies to travel within Uganda. (Terms and conditions apply)
Accommodation in Kibale Forest National Park
Primate Lodge in Kibale is a fashionable Eco-lodge located within Kibale National park. It’s enclosed by a flourishing tropical forest that is a habitat to many different species of primates for instance the chimpanzees. It’s secretly sheltered in the rainforest and forms one of the lodges that offer a really dependable jungle familiarity.
Primate lodge Kibale has accommodation for all visitors ranging from luxury, cottages as well as tents. This lodge gives a chance to take your time in the morning and first have breakfast and later on plan for the day and how you are going to track the chimpanzees without much trouble.
The lodge has about 8 lavish safari tents, wooden platform with a thatched roof that tends to match well with the environment. The verandahs on each tent offer a beautiful view of the enclosed forest. The inside of the lodge is designed with an African style with beautiful beds. The bathrooms and toilets have a natural touch of the environment made out of local stones, wall paintings as well as bamboo.
It has about 7 friendly cottages which are secretly located in the forest. The rooms are big with double beds, a sitting room with an African design and standard en suite bathrooms and toilets.
Another exciting adventure is the sky tree house, it has a bedroom with other facilities that can enable you enjoy a night there. It’s suited at a 10 minutes’ walk from the major lodge and hence making it a perfect viewing point for Elephant especially at night.
The restaurant at the lodge serves both Local and International foods with hospital waitresses. Next to the restaurant is a fully stocked bar with a beautiful scenic view of the forest.
Lounge area at the lounge has well designed chairs; soft cushions along with sofas that will make you enjoy the red-tailed monkeys in the forest.
Cultural dancing is usually enjoyed around the camp fire and late in the night, you will experience the great sounds of the forest as well as the winding forest elephants.
Tourist Activities include chimp tracking, Forest walk, bird watching, Bigodi village walk discovery of the crater Lakes, Cultural heritage, Hike at the slopes of Rwenzori along with the Nature trail. Enjoy a tour To Uganda’s national parks.
Chimps’ Nest –Mid-Range
Chimps’ Nest is located at Kanyanchu one of the best viewing points of Kibale Forest .Its positioned on the way to Bigondi Village, the site of the lodge was carefully chosen, as it commands the view of Kibale National park forest and Rwenzori Mountains, the portal peaks,
It’s located just a 15 minutes’ drive from Kanyanchu the focal point of UWA for chimp tracking as well as other activities in the park. The accommodation is up to standard with beautiful self-contained cottages, tree house in addition to family cottages. The restaurants serves local food sourced from the local markets. From the lodge’s cozy restaurant on top of the hill, everybody will have a splendid view of Chimp’s Nest
All the cottages of the lodge are situated on a hill, with a private and splendid view of Kibale Forest and the Rwenzori Mountains. From your private balcony you can enjoy the wildlife, with the surrounding sounds of birds, monkeys, chimps, and elephants.
The bathroom is outside. It is completely closed off but has an open roof. Your privacy is guaranteed so you can have the ultimate experience of freedom in the middle of nature.
The family cottage is built near the restaurant, on a hill. This place is ideal for people with children or for people who want to be near the restaurant. Just like all the other cottages, this cottage has a lot of privacy and is in the bush, surrounded by various colourful birds and wildlife.The cottage holds two bedrooms with flexible beds which can be either twins or doubles. There is space for one extra bed each bedroom. There is a lockable door in between the two rooms.
Tourist Activities which are organized in the lodge include, Chimp tracking, Cultural heritage, Natural trail, Forest walk, Hikes at the slopes of Mount Rwenzori and Bigodi Village walk along with the discovery of the crater Lakes.
|Room Type||High Season (B$B)||Low Season(B/B)|
|Double tree house||$152||$122|
|Twin tree house||$152||$122|
|Single tree house BB||$120||$96|
|Family cottage max. 4||$172||$138|
|Extra person Bed only||$16||$13|
|Budget room Bed only||$20||$16|
Kibale Forest Camp-Mid-Range
Kibale Forest Camp is situated in a patch of indigenous forest, just outside Kibale Forest National Park. It borders Bigodi swamp and is located on a mere 4 km from the starting point of chimpanzee tracking. The camp is a renowned birding paradise, not only frequented by our human visitors, but also by the black and white colobus, the red colobus, the red tailed monkey, the bleu monkey and the grey cheeked mangabey.
The complex is beautiful wooden with a grass thatched roof which blends perfectly in the forest surroundings. The open construction permits our visitors to fully enjoy the beauty of this magical place.
Due to the remote location of the camp, they work with set menus: delicious 2 course lunches and fine 4 course dinners. If you have any dietary requirements or allergies, it is wise to inform them at your earliest convenience. The well maintained campsite of Kibale Forest Camp is a little green gem. Bordering the swamp and set in lush surroundings. It is the place to unwind and come one with Nature. The sanitary facilities consist of 2 hot showers and 2 flushing
Kibale Forest Camp consists of 10 African safari style tents, comfortably furnished with twin or double beds. Each unit has its own private ensuite bathroom with a flush toilet, a dressing room and a hot water shower. Seated from your own verandah, the red or black and white colobus can often be observed in the dense camp surrounding.
Kibale Forest Camp offers a more budget option in the form of non-self-contained tents. The lazy camping product offered by the lodge consists of a basic camping tent furnished with 2 single beds and a solar lantern. No need to bring your own linen as all bedding and towels are provided. The tents share a communal ablution blocks with hot showers and flushing toilets.
The campsite bar and restaurant are situated in a beautiful wooden grass-thatched building. The open structure blends perfectly in the surroundings and overlooks a lush colourful garden. It is in this cozy restaurant that your breakfast, delicious 2 course lunches and 4 course dinners will be served. Due to logistic reasons (quality products are difficult to het in the area and come from Kampala)
|Single (Lazy camping)||$25||$40||$50|
Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse and campsite-Budget
Located inside Kibale National Park and only 23 Km from Fort Portal town, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house is basic accommodation facility in Kibale. The Guesthouse sits on 100 acres of manicured lawns, beautiful gardens, tea plantations, pasture and indigenous forest and hence offers the point sit for scenery viwing.
Owned and operated by a Ugandan family, Chimpanzee Forest Guest house was originally established in the 1950s, during Uganda’s colonial period, by the British District Commissioner and has been wonderfully cared for and maintained ever since. Guests can relax in a comfortably furnished lounge which features an excellent collection of colonial African literature dating back to the 1800’s.
Accommodation outside of the main house is offered in either a large twin bedded self-contained banda over-looking Lake Nyabikere or in a choice of three self-contained cottages with views of Kibale Forest National Park. You may also camp on flat grassy sites away from the house with shade. The eats served in the lodge ranges from delicious hot meals; cold drinks; freshly baked bread to seasonal home grown fruits and vegetables; pancake breakfasts and percolated coffee.
Accommodation in the Guest house Rates (VAT Exclusive)
|Children 4 – 8 y||Ushs 80,000/=||Ushs110,000/=|
Uganda travel health Advice, Uganda Travel Information
Uganda travel health Advice – Uganda Travel Information
Vaccinations and Immunizations
Vaccine recommendations are based on the best available risk information. Please note that the level of risk for vaccine-preventable diseases can change at any time. The following information was obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Uganda.
Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications
The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to East Africa. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.
Routine- Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, etc.
Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)- Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with “standard” tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors.
Hepatitis B-Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map), especially those who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment (e.g., for an accident).
Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in all countries in East Africa, including cities. See your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug.
Meningococcal (meningitis)- Recommended if you plan to visit countries that experience epidemics of meningococcal disease during December through June.
Typhoid- Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in East Africa, especially if staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where exposure might occur through food or water.
Polio- Recommended for adult travelers who have received a primary series with either inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) or oral polio vaccine (OPV). They should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.
Rabies – Recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, especially in rural areas, involved in activities such as bicycling, camping, or hiking. Also recommended for travelers with significant occupational risks (such as veterinarians), for long-term travelers and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats, carnivores, and other mammals. Children are considered at higher risk because they tend to play with animals, may receive more severe bites, or may not report bites
Yellow Fever- Recommended for all travelers from 9 months of age. Uganda requires travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission to present proof of yellow fever vaccination. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel and at 10-year intervals if there is ongoing risk. Find an authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccination clinic.
How to stay healthy while on Uganda Safari, Uganda Travel Information
Wash your hands often with soap and water or, if hands are not visibly soiled, use a waterless, alcohol-based hand rub to remove potentially infectious materials from your skin and help prevent disease transmission.
In developing countries like Uganda, drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, learn how to make water safer to drink.
Take your malaria prevention medication before, during, and after travel, as directed. (See your health care provider for a prescription.)
To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot, even on beaches.
Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Protect yourself from mosquito insect bites: Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats when outdoors. Use insect repellents that contain DEET (N, N-diethylmethyltoluamide). If no screening or air conditioning is available: use a pyrethroid-containing spray in living and sleeping areas during evening and night-time hours; sleep under bed nets, preferably insecticide-treated ones.
What you are supposed to do while on your Gorilla trekking safaris in Uganda.
Do not eat food purchased from street vendors or food that is not well cooked to reduce risk of infection (i.e., hepatitis A and typhoid fever).
Do not drink beverages with ice
Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.
Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as schistosomiasis.
Do not handle animals, especially monkeys, dogs, and cats, to avoid bites and serious diseases (including rabies and plague). Consider pre-exposure rabies vaccination if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas.
Do not share needles for tattoos, body piercing or injections to prevent infections such as HIV and hepatitis B.
Avoid poultry farms, bird markets, and other places where live poultry is raised or kept.
Getting There and Around Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
Getting There and Around Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
There are both international and regional flights to Uganda being offered by various airbuses including British Airways, Kenya Airways, Brussels and so much more. You can as well charter a flight but this can be damn expensive. Uganda has all means of transport although the most accessible is by bus; it’s cost effective and safe when it comes to traveling. Bus companies for instance Regional Coach, Link and Scandinavian Express and Akamba have strict departure time if travelers can’t adhere to this, they are often left behind.
The Min buses usually go for shorter journeys. Transport in Uganda has been improved with well-maintained roads, speed governors as well as seat belts to ensure the safety of all passengers. The buses assemble in the new taxis park and some may be got along the public roads. The bus fares are fixed but cheaper to all the passengers. In the villages, there are motorcycles, bicycles, taxis for hire that can take you to your destination and remember to get small denominations of money to ease on transport. Ugandans are friendly people and are so willing to give directions when required. A visa to Uganda guide has also been put here.
Flights in Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
There are 12 airports in Uganda and the 4 biggest are
Entebbe Airport (Entebbe, Uganda)
Right now, 31 airlines operate out of Entebbe Airport.
Entebbe Airport offers nonstop flights to 22 cities.
Every week, at least 49 domestic flights and 490 international flights depart from Entebbe Airport.
Arua Airport (Arua, Uganda)
Arua Airport offers nonstop flights to 2 cities.
Every week, at least 28 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Arua Airport.
Gulu Airport (Gulu, Uganda)
Gulu Airport offers nonstop flights to 2 cities.
Every week, at least 14 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Gulu Airport.
Kasese Airport (Kasese, Uganda)
Every week, at least 14 domestic flights and 0 international flights depart from Kasese Airport.
English is the national language. There are other local languages like luganda, runyankore, lusoga, luo, runyakitara, lugisu, lugbara and many more spoken by different tribes in Uganda. For those who can only communicate using languages like Chinese, Germany, French, Arabic and others, we can organize special interpreters for them while taking their tours in Uganda.
Uganda’s climate is humid; it combines hotness and coldness in some parts. Uganda has dry spells from June-September and rains from November to mid-January and many rains from March-June but at times such seasons change unexpectedly.
Uganda travel clothing/dress
Carry along lightweight, washable clothes plus a coat, jacket or sweater for morning wildlife game drives or any cold as a result of any weather changes. Items like sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen etc. are also important. Trousers or long sleeved shirts save you from dangers of insect bites. Any other form of dressing by one’s preference is good as long as it isn’t offensive for public displeasure. Women travelers need to carry a wrap to cover legs in the village and towns. At Lodges and hotels with swimming pools, better to carry a swimsuit along with you.
Baggage on safaris
Baggage on safari is limited to one bag, plus one small piece of hand baggage per person (excluding a camera bag). In total this should not weight more than 20kg. Suitcases and other heavier items can be stored in town hotels whilst clients are on safari.
Uganda tour and travel photo shots
To make your tour unforgettable, its better you carry along with you a video and a digital camera with enough charged batteries for shooting anything that interests you throughout your trip. Keep cameras from dust, sunshine or rain. It is advisable to seek permission first before photographing anyone or anything.
Uganda travel security
Uganda is a very safe and sound country in African continent .The country presently has no rebel activity going on inside of Uganda. Even the north of Uganda is enjoying a state of peace and rebuilding since the LRA has signed a cease-fire in the summer of 2006.
Hence Uganda is a very safe country to visit, work and stay, but still precautionary measures have to be ensured while traveling. Below are some guides on how to be cautious so as to keep safe.
The best way to carry your money is when you keep it at your front pocket where you can put your hand over it rather than a back pocket where it can easily be stolen. Do not flash money or count it in public, pull out what you need and pay, never carry large amounts with you. Keep money and any other valuables in your hotel safe.
Carrying Passports and Return Tickets:
It’s very risky carrying your passport on you, it’s best to make a copy of your travel documents and leave the originals at your hotel safe. If you are traveling on a safari, keep it all such things in a small backpack that you can easily carry with you. It is best to carry that small Backpack even if you go on a game drive while on safari. It is always best to be on the safe side of life instead of having later sorrow.
Keep your Jewelry at home or hotel safe:
Take inexpensive jewelry with you (you can buy some lovely items here in Uganda at a low price). Gold chains and jewelry can be torn off you. Avoid expensive watches and if you are wearing one, have one preferably with leather strap that can be tightened and safely worn.
Buy some local Ugandan crafted jewelry and support a local artisan and their families and you will safe-keep your expensive items at home and at the same time make a difference in Uganda through your purchase of local hand-crafted items.
Keep your Mobile Cell-Phone in your pocket and do not carry it in your hands. If you carry it in your hands, someone may take a cigarette burn your hand and you drop the phone when pain strikes and it is gone.
Do not put in on a table in a restaurant or bar since again someone might just come and grab it – Stay on the safe side. Mobile phones are stolen daily in Uganda – hold on to it tightly.
Walking at night:
Do not walk alone on your own in most neighborhoods to be on the safe side – what you would do at home, do here while visiting Uganda. You do not hear of many cases where Visitors to Uganda are robbed or harmed but it is best to be wise and smart.
Visits to Slums:
Slums in Kampala happen to be a place of misery and where you can find quite a few people who would not have the best intentions in mind when it comes to dealing with you. Most slum-dwellers are there not because of choice but because of circumstances in life.
Visiting a slum unless you are visiting a school, an NGO, a charitable work such as an orphanage is ill-advised. We do not offer slum tours as is the fashion in Kenya in order to make money and once company does here in Kampala. We believe in the dignity of all human beings and do not want to benefit off another person’s misery.
Gay Travelers Safety:
In February of 2014 President Museveni signed the stronger anti-gay bill into law. 97% of Ugandans concurred with his decision. Uganda had been in the news for five years regarding the anti-gay bill and it had an effect on Uganda’s image in the world even though it is one of 38 African Countries and over 80 worldwide with strong anti-gay laws.
What does it mean to a gay traveler wanting to come to Uganda? In Uganda there is no public affection between any gender. No promotion of homosexuality and simply discreet behavior that does not draw attention to a visitor to Uganda. The traditions of held values of Uganda and most African Nations are simply different.
The law is there – the choice is up to the gay visitor to Uganda whether to come or whether to stay away – the previous anti-gay law was hardly enforced since in Uganda personal relationships are kept private.
Statement from Stephen Asiimwe -Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board “no gay visitor to our country will be harassed or not welcome for the only reason that he or she may be gay. Cultural policies are important in Uganda. We ask visitors to respect them. They include touching in public for example or engaging in sex with children.”
Is it safe for single travelers?
It’s very safe for tourists to travel solo on safari in Uganda. It’s always best to travel with a reliable tour company like Africa Adventure Safaris Ltd to run your safari in Uganda.
Uganda Currency, Uganda Travel Information
Uganda Currency, Uganda Travel Information
Major foreign currencies – like the US$, Pound Sterling and Euros, South African Rand and currencies for the Uganda’s neighboring countries can be exchanged in the local forex bureaus and banks. Travelers’ cheques are accepted in Uganda and are exchangeable at banks and forex bureau in Kampala City and other major towns and hotels. Credit cards are getting common and are acknowledged in some shopping and banks. Majority of banks have ATM facilities. In some national parks or tourist centre, visitors can pay using foreign currencies if they didn’t get time to convert into local money. It is not suitable to exchange money on the streets from individuals as you may be given fake notes of Uganda shillings.
Bank and money transactions in Kampala Uganda;Where to get and how to make money transactions in Kampala.
Uganda Banks, Money exchange, Forex rates, in Uganda
The simplest way to acquire money on your initial arrival is using a Visa ATM card (MasterCard is more challenging; do not bother using anything else). The ATMs are scattered across Uganda, beginning at the airport, and nearly all of them offer the favorable Visa logo. It is a good idea to talk to your bankers back at home and inquire about any kind of deals they offer within Ugandan banks – for example, as I write this, in case you use your Bank of America ATM card in any of Uganda’s Barclays ATMs, you will not be charged that annoying ATM fee. Western Union is as well an alternative for quick cash from foreign countries, although the fees are somewhat large. On the other hand, if it is a better option for you, there are several Western Union places throughout Kampala.
Do I need my International Banking card While in Kampala Uganda?
The majority of properly-ATMed banks are Barclays plus Stanbic that appear to have ATMs almost anyplace you would require one. A properly-informed friend informed me that Barclays, regardless of its international name, is pretty short on service, and that its competitor Stanbic could be a better choice. Additional alternatives include Centenary bank whose ATMs and branches can be accessed in most of the rural parts of the country plus Standard Chartered, that has fewer branches as well as ATMs although fairly good service.
How do I make mobile money transactions with my cell phone in Kampala Uganda?
One new and expanding approach to handle money within Uganda is using cell phones commonly known as Mobile money. You can Sign up with any of the local carrier and then send and also receive money directly on your phone, obtainable almost any place across the country. But of course, you need to have some money deposited on it.
Shopping in Uganda
From jammed but fascinating markets filled with collectable handicrafts, to glitzy malls in our big city with the latest must have name brands, more so because our favorable exchange rate makes your retail therapy last longer too. Uganda’s shopping centers provide world-class shopping, plenty of entertainment, the latest movies and delicious food in conveniently situated and safe surroundings. Whether you are looking for something specific, have time on your hands to browse around or just love to shop, the boutiques, chain stores and specialist shops in the country’s malls have it all. The quality, cost and variety of goods on offer along with the safe, sophisticated environment provided by Uganda’s shopping centers should not take visiting international holidaymakers and business people by surprise.
Uganda’s malls are famous for their excellent shopping and entertainment facilities. When you leave the country after your holiday or business trip, you will lament the baggage restrictions of the international airlines and wish that you could take more of Uganda home with you! Vacationers can choose from dining and enjoying a drink at local or hotel bars and restaurants, seeing a movie at the cinema, attending a theatrical production at the cultural centre or gambling at one of the two casinos in town. Some bars host live music sessions at weekends. Uganda is known for their woodcarvings, handcrafted jewellery, textiles and attractive basketry – all make a memorable souvenir of your trip.
Nightlife in Kampala
From a night of fine dining to raucous all-night party in Kampala city Ugandans love to have a good time. Let your hair down and live it up in our clubs, pubs, late-night bars, theatres and live music venues. You won’t just find the best wildlife in our game parks…come on, the party’s starting! Experience a sundowner. Sip a cool drink and enjoy a glorious sunset at the end of a satisfying afternoon game drive. In the tourist towns of Kampala, there are a handful of restaurants, cinema and a clutch of places to grab a cold beer with fellow travelers and the friendly locals.
Casinos in Uganda
Bet on having a good time around Uganda. From our most famous Kampala casino for high-rollers to family entertainment venues– we’ve myriad casinos where you can take chance with Lady Luck. Ugandan casinos, including several large entertainment complexes, can be found countrywide. These entertainment destinations are typically designed around a specific theme and include a large range of activities for the whole family. Many are also geared towards business tourism, providing hotels and conferencing facilities as well.
Uganda’s casinos can be found on the fringes of most major centers. The emphasis is on being a one-stop leisure destination, with access to both indoor and outdoor entertainment. In Uganda, casinos are designed around a specific theme, offering a vision of life somewhat different from the run of the mill expectation of Africa. Nor are they typical casinos, most offering entertainment that goes beyond the usual slots and gaming tables. Among the most popular casinos in Uganda is the famed Kampala casino, in the city centre. Garden city is as famous for its golf course, game drives and outdoor activities as it is for gambling.
Uganda offers a wide variety of hotels lodge’s guesthouses, safari lodges available for travellers ranging from budget, midrange and high-end accommodation that are distributed in all parts of the country. For any destination you want to travel to, there accommodations that you can book at. Feel free to contact us for any of your travel accommodation plans and you will find all answers for Uganda accommodation.
Uganda Public Holidays
Below is the list of Uganda’s public holidays that are officially noticed by all citizens: Liberation day(26 Jan),Women’s Day (8 March),New Years’ Day (1 Jan),Independence Day (9 Oct),Labor Day(1 May),Heroes Day(9 June),Martyrs Day(3June),World Aids Day (1 Dec),Boxing Day (26 Dec),Christmas Day (25 Dec),Human Rights’ Day (10 Dec),Africa Day (25 May)
What are the interesting activities I can Do while in Uganda?
What are the interesting activities I can Do while in Uganda?
Tours and Adventures in Uganda
There are so many activities and adventures on a Uganda safari that it is difficult to stick to the details on your plan. Here are some of the top interesting tourist activities in Uganda that most tourists have come to love through the years.
Gorilla Trekking Safari, Uganda Travel Information
This ranks as the most important part of any Uganda safari itinerary. The once-in-a-lifetime experience takes you through the dense forests of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National park on the slopes of the Rwenzori ranges in search of the gentle giants. Groups of 8 people launch every day into the forest canopy behind the lead of a trained and armed ranger! It is surely exciting and a challenge that may take you up to eight intense hours of trekking. Without mountain gorilla trekking expeditions, Uganda safaris are not same!
Chimpanzee tracking and the Primates of Uganda
Uganda’s forests are home to an estimated 13 or more species of primates include the black & white colobus, red tailed monkeys, bush babies, olive baboons, gorillas and the habituated chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking is a fascination in Kibale Forest National park but there are also a few of these primates in Semliki National Park and Ngamba Island on Lake Victoria.
Wildlife safaris and National Parks in Uganda
There are 10 National parks and 12 game reserves in Uganda gifted with a wide range of flora and fauna. The most visited include Murchison Falls Park (which is the largest) and the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Take a game drive or a guided safari walk in the wilderness and encounter Uganda’s best kept mammals like the tree climbing Lions, zebras, Uganda kob, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, Harte beest and many more. Unique safari experiences take you to Lake Mburo National park for a canoe ride for sights of Uganda’s birds and animals visiting the vast lake.
Lake Bunyonyi tours
Lake Bunyonyi is found in South Western Uganda in the district of Kabale. It is Africa’s second deepest lake dotted with a few islands that are historically important to the people in this area. The lake is named after the birds that nest on the lake’s shore and surrounding swamps such as kingfishers, malachite eagles, sun birds, bee eaters, the rare shoebill stork and a few of the Albertine endemic species. Take a canoe ride to the island, nature walks around the lake or go swimming – Yes…the lake is Bilharzia free and good for swimming!
Bird watching safaris
If you are a nature enthusiast, then Uganda must have a special place in your heart. Over 3,000 species of birds are recorded to have nests in papyrus swamps, forests, lakeshores and national parks all over the country. Some of the best birding destinations like Lake Bunyonyi, Bwindi forest park, Kazinga channel in Queen Elizabeth Park and also in the different cities. Kampala city also has a few swamps with notable species like the stork and sun birds among others.
Hiking is not a popular sport In Uganda but you can be among the few tourists to reach some of the peaks of Uganda’s skyline. The ‘mountains of the moon’ popularly known as the Rwenzori mountain offer great hiking experiences often challenging but worth when you reach the glaciated peak. Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano in Eastern Uganda is also good for hiking and at the same time discovers some unique plant species that grow on the slopes of this fertile rock.
River Nile Adventures
It is the world’s longest river with its source on Lake Victoria in south central Uganda. The river has a number of rapids and water falls on its course to the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt. Bujagali falls is particularly good for kayaking and water rafting with class I, II and IV rapids while Bungee jumping is also done near the falls. You can continue pursuing the river to the spectacular Murchison Falls on the Victoria Nile in the west and so on
Kampala City Tours, Uganda Travel Information
Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and the busiest town in the country. It is Uganda’s largest town and an important centre for business, industry, transport and administration. There are also many interesting things to note and tour about this friendly town such as the independence monument, Uganda Museum & art galleries, Makerere University, Kabaka’s palace, the National theatre, Uganda Martyr’s Shrine at Namugongo and the different religious centres around the capital.
Shopping in Kampala
Kampala being the capital city of Uganda, it has plenty of modern and western style shops with a feel of western typical malls with luxury goods and fast food outlets. You can visit numerous local and upscale shopping places like local markets for fresh foods, supermarkets, boutiques and departmental stores. In some parts of the city there are shopping complexes offering designer labels, computer equipment and other wide range of goods available let it be specialist or luxury. From colorful and bustling markets to newly developed shopping malls, Kampala now has it all. There are many upscale hotels that cater to the influx of tourists.
Kampala is famous for its intoxicating overcrowded markets, streets and arcades with upscale goods and services. Very chaotic but with pretty experience, Owino market normally acknowledged as Balikuddembe market is the most admired local market in Kampala. Sprawling around Nakivubo stadium, Owino is well stocked with everything from manufactured goods to traditional medicine. Eminent for its second hand clothes “Ebikadde” in Luganda, new clothes can be made as well by local tailors after making a selection for a piece of cloth material. Visitors are bound to spend much time here not because they are having much fun but once you are inside it’s really difficult to find your way out.
Apart from these local markets, Uganda is endowed with shopping centers with a feel of typical western styles and among the best places for shopping are 5 big shopping centers; if you want luxury goods especially the American and European brands. This is your best bet because you are likely to do your shopping in one place from one of the following malls; Lugogo shopping mall, Acacia mall, Garden city, and Freedom city. Shopping places indoors include; big supermarkets like Nakumatt, Capital shoppers, Uchumi, Game and Payless, departmental stores, fast food outlets, jewelry and book shops.
Looking out for the best rates for changing large amounts of foreign currency, Kampala is the best way to go. Try out bureaus in Kampala for the best rates this time especially the dollar house and half east all located conveniently next to each other at king Fahad plaza along Kampala road. There are many more bureaus and rates change from time to time but are usually printed in local papers and white boards at the entrance.
There are several sophisticated craft shops around the national theatre and Uganda crafts 2000 limited that sell locally made Arts and crafts. Original and smart local items like bark-cloth clothing, drums, wood carvings, sandals, basketry, beaded jewelry and Muzungu t- shirts plus other items from all over Africa are sold. Look out for many cheaper crafts at park headquarters and the nearby communities, Entebbe airport, Garden city and Lugogo mall. Pieces of valuable handcrafts are available at relatively low prices compared to imported crafts; therefore don’t hesitate to snap a chance. Your purchase of arts, crafts, souvenirs and gifts impact the lives of ordinary Ugandans.
Look out for the best places for English language publications, with the great selection of books like novels and as well as Uganda at very reasonable and affordable prices. The best place is Aristoc, where books are stocked up to satisfy the customers’ needs. Get a reading material before heading on to long road trip. You can also have second hand books with a good selection of novels at a bit cheaper price down town. Bargaining is acceptable and the way to the business. You can bargain for better prices especially on souvenirs and your bargaining power determines what you pay in the end.
Cultural tours and safaris
Uganda is home to many tribes and peoples who live in harmony. Almost every part of Uganda has a tribe that relates to it with a unique heritage and institution called a Kingdom. The most popular kingdom is Buganda in central Uganda with proper institutional structures headed by the Kabaka who is the king. Some of its significant tourist sites include Kasubi Royal tombs, the Kabaka’s palace and lake in Mengo, Sezibwa falls and a host of cultural/spiritual sites dotted around the country. Other kingdoms worth visiting include Toro Kingdom Palace in Fort Portal and Busoga in Jinja among others.
Lake Victoria tours
Lake Victoria is Uganda’s largest lake seen on landing at the Entebbe International Airport. Catch a ferry or hire a charter boat to the spectacular Ssese Islands for a treat of the best beaches in Uganda. Ngamba Island is also another island to visit on the lake, synonymous with the Ngamba Chimpanzee sanctuary. The best ways to relax on one of these islands is by taking nature walks, forest walks, go fishing or treat yourself to some of the best fish in Uganda’s waters. It is the perfect place to relax after hectic safaris in Uganda before you take your departure flights.
Spot fishing in Uganda
Go fishing in Nile River and in Lake Victoria to explore a world of untouched, mystical beauty. Take advantage of some of the other activities on offer such as gliding along the scenic waterways of the Nile and Victoria on a dug-out canoe. For game fisherman, the Nile River teems with Nile perch one of the biggest fish species in Uganda. Catch your biggest one yet and be amazed at the size that the fish grow to in these areas. Houseboats offer 360 degrees of lush greenery filled with the music of chirping birds and beautiful waterways and absolutely luxurious living conditions. Glide through the Nile and Lake Victoria fringes to find fish-rich water
Lake Mburo national park is one of fewest parks that offer horseback riding in safari Uganda, but for the adventurous this is an experience not to be missed. Uganda is a land of immense natural beauty with diverse terrain and landscapes of which Lake Mburo national park with a lush emerald paradise of swamps and Precambrian metamorphic rocks, rich savannah grasslands is undoubtedly living proof of. On horseback you can truly absorb the magnificence of park like unique spectrum of ecosystems that supports an unbelievable variety of bird, plant and wildlife waiting to be discovered. Venture further into the park and get much closer to the abounding wildlife. Encounter exciting moments along the game trails as your horseback safari ride brings you upon great herds of buffalo, zebra, elands and other antelopes. Be assured that this activity is a magical and humbling experience that will touch your soul and remain in your heart for an eternity.
Flights to Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
Flights to Uganda, Uganda Travel Information
Flying to Uganda is simple and affordable. With many direct flights to Entebbe from Europe, Asia and Africa, Uganda can now be easily accessed from any part of the world. Below are the major international airlines that fly to Entebbe International Airport, Uganda:
KLM / Amsterdam – flights to and from Entebbe 5 times a week.
Brussels Airlines / Brussels – flights to and from Entebbe 3 times a week.
Emirates / Dubai – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
South African Airways / Johannesburg – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
Kenya Airways / Nairobi – flights to and from Entebbe 5 times a week.
Ethiopian Airways / Addis Ababa – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
Qatar Airways / Doha – flights to and from Entebbe daily.
Feel free to contact Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd for advice on flights to Uganda and which airline would be most suitable for you.
Domestic Flights, Uganda Travel Information
Prime Safaris and Tours Ltd would be delighted to book your scheduled domestic flights or private charters, providing excellent access to most of the national parks within Uganda. Daily domestic flights are available at affordable rates from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip, flying to Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Kidepo National Park among others.
Contact prime safaris and Tours Ltd for more information and prices on charter and scheduled flights to Uganda’s national parks or regional flights within East Africa.