A mountain gorilla in Uganda

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Kibale National Park

A Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park

Kibale National Park is a area of prestine rainforest located in the South West of Uganda. It is perhaps one of the finest places in the world for primates. The Kibale forest is home to 13 primate species more than any other East African park, this includes red-tailed L’Hoest and blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red colobus and black and white colobus and a substantial population of chimpanzees.

It has been estimated that 600 chimpanzees in serveral comunities live in Kibale, these are currently the subject of long term studies into their social behaviour. There is a habituated group of 70 stong chimpanzees located at Kanyanchu; organised chimpanzee tracking can take place in this region. The tracking takes place twice a day, morning and late afternoon. As you track the chimpanzees through the forest, knuckle prints in the mud, adandoned nests, brocken branches, and descarded fruit and seeds are all a good sign that you are on the right trail. Out of all the African Primates the chimpanzee is definitely the loudest, from the time they wake until they settle for the night, there are always fantastic noises being created. This makes chimpanzee tracking much easyier than it should outherwise be, even when you are right in the midst of the animals it can still be very hard to spot them through the thick forest vegetation. Unfortunately keeping up with a moving chimpanzee group is not quite as easy as they swing from vines, climb up trees and effortlesly jump across clearings.

In addition the park authorities offer fantastic night walks, a great opportunity to search for nocturnal primates such as the wide-eye bush baby and the sloth-like potto. Kibale is also a sanctuary to the elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart. Other mammals include buffalo, giant forest hog and several antelope species.

The network of forest trails are a delight to botanists, birders and butterfly lovers. Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is a superb community tourism initiative established to protect the Magombe Swamp it is a haven for birds and primates. The walks through the sanctuary are led by knowledgeable guides, for birders the morning walks are particularly recommended.