Kibale National Park is situated in the Western side of Uganda, on the outskirts of Fortportal Town. Kibale is one of the most outstanding destinations that offer unforgettable Uganda safari experience! It is the best place to go chimpanzee tracking in Africa with a success rate of over 95% chances of meeting these great apes on a single trek. This Park covers an area of 795 square kilometers, was established into a Forest reserve in 1932 and into a National park in 1993.
What to See & Do
This park is a real biodiversity hot spot because it is a home to over 70 mammal species including over 13 primate species, but the most popular one being the Chimpanzees. This Park actually offers the most fascinating Chimpanzee tracking experience in the whole of Africa. This Park is also a bird watcher’s Paradise because it is a home to over 351 bird species and over 200 butterfly species. Kibale Forest National Park is not only a place of natural beauty but also of Cultural Significance.
Experience Cultural Tours in Kibale Forest
The Kibale Forest National Park is found in an area mainly occupied by two tribes that include the Batooro (the majority tribe) and the Bakiga (the minority). These people rely on the Forest for resources such as firewood, timber, herbal medicine and some plants/trees act as source of food. It is very interesting that these two tribes have different cultural beliefs, hence a cultural encounter with these tribes is so rewarding and worth trying when you visit this park. However, the most interesting cultural encounter within Kibale Forest National Park is the Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED).
This is a community-run Organization that encourages local livelihoods and Biodiversity Conservation through Ecotourism Development. When you participate in a nature walk in the company of a local tour guide, you will go along the trail through the fascinating Magombe wetland. While on this walk, you will come to up-close with several wildlife species especially 8 species Primates, more than 200 interesting species of Birds and several butterfly species. The everyday life of the Batooro (traditional inhabitants of the areas around Kibale Forest national Park) can be explored during the Village/Community walks where you will be led to some of the Village Primary schools, churches and visit to the traditional healer who uses local herbs to treat several sicknesses. Make sure that when you travel to Kibale Forest national park, you add this interesting cultural encounter on your itinerary to experience the interesting activities of this Organization.
These cultural walks also unveil the role of women in the Villages and traditional ceremonies and you will be introduced to the history of Bigodi, which is believed to have evolved as the “Village of two Tribes”. This legendary story describes how the native Batooro were invaded and joined by the Bakiga from the far South-western side of Uganda in the early 1950s.
The income derived from activities of KAFRED is invested into Health (renovation and construction of health Centers), Education (building schools), Water and Sanitation (through construction of wells/springs) hence improving the livelihoods/standard of living of then local residents. This project is also helpful in promoting sensitization and awareness of the Value of biological diversity through songs, dances and drama performances at local schools and functions. This is evident that this Project is the most outstanding and in 2010, KAFRED was awarded with the UNDP’s Equator Initiative Award because of its significance.
In conclusion, besides Chimpanzee tracking that Kibale Forest National Park is known for, this National Park is a home of the Kibale Association for Rural Environment Development (KAFRED). This non-government Organization has invested in several local community projects such as water and Sanitation, Health, construction and renovation of Secondary schools and improvement in nutrition among the local community members.