Park at a Glance
Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip, which stands 1,590m above sea level. The lowest point is 1,100m on the floor of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south.
351 tree species have been recorded in the park, some rise to over 55m and are over 200 years old.
Kibale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.
Kibale is one of Africa’s foremost research sites. While many researchers focus on the chimpanzees and other primates found in the park, others are investigating Kibale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.
Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.
The park is home to a total of 70 mammal species, most famously 13 species of primate including the chimpanzee.
It also contains over 375 species of birds. Kibale adjoins Queen Elizabeth National Park to the south to create a 180km-long corridor for wildlife between Ishasha, the remote southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Sebitoli in the north of Kibale National Park.
Four Day Culture and Nature Tour Open or Close
Day 1: Arrival in Park
Choose to stay at one of the lodging options in Rwenzori National Park. Enjoy the cold breeze of Rwenzori spiced by the roar of the boulder filled River Mubuku
Day 2: Ruboni Hill Walk
Depart early in the morning to hike up Ruboni Hill. Enjoy scenic views of the River Mubuku as well as Baker and Portal Peaks as you ascend. Reaching the top of the 2300 meter hill, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Mountains of the Moon and the glorious snow-capped Margherita Peak. Return to your accommodation for dinner and relaxation.
Day 3: Cultural Hike or Village Walk
After an early breakfast set off on the Bulemba-Ihandiro Cultural Trail for impressive views and an exploration of the local Bakonzo culture. This 6-7 hours hike to a hilltop cultural museum passes through the “Bat Valley” – a holy place for the Bakonzo, and crosses the River Kamusonge. There is also a visit to the traditional healer who explains how he uses his “Muhima” or powers, to cure the sick.
Or you may decide to visit the neighboring villages of Ruboni (with Ruboni Community Camp) or Mihunga (with Rwenzori Turaco View) for a cultural tour including dance performances and the chance to buy local handcrafts.
Day 4: Onward Travel
Proceed to Queen Elizabeth National Park or return to Kampala.
Kilembe Trail Open or Close
- Day One: Kilembe (1,450m) to Kalalama (3156m) (Alt gain: +1706m). The first day involves a long steady climb through montane forest and bamboo to a campsite at Kalalama in the heather zone.
- Day Two: Kalalama (3156m) to Mutinda (3810m) (Alt gain: + 654m). The route follows the Kamusoni river to a campsite at the base of the 4200m Mutinda Towers outcrop.
- Day Three: Mutinda (3810m) to Lake Kopello Overlook (4185m) (Alt gain: +375m). Above Mutinda, the trail traverses open moorland to reach a camp at the Lake Kopello viewpoint.
- Day Four: Lake Kopello (4185m) to Mount Baker Base Camp (4160m) (Alt loss -15m). A day of ups and downs skirts the flank of Mt Luigi da Savoia to reach a campsite beside a tributary of the Butawu valley.
- Day Five: Mount Baker Base Camp (4160m) to Mount Baker (4842m) (Alt gain: +682m). An early start is required to climb to Freshfield Pass and Mount Baker before cloud obscures the views. Descend to Lake Kopello or Mutinda Camp.
- Day Six/Seven: Descent from Kopello (a 2350m descent) or Mutinda to Kilembe.
In addition to the Mount Baker route, the Kilembe Trail offers shorter and longer treks. This route is superbly scenic, reaching the dramatic heather zone by the end of the first day, and most casual hikers will consider the 3-day ascent to Lake Kopello Overlook a more-than-adequate Rwenzori experience. Keen mountaineers, on the other hand, can continue up the Butagu Valley from Mount Baker Base Camp to a Mount Stanley Base Camp on Scott Elliot Pass prior to ascending Mount Stanley.
Central Circuit Open or Close
- Day One: Follow the Mubuku River before ascending a steep ridge of glacial moraine to Nyabitaba Hut (2651m).
- Day Two: Start with a steep descent to cross the Mubuku River, followed by a long hike along the boulder-strewn sides of the Bujuku valley through forest, bamboo and heather zones to John Matte Hut (3505m)
- Day Three: Cross the famous Bigo Bog and the Upper Bujuku Valley beneath the massive cliffs of Mount Baker. The route skirts Lake Bujuku to reach Bujuku Hut (3962m) at the head of the valley between Mounts Stanley and Speke
- Day Four: The route climbs the rocky Groundsel Gully and steep scree slopes to Scott Elliot Pass (4372m) for an unforgettable view back down towards Mount Speke and Lake Bujuku down the U-shaped Bujuku Valley. The climb finishes at Elena Hut (4541m) below the snowline of Mount Stanley.
- Day Five: The Big Day! Start before dawn for the chilly trek through snow and ice to climb to the 5109m Margerita Peak, the roof of the Rwenzori, before the views and the route are obscured by mist. The descent returns to Scott Elliot Pass and descends the deep Kitandara Gorge to a mountain hut by the twin Kitandara lakes (4023m).
- Day Six: Begin with a steep climb to Freshfield Pass (4282m), a spectacular spot carpeted by bright yellow mosses and offering tremendous view of Mounts Stanley and Baker. The trail descends the Upper Mubuku valley to Guy Yeoman Hut (3505m).
- Days Six and Seven: Below Guy Yeoman, the trail follows the Mubuku down the cliffs of Karirupea to complete the Central Circuit at Nyabitaba Hut. Hikers may overnight here to continue to the trailhead at Ruboni for greater comforts.