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Tours & Travel

Kabale National Park: The primate capital of the world

KABALE NATIONAL PARK – Kabale 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.

Kabale is famously known for Chimpanzee tracking

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.

Kabale 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 Kabale National Park.

The Kabale-Fort Portal area is one of Uganda’s most rewarding destinations to explore. The park lies close to the tranquil Ndali-Kasenda crater area and within half a day’s drive of Queen Elizabeth, the Rwenzori Mountains and Semuliki National Parks, as well as the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve.

Park at a glance

Size: 795km2

Kabale 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.

Kabale 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 Kabale’s ecosystems, wild pigs and fish species, among other topics.

Kabale’s varied altitude supports different types of habitat, ranging from the wet tropical forest on the Fort Portal plateau to woodland and savanna on the rift valley floor.

Kabale’s most popular activity is the Kanyanchu Primate Walk. Thirteen species can be sought, and a good variety of diurnal monkeys invariably encountered, but the stars of this trail are the chimpanzees. Kanyanchu’s chimps have been tracked since 1993 and the chances of locating them are excellent. Guided walks start at 8 am and 2 pm and last an average of three hours, depending on various factors.

The perennially popular primate walk provides the chance to observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat. Kanyanchu’s groups are accustomed to human presence – some have been observed for over 25 years – and the chance of locating them is over 90%.

Walks leave Kanyanchu Visitor Centre at 08.00, 11.00 and 14.00 and last between 2-5 hours. Early arrival to allow for registration and briefing is recommended. Contact time with chimpanzees is limited to one hour; group size is limited to six visitors; participants must be aged 16 or over. Advance booking is essential.

Chimpanzee habituation experience

The Chimpanzee Habituation Experience (CHEX) enables visitors to accompany researchers and habituators into the forest. The chimpanzee groups involved are less accustomed to human presence than those visited on the Primate Walk and following and viewing them is both exciting and challenging.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is available on a full or half day basis starting and advance booking for this activity is required.   Early visitors can watch chimps leaving their overnight nests between 6:00 – 6:30 am before feeding, copulating, hunting, breastfeeding, resting, patrolling and displaying until it is time to build new nests around 7 pm.

Various local tour operators that have been accredited by the government  are available to provide services including  Chimpanzee Habituation Experience booking in order to ensure that you get your slot at the appropriate time

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