Located in the southwestern region of Uganda, Kibale National Park covers about 795 km² (306.9 miles²). The park is between 1,100 m (3610 ft) and 1,600 m (5250 ft) above sea level and encompasses one of the country’s last remaining tropical forests. It is also one of the few remaining areas to contain both lowland and montane forests, such as wet tropical vegetation, woodland and savannah. This diversity of habitats is due to the range in altitude.
Two major tribes, the Batooro and Bakiga, inhabit the surrounding area of the park and use it for food, fuel and a number of other resources. Because populations have significantly increased, biodiversity within the park itself has been adversely affected. Although the park retains high ecological value, it has been threatened by consumptive use and deforestation over the last few decades.
Kibale National Park is home to 70 mammal species, including elephants and buffalo. Lions purportedly are still found here, but the reality is they are rarely, if ever, seen. Most notable among these is the diverse primate population, including the chimpanzee. The park also has over 375 bird species. Although the park is home to a diverse number of mammals, it is often hard to see them due to the dense forests. The park has over 351 types of trees, some rising over 55m (180 feet) and aged over 200 years old. However, this makes Kibale National Park a prime safari destination for chimpanzee tracking and bird watching. Visitors also have a choice of nature walks and tours of the volcanic crater lakes. There are two main tourism centers within the park, Kanyanchu River Camp and Sebitoli Forest Camp, which can be reached by car from a northern or southern route.
Kibale's proximity to Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) makes it easy for visitors to see both parks. Kibale lies to the north of QENP and the two touch via a game corridor.
The park is open year-round, but during the rainy season, which runs from October through December and March through May, roads are difficult to use. The dry season, during the months of June and September, the average temperature is 25 C (77 F), but even then visitors can anticipate the occasional thunderstorm, particularly in the northern, wettest part of the park. Overall, the climate is pleasant with annual temperatures ranging from 14 C to 27 C (57 F to 80 F), and visitors should expect cooler nights. The best time to visit is during the hot, dry months of January and February when animals will stay near the water.