Kabobo Massif consists of about 1,000 km2 of submontane and montane rainforest ranging from about 700 to over 2700 metres on the escarpment to the west of Lake Tanganyika. Because there is very little forest left within this altitudinal range in Africa, this area is particularly valuable for the conservation of chimpanzees and other species.
The Massif has the most southerly population of chimpanzees in the Congo Basin forests, estimated in about 1500 individuals which represent one of the few viable populations of eastern Chimpanzees in the Albertine Rift region.
The region is also important for its populations of endemic subspecies of Angolan Colobus (Colobus angolensis prigoginei) confined to this forest, possibly a subspecies of Bongo (the only other Bongo found in mountainous areas in Kenya is a different subspecies), and Red Colobus (Pilocolobus oustaleti foai) which is also a subspecies confined to this region. In the 60s of the last century the Belgian ornithologist Prigogine identified in Kabobo 18 Albertine Rift endemic bird species, including the Kabobo Apalis (Apalis kaboboensis) found only in this region. As a result, Kabobo was nominated as part of the Albertine Rift Endemic Bird Area by Birdlife International and was included in WWF ‘s Albertine Rift Ecoregion. Brief surveys in the 1950s identified at least seven endemic amphibians (we have added two more since) and two endemic reptiles were also known from Mt. Kabobo. The region was also identified as a ‘Centre of Plant Diversity” despite little information being available for it.