Budongo forest reserve; Budongo forest is a natural forest located in southern part of Uganda in Murchison falls national park. Budongo forest reserve is the largest mahogany forest in East Africa which covers a total area of 825 square kilometers and it’s a home of different wildlife species including mammals like elephants, buffaloes, primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, amphibians, butterflies, variety of bird species among others. Budongo forest reserve is characterized with patches of savanna vegetation, woodland, semi-deciduous forest among others and it offers different activities that visitors can engage in during the safari including,

Activities in Budongo forest

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is one of the major activities in Budongo forest that attracts big numbers of travelers and it involves visitors moving on foot into the tropical rainforest in search of the habituated chimpanzees. Budongo forest is a home of over 800 chimpanzees and trekking starts very early in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations to follow during trekking. After the briefing, you will be allocated a habituated chimpanzee family to trek and an experienced park guide who is well conversant with chimpanzee trekking trails. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where the chimpanzees are located because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking, you will be able to view other primate species, different bird species, tree species among others. Once the chimpanzees are found, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to learn about their behaviors, habits, watch them feed, breastfeed, play, hunt, fight, rest, take photos and record videos.

Budongo forest reserve
Chimpanzee Trekking tours

Chimpanzee habituation experience

Chimpanzee habituation experience is another interesting activity in Budongo forest where the wild chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence for trekking. Chimpanzee habituation experience in Budongo forest is only carried out during the low season and the experience starts very early in the morning with a briefing about the rules and regulations at the park headquarters. After the briefing, you will join a team of researchers and start trekking in the forest in search of the chimpanzees and once the chimpanzee family is located, you will get an opportunity to spend four hours with the chimpanzees in their environment.

Bird watching in Budongo forest

Budongo forest is a home of over 355 recorded bird species which makes it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. Bird watching in Budongo forest is best done very early in the morning with an experienced bird guide following different birding trails in the royal mile and Kaniyo Pabidi where you will be able to spot different bird species including chocolate-backed kingfisher, lemon-bellied crombec, yellow footed fly catcher, speckled tinker bird, grey-headed sunbird, yellow-manted weaver, Cassin’s honeyguide, pygmy crake, yellow spotted barbet, little green sunbird, Cassin’s spinetail, blue-throated roller, black-headed paradise flycatcher, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, brown twinspot, African shrike flycatcher, African emerald cuckoo, crowned eagle, western black-headed oriole, forest robin, Illadopsis Puveli, Guinea Congo forest biome, blue-breasted kingfisher, white-thighed hornbill, black-winged Pranticole, Ituri Batis, dwarf kingfisher, Nahan’s francolin among others.

Nature walks

Nature walk is an interesting activity in Budongo forest where visitors will get an opportunity to explore the reserve on foot with the company of an experienced park guide and armed ranger guide to protect you from any danger. During the guided nature walk, you will be able to view different tree species, birds, mammals like buffaloes, elephants, enjoy the cool breeze, listen to sweet sounds of bird species singing in trees, take photos among others.

Best time to visit Budongo forest reserve

Budongo forest reserve can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February because during this period there is less or little rainfall in the reserve therefore nature walk and chimpanzee trekking trails will be dry and passable which makes trekking easy compared to the rainy season when the trails are muddy and slippery which make trekking difficult.

Budongo forest reserve
Birding Tours

Where to stay in Budongo forest reserve

There are limited number of accommodation facilities in Budongo forest reserve where you can stay during the safari including Budongo eco lodge, other accommodations are found in the northern part of Murchison falls national park including Twiga safari lodge, Paraa safari lodge, Pakuba safari lodge, Murchison river lodge, Nile safari lodge, Parkside safari lodge among others.

How to get to Budongo forest reserve

Budongo forest reserve is located in northwestern part of Uganda and can be accessed by road transport means where you will drive from Kampala through Luwero, Masindi and then to Budongo forest via Kichumbanyobo gate which takes about 4 hours’ drive.

Budongo forest reserve can also be accessed by air transport means where you will book scheduled or charter domestic flights with Aero link Uganda or Bar aviation from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba airstrip and then connect to Budongo forest reserve by road.

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