Chimpanzee Trekking in Budongo Forest Reserve
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest reserve: Budongo forest reserve is one of the largest and best-protected forest reserves in Uganda the pearl of Africa situated in Masindi district and it stretches to Murchison falls national park thus is considered to be part of the oldest and largest savanna park in Uganda. Budongo forest reserve is mentioned amongst the best chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda mostly done by tourists who seek to spend more days in Murchison falls national park thus it’s very easy to combine chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest with a wildlife viewing adventure in Murchison falls national park.
Budongo forest thrills with over 700 chimpanzees though only a few are available for trekking. There are other primate species that reside in Budongo forest such as Grey cheeked Mangabey monkeys, Blue monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, Olive baboons, Black and white Colobus monkeys plus mammals such as buffaloes, leopards, plenty of bird species including Flycatcher, Illadopsis, Crowned Eagle, African Emerald Cuckoo, Honeyguide, Guinea Congo forest Biome, Woodpecker, Slender-billed Greenbul, Hornbills, Weaver birds, Kingfishers, Barbet, Hawk Eagle, Forest Robin, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo and many other fauna and flora species.
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest like any other trekking adventure starts with a pre briefing by the rangers about the dos and don’ts while in the habitat of chimpanzees. During briefing, trekkers get to receive all the possible information about chimpanzees, their life style, and the possible encounters while in the wilderness of chimpanzees. After briefing, trekkers are led into Budongo forest for about 2-5 hours to search for the habituated troop of chimpanzees in their natural habitats. And once the chimpanzees are found, trekkers are allowed to spend only 1 hour in their presence taking photographs and closely interacting with these primates as they play, copulate, groom each other, breastfeed and many more. Once one hour is done, trekkers exit the forest and return to their accommodation to proceed with other activities or relaxation depending on the itinerary.
Packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest
Here are some of the equipment necessary as you plan your chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo forest and they include;
A chimpanzee trekking permit: This is an identification that enables you to access the chimpanzees in their natural habitats. Chimpanzee trekking for Budongo forest can easily be booked through a registered tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris which can as well organize an entire safari at ease since we are based on ground in Uganda the pearl of Africa. Currently, chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo forest costs $100 per person.
Water proof hiking boats: Since chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest takes trekkers through muddy and slippery terrains, appropriate hiking boats are essentials and one of the must have equipment while planning your chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo forest. These boats should be light to avoid adding more weight as the trekking time is never predictable since it can take a few hours to several hours depending on the movement of chimpanzees and trekking speed of the slowest person in your group.
Long sleeved attire: This is necessary to protect your precious body from being scratched by thorny plants as well as insect bites since anything is possible with nature.
A cap and sun glasses: as you plan your chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo forest, ensure that you prepare your cap and sun glasses that will protect you from direct sunlight while in the jungle trekking chimpanzees in Budongo forest.
A rain jacket: One need to know that in the wild especially with the climatic conditions of Uganda being tropical climate, it’s very possible to rain at any given period of time even in dry months it’s possible to expect some rains in the afternoon thus a rain jacket is another essential to include on your packing list for chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest.
Enough snacks and drinking water: On trekking day, ensure that your backpack is filled with some snacks to keep you energized and enough drinking water to keep you hydrated during chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest.
Chimpanzee Trekking Rules and Regulations, Dos & don’ts
- 12 years of age is the considered to be the minimum age limit for chimpanzee trekking.
- A maximum number of 8 trekkers is allowed per troop of Chimpanzees
- Only 1 hour is allowed
- A minimum distance of at least 7Meters between you and chimpanzees for safety purposes
- Do not eat or drink while in vicinity of Chimpanzees
- Keep your voice as low as possible while in habitat of chimpanzees
- Avoid un necessary movements in habitat of chimpanzees
- Do not smoke in habitat of chimpanzees
- Do not use flash light while taking photographs
- Sick people are not allowed to trek chimpanzees especially those with flue and cold
- In case of going for a short call, ensure that you burry your very deep at least 30cm underground
- Always listen to guidelines offered by rangers and guides
Getting to Budongo forest reserve can be either by road or by air.
- By road, since the forest is part of Murchison falls national park, a road drive takes about 5-6 hours.
- By air, travelers who chose to access Budongo forest by air book domestic flights from Entebbe / Kajansi to Pakuba then connect on a road drive to Budongo forest.
Accommodation/ Where to stay in Budongo Forest Reserve
Budongo forest reserve offers different accommodation facilities including both Budget, Mid-Range and Luxury some of which are situated with in Murchison falls national park since the forest is a stretch of the park. These accommodations include; Budongo Eco lodge, Kabalega lodge, Paraa safari lodge and many more.
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is such a magical experience usually enjoyed by travelers on a Uganda safari to Murchison falls national park. Other destinations for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda include; Kibale forest national park, Kaniyo Pabidi forest with in Murchison falls national park, Kalinzu forest, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park and Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve. Other activities enjoyed in Budongo forest include nature walks to spot some other wildlife in the forest, birding, chimpanzee habituation experience as well as wildlife viewing adventures in Murchison falls national park among others.