Budongo Forest : Usually when you book a safari to Murchison falls national park, one of the activities your tour consultant or operator may recommend is a trip to Budongo Forest for a primate experience. Which I think if you give a chance you will be delighted you did because this forest is beyond spectacular, it’s a forest you should visit.

Budongo Forest is known to be the biggest Mahogany forest in the east and central region. It has over 200 tree species that make a aperfect home for primates especially chimpanzees, monkeys, baboons etc. the forest also has other wildlife like lions, leopards among others.

Sitting on 115 kilometer of space the forest’s main tourist sites are: the Busingiro Ecotourism site and Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site which happen to also be close to Murchison Falls National Park. The forest is refreshed by River Waiga that is also a source of water to all the wildlife species that live in this forest.

The forest is along the way to Murchison Falls National Park that’s why its visit is usually combined with a Murchison Falls’ visit. The forest is located 3 to 4 hours northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

Because the forest is a chimpanzee habitat the major tourist activity done  in this forest is chimpanzee trekking; done all year, but majorly between October and January when the forest fruits are fewer causing the chimpanzees to  move through the forest more, hence easier to be seen.

Like the normal trekking experience, this starts with a short brief at the starting point and then you enter the forest for the trek. When you meet the chimpanzees you will spend an hour with them and then exit the forest.

The same chimpanzee trekking rules and guidelines apply which are not trekking while you are ill especially if you have a communicable disease, keeping a 7m distance between you and the chimpanzees, not using flash photography, not littering the chimpanzee habitat, not touching or feeding the chimpanzees, not coughing or sneezing into the chimpanzees, not engaging in any activity that can harm the chimpanzees among other rules.

Budongo Forest
Chimpanzee in Budongo Forest

The chimpanzee trek here is takes about 4 to 6 hours. However sometimes it can be longer if the chimpanzees are not easily found. This is because few chimpanzees are habituated in this forest so most tend to run away at the sight of humans making it hard to see them on a trek.

Other activities done in the forest are nature walks and bird watching experiences. The nature takes you through the forest to experience the different 465 tree species especially the Mahoganys; on this walk you get to enjoy the breeze of the forest views of butterflies, Moths and everything the forest has to offer.

On a bird watching experience on the other hand, you go through the forest to see the numerous birds that live in this forest. The forest is home to over 360 bird species including some unique endemic birds, Guinea Congo forest-Biome, the Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Illadopsis puveli, Neafrapus cassini, Ceratogymna fistulator, Smithornis rufolateralis and others.

The visit to budongo forest is usually a day maximum, unless you want to be in the forest more couple of times, you can keep coming back. Usually tourists visit budongo forest on their way to Murchison falls national park or from Murchison falls national park. The tourists will opt to stay at Murchison Falls National Park.

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