Budongo Forest Reserve is one of the most splendid tropical rain-forests in northwestern Uganda and it forms part of Murchison Falls National Park. This 825 square kilometer forest features among the biggest tropical rain forests not only in Uganda and East Africa. It is divided into 3 (three) parts; the woodland forest, the high forest, and the grasslands and each part feature a number of unique forest species.
It refuges over 366 bird species, 29 amphibians, and 95 mammal species and 250 butterflies, 465 plant species including trees and shrubs and insects that are all worth exploring while you are on Uganda safari. Budongo Forest Reserve is famous for most of its huge mahogany trees in East Africa. Mahogany trees in this forest are stunning and they feature among the prime attractions in Budongo. About 8 people can hold to encircle a full circumference of over 20-meter wide Mahogany.
Budongo Forest Reserve stands within the southern area of Murchison Falls National Park, the largest protected area and the leading safari destination in Uganda. Whereas the northern part-past the Nile of Murchison Falls National Park is famous for its stunning wildlife experiences across the warm massive savanna grasslands, Budongo forest reserve in the southern sector offers the most enjoyable and incredible experiences that come from its cool and calm spectacular rain forest.
The forest also features about 2 (two) sites that are well established in terms of tourism activities and they include Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Eco-Tourism Site. Kaniyo Pabidi is situated in the southern rim of Murchison Falls National Park. It is just half minutes’ drive off the Kichumbanyobo gate to the Visitor Information Centre at Budongo Eco lodge that also acts as a starting point for most of the trail heads into the jungles of Budongo. Busingiro, on the other hand, is situated on the western side of the forest just outside the park.
Tourist Activities in Budongo Forest Reserve
- Chimpanzee trekking
If you are interested in both game drives and chimpanzee tracking safari in Uganda then consider Budongo Forest as one of the best places that shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list. Chimpanzee adventures are conducted within Kaniyo Pabidi, southern side of Murchison Falls National Park. The usual treks kick off from the visitor center at Budongo Eco Lodge.
Depending on the season, chimpanzees can be easily tracked especially when there is plenty of food unlike during the dry season when food tends to be scarce and most of them go to further places looking for what to eat and hence longer time is spent by visitors while tracking them. Chimpanzee trekking is conducted in the morning and in the afternoon and like any destination, you will spend only one hour with these incredible primates in the wild. This also offers you a chance to sight most of the primates like the red-tailed monkeys, black and white monkeys. If you are planning for your vacation to Murchison Falls National Park, chimpanzee trekking should be a must to include in your travel itinerary.
- Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
For visitors who wish to enhance their experiences on chimpanzees, then chimpanzee habituation experience should be your next best alternative in Budongo Forest. This chimpanzee adventure covers an entire day for visitors to track for these unique primates while exploring more about their general behavior especially their feeding, mating behaviors till that time when they build their nests for the night. This adventure is mainly conducted during low season.
- Bird watching
About 360 distinct bird species call Budongo forest their home making it one of the important birding areas in Uganda. It also consists one of the most famous bird watching trails called the Royal Mile. There are also other trails around Kaniyo Pabidi which are shared for nature walks and chimpanzee trekking. The notable forest bird-life for you to spot out in this forest reserve include the Guinea-Congo forest biome. The puvel’s illadopsis features as the forest’s prime bird species and it isn’t sighted anywhere in East Africa. The other species that are worth spotting include the Nahan’s Francolins, Black-winged Pratincole, brown twin spot, Ituri batis, pygmy crake, white-thighed hornbill, black-eared ground thrush, yellow-footed flycatcher, blue-breasted kingfisher, Cassin’s hawk eagle, African dwarf and kingfisher, chestnut capped flycatcher and many more.
- Nature walks
Besides chimpanzee experiences, there are also guided nature walks that are conducted in Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Eco Sites through remarkable a network of trails. The trails offer a variety of attractions for nature lovers to explore especially different trees and shrubs, rare wildlife like the Cicada, animals, birds, monkeys and many others.
In conclusion, Budongo Forest Reserve is one of Uganda’s most remarkable forests that come with a variety of tourist attractions for visitors to excite their minds while on their vacation. For travelers who are planning to visit Murchison Falls National Park this coming holiday, Budongo Forest shouldn’t miss out in your travel plan.