Home Ecotourism Sites Budongo Forest
Set-in north-western Uganda, Budongo forest features among a few Africa’s spectacular tropical rain forests. It is about 3 to 4 hours’ drive from Kampala and makes up part of the vast Murchison Falls National Park-Uganda’s largest national park. It is one of the largest mahogany forest reserves which still thrive in Africa. It extends up to 825 square kilometres and it is remarkably one of Uganda’s few natural forests. This forest reserve straddles just at a boundary of Murchison Falls National Park. It comes with medium elevation of between 1110 and 1590 meters, moist, semi deciduous tropical rainforest. Budongo forest reserve is run by National Forestry Authority (NFA). Historically, it was preserved by the King of Bunyoro at a time and only with his permission could local chiefs hunt inside it. Credit goes to his strict policy on the flora and fauna till recently when this area is gazetted as a reserve in 1932. Locally, the word Budongo denotes fertile soil.
Its vast size offers refuge to diverse flora and fauna. While on Uganda safari in this forest reserve, expect to catch a glimpse at varied primates including over 600 chimpanzees that make up part of over 5000 individuals in Uganda. This makes it an ideal site for chimpanzee tracking which is conducted around Kaniyo Pabidi eco-tourism site, Busingiro eco-tourism site. It is dominated by mahogany and iron wood trees. Over 24 mammal species, 9 primate species and 280 butterflies. Beside chimpanzees, other primate species to spot out include blue monkeys, grey cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys and many others. Over 465 plant species are confined within this forest reserve and they include Mahogany trees that grow up to 80 meters. For birders, there are more than 360 bird species to identify in this forest reserve and they include the dusky long tailed cuckoo, yellow browned camaroptera, black headed paradise flycatcher, Pavel’s illadopsis, chocolate backed kingfishers, chestnut crowned remora, slender billed greenbul, white spotted fluff tail, Cassin’s hawk eagle, little green sunbird, yellow mantled weaver, crested Malimbe, lemon bellied crombec, forest robins and others.
Things to do in Budongo forest
This is conducted around Kaniyo Pabidi and takes you about 2 to 4 hours walk through the rainforest. You can embark on morning or afternoon chimpanzee tracking. There are habituated groups and equally only an hour is given to you to have magical encounter with these magnificent creatures, take photos and explore more about their behaviours. Along the way, you will also come across other primates like blue monkeys, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and several plant and tree species.
You can also take part in chimpanzee habituation which takes you through chimpanzee exploration. This is an exceptional primate adventure which is aimed at making chimpanzees get used to human presence before they are officially opened for tourism. It takes you the whole day to follow the chimpanzees in the wild mostly the semi habituated ones. Mostly, it involves researchers, scientists and conservationists. It is perfectly done around March to June and October to December.
Budongo forest is one of Uganda’s most significant birding sites. Uganda birding tour in his area gets you the best sight at birds like black headed paradise flycatcher, Puval’s illadopsis, chocolate backed kingfishers, chestnut crowned eremomera, slender billed greenbul, white spotted fluff tail, forest robins, Cassin’s hawk eagle, little green sunbird, yellow mantled weaver and many others.
Other activities include forest/nature walks in Pabidi hill and in the nearby areas you can explore mostly the Boomu Women’s Group and others.