Top Things to do at Budongo Forest
TOP THINGS TO DO AT BUDONGO FOREST
The southern bank of Murchison Falls National park is more of forest and en route to the park is the 825 sqkm tropical rainforest- Budongo Central forest reserve. The forest is on the Albertine escarpment and is famous for the biggest number of mahogany trees and chimpanzee population. The forest hosts 24 mammals and of these 9 are primates that include the monkeys and chimpanzees, 360 bird species, 290 butterflies, 130 moths, and 465 trees. Chimpanzee tracking and bird watching are among the top things to do at Budongo Forest.
Budongo Forest has two sections: Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro. The Kaniyo Pabidi section offers the chimpanzee tracking experience and the Busingiro section has the Royal Mile which is an excellent hotspot for bird watching in Uganda.
The To-do list at Budongo Forest includes:
Budongo Forest has over 120 chimpanzees and of these, a habituated troop is visited, daily visitors. During the low seasons of March to June and November to February, tourists can engage in an all-day chimpanzee habituation experience (CHEX). The chimpanzee habituation process takes about 2 years and it is done by researchers, doctors together with guides and rangers. So visitors can have a chance to spend more time with the chimpanzees by accompanying the researchers.
Chimpanzee tracking here is done in sessions: one in the morning and the other in the afternoon at Kaniyo Pabidi. The walk can take 2-5 hours inclusive of the 1 hour of viewing and photography. Guides following the advance team lead visitors into the forest as they keep in contact with the trackers to know the location of the chimpanzees. The walk also offers sightings of other primates like the Black and white colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, and olive baboons among others. It is a cheap option to get to see Chimpanzees while visiting Murchison falls national park.
Budongo forest is another important forest after Semliki National park. The forests host classified diversity which includes 360 bird species. It is prolific avilife has some species found nowhere else in East Africa. It has a fusion of Sudan-Guinea and Guinea-Congo species that make it a hot spot for many bird watchers. Specials here include Nahan’s Francolin, African Citril, Splendid Starling, Lesser Grey Shrike, Yellow Backed Weaver, Chin-spot batis, warblers among others.
Guided Nature walks
With the company of armed rangers, visitors can walk deep into the forest as they experience the cool breeze and the green forest. The forest is the largest mahogany forest in East Africa and a walk will give you insights into the components of the forest from some of the oldest trees, primates, birds, among others.
If you have days at Murchison falls, you can consider including primate watching at Budongo Forest in your itinerary. It can be visited all year round but the dry months of June to September and November to Feb are the best.