Explore Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park: Budongo forest is a natural mahogany forest in the Masindi area of Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest and most visited national park. The forest covers 825 square kilometers and is home to wildlife species such as chimps, grey-cheeked Mangabeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, 24 mammal species, 280 butterflies, 130 moths, 465 plant species with old mahogany trees that can grow up to 80 meters long, 360 bird species such as black-headed paradise flycatcher, forest robin, yellow manted weaver, little green sunbird, chocolate backed Kingfisher and the Yellow Hornbill among others.
What to do during your visit to Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park?
Chimpanzee trekking is an exciting and risky pastime in which guests travel into the bush in search of habituated chimp families. After gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, chimp trekking is Uganda’s second most popular pastime. Budongo forest is home to around 600 chimps, making it one of the greatest chimp trekking sites in Uganda after Kibale forest national park, which has the most chimps.
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is done in two sessions: the morning session, which begins around 8:00 am, and the afternoon session, which begins around 2:00 pm. The trek begins early in the morning with a briefing at the Budongo eco lodge’s information center. Following the briefing, you will be divided into groups of six, assigned a chimp family to travel with and a guide, and will begin trekking in the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest takes around 2 to 3 hours, or perhaps an entire day, depending on where the chimps are located because they tend to go deep into the forest in search of food during the dry season. Once the chimps have been located, you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural environment, learning about their lifestyle, mannerisms, and routines while taking photographs and documenting the events.
Visitors who want to engage in chimpanzee trekking activity in Budongo forest in Murchison Falls national park should first acquire a chimpanzee trekking permit which costs $130 allows you to spend one hour with the gorillas and is valid for one day. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo forest should however be acquired 3 months in advance because they are competitive and usually get sold out, Explore Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Budongo Forest.
This is a process where the chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence and the process takes a period of 2 years to be complete. Budongo forest carries out chimpanzee habituation experience during the low season in the months of March to May and October to November.
During the chimpanzee habituation experience in Budongo forest in Murchison falls national park, guests get the opportunity to accompany a team of researchers, trackers, and park rangers as they learn about chimpanzee behaviors and routines, watch their eating and activity, and help in identifying the chimpanzees. Visitors who participate in chimpanzee habituation spend four hours with the chimps in their natural habitat, as opposed to one hour during chimpanzee trekking.
Guided Nature Walks in Budongo Forest.
This is an exciting activity in which tourists may explore the forest on foot while enjoying the fresh air and cool breeze while listening to the beautiful sounds of the birds. During the guided nature walk, you will follow trails to Kaniyo Pabidi forest, where you will see tall mahogany trees that are over 70 years old, as well as wild animals who come to lick salt off the trees. You will also travel paths through the savannah plains that link to Murchison Falls National Park, where you will be able to see elephants, buffaloes, lions, Uganda kobs, and several bird species.
Birding in Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park.
Budongo forest is home to approximately 360 bird species, including several that are not seen anywhere else in East Africa, making it one of the top birding places in Uganda. Birding in the forest is done with an expert birding guide who will take you to the Busingiro area’s royal mile, which stretches to a forest college.
During your birding experience in Budongo forest in Murchison Falls national park you can look out for bird species like a yellow-footed flycatcher, pygmy crake, white spotted flufftail, Cassin’s hawk eagle, crowned eagle, yellow-browed carmaroptera, blue-throated roller, yellow-crested woodpecker, brown twin spot, little green sunbird, grey-headed sunbird, chestnut capped flycatcher, dwarf kingfisher, fire crested alethe, red-capped robin chat, brown eared woodpecker, Ituri Batis, black-capped Apalis among others.
When to visit Budongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park?
Budongo forest may be visited at any time of year, but the optimum time is during the dry season, which lasts from June to September and December to February. Because there is less rainfall in the forest during this period, access roads to Budongo forest will be passable, and paths in the forest for chimp trekking, nature walks, and birding will be dry and passable, as opposed to the rainy season when the pathways are muddy and treacherous.
However, the Budongo forest in Murchison Falls national park can also be visited in the rainy season during the months of March to May and October to November. Though the forest receives heavy rainfall during the rainy season chimpanzee trekking activity is easy in that there will be plenty of food for chimpanzees therefore they can easily be viewed at the information Centre, chimpanzee trekking permits are less competitive and you can also engage in chimpanzee habituation experience during your visit to Budongo forest.
Where to stay during your visit Budongo Forest?
Visitors visiting Budongo Forest may stay in a variety of luxury, midrange, and budget lodgings, including Masindi Hotel, New Court View Hotel, Budongo Eco Lodge, Hotel Victory Bijja, and Kabalega Resort Hotel, among others.
The lodgings include high-quality services and facilities such as comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a restaurant, a bar, conference spaces, free Wi-Fi in public areas, a gift store where you can purchase souvenirs, and gardens for leisure, among other things.
In summary; Budongo forest is located in the southern sector of Murchison Falls National Park, thus tourists who wish to travel to the northern sector must cross the River Nile through a boat that departs on a daily basis. Because the northern sector of the park has the greatest concentration of animals, you can participate in activities such as game drives and boat cruises upstream to the bottom of the falls and downstream to the Victoria Nile Delta, where you will see spectacular views of the landscape, bird species, and animals such as elephants, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, lions, leopards, Uganda kobs, and giraffes, among others.