Budongo Forest is one of Uganda’s forests commonly known for being the largest Mahogany forest in the whole of East Africa and a natural home to a number of different species like the chimpanzees. It is situated at the top of the Albertine rift in the north western part of Uganda bordering the great Murchison Falls national park and covering a total surface area of 430 square kilometres.
This forest managed to get its name from a local Bunyoro word “Fertile soil”. Historically, this forest was under the control of the King of Bunyoro who always issued strict policies to its flora and fauna and whoever wanted to go hunting into this beautiful forest could first seek permission from him.
Budongo forest offers an extremely rich biodiversity of more than 360 species of birds, some 290 butterflies, 130 moths, 465 tree species and 24 species of mammals of which 9 are primates. It is also a natural home of more than 600 chimpanzees, of which a small community has been habituated for eco-tourism purposes.
The forest has different major tourist sites which include the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site and the Busingiro Ecotourism site of which the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site is dominated by Mahogany and Iron-wood trees.
A well developed and extensive 115km trail in length is found throughout the forest to enable visitors have great experience during their day activities like chimpanzee tracking, forest walks, bird watching among other.
A great memorable safari to Budongo forest is best combined with Ziwa Rhino sanctuary known for rhino tracking experience and Murchison Falls national park for game viewing and a boat cruise along the Nile River.
Top Things to do and see in Budongo Forest
- Chimpanzee tracking. There are always different sessions for tracking that is the morning and evening chimpanzee tracking times. The success rate of seeing chimpanzees in this forest is very high.
- Chimpanzee habituation. This gives you an all-day activity experience of seeing these primates. This experience is done with researchers.
- Birding watching. The forest is one of the top birding destinations in Uganda and literally is a paradise to over 360 species of birds including Sabine’s spine tail, Pulvus Illadopsis, Cassins spine tail(rare), Brown twin Spot, Cameroon Somber, Cassins hawk Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Yellow crested Woodpecker, Forest Robin, Little green Sunbird, Grey headed Sunbird, among others.
- Nature walks. These are taken through woodland and savanna terrain. This also chances you to seeing some wildlife species in the forest.
- Game viewing. This spots you to some other primates like the Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Red-tailed Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys, Grey cheeked Mangabeys, among others.
Accommodation option in the Forest
There is one Budongo Eco Lodge inside of the forest consisting of comfortable eco-cabins with private veranda, four spacious dorm rooms, a visitor’s centre and restaurant.