Budongo Forest Mahogany Land and Chimpanzees
Budongo Forest is the biggest mahogany forest found in the whole of East Africa as well as habitant to the largest number of Chimpanzees throughout Uganda. It is a 3hour drive North East of the capital city of Uganda Kampala on the way to Murchison Falls National Park.
The major tourist sites within Budongo forest are; Busingiro Ecotourism site, Kaniyo Padidi Ecotourism located at the boundaries to Murchison falls National Park dominated by Mahogany and iron wood trees. Its isolation once in a while offers a safe haven for the lions, leopards as well as buffaloes. The early mornings are ideal time to set out touring because you will have an opportunity to find a number of the forest inhabitants licking salt by the forest glades.
River Waiga offers a refreshment to the various Uganda Safaris, wildlife species within the forest.
The Budongo Conservation Field Station was founded by Professor Vernon Reynolds in 1990. At that time, it was called the Budongo Forest Project. Professor. Reynolds had first studied chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest in 1962 and written a book about the forest and its chimpanzees (Reynolds 1965).
During the 1970s and 1980s two major civil wars raged in Uganda, with a complete breakdown of law and order across the country. In 1988 Professor Reynolds read a report in the New Vision, the main Ugandan newspaper, to the effect that chimpanzee infants were being captured in Budongo Forest, taken to Entebbe airport, and smuggled out to wealthy pet-owners in Dubai and other places.
After a year seeking funds he returned to Uganda in March 1990 and, together with Chris Bakuneeta, who had recently obtained an MSc in Forestry at Makerere University, established a base at Budongo from which to discover whether there were still chimpanzees in the forest.
Activities to Enjoy while in Budongo forest
Chimpanzee Tracking Experience
It’s a number one priority in Budongo Forest, it starts in October to January when the fruits are short in supply. The chimps move a lot covering a wider area so the success of seeing them drops to the probability of 0.5.
The forest is among the most ideal places in Uganda to have a guided bird watching tour by the Royal Mile that extends from Nyabyeya Forestry Collage to the research Station. Among the various bird species that have been recorded in the forest are more than 360 species that will certainly reward you with a very amazing birding safari experience in this great forest. in addition, there are 290 butterfly species, 130 moth species, 465 tree species and 24 mammal species- 9 of them are Primates.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
With the Habituation Experience you will spend an entire day with our ‘cousins’ and learn about their way of life. Chimpanzee Habituation in Budongo Forest started in 1992 with the aim to habituate the chimpanzees to human presence, without necessarily altering their natural behavior. This is a long process and it can take up to 15 years to fully habituate a chimpanzee community.
The Habituation Experience offers you the unique experience to join the professional guides on their daily program and follow the chimps during their activities. Since you will be out in the forest from the early morning till the end of the day, a packed lunch can be provided by the Lodge.
There are well developed forest trails that give you the perfect opportunity to explore the beauty of the tropical rainforest and Learn more about the eco-system, pass the old Mahogany trees and encounter different species of butterflies on your path. As the terrain is flat, the forest walks are suitable for the average tourist
Wildlife Safari in Budongo forest
Since Budongo Forest is located in Murchison Falls National Park you can easily combine your visit to the magical forest with wildlife viewing in the northern part of the national park. Cross the river Nile and follow the winding tracks in search of giraffes, elephants, buffaloes and lions. Thanks to the palm-dotted hills, vast savannah plains and beautiful Delta area this is one of the most scenic and best places for encounters with the wild animals of Uganda.