Budongo forest is East Africas largest mahogany forest situated in the outskirts of Murchison falls national park in Uganda, it’s an ideal place for chimpanzee trekking as well as viewing other primates like the olive baboon, red tailed monkey, blue monkey, the white and black Columbus monkey as well as variety of bird species .
The forest is said to be an habitat to about 360 bird species not forgetting different tree species and butterflies found here.
Budongo forest boasts with rich diversity of over 280 butterflies, 465 plant species, 9 species of primates and 24 mammal species then mainly over 600 Chimpanzees.
Budongo forest tourist’s sites are Kaniyo pabidi ecotourism site and isingiro ecotourism site. The location of the forest at the base of the Albertinerift valley escarpment gives tourists outstanding views of the splendid Lake Albert, Budongo forest is drained by mall rivers namely: Sonso, bubwa, kamiramba and waisoke that flow to the mighty Nile. The forest is mainlycharacterized by ironwood and mahogany trees.
Budongo forest reserve was founded by professor Vernon Reynoldsin 1990, Budongo forest suffered poaching in the sixties, seventies and eighties as well as torture resulting from the wars in the northern Western communities.
When Reynold read a report from the Uganda newspaper that young chimpanzees were being smuggled out of the country to be used as pets by rich people abroad, With the help of other individuals Professor Reynold succeededwithBudongo forest project which aimed at protecting the forest and Chimpanzees therein hence making the forest what it is today.
The Budongo forest was also earlier on protected by the king of Banyoro kingdom who restricted individuals from hunting in the forest, The forest name is derived from a local word to mean fertile soil. During World War 2 Budongo forest was a home to polish refugees and is often visited by poles there’s also a Catholic church that was established by the polish people but is now being used by the local people.
A part from chimpanzee trekking, tourists can engage in other activities in the park like;
One of the main tourist’s activities at Budongo forest is bird watching, Budongo forest is home to some of the rarest birds in East Africa the forest is an habitat to over 360 bird species both migratory and residential.
Some of the birds found at Budongo forest are; puvels illadopsis, forest robin, African emerald cuckoo, yellow and grey long bill, yellow browned cameroptera, black headed flycatcher, chocolate backed kingfisher, white spotted fluff tail, lemon berried crombec, and many more.
Guided nature walks can be done at the Budongo forest with an experienced and knowledgeable tourist guide who will tell you most of the information you will need to know about the forest. Tourists will also be able to come across a lot of other wildlife and plant species as well as see a lot of butterflies, the nature guided walks normally take about two to three hours a picnic can also be done here as well as lunch eaten in the forest canopies.