Budongo Forest Reserve Uganda – Chimpanzee trekking, Birding, Tours, Accommodation


Budongo Forest Reserve measuring 825 square kilometers is the largest natural forest in Uganda and East Africa. The forest is located northwest of Kampala Capital City, that is about 246km from the capital and it takes about 4 hours drive to get there. A chunk of the Budongo Forest lies in Murchison Falls National Park – the prime destination for safari trips in Uganda.

Budongo Forest is essentially made up of 3 areas; the woodland forest, the high forest, and the grasslands, and this has encouraged a wide diversity of wildlife. Up to 360 species of birds, 95 mammals, and 29 species of amphibians are recorded in Budongo forest, in addition to the variety of butterflies, insects, trees, and shrubs. The forest is well known for its big Mahogany Trees of which include East Africa’s largest Mahogany tree. It is a fascinating tree that has become one of the forest’s iconic features. It takes up to 8 people holding hands to circle around the full circumference of 20 meters!

Budongo Forest extends into the southern sector of Murchison Falls National Park – Uganda’s biggest game park and a prime Uganda safaris destination. While the northern side (across the Nile) of Murchison Falls National Park is spectacular for plains game viewing safaris across the warm expansive savannah, Budongo Forest in the south of the park provides exciting jungle experiences in the cool & peaceful tranquility of the beautiful forest.

Budongo Forest has two sites developed for tourism activities – Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Eco Tourism Sites. Kaniyo Pabidi is located along the southern edge of Murchison Falls National Park and is where jungle activities such as chimpanzee trekking take place in Murchison Falls. It is a few minutes drive from the park gate of Kichubanyobo to the Visitor Information Center at Budongo Eco Lodge, which is also start for the trails into the forest. Meanwhile Busingiro lies further to the western edge of the forest, outside of Murchison Falls National Park.

Tours and activities in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee tracking at Kaniyo Pabidi in Murchison Falls National Park

Chimpanzee Uganda

Budongo forest is one of the best destinations for chimpanzee trekking in UgandaChimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest occurs at Kaniyo Pabidi in southern Murchison Falls National Park where the only habituated Chimp group in Budongo is available for the Chimp tours. The Chimp trek sets out from the visitors information center at Budongo Eco Lodge. The Chimps can be so near that they can be heard from the Budongo Eco lodge and the trek to find them will take a few minutes. But during a certain period when food is no longer enough they travel away from this territory, wondering deeper into the forest as they search for food and water, and thus tracking them will be longer and finding them becomes less certain. Budongo forest provides two Chimp tracking sessions in a day, that is, in the morning and the afternoon, and whichever session you choose you spend only one hour with the Chimps and no more than 8 persons can track. The Chimpanzee trek in Budongo forest is good add on to the game safari in Murchison Falls National Park. After the game safari in the warm northern savanna plains, coming down to the cool jungles of Budongo forest is such a refreshing experience!

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Budongo forest

Budongo forest is one of the only two destinations in Uganda where the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience tour is offered. The Chimpanzee habituation experience is a more intimate experience with the Chimps as you will spend an entire day with them instead of the 1 hour offered during the Chimp trek. You set out as early as 5am to witness as the Chimps de-nest and start their day. The Chimp habituation in Budongo Forest however is not available all year round but only during less busy months of tourism. The high season months of June, July, August and December are available for the Chimp trek only!

Nature Walks

Guided nature walks are offered at Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro eco sites via an excellent network of trails and provide plenty of things including a variety of trees and shrubs, unique wildlife such as the Cicada, monkeys, animals, birds, and also a chance of seeing chimpanzees.

Birding in Budongo Forest

With over 360 species, Budongo Forest is a prime destination for forest birding in Uganda. It possesses one of the most popular birding trails in Uganda known as the “Royal Mile”. Other birding trails are found at Kaniyo Pabidi that are also shared for nature walks and chimpanzee tracking. The forest is good for species of the Guinea – Congo forest Biome. The Puvel’s Illadopsis is one of Budongo’s key species and it is known not to occur anywhere else in East Africa. It is mostly spotted at Kaniyo Pabidi, occasionally visiting the grounds at Budongo Eco Lodge. Other key birds include Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Nahan’s Francolin, Black-winged Pranticole, Brown Twinspot, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black-eared Groundthrush, Ituri Batis, Pygmy Crake, White-thighed Hornbill, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Dwarf and Kingfisher among others.

Accommodation – Where to stay in Budongo Forest

Budongo Eco Lodge

Book our Safaris and Tours to Budongo Forest

2 days Budongo forest chimpanzee tour

4 Days Murchison Falls Safari with Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest

7 days birding in Murchison Falls National Park and Budongo Forest

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