Budongo Central Reserve | Chimpanzee Tracking Adventure in Uganda
Budongo central reserve is located North East of the Lake Albert escarpment and is also known as home to the chimpanzee population. Also known for its abundance of East African mahogany trees which are known to be more than 80 meters tall and 20 meters tall in circumference. It covers a gently rolling landscape that slopes down to the East African rift.
Waisoke, Kamirambwa, Sonso, and Siba are the four streams that drain the forest and flow into Lake Albert. Budongo central forest reserve receives an annual rainfall of between 1200 and 2200 mm and the rainy season runs from March to May and again from September to November. The dry season runs from December to February.
Things to do in Budongo Central Forest Reserve
Budongo central forest reserve is believed to have a variety of wildlife species and these are as follows. 24 mammals of which 9 are primates are believed to have been recorded in this forest reserve, more than 365 bird species, over 290 butterfly species, 130 Moths, and more than 465 tree species are recorded.
Tourists travelling to this forest reserve can get the opportunity to see all these on their safari. This reserve also supports various tree species and the most being the mahogany that stands up to 60m tall.
This is one of the activities done in Budongo central forest reserve. This is specially done with the help of knowledgeable and experienced bird guides at the reserve. Since the reserve has more than 360 bird species recorded, there are high chances of seeing as many birds as you can and this is the greatest opportunity for bird lovers.
The Royal Mile found in the Busingiro area is one of the best places to see a variety of bids on the tour and these birds include the Nubian woodpecker, white-fronted black chat, Yellow-throated greenbul, Yellow-footed flycatcher, African Pied wagtail, Black kite, Olive breasted greenbul and crested guinea fowl among others.
Chimpanzee Tracking in Budongo Central Reserve
This is one of the main activities carried out in Budongo central forest reserve. A day with the chimpanzees is special in a way that you get to see them carry out their daily activities while in their natural habitat. Remember chimpanzees share about 98.7% of their DNA with human beings.
This means that almost all the activities they do in the forest are mostly related to humans for example gathering food, breastfeeding the young ones, and grooming among others. This is one of the most exciting experiences you should not miss while on safari to the Pearl of Africa.
Budongo forest is known as the largest mahogany forest and a guided nature walk is recommended around the forest this takes you deep into the jungle with the help of an armed ranger guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). As you go deep into the jungle, you get to see other wildlife which you may have missed.
You can also visit the Kanio Pabidi eco-tourism centre on this nature walk. During a nature walk in the Kanio Pabidi forest, you are provided with opportunities of seeing other wildlife like bushbucks, elephants, and buffalos among others. Bird species can be spotted and these include white thighed hornbill, white spotted fluff tail, yellow-footed flycatcher, and grey long bill among others.
Chimpanzee Habituation Experience
The process of chimpanzee habituation takes two years. This allows the chimpanzees to get used to human presence and it is mostly done during the season when visitors are few in the forest. During the habituation process, you are allowed more hours with the chimpanzees and this starts early with a briefing early morning and you later enter the forest.
You begin the day with the chimpanzees as they leave their nests to start their daily activities. This involves looking for food in the forests, grooming and breastfeeding the young ones as well as resting in the mid-morning and afternoon. The chimpanzees later continue with their activities throughout the day and in the evening they construct another new and fresh nest for the evening.
This habituation experience is highly recommended as you get to study the chimpanzee behaviours more and in detail, especially their feeding habits and their adaptation to the environment, and their close relationship with humans.
How to reach Budongo Central Forest Reserve?
Budongo Central forest reserve is located in the South Eastern part of Uganda in Masindi district and is approximately 3hours drive from Kampala. It can be accessed through the Kichumbanyombo gate following the main road to Paraa about 8 kilometres.