Budongo forest is part of Murchison falls national park conservation area (MFCA). Budongo forest is a one and only natural forest that has been in existence for centuries in Uganda. The forest is a famous destination for chimpanzee safaris and nature walks safaris in Uganda. This fame is, especially, attributed to the fact that it continues to be the only naturally grown forest in Uganda over the years and it is a home for the endangered primate species, the chimpanzees. Budongo forest is under the watch care of the national forests association (NFA). The works and programs of conservation in budongo area are also partly shared by budongo conservation field station (BCFS) a non-government organisation which works hand in hand with Makerere University to carry on the conservation projects of budongo forest also known as a conservation reserve.
Conservation and setting of budongo forest
Budongo forest is located on a relatively wide space of about 435 sq.km, the forest is mainly composed of moist, medium altitude, semi-deciduous forests, however, budongo forest is not a complete forest all through, it has some savannah perched areas and woodland. Budongo forest covers an area of undulating landscape extending down to the east African Great Rift Valley. Budongo forest is a beautiful haven with clear water streams that drain through it to Lake Albert in the east, these streams include; waisoke, sonso, kamirambwa, and siba.
The forest and the streams are combine together with the budongo forests proximity to the equator leading to formation of a moderate amount of rainfall with an annual amount of 1200mm – 2200mm. The rain fall is mainly received in the wet or rainy season from the march to May, and the rain showers come again in September to November, making the two tropical rain maxima.
Wildlife Species in the Forest
Budongo forest is truly naturally endowed with unique wildlife like the vegetation and the animal species who are the inhabitants of the forest. Chimpanzee tracking is the main visitor activity in budongo forest mainly packaged together with the Murchison falls national park safaris in Uganda. Budongo forest is a home for chimpanzees and other primate species like the red-tailed monkeys, the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons and the night primate species like the pottos and galago species.
Budongo forest harbours quite a number of bird species; bird species about 360, the puveli illadopsis is an endemic species , chocolate backed king fisher, black headed paradise fly catcher, lemon billed gromec, forest robin, white- spotted flufftail, yellow and grey long bill, little green sun bird, and the black headed oride among the rest. Budongo also has 24species of small mammals, 280 species of butterflies (recorded). Budongo forest is isolated making an awesome place for lions as a well, so it good to be keen during the nature walk, you might face the king of the jungle himself.
Climate and weather
Budongo forest is near to the equator making its daily temperature almost common throughout the year. The maximum temperature of the day on a daily is read about 31 degrees Celsius, this is true an effect of the distance of budongo forest from the major world latitude, the equator. The wet season in budongo forest receives much amount of rainfall in March to May and September to October and extends up to mid-November. However, there is little of no rain fall at all in the dry season, which is December to February and June to august. The dry season is also the best season for visitor activities like, nature walks, hiking, chimp trekking, and birding, this is so, because the trails are always dry and passable.
Directions to budongo forest
Budongo forest is located in the south eastern part of Murchison falls national park, a one and a half hours drive over a 30km distance from masindi main town. Budongo forest is reached from kichimbanyobo gate in the southern part of Murchison falls national park, form the gate follow the main road to paraa and after about 8 km, you will see the sign post of budongo eco-lodge, the forest headquarters are near the eco-lodge.
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 browed camaroptera, black headed flycatcher, chocolate backed kingfisher, white spotted flufftail, lemon bellied 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.