Chimpanzee tracking and habituation in Uganda can also be done in one of the best tracking forests and that is Budongo forest in Murchison falls national park. Budongo forest is the largest natural rainforest in the whole of east Africa. The forest is about 30 minutes drive from kichumbanyobo gate to the visitor centre inside Budongo Forest. Budongo forest is vast enough and covers a distance of over 500 sq.km and also part of the Murchison falls conservation area. Budongo forest is en route to Murchison falls national park and it is the forest with the most mahogany trees in Uganda and East Africa at large.
In budongo forest, the chimpanzee area is managed by the Jane Goodall institute for research. You can enjoy the habituation of the endangered primate species called the chimpanzees. The habituation activity is not regular and mainly done in the low season when a few tourists are in the park so as to get enough time to study the chimpanzees. However, the isolation of the place attracts the big cats into the area like the lions. The area provides a safe haven for the lions and for this matter, you should take caution not to leave your group when tracking the chimpanzees in the forest.
How is chimpanzee trekking done?
Chimpanzee tracking in budongo forest is done twice a day i.e. in the morning around 0700 hrs and in the afternoon around 1500 hrs daily. It is your choice to choose any of the shifts of chimpanzee tracking in budongo forest. The tourists drive from their accommodation facilities / lodges to kaniyo pabidi eco site, where they get briefed about tracking. Then they head into the forest through the tracking trails together with their tour guide; he must be a Uganda wildlife authority (UWA) guide. Note, for safety reasons, any tracking shift is advised to get a UWA guide.
The chimpanzee tracking is a three hours activity; the three hours include the trekking to the chimpanzee community, having a full hour to interact with the chimpanzees and take pictures and then walking back. The chimpanzees are sometimes even found near to the eco lodge in budongo forest. However, in the dry season, the food tends to be scarce, so they move deep in the forests to look for food; this means that finding them is sometimes hard in the dry season.
About the chimpanzee tracking permits
The chimpanzee tracking permits are issued to the visitors at the Uganda wildlife authority offices and strictly eight people per shift, therefore; only 16 permits are issued on a daily basis and each permit is sold at 85$ per day per person. The chimpanzee tracking permits oscillate in prices depending on the seasons. During the high chimpanzee season, the tracking permits tend to be expensive compared to the low season where some prices. To note, the chimpanzee habituation is only done in the low season and the prices for the habituation permits are slightly higher than the chimpanzee tracking permits.
However, the chimpanzee trekking permits come along with fringe activities like nature walks in budongo forest, bird watching and sightseeing along the chimpanzee tracking trails. The cost of chimpanzee tracking permits will make no meaning after the experience, because the activity is satisfying as you spend a complete one hour learning the behaviours of the chimpanzees.
Eligibility for chimp tracking in budongo forest
The tracking activity is only allowed for the people above the age of 15 years old. Below that, the child is not eligible for chimpanzee tracking and this is a strict condition for all trackers. The Uganda wildlife Officers are even sometimes forced to ask for the birth verification details, and this confirms the age limit protocol to chimpanzee tracking in budongo forest in Murchison falls national park. You are free to book for the chimpanzee tracking permits any time of the year.
You can also choose to book the low season tracking permits in budongo forest in Murchison falls national park, perhaps , you can enjoy the low season discounts on accommodation and permits as well.