Chimpanzee Trekking in Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest is the second popular destination for chimpanzee tracking in Uganda after the popular Kibale National Park which is referred to as the “Primate Capital of the world”. Budongo Forest Reserve covers about 825 square kilometers in a natural forest reserve. Budongo forest is located northwest of Kampala city-Uganda’s capital adjacent to Murchison Falls National Park.

Situated in the southern sector of Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo forest is made up of 3 areas which are the woodland forest, the high forest, and the grasslands which have encouraged a wide diversity of wildlife.

There are about 360 bird species, 95 mammal species, and 29 amphibians. The forest has various mahogany trees that are fascinating and one of the forest’s iconic features is taking about 8 people holding hands to circle around the full 20 meters circumference.

3 Day Chimpanzee Trekking Safari Uganda - Ngamba Island sanctuary

Two sites in Budongo forest are developed for tourism activities and these are Kaniyo Pabidi and Busingiro Eco-Tourism sites. Kaniyo Pabidi is located along the southern edge of Murchison Falls National Park about 30 minutes drive from the Kichubanyobo gate to the Budongo Visitor Information Centre which is also the start for the trails to the forest. Busingiro Eco-Tourism site lies further to the western edge of the forest outside Murchison.

Chimpanzee trekking is done in the Kaniyo Pabidi sector one of the best destinations for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. It is in the Kaniyo Pabidi sector where the only habituated chimpanzee group in the Budongo forest is found. Chimpanzee trekking starts from the visitor’s information center at Budongo Eco Lodge taking about a few minutes to trek.

Chimp tracking experience takes a few hours as the chimps tend not to be very far and can be heard from the trek start point. However, during certain periods of time when there is less food in the forest, chimps travel to further points wandering deeper into the forest in search of food and water which makes tracking them longer and finding them becomes less certain.

Each day, there are two chimpanzee trekking sessions in Budongo forest in the morning and in the afternoon. These are chosen by the client or tour operator depending on the schedule of the trip. Whether individuals choose the morning or afternoon chimpanzee trekking session, a maximum of one hour is what is allocated to the visitors to spend in the presence of the chimps.

Why trek chimpanzees in Budongo Forest?

Trekking chimpanzees in Budongo forest is very convenient because it is the closest chimpanzee trekking habitat in Uganda from Kampala’s capital. There are about 195 kilometers to reach the forest reserve which makes it possible for tourists to have a one-day chimpanzee trekking trip unlike with other destinations.

Budongo forest chimpanzee trekking is a good addition to Uganda wildlife safaris to Murchison Falls National Park.

Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives after Bonobos and for tourists who would want to have a close-up experience, chimp habituation can be undertaken. The chimpanzee habituation experience offers more intimate time with the chimps as you spend more hours than the usual one hour spent during trekking. 

For chimpanzee habituation, visitors set out to the forest as early as 5:00 am to watch the chimps leave their nests and start their day. Chimp habituation in Budongo however isn’t available throughout the year but only during the less busy months of tourism.

Chimpanzee trekking permits

Chimpanzee trekking permits for Budongo forest are sold at the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices and can be easily booked by your Uganda safari tour operator. To trek chimps, an individual must have a chimpanzee permit. 16 permits are sold each day because strictly eight persons can trek chimps each shift.  Therefore only 16 permits are sold each day

Only persons above the age of 15 are allowed to trek chimps.

Budongo forest offers great trekking experiences and photography moments. Other activities in the reserve include birding and nature walk in the tropical jungle. Other destinations for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda include Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Jewel safaris have expertise in planning the top primate tracking tours in East Africa with the best itinerary recommendations. Aside from chimpanzee trekking, we also plan bespoke Uganda gorilla safaris, wildlife tours, bird watching safaris, white water rafting, and all adventure trips. With more eased means of charter flights, we also tailor combined or single trips in East Africa and these include Rwanda gorilla toursKenya safaris, and Tanzania wildlife safaris.

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