Budongo Forest Reserve
Located within the boundaries of the great Murchison Falls national park, Budongo Central Forest Reserve is the largest survival natural forest in Uganda situated at the top the Albertine Rift, part of the Great Rift Valley. With its name (Budongo) driven from the Bunyoro word “Fertile soil”, this reserve was historically protected by the King of Bunyoro who through his permission could allow local chiefs to hunt inside the forest.
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Budongo offers an extremely rich biodiversity including 24 species of small mammals, 9 species of primates and about 280 butterflies. It is also the natural habitat of more than 600 man’s closest relatives the chimpanzees, of which a small community has been habituated for the chimpanzee tracking and eco-tourism purposes. This habituated chimpanzee family that consists of about 80 individuals, gives visitors an eye catching experience with chances of taking as many pictures as possible. Other primate species that can be spotted while at Budongo forest include the Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Red-tailed Monkeys and many more.
A well developed and extensive trail system with a length of 115 km in total is found throughout the forest, which enables tourist activities like forest walks, chimpanzee tracking and birding. Apart from the 465 species of plants, the reserve is also famous for the age-old, Mahogany trees which can grow up to 80 meters. Some of the best bird viewing is found in the area known as the Royal Mile, which is part of Budongo Forest Reserve. About 360 species of birds are recorded in the total area, including the rare Puval’s Illadopses which is endemic to the region.