Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest – Murchison falls national park
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest; Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is an extra ordinary activity that allows travelers to move on foot into the forest in search of the habituated chimpanzee families and when found spend one hour with them in their environment. Budongo forest is the biggest mahogany forest in East Africa and one of the best chimpanzee trekking destinations in Uganda. The forest is located at the top of the Albertine rift, southern part of Murchison falls national park which is the largest national park in Uganda. Budongo forest is known for harboring 24 mammal species including primates like the endangered chimpanzees, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, 360 bird species, 465 tree species, 290 butterfly species, 130 moths species among others. Apart from Budongo forest, chimpanzee trekking is also done in Kibale national park, Kalinzu forest, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park and Toro – Semuliki wildlife reserve.
Chimpanzee trekking experience in Budongo forest
The tracking of chimps starts early in the morning with a briefing at the park headquarters about the rules and regulations to follow during trekking. After the briefing you will be divided into groups of 6 people and start trekking in the forest in search of the habituated chimpanzee family. Chimps tracking takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where they are located in that they like to move from one place to another in search of food. During trekking you will be rewarded with great views of other primates like red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, view variety of bird species, tree species among others. Once the chimpanzees are located, you will be able to spend one hour with them in their habitat which gives you a chance to learn more about their lifestyle, behaviors, watch them feed, play, hunt, fight, breastfeed, take photos and record videos to show people back home after the safari.
Budongo forest also offers chimpanzee habituation experience an adventurous activity where the wild chimpanzees are trained to get used to human presence for trekking. Chimpanzee habituation experience in Budongo forest is only carried out during the low season in the months of March to May and it allows tourists to spend four hours in the presence of the chimpanzees. During the habituation experience you will be able to watch chimpanzees carry out their daily routine, monitor and record their behaviors, movement, take photos among others.
Cost of a chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo forest
A chimpanzee trekking permit in a card that is issued to visitors above the age of 15 years allowing them to visit the chimpanzees in their natural environment. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo forest during the peak season costs 130 USD per person for foreign nonresidents, 120 USD per person for foreign residents and 85 USD per person for East African citizens while a chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo forest during the low season costs 120 USD per person for foreign nonresidents, 110 USD per person for foreign residents and 80 USD per person for East Africa citizens.
A chimpanzee habituation permit in Budongo forest costs 230 USD per person for foreign nonresidents, 160 USD per person for foreign residents and 90 USD for east African citizens.
Best time to go for chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest
Trekking chimps can be done all year round though the best period is during the dry season also known as the high season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season there is little rainfall in the forest therefore the trekking trails will be passable compared to the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery hence making trekking difficult.
Where to stay during your chimpanzee trekking safari in Murchison falls national park
There are several accommodation facilities ranging from budget, midrange and luxury in Murchison falls national park where you can stay during your chimpanzee trekking safari including Budongo Eco lodge, Fort Murchison lodge, Chobe Safari lodge, Boomu women’s group Bandas, Masindi hotel, New Court View Hotel, Hotel Victory Bijja, Kabalega Resort Hotel, Sambiya River Lodge, Paraa Safari lodge, Red Chilli Rest Camp, Geo Lodges Shoebill Camp, Yebo Safari Camp, UWA Campsite among others.
How to get to Budongo forest- Murchison falls national park
Budongo forest is located in Murchison falls national park and can be accessed by road transport means where by you will drive from Kampala or Entebbe trough Masindi to the park headquarters which takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive.
Budongo forest in national park can also be accessed by air transport means whereby you will book scheduled or charter flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to either Pakuba, Chobe or Bugungu airfields and then connect to Bundongo forest by road. Domestic flights to Murchison falls national park can be booked by your tour operator.
Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is an interesting activity that can be combined with wildlife viewing in the northern part of Murchison falls national park or chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park to compare trekking experiences.