Budongo Central Forest Reserve is the largest survival natural forest in Uganda, with a total surface of approximately 825 square km, of which 430 square km is continuous forest. The reserve sits atop the Albertine Rift, part of the Great Rift Valley, and is located within the boundaries of Murchison Falls National Park.
Budongo Forest Reserve is a medium altitude, moist, semi-deciduous tropical rainforest managed by the National Forestry Authority (NFA). Historically, the forest was protected by the King of Bunyoro and only with his permission could local chiefs hunt inside the forest. Thanks to his strict policy the flora and fauna was preserved, until the reserve was officially gazetted in 1932. The name Budongo derives from the local Bunyoro word ‘fertile soil’.
Budongo offers an extremely rich biodiversity including 24 species of small mammals, 9 species of primates and 280 butterflies. It is also the natural habitat of more than 600 chimpanzees, of which a small community has been habituated for eco-tourism purposes. This family consists of 80 individuals, allowing visitors the unique opportunity to view these amazing apes in their natural environment. Other primates that can be observed are the Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys and Grey-cheeked Mangabeys.
A well developed and extensive trail system with a length of 115 km in total is found througout the forest, which enables tourist activities like forest walks, chimp 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. Others include the Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Chestnut Crowned Eremomera, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Yellow-browned Camaroptera, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Slender-billed Greenbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Forest Robin, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Little Green Sunbird, Western Black-headed Oriole, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow-manted Weaver, Crested Malimbe and Cassin’s Hawk Eagle among others.
Facts about the reserve:
Elevation: 1110 – 1590 meters
Size: 825 sq km
Habitat: Budongo Forest is a medium altitude, moist, semi-decidusou tropical rain forest.
Status: Forest Reserve since 1932
Best time to travel: All year round. Thanks to the location on the equator, Uganda has a tropical climate. Rainfall occurs regularly, with a peak in the months of April-May and November.
For more information about Budongo Forest Reserve, Murchison Falls National Park and other protected areasin Uganda, please visit the website of Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Map & Directions
Budongo Eco Lodge is located in Budongo Central Forest Reserve in Murchison Falls National Park, 30 km north of Masindi town. From the Kichumbayobo Gate follow the main road to Paraa. After 8 km you will see a signpost on your left side, from where you turn right to reach the lodge.