Chimpanzee Trekking In Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest : Budongo Forest is a great chimpanzee trekking destination in Uganda located in Northwest region of Uganda approximately 3 hours’ drive from Kampala – the capital of Uganda, Budongo Forest is part of Murchison Falls Conservation Area which also consists of Murchison Falls National Park.

Budongo Forest is 826 kilometer expanse of remote mahogany forest, the forest is habitat to the largest number of chimpanzees in Uganda. With the forest there are major tourist sites such as Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, Busingiro Ecotourism Site and Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site.

Budongo Forest is home to 9 species of primates including a huge population of chimpanzee with over 600 chimpanzees, other primates in the forest include red tailed monkeys, grey checked mangabey, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons among others.

The forest is also home to different species of wildlife including 24 mammal species, 300 butterflies, 355 bird species and 464 tree species

Budongo Forest and its activities including chimpanzee trekking is under the management of Uganda Lodge authorized by Uganda Wildlife Authority and National Forestry Authority.

budongo chimp trekking

Chimpanzees in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzees are the man’s closest relatives sharing more than 98% of our DNA, chimpanzees are very intelligent creatures and like humans they can easily adopt to different environments and learn the use of different tools including stones and sticks.

A fully grown male chimpanzees can weigh up to 70 kilograms while females may reach 50 kilograms, the chimps have a life span of 60 years while in captivity. Unlike males, females chimpanzees leave the community they were born in once they reach adolescence.

Budongo Forest is among the habitats of chimpanzees in Uganda, the chimps in the forest were first studies by Vernon Reynolds along with Adriaan Kortlandt and Jane Goodall the first primatologist to do extensive studies of chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

Vernon Reynolds returned in 1990 to find the chimpanzee population has reduced due to uncontrolled poaching and encroachment, infant chimps were often sold to collectors outside Africa. The population of chimpanzees had reduced to less than 55 individuals by 1995 in the forest.

With funding from the Edinburgh Zoo, RZSS and other sources, a group of researchers started working in the forest. The researchers intiated a project (The Budongo Forest Project) which was later renamed Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS) combining Conservation and Research while also ensuring sustainable management of the forest reserve.

The initiative faced a lot of challenges during its work such as encroachment on the forest by the communities surrounding it, the forest margins were being used for farming while poachers put snares to trap forest antelopes and small rodents for meat.

The population of Mahagany trees had also reduced as they were cut for timber, the project embarked on several activities including monitering the health of the chimpanzees and observing their behavior in a daily basis. The project has so far helped to habituate over 300 chimpanzees and also worked with the local community along the borders of the forest to discourage them from setting dangerous snares in the forest.

chimp trekking

Chimpanzee Trekking Experience in Budongo Forest

Chimpanazee trekking excursion in Budongo Forest is offered as morning setting off at 08: 00 am and afternoon session setting off at 03:00 pm, the experience starts with briefing at the park’s headquarters about the rules and regulations to follow during the trek and while in the presence of the chimpanzees. After the briefing you are divided into groups of 6 people and head to the starting point trekking in the forest in search for chimpanzees, the trek takes approximately 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the movement of the gorillas and where they spent their previous night.

During the trek, you will encounter other primates like red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons and various tree and bird species. Once you locate the chimpanzee you will spend on hour in their presence while watching them play on tree branches, care for each other, watch they feed, females feed their young ones, take amazing pictures and videos. After the experience you will return to the park’s headquarters filled with many memories.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience: For visitors who wish to spend more time with the chimpanzees, chimpanzee habituation experience is an ideal experience to participate in.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience in Budongo Forest is only carried out during the low season in the months of March to May allowing visitors to spend 4 hours in the presence of the chimpanzees. During the experience you will be able to record the movements, behavior and take close-up pictures and videos of the chimpanzees.

Cost of chimpanzee trekking permit in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee trekking permits in Budongo Forest are issued by The Uganda Wildlife Authority and visitors can purchase their chimpanzee permits via a local tour operator.

These chimpanzee trekking permits cost as follows

Peak Season

130 USD for foreign residents

85 USD for East African Citizens

Low Season

120 USD for foreign residents

80 USD for East African Citizens

Chimpanzee Habituation Permit in Budongo Forest costs

  • 230 USD per person for foreign Non – residents
  • 160 USD per person for foreign residents
  • 90 USD for East African Citizens

Best Time to Go Chimpanzee Trekking in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest can be done all year round, however the best time of the year is during the dry season running from June to September and December to February. The dry season coincides with the high season/peak season in Uganda, in this season less to no rain is received which makes the hiking trails in the forest passable as they are less slipperly and less muddy.

Getting to Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest is located in North-Western Uganda in Murchison Falls Conservation Area and can be accessed by road and air means of transport.

By road:  it is a drive of 5 to 6 hours from Kampala to Budongo Forest via Kampala – Masindi road.

By Air: There are chartered and domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airstrip flying to either Pakuba, Chobe or Bugungu airfileds then connect to Budongo Forest by road. These flights are offered by Aero link and Bar Aviation.

Accommodation in Budongo Forest

There is a variety of accommodation options where to stay while on a chimpanzee trekking safari in Budongo Forest, the accommodations range from luxury, midrange and budget including

  • Budongo Eco Lodge
  • Fort Murchison Lodge
  • New Court View Hotel
  • Hotel Victory Bijja
  • Kabalega Resort Hotel
  • Sambiya River Lodge
  • Parraa Safari Lodge
  • Red Chill Rest Camp
  • Geo Lodges Shoebill Camp
  • Boomu Women’s Group Bandas
  • Yebo Safari Camp among others
Back To Top