Budongo Forest is about 20 minutes drive from Masindi town as you enter Murchison falls national park, if you are planning a Visit to Budongo Forest it is advisable to combine Rhino trekking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, game viewing, and a boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park which means that you will need a minimum of about 3 days in order to have a good time in this part of the country.
Most people visiting Budongo forest come for the popular chimpanzee trekking or Birding watching not knowing that there are more activities to do and see in Budongo forest, especially for those who love nature walks, Budongo forest is one of the biggest Mahogany tree Forest in East Africa, even though the forest is under threat by the communities around.
Budongo forest reserve is part of Murchison Falls National Park and I must tell you that Murchison falls has a lot to offer to all tourists and other visitors of all ages, Murchison falls is the largest wildlife protected area in Uganda so there is a lot more to see than just doing activities Budongo forest reserve, Bird watching, guided nature walks, and chimpanzees are the most popular activities in Budongo forest reserve offered at affordable price.
Budongo forest reserve is home to 700 to 800 chimpanzees which is the main reason for the Budongo forest reserve conservation field office is to study and conserve chimpanzee populations in this area. Budongo forest reserve has three main habituated chimpanzee communities open for tourism as we are going to see below.
chimpanzee community living Kaniyo-Pabidi area which is the north-east of Budongo forest, those chimpanzee community living Kaniyo-Pabidi were among the first to habituate in Budongo forest by the Jane Goodall Institute however it is now being managed by the Budongo Ecolodge which is located in the Budongo forest. Kaniyo-Pabidi is just 30 Kilometers from Masindi town on the way to Murchison falls national park.
Waibira chimpanzee community is currently not open for tourism, it is still subjected to research only however one can participate in the chimpanzee habituation experience process, chimpanzees share 99% DNA with humans making them our closest living relatives so they’re live in a highly complicated social world, chimpanzees defend their territory from other groups in the neighboring communities which also include patrolling the boundaries of their territories.
When female chimpanzees reach maturity they have to move away from their natal community/group and move into another group/community and usually the males in the new community group are very interested in the new female, Budongo forests are one of the few forests that still have multiple chimpanzees groups/communities for research, almost none have successfully habituated neighbors which means that the unhabituated individuals simply running away so habituating neighboring community is good to study chimpanzee behavior in the other communities.
The systematic habituation protocol is focusing on positive daily interaction with the chimpanzee group/community that is under the habituation process, currently, the Waibira community has 76 individuals named, however, the Waibira community has a total of about 110-150 chimpanzees with a home range of about 10.4km2. This long-term data collection started in April 2011 and it is still continuing to develop into a number of research projects in the Budongo forest.
Sonso chimpanzee community has been going through continuous habituation and research since 1990, this community was named Sonso after the River Sonso where those chimps were first seen and lived, Sonso River runs through the home range of the Sonso chimpanzee community. Sonso group has about 100 individuals and among them over 85 individuals have been named by researchers and field offers.
Chimpanzee habituation involves daily interaction with them by researchers and field officers gradually makes chimpanzees get used to human presence meaning that they are habituated.
Habituating chimpanzees to the of getting used to human presence needs continuing hard work by the researchers and field officers because by the time chimpanzees get to this point where they were they are sufficiently used to people following them at close quarters through the forest all day for a few years as each chimp get to be known to the researchers and field offices. For more information about the activities in the Budongo forest reserve contact us we are at your disposal in case you need more details.
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