Located atop the Albertine Rift in the south-west of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area, the majestic Budongo Forest is one of the best-preserved and largest rainforests in East Africa. It is also distinguished as the biggest mahogany forest in the region measuring 852sq. kms of which 430sq. kms is the uninterrupted forest. The name Budongo is a Runyoro word for ‘fertile soil’, given by the only tribe that inhabits the area, the Banyoro. Historically, Budongo Forest was under the supreme protection of the Omukama, King of Bunyoro and only he could grant permission to hunt inside the forest, so it was well preserved even before 1932 when it was gazetted and named Budongo Forest Reserve.
Budongo Forest is one of Uganda’s most ecologically diverse regions with 24 small mammals, 9 primates, 465 species of trees, 366 species of birds, 289 species of butterflies, 130 species of moths. About 800 chimpanzees inhabit the adjoining Kaniyo Pabidi Forest. A well-developed 115km trail system crisscrosses the forest and is used for birding, chimpanzee trekking and nature walks. Because Budongo Forest is located inside the wildlife-rich Murchison Falls National Park big game like lions, leopards, buffaloes and elephants can sometimes be sighted.