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Gorillas and Chips

“Chimpanzee trekking wilderness”
Budongo means fertile soil, and there are 450 tree species which thrive here. The National Forest Authority of Uganda is responsible for this and all forests in the country. Apart from the fabulous flora, this forest is also home to 330 bird species, 95 mammal species, 29 amphibian and 40 reptile species. The two main reasons to come to Budongo are the excellent birdlife and The Budongo Central Forest Reserve is in the north west of Uganda about 2 hours’ drive south of Murchison Falls. It is part of the Albertine Rift, which is in turn part of the Great Rift Valley. The forest covers 825km2 and of this about 430 km2 is continuous forest. It is a medium altitude, semi-deciduous tropical rainforest and it was gazette as a reserve in 1932.
Budongo means fertile soil, and there are 450 tree species which thrive here. The National Forest Authority of Uganda is responsible for this and all forests in the country. Apart from the fabulous flora, this forest is also home to 330 bird species, 95 mammal species, 29 amphibian and 40 reptile species. The two main reasons to come to Budongo are the excellent birdlife and the chimpanzees.

“Oldest and Most Biologically Diverse Rainforests”
Take your gorilla safari in the forest at Bwindi – it is proper jungle! This ancient forest is set on the steep slopes of the Albertine Rift Valley and boasts richly diverse vegetation. There are over 200 different species of trees, which are hung with vines. Thick undergrowth and huge nettles vie for light between the trees so it is not surprising that it has been nicknamed Impenetrable.
This national park which is a World Heritage Site, is home to about half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas making it the ideal place for inclusion in a gorilla safari. Of course the gorillas are the big attraction here, but there is in fact a great deal of biodiversity here. There are 90 mammal species in the park including elephants, giant forest hog, leopards and 11 species of primates -chimpanzees, black-and-white Colobus, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and many more.
Despite the name the forest is in fact penetrable as there are numerous trails to enable you to make the most of this environment. Gorilla trekking can be tough work if the group are a long way off and you may have to traipse through the undergrowth to reach them. The forest walks to see the hundreds of butterflies or for birding are much more relaxing, sticking to the trails.Bwindi has a bird list of over 380 species including 23 of the Albertine Rift endemics, 14 of which are only found at Bwindi. Specialities include African Green Broadbill, Grauer’s Rush warbler, Ruwenzori Turaco, Ruwenzori Nightjar Lagden’sBushshrike, Ruwenzori Batis, heaps of sunbirds and woodpeckers and hosts of other tantalizing possibilities.
The Ugandan Wildlife Authority has developed a partnership with local communities to encourage development through conservation, this enables local people to improve their standard of living through better agricultural practices, thus reducing pressure on forest resources. The park employs local people as wardens, researchers and rangers, local communities receive a proportion of the Park’s income. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is rightly renowned as THE place for a gorilla safari.

“Chimpanzees in their Natural Habitat”
Kibale Forest National Park is a haven to about 13 species of primates, both diurnal and nocturnal species. Among them are chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, baboons and grey cheeked mangabeys.The park boasts over 300 different species of bird including red chest fluff tail, joyful greenbul, grey winged robin, white napped pigeon and many more.
Kibale is one of the few places in the world where you have the opportunity to track chimpanzees in their natural habitat. There are around 700 chimps in the park and the Uganda Wildlife Authority have worked with researchers to enable some groups of these chimps to become accustomed to seeing humans. These habituated groups are wonderful to watch, though it must be remembered they are not tame or captive animals.
There is more to the park, however, than just chimpanzees. The forest itself is a diverse range of lowland tropical rainforest and medium altitude rainforest with some great trails to walk. This provides a home to a remarkable 13 primate species, which is possibly the highest concentration of primate species of any African park. These including the much localized red Colobus and L’Hoest’s monkey, black-and-white Colobus, blue monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, and olive baboons.
There are also forest elephants here which are smaller and hairier than the savannah elephants. You may also see buffalo, giant forest hog and several species of antelope.There is a rich diversity of birdlife, with 335 recorded species. This impressive bird list include two of Africa’s most sought after birds, the green-breasted and African pittas. A nearby papyrus swamp holds 4 papyrus endemics and great blue turaco. Other species recorded here include Woodhouse’santpecker, African grey parrot, black-billed and great blue turacos, white-naped pigeon white-headed woodhoopoe, speckled tinkerbird, brown-eared and Elliot’s woodpeckers, equatorial akalat, white-headed saw-wing, green crombec, white-breasted negrofinche, black-necked and yellow-mantled weavers, and blue-throated brown and superb sunbirds

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular game reserve for Uganda safaris and certainly one most scenic. This Park stretches from the crater-dotted foothills of the Rwenzori range in the north, along the shores of Lake Edward to the remote Ishasha River in the south, incorporating a wide variety of habitats that range from savanna and wetlands to gallery and lowland forest. This remarkable diversity is reflected in its bird list of over 550 species, the largest of any protected area in Africa. This park covers 1978km squres and here you have many to see like African Mourning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Fly-catcher, Grey-capped Warbler, The beautiful Black-headed Gonolek, Collard Pranticles, Pin-tailed Whyda Martial Eagle, Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars,Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Common Squaco Heron, Shoebill Stork, African Open-billed Stork, African Fish Eagle, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, African Skimmer, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Great white and Pink-backed Pelicans,White-winged Terns.
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