Bugungu Wildlife Reserve-Budongo

March 21, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, Budongo: The Wildlife Reserve is a small but magnificent wildlife reserve located in the northwestern part of Uganda. This wildlife reserve is a protected area situated in both Buliisa District and Masindi District in western Uganda, covering an area of approximately 473 square kilometres (about 183 square miles). Originally established as a controlled hunting area in 1963, it was later declared a wildlife reserve in 1968. The reserve is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area, which also includes the Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda’s oldest and largest national park) and the Karuma Wildlife Reserve. All these are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Antiquities.

Geography and Altitude:

Bugungu Wildlife Reserve is located near a village called Bugungu Fr (Bugoigo) at coordinates 1.8694°N 31.4532°E. Between Murchison Falls National Park and the north shore of Lake Mobutu Sese Seko (Lake Albert), 2°15’N, 3°30’E. Altitude: 600–1,300 m, area: 52,000ha; contiguous to Murchison Falls National Park (384,000ha) and Karuma Wildlife Reserve (82,000ha).

It shares borders with:

Murchison Falls National Park (to the east)

Karuma Wildlife Reserve (to the north-east)

Budongo Forest Reserve (to the north-west)

Kyabatwa hill (to the west)

The reserve’s altitude ranges from 600 metres to 1300 metres

Physical Features

The features are similar to those in the southern sector of Murchison Falls National Park. Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and Karuma Wildlife Reserve constitute a buffer zone for the southern boundary of Murchison Falls National Park.

Vegetation Type:

The reserve’s vegetation primarily consists of dry thicket with some open savanna woodland.

These habitats provide essential cover and forage for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area.

Savanna Grassland:

The savanna grassland dominates much of Bugungu. It features a mix of grasses, shrubs, and scattered trees. This open landscape allows for easy movement of animals and provides grazing opportunities for herbivores.

Seasonal Wetlands:

Along the rift valley escarpments, you’ll find seasonal wetlands. These wetlands play a crucial role in supporting biodiversity by providing water, food, and breeding grounds for various species.

Budongo Forest:

Part of Budongo Forest Reserve is also included within Bugungu.

Budongo Forest is a tropical rainforest characterised by dense vegetation, towering trees, and a rich diversity of plant and animal life. It contributes to the overall ecological balance of the reserve.


While the exact number of chimpanzees in the reserve remains unclear, Bugungu is well-known for being a habitat for these intelligent primates. Chimpanzees thrive in the forested areas, utilising the trees for nesting, feeding, and social interactions.


The reserve’s relative proximity to Murchison Falls National Park ensures a rich diversity of species. Whether you’re fascinated by the unique vegetation or eager to spot elusive animals, Bugungu Wildlife Reserve offers an immersive experience of Uganda’s natural wonders.


Over 600 Ugandan Kobs

Leopards and Lions

More than 1200 Oribis

Herds of Buffaloes



Warthogs, Oryx, and Elands

Topis, Waterbucks, and Elephants

Various primate species, such as Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Patas monkeys, and black and white Colobus monkeys’, It is home to a variety of wildlife species, mainly chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), but the number in the reserve is unclear. Mammals include the Lion (Panthera leo), Elephant (Loxodonta Africana), Warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus), Buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), Uganda Kob (Kobus koh), Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), and many small ungulates. The reserve includes part of Budongo Forest, which has relatively rich birdlife.

Birds: Bugungu hosts around 240 bird species, including the elusive Shoebill Stork, Black-headed Batis, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Black-billed Barbets, Dark-chanting Goshawks, and many others.


Tourists visiting Bugungu Wildlife Reserve can enjoy the following activities:

Nature walks: Explore the reserve’s natural beauty on foot.

Game drives: Venture out on well-maintained game tracks to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

Bird watching: Discover the diverse birdlife.

Camping and picnics: Enjoy the natural surroundings as you experience the wilderness up close.

Visit local communities: Interact with the people living around the reserve while learning about the areas’s culture and traditions.

Sightseeing: Take in the scenic beauty of the area.

Best Time to Visit:

Bugungu Wildlife Reserve is accessible year-round. For the best experience, consider visiting during the dry season (late June to mid-September and December to February).

For any adventure seeker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply seeking treasure in a unique and less crowded destination, Bugungu Wildlife Reserve offers an unforgettable experience in Uganda’s diverse wilderness.