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Kaniyo Pabidi Forest of Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is found in the south of Murchison Falls National Game Park in the Masindi District. It covers an area of approximately 28 square kilometers within the middle of Murchison falls Kichumbanyobo gate.

The Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is essentially a northeastern extension of the Budongo Forest Reserve. The natural beauty is characterized by mahogany and ironwood trees. Kaniyo Pabidi is as well subjected to Swan-forest mixed trees and with Cynometra mid-altitude semi-deciduous Celtis forest.

This small forest was managed by the Jane Goodall institute but was handed over to Budongo eco-lodge in 2009.

Kaniyo Pabidi is a significant area in tourism and it can be enjoyed on Uganda safaris. It is well known for those on Uganda Chimpanzee tours as they visit the tourism site to track Chimpanzees.

This is because it hosts Uganda’s densest population of chimpanzees, recently estimated at around 6.5 individuals per square kilometer. Spotting chimpanzees in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is easy as chances are at 80%.

And, it also has other Uganda primates like Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, and Black and White Colobus monkeys.

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is also favored by those birding in Uganda as it allures a selection of over 360 birds. Some of the birds are West and Central African species as well as Guinea-Congo forest-related birds.

Unique Uganda birds in the forest include the Great Blue Turacos, White-thighed Hornbills, Crested Guineafowl, Kingfishers, Little Greenbul, and Ituri Batis.

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest in Murchison Falls National Park is a top destination, especially for those on a Murchison falls safari.

Wildlife In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

The wildlife in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is extraordinary and unique. If you are on your safari in Uganda then you will not be disappointed with the wildlife and nature in the forest.

Wildlife in the forest ranges from primates, birds, moths, butterflies, mammal species, and tree (plant) species.

  1. Primates In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Uganda primates in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest are amazing and mount to a total of 9 species. The forest has over 120 Chimpanzees that play within the area and drum tree stems and can be heard hooping in the tree canopy.

Many Monkey species swing on the mahogany tree branches and are spotted picking ripe fruits for food. And, Kaniyo Pabidi has nocturnal primates that are not easily sighted in other places in Uganda like the Galagos and Pottos.

These primates in the forest are enjoyed most by those on Uganda primate safaris.

Below Are The Primates In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

  1. Chimpanzees
  2. Red-tailed Monkeys
  3. Blue Monkeys
  4. Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys
  5. Olive Baboons
  6. Vervet Monkeys
  7. Pottos
  8. Galagos
  9. L’Hoest’s Monkeys

Uganda Birds In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Birds in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest are sought-after birds and every bird lover should see these amazing flying beauties when birding Uganda.

This forest has over 360 bird species and some of these are West and Central African birds and others are Guinea-Congo forest birds. The Yellow-footed Flycatcher and Puvel’s Illadopsis are only endemic to Kaniyo Pabidi Forest not elsewhere in East Africa.

Some of the birds in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest include;

  • African shrike-flycatcher
  • Puvel’s Illadopsis (found in no other place throughout the whole of East Africa)
  • Yellow-footed Flycatcher
  • Chestnut Wattle Eye
  • Narina Trogon
  • Little Greenbul
  • Chestnut-Winged Starling
  • Grey Apalis
  • Dwarf Kingfisher
  • Pygmy Kingfisher
  • Chocolate Backed Kingfisher
  • Great Blue Turacos
  • Several forest Sunbirds and Hornbills including the striking White-thighed Hornbill.

1. Other Wild Animals In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Animals in Kaniyo Pabidi are not commonly spotted though move within the forest boundaries. There are not so many animals in the forest as a few cross from the savannah Murchison Falls National Park.

Visitors in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest mostly spot Antelope species and their droppings are seen on the walking trails.

Big cats like Lions and Leopards are occasional visitors in the forest as they are heard at night roaring. When on your wildlife Uganda safari in the forest, you can spot Elephants and Buffaloes passing through the forest.

Forest Giant Squirrels are sighted running on the forest floors and Pangolins shying away in the tree canopy.

Things To Do In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest | Safari Activities In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest has amazing safari activities that visitors on safari Uganda can do.

It is the best place for chimpanzee trekking in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda birdwatching safaris and nature walks. These activities should not be missed by anyone during their safari tours in Uganda.

  • Chimpanzee Trekking In Kaniyo Pabidi

Kaniyo Pabidi is the second best place in Uganda after Kibale National Park for Chimpanzee trekking in Uganda. The forest has 1 habituated Chimpanzee community with over 120 individuals.

This activity will give you close views of the apes in their natural habitat. Chimpanzee trekking at Kaniyo Pabidi is conducted by Budongo Eco-lodge which is responsible for taking care of the Chimpanzees.

Trekking of the apes is done twice a day in the morning and the afternoon. It starts with a 30-minute briefing which is conducted by a ranger from Kaniyo Pabidi eco-tourism site headquarters.

Each session sets out to track the apes consisting of 8 tourists led by an armed ranger. Chances of seeing the Chimpanzees in the forest are at a rate of 80%. And, it is about 2-5 hours depending on where you find the Chimpanzees.

After you have come across the Chimpanzees, you are given 1 full hour to be with them which is breathtaking and memorable.

The age limit for Chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi is 14 years. A Chimpanzee trekking permit is $120 per person.

  • Chimpanzee Habituation At Kaniyo Pabidi

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience will have you spend a full day with the Chimpanzees as you learn about their way of life. Chimpanzee Habituation is a long process and can take around 15 years to fully habituate a community.

The habituation of Chimpanzees at Kaniyo Pabidi started in 1992 to make the apes get used to human presence.

Same to Chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee habituation experience in Kaniyo Pabidi starts with a briefing. You then join a group of rangers and professional guides on their daily program of following and habituating the Chimps.

It is a full-day experience and so it is wise and advisable to carry packed lunch which is provided by the lodge.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience is at a fee/cost of $230 per person.

  • Bird Watching In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Bird watching in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is superb as it is among the best bird watching areas in Uganda. This small forest has phenomenal species that are unique and mount up to 360 bird species.

Most of the birds here are forest-related species as it has Guinea-Congo forest region bird species. It has well-developed trails one can follow and get clear views of birds.

Those on birding safaris in Uganda do birding in the forest mostly in the morning and evening. This is when the birds are most active as they are spotted leaving their nests and coming back in the evening.

Look out for the White-thighed Hornbill, Ituri Batis, Crested Guineafowl, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Kingfishers, and Sunbirds.

There is no limitation to bird watching in Kaniyo Pabidi as it is done all year round. However, migratory birds are in the forest from November to April.

Cost -Fees For Birdwatching In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Visitor categoryFees(per person)
Foreign non-residentUS$ 30
Foreign residentUS$ 25
East African citizenUGX 20,000
  • Nature Walks In Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest has one of the best walking trails in Uganda. Its well-developed trail system sums to a total of 115km leaving you speechless as you will want more. The trails take you around the forest giving sightings of mother nature.

Nature walks in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest are done in the morning (8 am) and the afternoon (2 pm) and usually last for 2 hours. These nature walks are return trips as the starting point is the ending point.

You are accompanied by skilled and armed rangers to guide you through the entire session of nature walks. The trails are not steep and are flat meaning that anyone can enjoy the walks in style.

During these walks in the forest, you can spot primates like Chimpanzees, Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys, and Vervet Monkeys.

Birds to look out for are the African Dwarf Kingfisher, Black-Eared Ground Thrush, Blue-Breasted Kingfisher, Brown Twinspot, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, and Cassin’s Spinetail

What Is The Best Time To Visit Kaniyo Pabidi Forest

Uganda Safari undertakers can visit Kaniyo Pabidi Forest at any time of the year. However, the best time is in the dry season/dry months as the murram roads leading to the forest are dry making accessibility easy.

Also, the trails to follow during safari activities in the forest are not slippery leading to successful experiences.

The dry months are from December to February and from June to August. During the wet months, heavy rains may cause delays in Chimpanzee trekking and birdwatching.

However, March to May and August to November are good bird watching months as there are many birds in the forest since food is abundant.

Also know that migratory birds are in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest from November to April.

How To Get To Kaniyo Pabidi Forest?

Kaniyo Pabidi is situated at 1°55’0″ N 31°40’0″ E in the northwest of Kampala with a distance of 220km which is 3 hour drive. From Masindi, it is a 30 km distance roughly less than an hour’s drive.

The forest is positioned along the murram road from Masindi to Paraa. And, it is about 8 km from the Kichumbanyobo gate of Murchison falls park.

One can fly to Pakuba airstrip for less than an hour using scheduled or chartered flights and then transfer to the forest. These flights set off from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip.

Flight operators are Aero link Uganda, Bar Aviation, and Eagle Air.

Accommodation At Kaniyo Pabidi Forest | Where To Stay When At Kaniyo Pabidi Forest?

Tourists visiting Kaniyo Pabidi can stay at Budongo Eco Lodge.

The facility is located in Budongo central forest reserve within the boundaries of Murchison falls national Park. The lodge has eco-cabins that are inside the forest and are connected by walking paths.

All these cabins have en-suite bathrooms and toilets with hot water flowing in the showers. And, with king-size beds for double occupancy or single beds for a twin.

The lodge also has four dormitories and these are for people who travel in groups. The dormitories have bunk beds and also will a common bathroom with cold and hot water running.

Room facilities,

Eco-cabins(5 cabins)

·        They connected to walking paths

·        Each cabin has a private deck

·        Twin or double beds

·        Sitting area

·        En-suite bathroom with a wash table, shower, and a separate flushing toilet

Dormitory rooms(4 rooms)

·        Each with two double-deckers (bunker beds)

·        Beds have mosquito nets

·        Common shower and toilet block with hot and cold running water


Facilities at the lodge are,

  • Outdoor restaurant
  • Visitor’s Centre with craft shop
  • Lounge area
  • Parking available

However, one can sleep in accommodations in Murchison Falls National Park and do activities in the forest during day time.

Why Visit Kaniyo Pabidi Forest? | What Is Unique About Kaniyo Pabidi Forest? 

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest has spectacular wildlife that will leave you mesmerized. It is the second-best place in Uganda for Chimpanzee trekking and habituation experiences after Kibale National Park.

It also has other primates that you would like to see during your safaris to Uganda. These are the Monkey species and nocturnal primates of the Galagos and Pottos.

The bird life in the forest is unmissable as it has over 360 Uganda bird species including Guinea-Congo forest-related birds. Other birds are West or Central African birds. The trails in the forest are well developed and are on a standard to give excellent nature walks.

In brief, the forest has Primates, birds, animals, butterflies, moths, and plant species of different kinds. For sure, no one would want to miss such a destination during their safari to Uganda.

What to wear when visiting Kaniyo Pabidi Forest?

There is clothing you need to wear if you are going for Uganda tours in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest. You should always wear decent as in Africa it is not proper for people to move with their body parts uncovered.

Here is what you can wear on your visit to Kaniyo Pabidi

  1. Light long-sleeved shirts and trousers

These are unique and will keep you warm if it tends to be cold. They will keep your body safe from itching plants and dangerous biting insects.

However, avoid putting on bright colors as the stress animals. Khaki and brown are recommended.

  1. Comfortable shoes

Most of the activities in the park require you to walk and hike, so light hiking boots are advised wear. They will keep you stable on the unproper trails and keep your feet dry. They should be able to cover your ankles.

  1. Sunglasses

Sunglasses will protect your eyes from direct sunlight. They should be polarized to reduce the sun’s glaze.

  1. Hat or cap

A hat or cap will protect your head from the strong direct sunlight which causes you headaches. It should fit you very well in that it cannot be blown away by the wind.

What To Pack When Visiting Kaniyo Pabidi Forest?

If you are planning to visit Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, there are essential items you need to carry or pack.

There is no need to think a lot about these items, below are some of the items you can pack.

  1. A good camera with extra batteries

This is for capturing your favorite memories while in the forest, especially during Chimpanzee trekking and bird watching. Cameras with a focal length between 400mm and 600mm are highly recommended.

  1. Binoculars

Binoculars will enable you to view distant wildlife like birds by zooming on them clearer to you. Binoculars with magnification between 7x and 10x are highly recommended.

  1. Insect repellent

This will keep away insects from biting you, especially mosquitoes which may infect you with malaria.

  1. Sunscreen

Sunscreen will protect your skin from getting damaged by direct sunlight rays.

  1. Backpack

A backpack will keep all your small items in one place and with you always. Items like insect repellent, sunscreen, notebooks, and more.

  1. Poncho or rain jacket

This will prevent you from getting wet in case it rains during your safari activities.

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is not a must-miss for those on Uganda Chimpanzee tour as it is a good place for Chimpanzee trekking. The avian life of the forest is spectacular and it is a birders’ haven for tourists on Uganda bird watching safaris.

Nature walks are spectacular in the forest and it’s the right place for you to be. Activities in the forest can be combined in a Murchison falls safari giving you unforgettable memories.

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