Mabira Forest Uganda
Mabira Forest is a natural evergreen rainforest situated in the central part of Uganda along the Kampala – Jinja highway at least 54 km from the capital city of Uganda – Kampala City and about 20 km from Jinja town. The forest lies in the Buikwe district just after lugazi. Mabira forest was gazetted in 1932 as a forest reserve which is the same year that Budongo forest reserve was also gazetted. This was done in order to protect the fauna and flora species that exist within and it covers an area of 300km2 on the shores of Lake Victoria. Mabira forest has a significant value when it comes to the tradition of Baganda as the baganda people have a belief that the forest is a home to their ancestors that brings rain and food. They also believe that the forest acts as a guard for incase of any hurricane coming from the eastern part can be stopped by the forest not to reach the palace of their kabaka on mengo hill. Mabira forest provides fruits, raw honey, firewoods, charcoal and many more to the communities that reside around the forest thus generating income in one way or the other
Attractions in mabira forest
Mabira forest harbors several fauna and flora species ranging from over 300 different tree species, swamps, waterfalls, primate species such as mangabey monkeys, baboons, Red tailed monkeys, several mammal species such as Bush pigs, Bushbucks, Duikers, Bushbaby, and in rare case Leopards, over 315 bird species including the rare species like Illadopsises, Nahan’s francolin, papyrus Gonolek, Purple-throated cuckoo shrikes among others, over 219 species of Butterflies, several moth species, reptile pieces including snakes, lizards among others
Activities carried out in Mabira forest
There are several activities taking place with in mabira forest reserve and these are enhanced by the Eco-Tourism nature of the forest making it an awesome destination for Birding, Zip – lining, Forest Walks, Mountain Biking, camping, mangabey monkey trekking, and many more that makes a Uganda tour more enticing than expected
Mabira Forest walks: Mabira forest offers a 68km trail guided forest walk for through the thick blush and in the wilderness of tall trees while sighting several birds species, mammals, primates and different plant species with in the forest. Some of these plant species in the forest are identified as medicinal plants for healing several infections
Zip-lining in mabira forest: Mabira forest is the only place in Uganda where visitors enjoy several activities with zip lining topping up the game. Ziplining is done on top of the trees and the mabira forest offers it to the maximum expectations. Actually, in the entire East African region, zip lining is only done in Uganda in one place called Mabira forest. So interested visitors can grab this chance while on a Uganda tour to enable you to clearly view the forest canopy while watches several wildlife that dwell in it including the primates especially the Mangabey Monkey, mammals and birds that reside within the forest canopy. Ziplining can be done only in two shifts that is morning and afternoon depending on the visitors’ interests all lasting about 4-5 hours
Mangabey Monkey Tracking in mabira forest: Trekking these unique and rare monkey species is carried out in the mabira forest which harbors some habituated troops of Ugandan mangabey monkeys (Lophocebus Uganda) that are now used to humans and available for tracking at any given time alongside other activities such as birding, zip-lining and more. These unique monkeys prefer to live in a group of 5 to 30 individuals mainly in the forest canopy where they eat insects, fruits, shoots, and flowers. Other mangabey monkeys are found in the Uganda – Tanzania border. Tracking these unique primates is not different from tracking the Golden monkeys in Mgahinga gorilla national park, trekking chimpanzees in Kibale forest and trekking mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga all in Uganda the pearl of Africa
Birding in mabira forest: As mentioned earlier, the nature of mabira forest with plenty of fruits, shoots, and insects attracts over 315 bird species in search of food including the rare species that are not easily found in other places in Uganda such as Nahan’s francolin, and Illadopsises making it the best birding destination in Uganda as most visitors on a Jinja tour normally have a stop to have a glance at the beautiful bird species exist in the only eastern rain forest. Actually most of the bird species that exist in Uganda are easily seen in the Mabira forest. Here is a list of some bird species that are found in mabira forest; Nahan’s Francolin, Buff-spotted Woodpeckers, African Pied Hornbill, African Shrike-flycatcher, Speckled Tinkerbird, African Dwarf-kingfisher, Blue-throated Roller, White-bellied Kingfisher, Forest Wood Hooper, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Honeyguide Greenbuls, Black-shouldered Nightjar and many more. All you need to do is grab your binoculars, put on those nice hiking shoes, pack your camera and off to the forest you go to watch as many bird species as you can while capturing those long-lasting moments.
Nature Walks: A nature walk in mabira forest offers the best tranquil view of several wildlife species that exist in Mabira forest and also some nocturnal mammals will be more heard than seen. A local guide will always be the best option (since they have great knowledge almost about everything that exists in the forest right from its history, and the wildlife in it ) in order to see and learn more while in the wilderness of mabira forest. Nature walks in mabira are not tiresome and can be done by anyone including children and adults since the trails are always cleared with less blush and short hikes. During the nature walk try to identify different plant species with the help of a local guide who is always in a position to answer all the questions you need to know, also expect to collide with several monkeys along the trails, bird species, mammals, butterflies and reptiles
Mountain biking: Visitors in mabira forest cans also opt for mountain biking to have an awesome exploration of the forest and the surrounding villages. Mabira forest offers different trails for biking ranging from the smallest trail to the difficult trail which runs past the forest deep into the local communities meeting with the local members surrounding the forest, visiting the sugar cane and tea plantations, encountering several species of primates such as monkeys and baboons, several birds and all other wildlife that live in close vicinity to the forest. These bikes can be easily hired from Giraffin Falls camp at a fee of UGX 40,000. However, Nile River Explorers also have the best bikes for rent in Jinja at affordable prices
Camping in Mabira Forest: The vegetation cover in mabira forest provides the best camping and picnic sites for adventurous visitors who prefer camping in the wilderness surrounded by the wildlife in the forest and enjoying the entertainment from the local communities
Accommodation facilities in mabira forest
Visitors planning to have an overnight while enjoying various activities in mabira forest are perfectly sorted with some beautiful lodges some situated close to the forest including Mabira Rainforest lodge, mabira forest Eco lodge and Griffin Falls Camp which is situated at the trail heading to the Griffin falls offering the best site for camping and picnic.
Mabira forest can be easily accessed by road using any kind of vehicle which is about 45 minutes’ drive from Kampala city center to Najjembe trading center but if there is traffic, the journey can take up to 2 hours but still, it remains the shortest eco-tourism site in Uganda.
“A visit to Mabira Forest is such a memorable experience after spending enough time in the only central natural forest in Uganda sighting all the beautiful fauna and flora of several mammals, primates, tree species, and all the forest dwellers and this can best be achieved by combining a tour to Jinja for the exciting white water rafting and source of the Nile“.