Mabira Forest Reserve in Uganda – Things to do, where to stay/Lodges, best time to Visit, Camping and nature walks in Mabira
Mabira Forest Reserve in Ugandais one of the few surviving Tropical rainforests in Uganda and a must-visit tourist destination for visitors who fancy exploring jungles and their fascinating adventures.
Size of Mabira Forest
Mabira Forest extends for approximately 306 square kilometers (30600 hectares/120 square miles), making it one of the last remaining Rainforests in the country.
Location of Mabira Forest
The verdant Mabira forest is situated within Central Uganda, in the district of Mukono between the Towns of Lugazi and Jinja. This amazing tourist destination lies north of Lake Victoria and is a perfect stop point for travellers to the Eastern circuit destinations such as Jinja, Mbale, Kapchorwa and many others.
History of Mabira Forest Reserve in Uganda
This stunning and popular Natural Forest Reserve was established in 1932, because of its rich biodiversity including Grey-cheeked mangabeys (or Uganda Mangabeys-Lophocebus ugandae).
Things to see in Mabira Forest Reserve
Mabira Forest is undeniably a biodiversity hotspot with over 300 unique tree species, about 40 species of mammals including 9 primate species, 315 species of birds, approximately 200 butterfly species and 97 moth species. Talking of mammals, visitors are guaranteed of seeing the grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, bush pigs, black and white colobus monkeys, duikers, fruit bats, to mention but a few.
The common bird species in Mabira Forest include grey longbills, Toro olive Greenbul, Sooty flycatcher, Purple throated Cuckoo shrike, Illadopsis, Palmnut vultures, Red-bellied Paradise flycatcher, Nahan’s francolin, African fish eagles, Great blue Turaco, Jameson’s wattle eyes, Green-tailed Bristle bill, Tit Hylia and many others. Generally, about 45% of the country’s forest birds can be spotted in this beautiful Forest Reserve.
Things to do in Mabira Forest Reserve in Uganda
Zip-lining in Mabira
Mabira forest is one of the few places in Uganda where travellers can enjoy zip lining adventures and this allows participants to maneuver through tall trees like monkeys. Visitors are led to pass through huge trees by professional sky guides across a network of 5 zip lies that extend for about 250 meters across the stunning Musamya River. This activity is conducted under stringent International safety guidelines and with trusted gear. It is exciting when you come across different birds, primates and most interestingly the thundering griffin falls.
Birding tours in Mabira Tours
After learning that Mabira Forest is a home to over 315 bird species, birding tours are definitely a must-do during Uganda safaris. Expect sights and sounds of at least 45% of Uganda’s forest bird species that include Tit Hylia, Jameson’s wattle eyes, Nahan’s francolin and many others.
Guided forest walks
Guided forest walks in Mabira forest are conducted in the company of trained and professional guides and involve transversing well-maintained trails with at least 3 primate species, over 50 bird species and several butterflies expected during the adventure.
Mabira Forest is one of the few Tropical rainforests sheltering the Uganda mangabeys and for your visit, you can be able to track these extraordinary primate species. The most exciting thing is that you can be able to see at least 3 troops in a single day and also get a chance to interact with some of the researchers who participated in their habituation.
Environment education is another interesting and significant activity conducted within Mabira forest and is done under MAFICOs mission by the spectacular Griffin falls Camp. Programs involve helping primary, secondary and Universities and other higher institutions during scientific research.
There are several designated Campsites, one of which is Griffin falls Camp for visitors interested in experiencing the jungle in a different way.
Best time to visit Mabira Forest
There is no perfect time to explore Mabira Forest because the lush Rainforest is open throughout the year. However, most travellers prefer the dry season when forest ground and trails are less muddy and slippery, since rains are minimal.
Where to stay in Mabira Forest/Lodges in Mabira
Griffin falls Camp is the main place to stay while exploring Mabira forest, in form of self-contained eco-nests (in twin), midrange Bandas in twin, the Quadruple Banda with four beds and outdoor Camping for a more intimate experience of the jungle. Other nearby places to stay include the Haven Eco River Lodge, Rainforest Lodge Mabira, Baobab Cottage and Lighthouse Jinja among others.
How to get to Mabira Forest
Mabira Forest is situated in Mukono district, Central Uganda and about 54 kilometers along the Kampala-Jinja Highway. It is also only 26 kilometers from the Town of Jinja in addition to being only 500 meters from the main Kampala-Jinja highway along a short dirt road off the Najjembe Trading Center. This makes Mabira Forest accessible by all vehicles all year round.