Activities in Mabira Forest
Activities in Mabira Forest: Mabira forest in central Uganda covers a total area of 306 square kilometers and is located in the Buikwe district. Mabira forest was gazetted as a protected area in 1932 and before it was used to extract rubber while some parts were cleared for coffee plantations. The forest is a habitat of various wildlife species including over 312 tree species with ancient trees which are over 25 and 70 years old, 315 bird species, 219 butterfly species, 97 moth species, 23 mammal species such as baboons, grey cheeked mangabey, blue duiker, fruit bats, bush pigs, tree hyrax, red tailed monkeys, squirrels, bushbucks, reptiles among others. Due to the fact that it’s a rainforest, the Mabira forest acts as a water catchment area that serves many streams and water bodies such as River Ssezibwa, River Nile, and Lake Kyoga among others.
Activities in Mabira Forest.
Guided nature walk
Guided nature walks in the Mabira forest are a must-do and can be done by tourists of all ages visiting the forest. Guided nature walks in the forest can be done anytime of the day either in the morning or in the evening with a knowledgeable guide who will be sharing information about Mabira forest, tree plants in the forest as well as helping you to spot different wildlife species. The forest is a home of about 312 tree species where some species will be spotted during nature/forest walk like Cordia millenii, Warbughia with some used as medicinal herbs by the neighboring community to treat different ailments and others used for research. During the forest walk in Mabira you will walk through the 68kilometre well maintained trail which is divided into various trails like the red trail which is 33km, yellow trail which is 12km and the white trail which is 5km. The guided nature walks in the forest take about 2 to 3 hours and will give you an opportunity to view various ancient tree species, plants, mammals, and bird species and also enjoy the sounds of the birds and the forest.
Mabira forest in Uganda is the only destination in the East African Region that offers zip lining to visitors on a safari. Zip lining takes about 4 hours and has two sessions that is the morning session which starts at 8am and the afternoon session which starts at 1pm. Zip lining is an adventurous activity in the forest which passes through River Musamya and gives you spectacular views of Mabira forest, griffin falls, various bird species, grey checked mangabey, red tailed monkeys, squirrels among others. For the adventurous visitors, zip lining is an exceptional activity which will give you breathtaking experiences on your safari in Uganda.
Mangabey tracking is one of the unique activities conducted in Mabira forest. The grey-cheeked mangabey is rare and unique primate specie that is found in Mabira forest and some other parts in Uganda. Mabira forest in Uganda is the only destination in the country that offers tourists mangabey trekking. The forest is a home of three habituated grey cheeked mangabey families which are available for trekking on daily basis and. Grey cheeked mangabey are also called Lophocebus Ugandae and they are endemic to Uganda which makes them the most popular attractions in Mabira forest. Grey cheeked mangabey trekking in Mabira forest is a fascinating activity though mangabey can be viewed depending on three facts that is the time of the day you are trekking, the season and the availability of food because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. With the help of the trackers and guide you shouldn’t be worried of not seeing the grey cheeked mangabey during trekking and other primates like the red tailed monkeys and various bird species.
Bird watching in Mabira forest is another great activity that visitors can do during your visit to the forest. The forest shelters over 315 bird species which makes it an ideal destination for birding safaris in Uganda. Bird watching in the forest can be done in the grassland trail which is 3 kilometers passing through the fruiting trees which attract bird species. There are different bird species in Mabira forest including yellow throated tinker bird, blue headed crested monarch, purple throated cuckoo, black bellied seed cracker, African pied hornbill, yellow long bill, African shrike flycatcher, blue throated roller, grey parrot, hairy breasted barbet, African dwarf kingfisher, black and white casqued hornbill, speckled tinker bird, white spotted Flufftail among others.
Mabira forest in Uganda is a home to about 218 butterfly species and 97 moths. During butterfly identification in the forest you will follow different trails in the forest for example trails which lead to flowering plants because the flowers attract many butterflies. Butterfly identification activity in Mabira forest can be carried with the guide who will help you in identifying the beautiful and colorful butterfly species hence making your safari enjoyable.
Mabira forest also offers tourists mountain biking as a recreational activity. Visitors are given an opportunity to ride within the forest accompanied by experienced guides following different forest trails, visiting the local communities around the forest among others. Bikes for the activity can be hired from griffin falls camp or even outside Mabira forest. During mountain biking safaris in the forest, you will have great views of the primates, tree species, plants, bird species among others which gives you memorable and unforgettable experiences during your visit to Uganda.
Best time to visit Mabira Forest in Uganda.
Mabira forest in Uganda can be visited at any time of the year; however, the best time to visit is the dry season during the months of June to September and December to February. The dry season is the best time to visit Mabira forest in that there will be less rainfall in the forest which makes nature walks, zip lining and mountain biking successful because the forest trails will be dry and passable. During the rainy season, the trails are muddy and slippery. However the wet season is an ideal period for bird watching and mangabey trekking in that due to heavy rainfall in the forest there will be plenty of foods like fruits for the grey-cheeked mangabey and birds which makes mangabey trekking easy because the mangabeys will be easy viewed.
What to pack during your visit to Mabira Forest in Uganda.
Visitors are advised to carry essential equipment such as; waterproof rain jacket, hiking shoes, garden gloves, long sleeved trousers and shirts, back pack, hat and sunglasses, camera to take photos and binoculars for clear viewing of the bird species.
Accommodation in Mabira Forest
There are quite a number of accommodation facilities in Mabira forest where you can stay during your visit such as; Griffin Falls Camp, Mabira Rainforest lodge which offers comfortable shelters inform of self-contained twin rooms, Bandas, free internet in public places, quality meals among others. Mabira forest also has a camping ground which caters for 12 tents, camp fire, picnic tables where you can enjoy your meals in a calm and peaceful environment.
How to get to Mabira Forest
Mabira forest in Uganda can be accessed by road. It takes 54 kilometers from Kampala city and 20 kilometers from Jinja. When travelling to Mabira forest, you will drive from Kampala via Kampala- Jinja highway which takes about one hour drive.