Mabira rain forest is located in Buikwe District along the Kampala-Jinja highway, covering about 300 sq kilometers between Jinja and Lugazi and is the biggest in central Uganda. It has been protected as a reserve since 1932 with enormous bio diversity consisting of about 312 tree species, 218 species of butterflies, 315 bird species and 40 species of small mammals such as vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, grey cheeked Mangabey and many more. Historically, the reserve suffered tremendously from logging, poaching and encroachment by poor farmers during the Idi Amin’s regime but later after the end of the civil war in 1985, conservation and reforestation efforts began seriously which also led to the expulsion of the small farmers from occupying within the forest.
Activities carried out in Mabira forest
The reserve offers visitors a number of activities like hiking, nature walks, bird watching, zip lining, camping, and mountain biking among others.
This activity is only found in Uganda among the East African countries and in Mabira forest is done above the tree tops at 60$ per person. During this activity you have a chance of viewing the forest and all creatures that dwell in it such the vervet monkeys, Mangabey monkeys, baboons, red tailed monkeys and many more. During this activity, you are by accompanied by a professional guide with provided with equipments that meets the standard of safety of a visitor and this activity is done in two shifts morning and afternoon depending on the visitor’s interest lasting for 4-5 hours.
Due to the presence of the best flora and fauna, fruits and insects, Mabira forest inhabits over 315 bird species such as the rare Nahan’s francolin, buff- spotted wood peckers, white –bellied kingfisher, Cassin hawk-eagle, Blake bellied seed cracker and many more. Birders are well awarded since these are easily spotted even in one area, and this activity costs from25$ half day to 35$ full day.
Mountain biking experience is an interesting activity carried out in the well maintained trails within the forest which enables you explore the forest and the surrounding communities. The forest has got different trails including; white (5km), yellow (12km) and red trails(33km) which can be completed in one day with a bike. The bikes are hired from the companies in charge and while during this activity, you will have an opportunity to encounter birds, primates, butterflies, and different tree species among others. This activity costs from 60$ per person (minimum 4 people).
Nature walks in Mabira forest can be done without a tour guide however for the best experience within the forest you need a resident guide who has knowledge about the ancient tree species, water bodies, primates, butterflies and birds. This activity is perfect for all age groups and doesn’t require any fitness to walk within the forest. Since this activity is favorable to everyone it costs only 10$ per person.
Uganda Mangabey monkey trekking
Also known as the Lophocebus Ugandae is a rare type of monkeys commonly found in Mabira forest and a few number of them in other parts of the country. These do live in groups of 5 comprising of 30 individuals living in the forest canopy there 3 habituated groups which are open to tourism and Tracking them needs an experienced however, you will encounter other primates such as the Red tailed and vervet monkeys, bird species, butterflies, different tree species and much more. Since this activity needs moving from place to place in search of Mangabey monkeys, it costs 20$ per person.
Camping in Mabira Forest
The flora and fauna found in Mabira forest provides the best environment for camping and picnics. There are picnic sites which are well organized and trails from the picnic sites which take about 20minutes through various forests streams and ancient trees. The hotels arrange for the cultural dances and entertainments that the tourists can enjoy while on their visit. While going for camping you can choose to hire a tent or come along with your own personal tents.
Mabira Forest is one of the places with huge numbers of butterflies. There over 218 butterfly species and 97 moth species found in the forest. You will be accompanied by a professional tour guide through the different trails who will help you learn more about their different names, characteristics of the different butterfly and moth species thus making your safari an interesting one.
Where to stay
Mabira forest offers you a wide range of lodge accommodations that range from luxury, midrange and budget these include;
- The rainforest lodge
- The observatory lodge
- Nile front cottages
- K&K Guest House
- Holland Park
- Jinja base camp
- Villa Anona Guest House
How to get to Mabira Forest
Mabira forest is found along the Kampala-Jinja highway about 54km distance from Kampala and 20km from Jinja by road transport in Najjembe village.