Mabira Forest is one of the most known forests in Uganda, although it doesn’t make it to tourist itineraries as often as it should. This beautiful and serene rainforest is found along the Jinja-Kampala highway. Almost an equally short distance from both cities.
The Mabira rainforest is nature at its very best. It’s the best place to go for a nature walk, biking, bird watching; you could even have a picnic in the forest. The forest is rarely if ever, crowded so you can enjoy whatever activities you choose to do in peace.
You don’t really need a guide when trekking through mabira forest, but having one would probably enhance your experience very much.
What is so unique about Mabira Forest?
If you are used to game drives or rides through forests, get ready for change. This is place for you to experience nature without all the disruptions of vehicles. After the short ride from either Jinja or Kampala, you get out of the vehicle and walk to the forest. A few kilometers in and you will be lost in nature, having left the noise sights and sounds of a newly budding civilization behind at the road.
Once inside the forest, you finally understand why safari operators like us here at Wild Whispers Africa make a lot of noise about this forest. Nature in all its beauty abounds in the cover of the trees. Mabira forest has 200 different tree species, patches of grassland, various papyrus swamps, simple beautiful streams and a peaceful waterfall.
How has the forest survived in the middle of two growing cities?
Mabira forest has been the subject of political controversy and under attack for such a long time, it is a wonder that the rainforest still exists. Its survival is quite possibly a miracle. There have been on and off give aways of portions of the forest to investors that have angered a big population of Ugandans and illegal logging from way back in the colonial times till today for timber and rubber.
In the 1960s a lot of trees were cut down for wood to make charcoal. Later in the 1980s, about a 1/4 of the forest was cut down and turned into farmland. If this forest were a person, it would simply be referred to as a survivor.
It is a good thing that this rainforest has survived because its ecological value is immeasurable. Wildlife, birds, plants trees, and humans all have important use of this forest. Humans if they dare, come here to experience nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of civilization
Is it just trees and greenery in the forest?
If you are on a short Uganda safari, mabira forest is the perfect place to visit to experience the feel of an African rainforest. The forest has over 300 bird species which makes it a rich destination for bird watching.
With an experienced guide, you will be able to see various animals such as: bush-pigs, blue duikers, red tailed monkeys, and grey cheeked mangabees and many others including the occasional leopard, although this is very rare.
With over 300 forest bird species, some of the birds you will see include: Blue-throated Roller, African Dwarf-kingfisher, White-bellied Kingfisher, Forest Woodhoopoe, African Pied Hornbill, Jameson’s and Chestnut Wattle-eyes, the Forest Robin, Fire-crested Alethe, Red-capped Robin-Chat, the Speckle-breasted, Yellow-crested, Brown-eared, Grey and the Buff-spotted Woodpeckers, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Red-tailed Bristlebil, Little Greenbul, Honeyguide Greenbul, Sooty Boubou, Grey-green Bush-shrike, Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, White-spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, Grey Parrot, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black-shouldered Nightjar, Sabine’s Spinetail, Cassin’s Spinetail, and so many more.
There is a lot to see and experience in this African rainforest, so make it a point to add it to your itinerary for your safari in Uganda. You can always make a stop here on your way to a white water rafting adventure in Jinja.