The Mabira Forest in Uganda is largest and one of the last remaining equatorial rain forests in central Uganda. Positioned the administrative region of Buikwe district, it is comfortably accessible from both the capital Kampala and Jinja a major tourism and historical hub in Uganda. It is easily accessible by public transport especially by the commuter taxis (Matatus) and is just an hour from the bustle of Kampala. The Kampala – Jinja Highway actually divides the forest into two and as you drive along be sure to catch a few monkeys or baboons on the road.
The forest offers an adventurous encounter for those that seek Uganda safari holidays with thrilling venture. It covers a vast area of 3000 hectares between Lugazi and Jinja. It dense and lush canopies make it a perfect home for the Mangabey monkeys that can only be found in Uganda and classified as endangered. It is protected under the Mabira Forest Reserve since 1932. It gets its name from the Luganda word “Kibira” which means a group of trees. Since it’s a massive group it forms the plural to make Mabira.
Mabira Forest is a tourism hub endowed with bio diversity. Here you will find 315 bird species, 218 butterflies, 500 tree species and small mammals like the red-tailed monkeys and Vervets. It has comprehensive foot trails that accommodate visitors of different schedules and capabilities. The trails are categorized as guided and unguided trails and are ten in number. Visitors to the forest can enjoy nature walks in the thick green jungles; track the mangabeys as well as bird watching. It is also an excellent spot for camping safaris and picnics. Researchers and students also go to the forest to undertake tours get to know more of it eco-system.
Mabira forest is undoubtedly one of Uganda’s important birding areas that plays host to over 315 bird species, including elusive ones like the Tit Hylia, Nahan’s francolin, Purple-throated cuckoo shrikes, Yellow and grey long bills, Jameson’s wattle eyes and Illadopsis.
Bird watchers can encounter 46% of Uganda’s forest birds in Mabira Rainforest, more than any other forest in Uganda.
Culturally the forest is important as it is a source for many medicinal plants. It has trees that are over 40 years old. Many traditional herbalists or doctors come to the forest to propagate the barks, roots and leaves of various trees to make portions and medicine. For the extreme adventure touch, opt for the canopy zip line that hangs above the tree tops in Mabira. It incites the adrenaline rush as you behave just like the monkeys swinging from tree to tree. The forest is also suitable for team building activities to build cohesion.
Biking is another activity that visitors can do while on tour to Uganda at the Mabira forest. The bikes are usually hired and ridden along various trails to traverse the forest. The Mabira forest is a destination one can add to their travel itinerary as a cherry on the cake before and after embarking on their main Uganda wildlife or gorilla trekking safari.