Mabira Forest – Visit for nature walks, ziplining, birdwatching

mabira forest reserve

Established in 1900, Mabira Forest Reserve is a natural tropical rainforest found in central region of Uganda, and it is also the biggest in this region covering an area of 306 square kilometers. Mabira forest is located in Buikwe District along the Kampala – Jinja highway which is about one hour’s drive from Kampala and very easy to reach. It is a destination perfect for nature lovers looking for a day or short trip in Uganda to experience the African jungle and get upclose with nature.

Wildlife of Mabira Forest

Mabira Forest is predominantly a secondary forest that has grown for more than 100 years with minimal disturbance hence accumulating an impressive diversity of wildlife which include: 312 species of trees and shrubs and some of the shrubs have been discovered to be unique to Mabira forest and not found anywhere else. It is home to 316 bird species, 219 butterflies, 97 moths and 35 species of small mammals such as Duikers, Bushbucks, Squirrels, Red-tailed Monkeys, and the Uganda Mangabey a primate which is found only in Uganda.

red tailed monkey at Mabira Forest Reserve

Mabira Forest is also an important water catchment area and has some rivers that flow into Lake Victoria – Africa’s biggest lake.

Things to do in Mabira Forest

Forest Birding in Mabira Forest

Mabira forest is a hotspot for forest birds and is one of the prime destinations for birding tours in Uganda especially for those that are keen on forest species. The bird count in the forest currently stands at about 316 bird species. Mabira forest has a good trail network what offers easy access into the forest and good views into the different layers of the forest thereby giving a wonderful birding experience that produces a big checklist with many special sightings. Some of the top birds in Mabira that twitchers look out for and that may not easily be spotted in other forest destinations of Uganda include: Uganda Woodland Warbler, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Narina Trogon, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Black-billed Turaco, African Grey Parrot, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Green-tailed Bristlebill, and Forest Robin.

Guided Nature Walk and Hike

Mabira Forest has an excellent trail network for easy movement through the dense forest. Walking under the thick canopy and experiencing the peace, serenity and tranquility feels so refreshing and being one with nature. You have chances of encountering an array of wildlife such as monkeys, squirrels, colorful butterflies, birds, spiders, insects, snakes, water streams, and you will hear beautiful songs from elusive forest birds, as well as noises from other animals such as monkeys. You also get to see different species of trees and shrubs, and learn some of the medicinal ones. The site guide at Mabira is very knowledgeable about the forest and will point out so many interesting features & aspects of Mabira forest.

Mangabey monkey tracking in Mabira forest

Mabira Forest is home to the Uganda Mangabey a species of monkeys which is found only in Uganda. Mabira forest offers the best chance to see the Uganda Mangabey and one troop has been habituated for tracking. These monkeys may also be seen during the normal forest walk, however for better chances of seeing them up close you can book a mangabey tracking experience where you join a forest guide and track them down and spend an hour observing them.

Ziplining in Mabira forest

This thrilling adventure offers access to the forest canopy and its inhabitants such as birds, monkeys, squirrels and other elements that are rather elusive while on ground. Once on the zipline the feeling of being high up in the trees, smelling the unfamiliar scents from the trees and seeing all the green around as you glide along is wonderful to experience!

Mountain Biking in Mabira forest

Mabira Forest is an excellent destination for mountain biking adventures, through the forest’s trail network.

Picnic in Mabira forest

There are neat well maintained picnic grounds in the forest for one to enjoy a meal in the peaceful and tranquil natural environment, and yet still have a chance to have a glimpse at some wildlife such as the monkeys, squirrels and several birds.

Camping in Mabira

Camping is available in certain spots of the forest including the main at the Eco-tourism Center and at Griffin Falls.

Where to stay in Mabira forest

Mabira rainforest lodge – this is a luxury lodge in Mabira forest perfect for a getaway in the middle of nature. It has a swimming pool where you can swim and relax while listing to the sounds of the jungle.

Griffins Falls camp – this is a budget lodging in Mabira forest. It located at the area of Mabira forest where ziplining is done

Mabira Eco-tourism Center – this is a budget accommodation at the headquarters of the Mabira Forest Reserve. It is conveniently located a few meters from the Kampala – Jinja highway. The main walking and cycling trails start from here.

Book our tours to visit Mabira Forest

1 days Jinja tour with visit to Mabira forest

2 days Sipi falls hike and Jinja tour with visit to Mabira forest

3 days ultimate outdoor adventures Uganda tour

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