Mabira forest is situated along Kampala-Jinja road in Buikwe district of Uganda; it’s approximately 56 kilometers east of the capital city. The forest covers 306 kilometers squared and of the natural surviving forests in the country, the forest is believed to have extended from the central African rainforests.
Mabira forest was leased to East Africa and Uganda Exploration syndicate. Mabira forest (Uganda) rubber Co.Ltd managed the forest in 1906, it collected more than 225,000 kilograms of wild rubber from Funtumia Elastica a species in the forest, they later resorted to planting and cultivating rubber and other crops like tea, coffee and sugarcane. In 1971-1979 the forest suffered poaching, encroachment and logging. In 1988 there was evacuation of all people who lived within the forest land in order for refforestation and conservation to take place.
Mabira forest is endowed with over 300 species of trees stretchingon valleys and hills perched with Savannah and papyrus swamp on the lake shores of Victoria, some of the tree species found in Mabira forest are endemic to the Congo- Guinea forests such as;Lophocebus Ugandae, MulgusNigriscapularis, Teochocercus niten, MacrosphenusConcolor andFrancolinus nahani among the rest.
Recently in the year 2007, the sugar cooperation of Uganda limited with Mehta group alongside the Ugandan governmentwanted to clear about 70 kilometers squared off Mabira forests to use it for sugarcane plantation. Though the president and his collogues supported the idea, the people protested and striked over the issue this led to the killing of three people out of the protesters, Indian plantations were burnt and there was dispute all over the country.
The Anglican Church together with the Kabaka of Bugandaalso didn’tsupportthe deforestation plan and offered alternative land for sugarcane growing though they said that the deforestation of the forest and planting of sugar could lead to creation of over 3000 jobs, this would have caused misbalancing the climate, destruction of the endangered species and increased erosion. After several protests and opposition the plans were cancelled and Mabira remained in it’s natural state.
Mabira forest is Uganda’s precious gem that tourists can always include in their itinerary while visiting the country some of the activities you can enjoy in Mabira forest can be seen just below
Mabira forest has also got a good number of trails that tourists can use and come across wild animals like duikers, bush pigs, grey cheeked Mangebay, baboon, colobus monkeys, fruit tailed bat and red tailed monkey to mention a few, there are also over 90 moth species.
Super skyway/ Zip line
Mabira forest is the only place where you can do a Zip line on top of trees in East Africa, this comes with all safety gears and at an affordable price. This activity always starts at 8:00 am in the morning to 1:00pm in the afternoon east African time sometimes it can be done from 1:00pm to 600 in the evening.
Mabira forest is endowed with over 300 species of forest birds this makes it a bird enthusiasts destination that can be visited in one day tour, some of the birds you will see are Cassins hawk eagle, dusky long tailed cuckoo, blue throated roller, black shouldered nightjar, nahans Francolin, Sabine’sspine tail, African dwarf kingfisher, green breasted pitta, Yellow throated tinker bird, Hairy breasted barbet, Grey parrot, African pied hornbill, African shrike flycatcher, Forest wood hoopoe, Afep pigeon and many more. The Mangebay monkey is a rare species that you would easily see elsewhere but in Mabira forest there are great opportunities.
There is a public campsite with twelve tents where you can camp at a low price they also provide educational tours with camp basic facilities.
Nature guided walks
The nature guided walks are simply thrilling as you come across the ancient giant trees, birds, monkeys, butterflies and many more this are conducted by experienced guides who know he forest very well and will answer most of your questions. Nature guided walks can also be done with groups of children.
Mountain biking can be organized for those who wouldn’t love nature guided walks this can take up to the whole day with tour guides, tourists can even extend to the local communities, the bikes can be rented within the forest.
Hiking Namussa hill
Tourists can sleep at Mabira forest lodge or at the Griffin falls camp there is also a public campsite this provide good service and comfortable rooms.
Mabira forest can be accessed from Kampala in 45 minutes, it’s about 56 kilometers from Kampala and 20 kilometers from Jinja, the headquarters is at Najjembe village just about 500 meters from the main road.