The Mpanga forest reserve is situated in Mpigi town about 37 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda, the forest reserve was mainly protected as a science research site in the year 1953. The reserve is endowed with different bird species making it one of the best places for bird enthusiasts to view birdlife in the country.
Mpanga forest reserve is mall but rewarding it covers an area of 45 kilometers squared boasting with over 500 shrub and tree species, over 200 species of birds, butter flies and various wildlife. Some of the trees in the forests reserve are said to be over 100 years old and the sizes are quite impressive.
The Mpanga forest reserve also boasts with various animals such as bush bucks, bush babies, flying squirrels, red tailed monkeys and many more.
One of the best forest activities at the Mpanga forest are the nature guides walks that can be done at day or night time, there are different walking trails that can be taken up to explore the Mpanga forest some of the trails can be seen as below.
The butterfly loop or trail
The butterfly trail stretches for about 1 kilometer distance covering the forest with lots of animals and vegetation types to be seen animals common on this trail are bush babies and leopards can also be seen here occasionally. This trail takes about 30 minutes to walk through.
The baseline trail
This trail provides visitors with clear views of the forest canopy and the surrounding villages, it’s gifted with various bird species and numerous butterflies, and this trail ends at the papyrus swamp at the base of the forest. This trail can also be used for mountain biking for those not interested in walking.
The hornbill trail
This is considered to be the best of the forest trails, it gives visitors opportunities to see bird life, spectacular rolling hills, forest streams, buttresses, fungi, root structures, monkeys, butterflies, snakes and many more. It covers a distance of about 5 kilometers, hiking this trail normally takes about 3 hours.
Mpanga forest reserve is the best place for stop overs while travelling to the national parks in western Uganda,
One of the best activities to be done at the Mpanga forest reserve is visiting the drum making village called Mpambire renowned for the making of royal drums. The village is located near the forest reserve. Drums are very significant in the African rural societies from the ancient times they have been used fro communication purposes, different sound tracks produced indicate either bad or good news. The drums are also used as a musical instrument by many African tribes for entertainment. Mpanga forest reserve has got most of the tree species used for drum making.
The Mpanga forest reserve provides camping grounds for tourists with latrines, the camp fires are always set up at the site every evening as visitors sit around and enjoy story telling. Tourists who will love to camp must came with their own camping equipment’s such as tents, food and utensils and many more things that might be needed. There are also picnic sites where tourists can enjoy their meals. Tourists can also get accommodation from Mpigi town which is about 5 kilometers from the forest reserve.
Mpanga forest reserve can be accessed from Kampala-Masaka road within an hour’s drive from the capital city.