Zika forest, is situated near Entebbe international airport in Uganda and just not far from Kampala the countries capital, Zika forest is very rich in biodiversity with swamps of waiya bay, forest types and grasslands. The forest is small but with thick canopy that used to be called upper storythis tropical forest is one of the best birding destinations in the country.
Zika forest derives it’s name from a local Luganda language from the word Zika which means “over grown” the Zika forest covers an area of about 30 acresZika forest also boasts with crocodiles and many small primates like monkeys with over 60 moth type of trees, 140 types of Woody plants, snakes and 35 saturniid. It’s said that the former US president once visited the forest for bird watching.
Zika forest has got its own virus research field station partnering with the Uganda virus research institute, the Zika virus is believed to have star from Zikaforest it’s appealed to have a link with the microcephaly a birth defect disorder.
The Zika virus was discovered in 1947 from a rhesus monkeyand came from a Scottish virologist Alexander Hamilton it’s carried to Uganda by Aede African mosquito. The researchers have been coming to the institute to study the viruses and mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus and other viruses.
The institute first began as a Rockefellerfoundation- funded yellow fever in 1936 later became a laboratory in studying tropical diseases and later became a Uganda Virus research Institute in 1977. A massive story tower was put upto conduct yellow fever experiments. It’s said different mosquitoes were found at different elevations. The tower was transported from Mpanga forest in 1962 with the help of World health organization.
Every year researchers discover new viruses from Uganda, when the virus was first discovered, it was not a threat to the country as it would infect only monkeys but later even when it infected isolated human beings the sign were mild. The Zika virus symptoms are similar to the arboviruses.
Zika forest is also a birders destination, a part from studying viruses tourists can go and engage in bird watching the forest boasts with various bird species some of which are endemic to this area while others are residential.
A visit to Zika forest can be combined with a tour to the famous Ngamba island chimpanzee sanctuary or to the Uganda Wildlife education center for a more wildlife encounter and birding activity. The former president of the united States Jimmy Carter once visited Zika forest for a birding safari.
Zika forest can be accessed just Entebbe international airport and it’s about 30 kilometers from Kampala.
There are various accommodation places where tourists can sleep in while visiting Zika forest ranging from budget, mid range or luxurious hotels that can be found in Entebbe town or Kampala.