If you are thinking of taking an ecotour to an exotic location, you should take a Uganda safari to the Mabira Forest, a tropical rain forest home to vast flora and fauna. You may wonder what beauty Uganda has to even persuade the late Winston Churchill to name it the pearl of Africa. There are just a number of reasons as to why tourists opt to make safaris to this great nation. Among the reasons is the huge natural collection of trees confined in a place known as Mabira forest.
Mabira forest is a tropical rain forest located in Buikwe district between Jinja and Lugazi covering an area of about 300 square miles (30000 hectares, 74000 acres) and has been protected as a forest reserve (a home of many endangered species). If i talk about eco- tourism in Uganda, then believe me am talking about Mabira forest. It’s just the place to answer all your pending questions about Uganda’s nature. The word mabira or “amabira” meaning a series of many trees. The forest is under a community organization known as mabira forest integrated community organization (MAFICO).
There is an eco-tourism site located half a kilometer from the main highway after Najjembe trading Centre on a murrum road that leads you to the site.
Since it is a forest, what do you expect to first land your eyes on? Of course these are the trees. But when you look at them, they may seem alike but it’s just a collection of various species like the Cordia Millenii, Melilla Exclesa, and the Warbhugia Ugandenesis that are prominent for curing various infections.Some of these trees are medicinal plants and local herbalists frequent the forest to get medicine. There are also vulnerable Prunus Africana which is said to be a good healer of Prostate Cancer and boosting the Human Immune System, the common mahogany and Mivule can’t also miss your eyes. However, there are both hardwood and soft wood tree species and you can just be able to differentiate them with the help of an informed and professional site guide.
If you only thought that a tropical rain forest like Mabira can only harbor trees, then you are mistaken because you will be surprised to hear and see the beautiful singing birds on the trees. You won’t miss to have a watch of some of the 315 species of birds like the Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin Hawk Eagle, Forest Wood hoope, Purple throated Cuckoo, Tit Hylia, Red Headed Blue Bill, Black bellied Seed Cracker, Shining Blue Kingfisher, White bellied Kingfisher and Blue headed Crested Monarch .Some of these species can only be seen and viewed in this dark forest and nowhere else. These are all seen while on a nature walk with the company of a well trained guide.
Besides the above, you can also have yourself a look at the popular monkeys that are the most prominent ones to be seen among the 23 small mammal species in the forest. These are seen hunting for their prey, playing and swinging on the tress a way one can describe as appreciating your visit to their home stead.
As you are still trailing through the forest viewing the birds, trees, and animals, you may also get a nature call of the griffin falls, a small fall in the middle of the forest resulting into small water streams that peruse through the forest. Other attractions include butterflies cropping up to 218 species and the 97 species of moths.
Activities in the forest
The forest is a conducive place for forest nature walks covering up to 68kms on well-designed trails. While on these walks, one gets an opportunity to watch the birds, animals and all other wonders with in the forest.
Mountain biking is also another magnificent sport with in the forest where you can ride on a mountain bike and explore the rugged terrain of the forest. However, you are advised to have experience and skills in the sport.
Environmental education and research that is mainly common among students specializing in environmental studies, tourism among other related conservation programs.
Camping and picnics, butterfly identification, primate watching are among the other activities one shouldn’t miss while at the forest.
This is also part of the experience in the forest because there are three bandas that can accommodate at least 10 people at the eco-tourism site near Najjembe trading center. Mabira forest lodge and rain forest lodge is also at your service.