Mpanga Forest Reserve
Mpanga Forest Reserve is a small compact natural equatorial rainforest located in Mpigi district, southwest of Kampala along Masaka highway. The approximately 453 hectares’ forest reserve is about 37 kilometers away from Uganda’s capital, something that is roughly an hour drive from the capital city.
The forest gallops along a steep rocky valley dropping down into Lake Victoria. Its stunning position gives incredible views across Lake Victoria and the northern plains of Queen Elizabeth national park towards the Rwenzori Mountain.
Mpanga forest had been a protected natural scientific research site since 1953. Several extensive network of paths for visitors to walk through while viewing the nature and identifying different bird species.
It is one of those forests in Uganda with strong established eco-tourism initiatives, supporting an impressive biodiversity for such a small forest.
Mpanga forest collects about 500 tree species and shrubs, 97 species of butterflies, 300 bird species, 112 moths and 3 species of monkeys. Travelers on nature walks also encounter several small mammals like squirrels, pottos, banded mongoose, pangolins and bushabies.
Mpanga forest reserve furnishes marvelous opportunities for Forest walks, bird watching, primate viewing, butterfly identification and scenic viewing. Several forest trails were developed to allow the easy movement through the forest, the Baseline, Hornbill and the butterfly trails all offer lifelong
experiences in the reserve.
About birding, this is a haven.
An array of bird life call Mpanga forest reserve a home, expect to see the Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Pied Wagtail, Vielloit’s Black Weaver, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Little Greenbul, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird (heard), Green-throated, Little Green, Copper and Collared Sunbird, Yellow-mantled Weaver, White-breasted, Grey-headed Nigro Finch and a Wayne’s Weaver plus so many others, the listed is endless.
About primate viewing, trekkers always close encounters with the vervet, red-tailed and black-and-white colobus monkeys. For visitors that spend the night at the reserve are likely to spot the rare nocturnal pottos and bushabies.
Mpanga Forest eco-tourism center has established accommodation services though without hot water and electricity. Two double rooms, two twin rooms, eight bedded dormitory accommodation and camping options are available at the reserve, so about accommodation, it’s something that you
shouldn’t worry about.
About accessibility, Mpanga forest reserve can still be accessed by public means. So hiring a car rental for your trip to the forest shouldn’t be a stress factor. Just board a taxi from Kampala new taxi park to Buwama, ensure that the driver or conductor knows that you will be embarking off from Mpanga eco-tourism site junction. From here get a boda at around one thousand Uganda shillings to the forest reception.
For travelers hoping to spend the night camping, it’s advisable to book three days in advance for easy preparation for the tents and nice meals.
Don’t forget your hiking boots, raincoats, jackets, a camera, insect repellants, and any other important accessories. Without any doubt, Mpanga forest reserve is one of the most ideal day trips from Kampala. It’s a lovely place that furnishes opportunities for lifetime memories in Uganda.
Note: Uganda being a naturally blessed country with a wide diversity of flora and fauna, there several other forest and wildlife reserves that are also appropriate for Uganda Safaris.
In anycase, around Uganda, don’t miss the Katonga wildlife reserve, Kalinzu forest reserve, Pian Upe reserve among others.