The African jungle is known as Mabira forest. The word Mabira comes from a local term ‘amabira’ to mean “A BIG FOREST”
Mabira Forest is one of the largest surviving natural forest in Uganda. Mabira forest is located in Buikwe District between Lugazi and Jinja and the area is about 300sqkm in Uganda lying North of L.Victoria. Mabira forest is the largest remaining semi-evergreen rainforest in the Victoria basin forest and it’s a secondary reserve forest. It’s a one and half hour drive from Kampala city and its only 30 minutes from Jinja City.
Mabira forest is a home for many endangered species like primates, birds and also a home of about 311 tree species. It’s a home to over 219 butterfly species, 316 bird species and 97 of moth. The forest has blue duikers, fruit bats, baboons, bush pigs, Red tailed monkeys, squirrels, bushbucks, leopards and various species of snake.
The forest has always provided medicine that are used to treat all kinds of diseases among the people living in the area.
Mabira forest became a protected forest reserve in Uganda in 1932. Due to deforestation, setting up sugar and tea plantations, poaching, logging and encroachment by neighboring communities, illegal farming and high demand for charcoal led to the loss of various trees species. But because of various programs implemented by the government such as re-afforestation in order to restore the forest.
As you’re making your way to Jinja Adventure, you can make a stopover at Mabira rainforest and experience nature such as various tree species, covers of grassland, papyrus swamps, beautiful streams and peaceful waterfalls.
For a safari to be complete, you have to get lost in nature of Mabira through various activities such as;
- Birding, it’s more enjoyable when you’re led by a knowledgeable guide into the depth of the threatening kingdom. Due to a lot of human traffic which distracts the bird species. Mabira eco-tourism center is also suitable for an outstanding trail network where you can stand in one place and spot a lot of bird species in bushes and in branches. Such birds include Little Greenbul, African Pied Hornbill, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Forest woodhoopoe, Blue-throated roller, White-bellied kingfisher, white-spotted flufftail, Grey-green Bush-shrike, Nahan’s francolin, honeyguide Greenbul, sooty boubou, yellow crested, cassin’s hawk-eagle, afep pigeon, dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Sabine’s spinetail, fire-crested alethe and so many more
- Zip lining, is the riding a cable from one point to another using a helmet, harness and a trolley (pulley). It’s a cable that starts at a higher point than it ends. Through this activity, you can view the depth of the threatening kingdom with all its creatures in it. Such as animals like baboons, monkeys, bush pigs, squirrels. It can be done in the morning up to in the evening around 6pm and standards equipment’s are used to meet the safety of the visitors by an experienced guide.
- Nature walks, these are taken to relax and explore the environment especially with an experienced tour guide. This activity in Mabira requires someone to be fit in order to walk around with ease. Nature walk in Mabira involves viewing a lot of things such as the Giant trees, various animals, butterfly species, bird species and are basically guided by those who know the trails of the forest.
- Camping, it’s a unique and an interesting tourist activity since it can be done as an outdoor activity and at the same time act as accommodations. It’s a basis and a strong bond with nature and it’s a public campsite where you can camp at a low price.
- Mountain Biking, during a safari visitors can ride off-road bicycle racing sport that is usually set on a rough terrain like mountain, desert or rocks with specially designed mt.bikes. It’s an exciting experience where visitors instead of using tour cars, walking treks and they move on bicycles which helps to reach and view various attractions. While on a Mabira trip, these bikes can be rented from Griffins Falls Camp and it’s an activity you cannot do away with while on this safari.
- Mangabey monkey trekking, Mabira forest is the only unique tropical rainforest where visitors can trek them. They live in group of 5 up to 30 in number.
During a Mabira Forest trip, these are some of the places where to stay and also what to pack;
- Rainforest lodge Mabira, it’s a luxury eco-lodge set within the jungle. It’s a 30-45 minutes’ drive from Kampala or Jinja. This lodge was built using a suitable and local materials which offers a unique experience while on a safari.
Rainforest lodge consist of 12 wooden cabins, 7 being double and 5 are twins each with en-suite facilities. It has an outdoor swimming pool, sauna and massages, while on safari along Kampala-Jinja hence an escape away from the crowd.
- Griffin Falls Camp, it’s on the edge of the jungle located 10km off Kampala-Jinja highway. It’s owned by an NGO called MAFICO, Mabira Forest Integrated Community Organization whose charge is to improve livelihood and welfare of local communities, encourages stewardship of forest and also proceeds from the camp are reinvested back to the community projects.
The following are some of the things to pack while on a Mabira Forest trip;
- Binoculars especially for bird watching, game drive, nature walk in order to see different attractions.
- Torches in case of power blacks-out or night nature walk
- A hat and sun glasses during dry season to protect the head and eyes
- Rain Jacket in case of rain
- Photographic equipment’s such as cameras for taking pictures or capturing the moments which will be memories in the future.
- Long trousers to prevent and protect safari ants and other insects especially during nature walks.
- Shoes that are comfortable during nature walks, hiking and during game drive.