Uganda is home to vast natural forests where some of the country’s biodiversity is also sheltered. About 10% of the land area in Uganda is occupied by forests, and 17% of the country’s land area is made of Central Forest Reserves that are protected by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and 18% of them comprise of protected National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.

Budongo Forest

Budongo Forest is one of the spectacular natural tropical forests in Uganda. This tropical forest lies in Northwestern Uganda and it is accessible 4-5 hours’ drive from the heart of Kampala. Budongo Forest is 825sq.km and receives moderate rainfalls of 1200 to 2200mm, and supports a variety of wildlife plus bird species.

At Budongo Forest, there are over 800 chimpanzees and these coexist with other primate species. Other primates to see on Uganda safari in Budongo include the blue monkeys, pottos, olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, galagos, etc.

360 bird species also live in Budongo, and they include the black-headed paradise flycatchers, chocolate backed kingfishers, puveli illadopsis, forest robin, white-spotted flufftail, lemon billed gromec, little green sunbird, white-thighed hornbill, Ituri batis, black-eared ground thrush, chestnut-capped flycatchers, and Nubian woodpeckers.

Yellow-billed barbet, purple-headed starling, yellow-throated greenbul, chin-spot batis, yellow-billed oxpeckers, tropical boubou, red-backed shrike, western violet-backed sunbird, compact weavers, African golden-breasted bunting, green-backed eremomela, Isabelline shrike, red-backed shrike, African citril, greater blue-eared starling, white wagtail, and fan-tailed widowbird.

Activities to engage in while at Budongo Forest. These include birding, guided nature walks, chimpanzee tracking/trekking, chimpanzee habituation experience, and more.

Mabira Forest

Located along the Kampala-Jinja highway, Mabira Forest is one of the Central Forest Reserves in Uganda. This rainforest occupies 306sq.km, and shelters 316 species of birds, 219 butterflies, 97 moths and others. The mammal species in Mabira include fruit bats, bush babies, bushbucks, olive baboons, blue duikers, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, and others.

The birds at Mabira Forest include brown-chested alethe, Rufous flycatcher, forest robin, red-headed bluebill, African thrush, yellow-whiskered greenbul, yellow-crested barbet, western black-headed oriole, red-bellied paradise-flycatchers, blue-throated brown sunbird, yellow-mantled weavers, African pied hornbill, spot-flanked barbet, Vanga flycatchers, to mention but a few.

Activities to participate in while at Mabira Forest include picnicking, zip-lining, mangabey monkey tracking, birding, nature or forest walks, and others.

Kibale Forest

Kibale Forest is located in Western Uganda, and it is home to 13 primate species. Over 1500 chimpanzees live in Kibale Forest together with other primates such as l’hoest monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, pottos, bush babies, black and white colobus monkeys. There are forest elephants, bush pigs, duikers, olive baboons, and many more.

Kibale Forest bird species include masked apalis, dusky crimson wing, little greenbul, grey parrot, crowned eagle, blue-headed sunbirds, black-capped apalis, African pitta, Cassin’s spinetail, Blue-breasted kingfishers, black bee-eaters, Abyssinian ground thrush, Brown-chested alethe, western nicator,

Yellow-rumped tinkerbird, Rwenzori apalis, red-chested owlet, Nahan’s francolin, red-faced woodland warblers, superb sunbird, hairy-breasted barbet, brown-backed scrub-robin, little greenbul, scaly-breasted illadopsis, red-faced woodland warblers, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, black-eared ground-thrush, black and white casqued hornbill, etc.

Bugoma Forest

Bugoma Forest Reserve is found in the Southwestern part of the Hoima district and Northeast of Kyenjojo. It is a compact tropical forest reserve occupying 401sq.km and it was founded in 1932. The key attractions to explore at Bugoma Forest include mammals such as chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

The birds to identify on birding trip in Bugoma Forest in Uganda include the black-eared ground thrush, Nahan’s francolins, the Rwenzori turacos, fox weavers, and others.

Kalinzu Forest

Located in Bushenyi district, Western Uganda, Kalinzu Forest is about 6 hours drive from Kampala city. This natural forest sits at an altitude of 1400m and it is set close to Queen Elizabeth National Park. It protects primates such as blue monkeys, chimpanzees, l’hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, and others.

Maramagambo Forest

Maramagambo Forest is a natural forest located in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s 2nd biggest park. It protects 7 species of primates, and they include chimpanzees, blue monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, vervet monkeys, the red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

There are also giant forest hogs, elephants, pythons, pottos, bush babies, birds such as the Rwenzori turacos, African green pigeon, black bee-eaters, pink-backed pelicans, papyrus canary, flamingos, black-headed batis, white tailed lark, African skimmers, and more.

Mpanga Forest

Mpanga Forest occupies 453 hectares of land area in Mpigi district, 37kms Southwest of Kampala. Mpanga supports 112 moths, 97 butterfly species, 300 bird species, 500 tree species, and more. 3 monkey species live in this natural forest including red-tailed monkeys, vervet, black and white colobus monkeys, bush babies, others. Birds to identify in this forest include red-headed malimbe, red-chested cuckoo, hadada ibis, cattle egrets, purple heron, western citril, red-tailed bristle bill, crowned hornbill and others.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the most visited forest in Uganda, specifically for mountain gorilla trekking experience. Located in extreme Southwestern Uganda, Bwindi Forest is a biodiverse natural forest in Africa and dates back to more than 25000 years.

Over 120 mammal species reside in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and they include 459 endangered mountain gorillas, the red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys; 360 bird species including African black ducks, the great blue turacos, black bee-eaters, African green broadbill, Cassin’s grey flycatchers, and others.