Like a coin, Mabira forest has two sides. There is the side that a passerby may see through their car or bus window; this will usually be the sight of many trees along the Kampala-Jinja highway. Behind this stretch however, is a second side, a whole different world of its own. It is flora and fauna coexisting and bringing forth the largest surviving tropical rain forest that has come to be called Mabira Forest. It has been gazetted for 84 years now since 1932 and sits on 306 square kilometers.
Activities in Mabira forest
What do you do when you find yourself placed in this vast green beauty? There is so much you will do because the activities and attractions are as infinite as the forest itself. The attractions are sights and sounds and the activities are both adrenaline rising as well as soul soothing.
Butterfly identification is another activity to engage in with 218 butterfly species found in Mabira. You may also need to know about the 97 moth species and 23 mammal species too. Your guide will lead you on the different trails which will give you the best chances for sighting a variety of butterflies.
Forest hikes/Nature walk
Taking a hike through Mabira forest will bring you to a variety of trees in this forest with vast uses especially for the local population that collect medicines from them. The forest has over 312 tree species some of which include the Warbughia, Mililia Exclesa, Cordia Millenii and the Ugandanesis. These are a treasure for medical researchers because of the components contained in these age old trees such as the Ugandanesis which has medicinal properties known to cure almost 40 ailments!
Mangabey tracking in Mabira forest
The most popular primate tracked in the forest is the Mangabey, a grey cheeked primate that is unique to Uganda and also known as the Lophocebus Ugandae. It is a tree dweller and seeing it will usually depend on the time, season and the availability of food. This activity can only be done in Mabira forest in the whole of Uganda and this particular mangabey is endemic to Uganda.
Birding in Mabira forest
Uganda is a birding paradise but Mabira Forest is a birding haven compressed on 306 square kilometers.It has 315 bird species which include the Blue Headed Crested Mornarc, the Black Bellied Seed Cracker, Cassin Hawk Eagle to mention but a few. These birds will be your chirping alarm clock after a night at the camp and will cheerfully sing their welcome as you tread their habitat on a nature walk. Speaking of nature walks, the forest has an over 68 kilometer well maintained trail for you to take a forest walk. While you may need a walking stick to get some bushes out of the way on a gorilla trekking venture, the trail in this evergreen forest is clear enough to let you relish the trees, the sunlight sifting through the canopy and catching the prized sight of the Mangabey without any disturbance from the overgrowth.
Zip-line in Mabira
The Canopy Super Skyway or Ziplines should not miss on your bucket list when you go to Mabira forest. These are 250 meter Zip-line is found at the Griffin Falls camp and enable you to view the forest, the Mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys and the rapids from heights above, under the guidance of professional Sky guides. The Zip-line activities take 4 hours, starting at 8am to 1pm then 2pm to 6pm. For those scared of heights, this is an adrenaline spilling activity, for others, it is a fun adventure that ends sooner than it should.
Within this beautiful interior of Mabira is Griffin Falls Camp which is a 10 minute walk through the rain forest. It is spacious to allow you set camp, have a picnic and enjoy Uganda’s cultural music dance and drama after a day of activity in the rain forest.Do you want to go mountain biking but have no bike? The camp rents out mountain bikes for a thrilling biking through the forest and beyond.
The second side of Mabira forest, is a thrill, a life to be lived not a feature to look past through a car window. Dive into this adventure with long trousers, a long sleeved shirt, rain jacket it being a rain forest, some insect repellant and get the adventure of a lifetime in a day.