Mpanga Central Forest Reserve
Mpanga Central Forest Reserve is a Natural Forest with unique Tree species and other Flora. The forest is located near Mpigi town, just 37 km west of Kampala city, along the Masaka Road. The 45 Km2 beautiful Mpanga forest reserve was gazzeted way back in 1950, late in 1953, the reserve served as a scientific research site. It is a perfect place for a weekend escape from the Kampala hassles.
Among the interesting tree species that you will meet are the Celtics Family species which have got large buttress, the Focus Family and Mahogany. Expect to see a pair of Black and white casqued hornbills that will welcome you at the entrance of the forest. There is an collection of different bird species such as the Ross’ Turaco, Weaver-birds, and the Grey Parrot, owls and cuckoos.
The Forest also boasts a number of primates especially the red- tailed monkeys, Bush babies. The reserve harbors a less diverse fauna than larger forests in far west of Uganda, but has a lot to offers. Mpanga is recorded to have over 500 tree species and shrubs, with some trees estimated to be 100-years old. Spend the day observing over 200 bird species, which are recorded in this reserve. The common birds to watch include, hornbill, spotted greenbul, black and white casqued, African pied horn-bills, Uganda woodland warbler, great blue turaco and the ross turaco. Mammals available in Mpanga include; bush-buck, red-tailed monkey and flying squirrels. Several butterfly species can also be observed throughout the reserve.
Mpanga eco-tourism center positioned just 800 meters off the Masaka –Kampala highway. All visitors are received at the entrance of the forest reserve. The forest can be visited on both day and overnight trips. One may board minibus-taxis to Masaka or Mpigi town which are available in the new Kampala taxi-park. On reaching Mpigi town, take a boda-boda to the forest. Minibuses taxis heading to Masaka can drop you off at Eco-tourism centre site post. Or by use of private means, you will use the same route.
Where to stay:
Mpanga Forest Eco-tourism site, offers single and twin rooms with mosquito nets. Own camping is also permitted at the site
Activities done at Mpanga forest reserve
Forest walk. These are conducted by the Mpanga eco –tourism centre which was established in 1999. The centre also offers accommodation facilities.
Walk trails are categorized into three – the 1 km butterfly loop popular for seeing monkeys, common forest birds, the family trail and the horn-bill trail. All the trails allow visitors to explore diverse flora & fauna of the forest, including the magic plant.
Night visits can also be arranged for one to watch the bush babies which feed at night.
Guided visits to Kiganda shrines located 1 km from the eco-tourism centre and the Nakibinge
Hill climbing – The flat-topped hill situated south of the road offers attractive views over the forest and surrounding valleys.
Other Forest Reserves in Uganda
Other forest reserves in Uganda include Mabira Forest along Kampala – Jinja highway and Budongo Forest Reserve in Murchison Falls National Park. On the list forests in Uganda is Maramagambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Mgahinga National Park and Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve in Bushenyi. Kibale Forest National Park and Zika forest are also among the forests that Uganda has. And to remind you, forest safaris and tours in Uganda take place in most of the above mentioned forest resrerves.