Mpanga Forest Reserve
Mpanga Forest Reserve is situated near Mpigi town, just 37km west of Kampala city, along the Masaka Road. The 45Km2 beautiful Mpanga forest reserve was gazetted 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.
The reserve harbours 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 birding with 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 hornbills, Uganda woodland warbler, great blue turaco and the ross turaco.
Mammals available in Mpanga include; bushbuck, red-tailed monkey and flying squirrels. Several butterfly species can also be observed throughout the reserve.
Things to do:
- 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 1km butterfly loop popular for seeing monkeys, common forest birds, the family trail and the hornbill trail. All the trails allow visitors to explore diverse flora & fauna of the forest, including the magic plant.
- Night camping can also be arranged for one to watch the bush babies which feed at night.
- Guided tours to Kiganda shrines located 1km 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
- Several craft markets are available at Mpambire trading area. Items sold here include; Drums, baskets, mats, local stools
All visitors to the reserve are received at Mpanga eco-tourism centre situated 800 metres off the Masaka –Kampala highway. The forest can be visited on both day and overnight trips. Take 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.
Where to stay
Mpanga Forest Eco-tourism site, offers single and twin rooms with mosquito nets. Own camping is also permitted at the site