Eco-tourism Sites in Uganda

Mabira Forest Reserve

Mabira Central Forest reserve is one OF Uganda’s largest surviving natural Forest covering an area of 306sqkm. The forest is a natural Habitat of 312 species of trees including the endangered Cordia Milllenii, Mililia Exclesa, the Warbhugia Ugandenesis which has medicinal properties and its known to cure over forty ailments; and the vulnerable prunus Africana.

Mabira is also home of 315 species of Bird such as the Nahan’s Francolin, cassin Hawk Eagle, the forest wood hoope, the purple throated cuckoo, the tit hylia, the red headed blue bill, the black bellied seed cracker, the shinning blue king fisher and many more. Some of these species can only be found in Mabira forest and no where else.

Other unique features to be explored in the forest Reserve include 218 butterfly species, 97 moths species,23 small mammal species especially primate species of Monkey clan and the spectacular Griffin falls.


Accommodation in the Forest Reserve is available in 3 bandas which can accommodate a maximum of 10 guests at the eco tourism site near Najjembe Trading Centre. The bandas are self -catering although some light meals can be prepared for you by the House Keeper. There is also a camping ground near site for do it yourself caravans at a modest fee.


Mabira Central Forest Reserve is located on the main Kampala- Jinja High in Mukono District. It is 54km from the city centre of Kampala and 26km from Jinja town. The eco- tourism site s about half a kilometer from the road head along a short dirt road off the Najjembe Trading center. The forest is therefore accessible by all vehicles throughout the year.

Other services

Specialized, knowledgeable and courteous local guides are on site ready to take you for an exciting interpretative forest walk.

Mabira Eco-Tourism Drama group, a community interest group entertains visitors with cultural music, Dance and Drama. The Najjembe women’s craft group ensures that visitors take a souvenir home in form of handicrafts like baskets, mats, handbags, and bedcovers all made out of local materials. The Mabira forest integrated Community Organization (MAFICO), a local non government organization, is in advanced stages of developing a community Eco-Tourism site at the Griffin falls located 20kms from the Najjembe visitor reception centre.

Lutoboka, Kampala and Bunjazi central forest reserves.

These forests, found on the legendary Ssesse islands, are described as medium altitude moist forests. They form a belt along the lake and the lower ridges with a gentle slope from the lake shore to the centre. However, the forest walks are not strenuous.

The forest trails are well developed, one particular trail that visitors to Lutoboka should not miss stretches from the landing site up to the fort where the explorer Henry Murton Stanley pitched camp on his way to the famed mountains of the moon.

There are 31 gazette Forest Reserve is 378 hectares, Kampala forest Reserve is 139Hectare and Bunjazi forest reserve is 80 Hectares.

The Ssesse Islands are a group of 84 islands famous for their unexplored forests some of which are completely uninhabited. They are a natural habitat for rare and endemic birds and butterflies. Primate species especially the monkeys abound. This rich and virgin eco system serenely blends into the aquatic expanse of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest

Lake, making these forest reserves a must visit.

Activities in the forest reserve include Forest walks, bird watching, primate identification and butterfly identification. In addition, visitors can also enjoy sailing, boating, fishing and sun bathing along the lake shore.


Accomodation in the reserves especially Lutoboka is largely in the hands of private developers. There are a number of well developed beaches and resorts for both the upper market and Middle market. Budget travelers are advised to seek modest lodge accommodation readily available in Kalangala town council a few kilometers from Lutoboka.


Accessibility to the Islands is by Ship from Nakiwogo Landing site near Entebbe at exactly 14 hours daily. The ship starts its return journey from Lutoboka landing site at exactly 8:00am.

Alternatively, one may approach the islands by ferry from Bukakata/ Kachanga landing site near Masaka. The Ferry docks at Luku landing site near Kalangala, four times a day starting at 8:00am

Kashoya -Kitomi Central Forest Reserve

Located 35 km from Bushenyi, Kasyoha- Kitomi Central forest Reserve is 433sq.Kiliometers. Ecotourism in the reserve is just beginning to develop under the umbrella of Ndekye Women’ Development Association. The main attractions in the reserve include primates such as chimpanzees, blue monkeys, Red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and Baboons. The reserve also boasts of spectacular crater lakes such as the twin lakes of Kamweru and Kyema as well as transparent Lake Kamunzuku. Being adjacent to Queen Elizabeth National Park, the reserve hosts a number of small mammals like duikers, antelopes, bush pigs and the Uganda Kob.

Migratory Elephants can occasionally be seen. Other attractions in the reserve include waterfalls, canoeing, bird watching, sight seeing, conservation education, camping and community walks.

A three – hour walking trail has been developed from the camping site at magambo to the transparent Lake Kamunzuku.

Facilities in the reserve are still modest with a camping site at Magambo Parish headquarters overlooking the amazing twin lakes. Clients are advised to bring tents with them for camping in this place and transport, a four wheel drive is a must have.

Budongo Central Forest Reserve

Budongo Central Forest Reserve is the largest surviving Natural forest in Uganda with a total surface area of 825sq. kilometers. It straddles across three districts of Masindi, Hoima and the newly created Bulisa district. This is a true forest, very little illegal activity and encroachment has ensured that the forest remains as natural as it can be.

Visitors seeking the serenity and calmness are being next to nature should opt for Budongo. It is professionally preserved and managed by National Forest authority, it’s divided into three zones its strict Nature Reserve is the oldest in the country while its buffer zone allows Eco- Tourism and research to prosper and its production zone caters for commercial activities.

Budongo has two Eco- Tourism sites namely Kaniyo- Pabidi and Busingiro

Kaniyo-Pabidi Eco-Tourism Site


Kaniyo Pabidi is situated in the North Eastern part of Budongo Forest Reserve. It is a natural habitat of about 120chimpanzees. However, only one group consisting of about 30 chimpanzees has been fully habituated for Eco-Tourism purposes. There are also other primate species such as the black and white colobus monkey, the Red tailed monkey, Blue Monkey, Vervet monkey and baboons. Part of kaniyo pabidi is contagious with Murchison falls National parks and Bugungu wildlife reserve which are managed by Uganda Wild life Authority. Hence, some savannah grassland species can be sighted in Kaniyo pabidi. These include Bush bucks, Red and blue Duiker, bush pigs, warthogs, lions, water bucks and buffaloes. There is prolific birdlife especially the chocolate -backed king fisher and the pruvels eladosis. This area is home of a variety of tree species are known to possess medicinal qualities. Butterflies, moths, and Tropical flowers are abundant.

Forest trails at this site are well developed and well maintained for tourist purposes. Tourist activities include chimp tracking, bird watching, forest walks, conservation education, chimpanzee habituation and camping.


The Jane Goodall institute has completed modern Tourist cabins and dormitory accommodation for middle and upper markets. Boomu conservation and crafts and women’s association operates simple accommodation Bandas near the Park Entry Gate


Kaniyo-Pabidi ecotourism site is located approximately 220km. From Kampala via Masindi which is 29km away. The site is along the secondary road that connects Masindi with Paraa. It is roughly 5 km. From the Murchison Park Boundary and entry gate.

Other Services

There are two local community organizations involved in Eco Tourism near Kaniyo- Pabidi: Boomu conservation and craft women’s association and Asera Azora women’s group. They provide handicrafts, community walks, cooking walks, simple traditional Accomodation and camping Kaniyo pabidi has knowledgeable, experienced and welcoming guides who offer interpretation and guiding services.

Busingiro Eco-Tourism Site


Busingiro Eco Tourism site is located in the South Western part of Budongo forest Reserve, Like Kaniyo- Pabidi this area is a habitat of several primate species including chimpanzees, monkeys and baboons. However, the chimpanzees in Busingiro are not yet habituated for visitor tracking. Mahogany, iron wood, fig trees stranglers and a host of medicinal trees form the bulk of floral species in this seemingly untouched natural forest. Birds, butterflies, reptiles, small mammals and other Micro Organism form the Eco- system that that makes this particular site enviable. Visitor should not miss the proverbial Royal Mile. This is one of the highlights of Busingiro. The Royal Mile is a stretch of one mile with a collection of all the tree species found in Budongo Forest Reserve. King Kabalega, the former king of Bunyoro used to frequent this segment for relaxation with his queen. The segment derives its name from these Royal visits. The segment is magnificent by the National Forestry Authority for historical, aesthetic and recreational reasons. Activities in Busingiro include forest walks, bird watching, primate identification, conservation education, Research, and butterfly identification among others. There is a primate research station on the site of old sawmill at Sonso. The forest trails at this site are well developed and well maintained for tourist purposes.


Accommodation at Busingiro consists mainly at camping facilities. However, the Jane Goodall institute in the process of renovating and refurbishing the tourist Bandas to house at least ten visitors.


The site is located to the west of Masindi. It’s approximately 47 km. from Masindi Town via Kinyara and Nyabyebya. Masindi its self is approximately 200km from Kampala on a good tarmac Road. Busingiro is on the earth Road that connects Masindi with Paraa via Bulisa on the shore of Lake Albert.

Mpanga Central Forest Reserve


Mpanga Central Forest Reserve is a natural Forest with unique Tree species and other flora. Among the outstanding tree species are the celtis family species with large buttresses, the Ficus family and Mahogany.

The forest also boasts of number primates especially the red tailed monkeys, Nocturnal visits can be arranged to see the bush babies.

There is an array of birdlife including the Russ’ Turaco, Weaver- birds, the grey parrot, Owls, Hornbills and Cuckoos.

The forest is also home to variety of butterflies and moths.

The main activities in the forest include forest walks and forest exploration, bird watching and identification, primate watching and butterfly identification.

The forest trails are well developed into four main routings namely; the baseline trails, the hornbill trail, The Butterfly Trail, and the family trail each with unique features and experiences.


There is a basic Accommodation at visitor reception Central at Mpanga under the management of the National Foresty Authority. One Tourist Banda, a self- contained duplex, a double room and dormitory on the main office block can accommodate visitors at Mpanga. There is also a tent for hire at a modest fee.

These are self- catering facilities although light meals can be ordered from the house caretaker.


Located in Mpigi District 37km from the city centre of Kampala, the forest Reserve is easily accessible through the main Kampala -Masaka highway. The Eco-Tourism site is approximately 1 km from the road head using a well-surfaced dirt road. The access therefore is on a tarmac road and the good dirt is passable through out the year.

Bugoma Eco Tourism Site

Bugoma Central Forest Reserve is located in Hoima District. It covers a total surface area of 41,144 hectares.

Eco- Tourism in the Reserve is being spearheaded by African Nature Conservation Expeditions, a private firm with vast experience in Tourism development. The firm is in advanced stages of infrastructure development at a former Forest station. 10 Tourist Bandas to house a minimum of 10 visitors per night are nearing completion. In addition, another 10 luxury Tented Camps exclusively for the upper market are ready.

The site is endowed with variety of Tourist Attractions such as Chimpanzees, monkeys, Reptiles, Birds and Butterflies and trees totaling 30km long divided into loops of 200 metres each have been developed. The reserve is near the Oil Exploration sites which has precipitated the migration of many grassland species due to Habitat disturbance. Those that can occasionally be seen include Uganda Kobs, Buffaloes and elephants. The reserve is accessible through a dirt Road 70km away from Hoima Township. Hoima is approximately 200km from Kampala. There is also an airstrip for light aircraft at Kisaru Tea Estates 12km from Bugoma Ecotourism site. Professionally guides are on site to provide an unforgettable experience to visitors.

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