The Forests of Uganda

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The Forests of Uganda comprise of Tropical Rain Forest vegetation
The Forests, a hope for Uganda
Uganda’s Flora is characterized by a combination of Tropical Rainforests and Savanna Vegetation. The Southern and Western parts of the country bear the heaviest vegetative cover with the majority of the tropical rain forests, leaving the Central and Northern with wooded savannah. The cool conditions of the highland areas in the western part of the country largely support growth of long grass and forest while the drier northern region bears short grasses which appear within the open woodland with scattered thorn trees and borassus palms. Such vegetative cover is known as “Shrubs”. The climate is tropical and this greatly favors a variety of tropical flowers and fruits. Among these are white vine flower, white jungle flower, red-orange flowers, green flower, and red heliconia. Activities such as Primate Walks, Forest Hikes, Bird Watching and Game Viewing are popular.


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Mabira Central Forest Reserve

Mabira Forest in Central Uganda
A view of Mabira Forest

Located 33o 0.00' East 0o 30.00' North, 54 Kilometers from Uganda’s capital “Kampala” and 20 Kilometers from Jinja Town is the great Mabira Central Forest Reserve which covers an area 306 sq km. and is one of Uganda’s largest Natural vegetative covers. The forest provides a natural habitat for more than 300 tree species such as Mililia, Prunus Aricana and the endangered Cordia Millenii. Not only is it a plant habitat but also a home for more than 300 bird species such as Nahan’s, Francolin and Cassin Hawk Eagle, 218 Butterfly species, 97 Moth species, and 23 Mammal species. Visit Guide Share

Budongo Forest

Located on the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley (1° 37 N - 2° 03 N and 31° 22 - 31° 46 E) approximately 4 hours drive from Kampala in Western Uganda, is a large tropical forested area popularly known by the Name Budongo Forest. It is a moist, semi-deciduous tropical rain forest renowned for its rich biodiversity. Budongo bears arms of forest that strech out to the surrounding of the main forested area.

Through the forest flow the Rivers: Waisoke, Sonso, Kamirambwa and Siba. The rivers, as a result of the nature of the terrain that tilts from the south west to the northwest flow northwestwards.

The forest remains popular for its Mahogany trees that provide a source of hard black wood for making wooden furniture. This is a popular activity among the people that live on the forest’s peripherals. Visit Guide Share

Kibale Forest

Kibale Forest in Uganda
A scenic view in Kibale Forest
Kibale Forest is located in western Uganda and covers an area of 766 Square Kilometers. During the 1970s and 80s, the government of Uganda supported the conservation of the forest which became a national park in 1993. The forest is located within the Popular Kibale National Park. It comprises the largest variety of primates in the World with over 500 Chimpanzees that make it the best Chimpanzee tracking destination in Africa. An abundance of birds exists with over 300 species present. The swampy areas and grasslands offer a home to a broad spectrum of animal species such as large shaggy-haired buffalos and antelopes, while the wooded slopes are home for the elusive forest elephant which has been found to be smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart.

A walk through the forest, reveals a remarkable diversity and abundance of organic life in a purely tropical rainforest. Trees that stretch up to 170 feet in heght stamped to the ground by broad buttress roots with an extremely dense undergrowth can be seen. Visit Guide Share

Mpanga Forest

Mpanga Forest in Uganda
A bird takes a break within the Forest
Located approximately 37 Kilometers from Kampala City on the right, five kilometers beyond the Mpigi turn off along the way to Masaka District, is a distinct natural home for a wide range of plant and animal species known by the name Mpanga Forest. Since 1953, this beautiful natural resource has been preserved by the government of Uganda as a national research site.

The forest has an abundance of wildlife and fresh water springs, and some of the world’s largest species of trees. It is home to a wide range of bird species and a broad spectrum of mammals. Within the forest are distinct trails along which bird-watching viewing of monkeys up in the trees can be done. Drum making is a major industry around the forested area and is concentrated at Mpambire village near Mpanga, the home of the Royal Drum makers. Many tree species in the forest are suitable for the manufacture of this traditional craft. A walk through the forest is characterized by sounds at various frequencies and tones arising from the numerous birds populations as they cross-communicate. The trickling stream waters offer an additional sound ingredient and serve to channel nutritional material for the various flora and fauna populations wide spread within the forest perimeter. The vegetation is generally tropical rain forest characterized by a multi-canopy structure.

While in the forest, visitors get involved in various interesting activities. Forest walks, are the most popular and many well defined walk trails exist. Others include Biking, Bird Watching, Picnics and Camping, Environmental Research, Game Watching, Species Identification and many more. A forest Tourism Project established in 1995 was purposed to create an educational and recreational resource for both Ugandans and Non Ugandans that visit the forest. Visit Guide Share

Rwenzori Mountains Forest Reserve

Hiking through the forest
Forest Walk through the reserve
Rwenzori Mountains Forest Reserve is the forested part of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and is known for its vegetation ranging from tropical rainforest to bamboo forests which provide a cover for Mountain Gorillas. This vegetation is highly related to that of Mt. Elgon Forest Reserve with a similar mountainous topography. The reserve has a high diversity of plant species. It is renowned for its botany which is globally regarded unique and beautiful. The reserve is owned by the Government of Uganda and is protected by a board of trustees.

The flora of the reserve forms clear successive zones with altitude levels upwards from a height of 1,800 meters, bellow which Montane Forest predominate. The vegetation characteristics upwards not only depend on the altitude levels but also soils and other environmental factors. Soil types and constituents change with increase in altitude and therefore vegetation too. The reserve is predominated by mediocre sized trees such as, Red Stinkwood (Pygeum africanum), Yellow Wood Tree, Waxy Red Flower and Symponia globulifera. Small trees in the forest include Grumilea megistocticta. The wild banana, Ensete edulis, and the tree ferns, Cyathea deckenii are prominent. Visit Guide Share

Sango Bay Forest Reserve

Sango bay Forested Area
A view of Sangobay Forested Area

Sango Bay Forested area is located at co-ordinates 31o 35.00' East 0o 55.00' South in the Kagera Wetland area North of the Uganda -Tanzania border. The area adjoins Lake Nabugabo area to the North. Its western limit is marked by the main road between Masaka and Mutukula while its eastern limit is the shoreline of The great Lake Victoria. Sangobay Forested area is composed of a collection of Forest Reserves: Kaiso, Tero East and West, Namalala and Malabigambo. These reserves have a homogenous nature and are generally classified as Swamped forests. They are important for their Podocarpus Timber species most of which have been logged out over the past 100 years. Sangobay area is considered biogeographically important as it lies in the transition between the East and West African Vegetation Zones. The Sango Bay wetlands lie extensive, stretching along the shores of Lake Victoria from Kyabasimba in the south to Malembo in the north. The area has over 300 species of vascular plant belonging to 88 families. Many of these species are herbs, epiphytes or hemi-epiphytes. Sango bay wetlands provide a breeding for many fish species and serve as a home for a variety of primate species. For this, the area is considered a Pleistocene refugium. Visit Guide Share

Mount Elgon Forest Reserve

Caves along the slopes of Mt. Elgon
A Cave along the forested slopes

Mount Elgon Forest Reserve, 34o 30.00' East 1o 10.00' North, is located North-East of Lake Victoria at the Uganda-Kenya border. This is the forested area of Mt. Elgon National Park and lies partly in Kenya. It became a Forest Reserve in 1951 with the main objective of protecting the Forest tree species. A forest rehabilitation project was initiated in 1988 to replenish the forest with tree species that had been previously lost in the extraction of timber. The same project is currently aimed at promoting community development and conserving Mt. Elgon’s ecosystem for present and future use. The vegetation varies with altitude and supports a wide range of plant species. The vegetation forms concentric Zones along the slopes of Mountain Elgon. The first zone of the forest is majorly composed of Montane Forest and this covers the lower part of the reserve, right from the boundary to a distance of 2500m. Bamboo and low canopy forest follows between 2400m and 3000m. The high Montane Heath that includes the Giant Heather also known as Phillipea excels that grows p to 6m tall comes after the Bamboo. Finally above 3800m occurs the Open Moorland, a windswept, exposed and open landscape of Exmoor's. Within the forest reserve are a variety of wild game species and these include; Elephants, Buffaloes, Waterbucks, Oribi, Bushbuck, Spotted Hyena among many. Visit Guide Share

Bugoma Forest Reserve

Bugoma Forest Reserve is located at coordinates 30o 57.00' East 1o 16.00' North, East of Lake Albert at the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley in Uganda and has an altitude range of 990 - 1,300m. The reserve is located 70 Kilometres from Hoima Town and approximately 200 Kilometres from Kampala City, the capital of Uganda. Air transport is possible for light weight aircrafts with a landing site at Kisaru Tea Estate. The reserve covers an area approximately 40,100 ha with River Nkusi forming its southern boundary.

Bugoma is a medium altitude moist semi deciduous forest with an amazingly high biodiversity. The land slopes gently to the West and drains into the Lake Albert. Iron wood (Cynometra alexandri) is predominant though the forest generally comprises mixed forest trees. The forest has a strange ability to hold and support a wide spectrum of wildlife. Renowned for its birds, it is also important as a home for other wildlife with a wide range of forest dependant and biome-restricted species. Bugoma forest reserve is known to support Nahan’s Francolins, a bird species currently under threat for extinction among many other bird species, with butterflies and moths of different types.

The African Nature Conservation Expeditions, an experienced international firm in the field of tourism handles the Eco-tourism in this reserve. Visit Guide Share

Kashoya Kitomi Forest

Kashoya Kitomi Forest located 30o 14.23' East 0o 15.94' South in Bushenyi District in Uganda is sandwiched by Lake George and the Kazinga channel deep in Western Part of Uganda covers an area approximately 392 Square Kilometers. The forest is bordered by Kanyambogo to the North, Maramagambo Forest to the South-East, Kyamuhanga Tea Estate / Bitoma and Ndangaro Parishes to the South, Rwanjere to the East, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve and Queen Elizabeth to the West. The forests main land was declared a national reserve in 1932 and later in 1996 and 1997, the Lubare ridge and Kakasi in the South and North respectively were added to it.

It is a moist semi deciduous forest with altitude ranging from 975 to 2,136m and comprises a large number of plant and animal species. The forest is a home for many endangered bird and other animal species. Over350 Chimpanzees, 300 Elephants and more than 276 species of birds have been reported in the forest. The Blue headed Sun Bird which is one of the Albertine Rift endemic species van be found in the forest.

The positioning of Kashoya Forest makes it a perfect gateway of biodiversity transfer between adjacent national parks and other wildlife habitats. The Kazinga channel in the west of the forest which connects Lake George with Edward is an important natural water source for the forested area. The forest vegetation which is classified as Langdale-Brown can be described as moist and evergreen forest.

Mabira coordinates 33o 0.00' East 0o 30.00' North Visit Guide Share

Echuya Forest Reserve

Echuya Forest Reserve is Located at coordinates 29o 49.00' East 1o 17.00' South in the Country Uganda within the Albertine Rift Valley area renowned for its rich biodiversity. The forest reserve is an important Birding area as it protects a wide range of endangered Bird species. Over 130 species of birds exist here. The vegetation is generally Montane Rainforest. The forest covers an area of approximately 3500ha. Within the Reserve lies the Muchuya swamp which acts as a home for a variety of wildlife including the Grauers Swamp Warbler.The altitude range of the forested area is 2,270 to 2,570 metres above sea level.

80 % of the forest cover consists of the Hagneia rapenia with some traces of Arundinaria alpania. (Mountain Bamboo tree) which contribute up to 20%of the same. The sedge species, scientifically known as Pycreus nigricans predominates the Muchuya Swamp vegetation. Tree Heather, Giant Lobelia and Red-hot Pokers are also notably common. Birds in the reserve include rare species as Francolinus nobilis, Batis diops, Ploceus alienus and Cryptospiza jacksoni. Visit Guide Share

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Uganda Wildlife Authority

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