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Mpanga Forest Reserve, Uganda



Checkout other National Forestry Authority locations in Uganda
Mabira Forest Reserve - Mpanga Forest Reserve - Kalinzu Forest Reserve

Entrance Fees:
Foreign residents & Tourists: Ushs5,000-
Children: Ushs3,000
Guide Fee: Ushs3,000-
Bambo House: Ushs40,000-
Double room: Ushs30,000-
Single room: Ushs25,000-
Camping: Ushs5,000- p/p
Tent hire: Ushs5,000-

Tel. +256 (0)782 627515 to make reservations.

A beautiful compact forest which has been protected as a scientific research site since 1953 and is criss crossed with an extensive network of paths from which visitors can view the prolific bird life that make this forest their home. The average height and size of trees in Mpanga is very large with impressive trees throughout.

Mpanga forest is easily accessed from Kampala and well worth a stop on a visit en-route to the west of Uganda. Experience the silence of a noisy forest, witness-floating paths of butterflies and enjoy the peace and solitude of a beautiful forest setting just one hours drive from the capital.

The drum making industry is concentrated at Mpambire village near Mpanga, the home of the Royal Drum makers. The five main tree species suitable for this traditional craft are found in the forest and at the visitor reception you can learn about the drum trees, which since time immemorial have been used in Africa for communicating and calling people to festive occasion.

Entrance to Forest from Visitors Centre

Mpanga Forest is signposted 37 kilometers west from Kampala along the Masaka-Kampala Rd.
Mpanga forest eco-tourism site is on the right five kilometers beyond the Mpigi turn off. The main road passes through a dip where just after it enters the forest. Immediately after the dip is a marrum road on the right marked by large NFA signpost. Follow the marrum road for 500m bearing right at a fork in the road until you reach a clearing on the edge of the forest and the forestry station. Park at the edge of this clearing and make your way to the visitor reception.

By public transport from Kampala, take a taxi from the new taxi park to Mpigi and catch a Boda Boda to Mpanga (approximately Ushs1000-) or alternately, take a taxi from the new park to Masaka and ask to be set down at Mpanga forest entrance sign.

Facilities at the Reserve:
Visitor reception

On arriving at the site make your way to the house at the bottom of the forest clearing or to the craft shop. Here you will find someone to give you advice about how to make the most of your visit. Trail maps can be obtained from there.

Picnic area and campsite

Bandas Camp site and Picnic area
The clearing at the edge of the forest makes the ideal picnic and camping site. Red tailed monkeys regularly play in the trees around the camp site and visitors can often get within 10 meters to photograph the more common hornbills who are quite used to people.

Latrine facilities and a camp shelter and camp fire/ bbq area have been completed in 2006. Water and firewood can be organised at the forest station but visitors must be self sufficient and bring their own tent and food.

Mpigi town just 5 kilometers from the site can provide all basic provisions for campers that includes a range of fruits, vegetables and dry goods as well as petrol, kerosene and methylated spirits.

An alternative picnic site lies 100 meters into the forest in a beautiful shady glade simply follow the path into the forest and the site is on the left at the start of the Base Line Trail.

The Bamboo house

The Forest Trails
A variety of walks , ranging from fifteen minutes to several hours in length can be done at Mpanga forest

Night walks with spotlights can be arranged to look for several species of bush babies that are resident in the forest.

The forest links well to the rural areas surrounding it providing good opportunities to walk through traditional Ugandan villages and farming areas. Some trails are way marked for the independent visitor. Local guides are also on hand for visitors wishing to learn more about the forest or to travel to more remote parts of the forest.

One of Mpanga's giant trees reaching skyward

The Base Line Trail
A three kilometer straight, wide trail which passes straight across Mpanga and ends at the edge of a papyrus swamp on the west side of the forest. There’s no need to watch your feet just put your head in the trees and enjoy fabulous views into the forest canopy. This undulating walk over gentle rises and across two streams offers some of the most impressive trees in the forest and is also an excellent place to view clouds of butterflies which congregate in the sunny clearings along the trail. This trail can be used for mountain biking by looking back through local villages and dirt tracks.

The Butterfly Loop
A one kilometer winding jungle trail for visitors wanting a short adventure and willing to occasionally clamber over logs and duck under dense tangles of vegetation. It takes approximately 25 minutes and you venture pass native rainforest trees as well as a few newcomers to the forest……look out for a puzzling tree to the local primate population. Bush babies and leopard tracks have been on this loop.

The Hornbill Trail
A five kilometer loop passing deep into the heart of the forest. Like the butterfly loop it offers adventurous terrain along stream sides and across gentle hills . Watch out for the ‘tree root arch’ half way along the trail. The trail takes approximately 3 hours but can be combined with short cuts to the Base Line trail if tired. Enjoy fantastic root structures and buttresses, fungi, butterflies, monkeys and birds along this trail. Also watch out for rather timid snakes including a sleepy python.

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Birds of East Africa Collins Illustrated Checklist
Ber Van Perlo
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