Mabira Forest Reserve

Top birding site in Uganda

Size: 30600ha, 78% Forest, 18% Savannah, 2% Terresterial/Artificial; Altitude: 1070 – 1340m above sea level.
Coordinates: 33o 0′ E 0o 30′ N.; Access: 54km from Kampala, 20km from Jinja; Bird species recorded: 300 species.

Mabira Forest Reserve is the largest block of moist semi-deciduous forest remaining in the central region of Uganda. The reserve occupies gently undulating country, characterized by numerous flat-topped hills and wide, shallow valleys. Some of these valleys have papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamps. The topography is such that the land drains to the north, even though the reserve’s southern boundary lies only 13 km from the shores of Lake Victoria. The closeness of Mabira to Kampala, and the presence of various ecotourism facilities, makes this site popular for visitors especially bird watchers.

Many species of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome are not well-represented in other protected areas in Uganda, for instance; Nahan’s Francolin; Black shouldered Nightjar, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow and Grey Long-bills, Yellow-mantled weaver. The site also holds one species of the Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome and four of the Afrotropical Highlands biome. There are over 10km well maintained trail systems for birding nature walks.

Mabira represents the best opportunity to maintain a complete forest community characteristic of this important biogeographically stable region. Also, by virtue of its location between two main urban centres, the reserve assumes increasing importance as a recreational area; it is already popular for picnics, nature walks especially for bird watching and butterfly viewing, and trail-biking.

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