Beacon of Hope Uganda offers eco-tours and nature treks within Mabira Forest in Uganda. The tours are customized for travelers interested in ecotourism and natural treasures of Uganda.
The eco-tours and nature treks offer excellent hiking trails allowing travelers to take in breathtaking views of the Mabira forest.
Beacon of Hope Uganda promotes responsible tourism practices within Uganda. The goal is to educate the traveler and to provide funds for ecological conservation. The tours focus on socially responsible travel and environmental sustainability.
Mabira Forest straddles the main Jinja to Kampala highway; it is 54km from Kampala and 20km from Jinja. The forest covers an area of 306sq kms with a total boundary range of 347.4sq kms. It has five major wildlife groups namely mammals, butterflies, moths, birds and shrubs.
The forest has got two main rain seasons that is April to May and October to November with an annual range of rainfall of about 1200 10 1500mm.
Temperatures range from 16 degrees centigrade – 18 degrees centigrade and a maximum temperature of 28 degrees centigrade – 29 degrees centigrade. Humidity is also high as 90 degrees centigrade. The bio-diversity in the forest includes 287 species of birds, 23 species of small animals, 218 species of butterflies, 97 species of moths and 312 species of trees and shrubs.
Unique plants include Casalma volkensii, milisia (Mvule), Floragma, Utile (mahogany) and Cordial millinii. The notable birds to be found in the forest include nocturnal birds like the owls, red chested cuckoo, the endangered shoe-bill among others. 46% of Uganda’s forest birds can be seen in this forest.
The forest is divided into four zones which are strict nature reserves, buffer zones, production zones and recreation zones. Forest walks, cycling, picnicking, camping and birding are some of the forest activities.
Attractions and Activities:
Trees and the Macaranga Loop Trail:
Recorded tree species are 312 including the endangered Cordia Millenii, Mililia Exclesa.the Warbhugia Ugandanesis and the vulnerable Prunus Africana which cures Prostate Cancer and boosts the Human Immune System.
The Macaranga trail is characterized by the macaranga species of trees. Discover how these trees protect themselves against forest predators.
Birds and Grassland Trail:
There are 315 species of Birds including Aÿthe NahanTs , Francolin , Cassin Hawk Eagle , the Forest Wood hoope, the PurpleAÿ throated Cuckoo, the Tit Hylia, the Red Headed Blue Bill, the Black bellied Seed Cracker, the Shining Blue Kingfisher and the Blue headed Crested Monarc. Some of these species can only be found in Mabira.
Birdwatchers will enjoy the grass trail loop, which offers good views in to the broken canopy, which together with an abundance of fruiting trees; make sightings of large numbers of forest birds a real experience.
Butterflies and Butterfly viewing trail:
218 Butterfly species have been recorded and butterfly viewing trail makes your experience a memorable one.
This trail takes approximately 2 hours from the forest centre and it is characterized by many flowering plants including plants such as Lantana Camara. These flowers act as an attraction to butterflies and birds such as the throated bee eaters enjoy this forest edge environment. Taking this trail gives a treat to bird watchers.
Scenic Viewing and the Radio Hill Loop Circuit:
Enjoy scenic viewing by taking a trip to the view point at the top of the radio tower on the radio hill. Climb to have marvelous panoramic views over the forest.
Mountain Biking and cycling routes:
There is a special cycling circuit which offers a challenging trail to the top of Namusa Hill for experienced cyclists and an alternative route along the Wagala ridge pylon clearing for less experienced cyclists.
The trail follows a quiet forest road for 8km into the heart of the forest, at Ssese village visitors can chose to follow the 5km loop up to Namusa Hill or turn left to follow the pylon clearing. The two trails meet and continue towards Lugazi. The more adventurous may like to search for the Griffin Water Falls, simply ask directions at the houses half way up the hill when you have crossed a bridge over the river.
Other unique features such as small mammals, Moth species may be seen by taking Gangu Ridge trail, which is the longest trail and leads into shaded thick forest far away from the main highway. It takes approximately 3-4 hours and involves a trek through primary forest across three valleys including the Gangu valley. The trail has two resting points from which you can view birds; forest primates and you may spot.