The short hour and a half drive out of Kampala on Wednesday morning, brought us into Mabira forest to Rainforest Lodge. This is a cabin-styled lodge designed mostly with wood and is located along the Kampala-Jinja highway. We were welcomed by Ireen and Hanigton who checked us in.
Rainforest Lodge has 12 cabins, all in close walking distance from the lounge and restaurant. There is also a swimming pool and sauna. We stayed in the Del en suite. Most of the cabins have a similar design. Large windows that open out to forest views, a deck with two seats, writing desk, large bed with a bed-chest and large solar-powered shower also with forest views. Our room had a larger deck area that could host an entire family.
Restaurant and Elements Bar
There is an upstairs area tailored more for meetings, conferences and workshops. Companies looking to host their team-building or retreats won’t go wrong here. The décor here features comfortable sofas and large hanging baskets. Down stairs is the dining area. We also dined by a fire down by the Elements bar.
Our first day was spent admiring aspects of the lodge and later playing badminton. We went to bed early, stuffed after a delicious 3 course meal, excited to explore Mabira in the morning.
Our nature walk with Wilfred a guide from Rainforest Lodge commenced at 9:00am. He started with a briefing on the history of the forest, the people and creatures that dwell here.
Mabira Forest Reserve
Mabira Forest contains some of the largest remaining patches of indigenous forest and ranks as one of the most important ornithological sites in Uganda. It covers 300sqkm, 120sq miles, 30,000hectares and 74,000acres.
It is east of Kampala, in Buikwe District, along Lugazi-Jinja highway and serves as an important water catchment area. In 1932 it was established as Mabira Forest Reserve under the forest department and in 2004, sanctioned to NFA (National forestry Authority). Mabira forest covers 4 districts; Mukono, Kayunga, Buvuma, and Jinja.
Aside from the beauty and serenity, it is a cradle for endangered species and a must-see for travelers captivated by nature.
In this rich canopy with fragrances of nature, you can go cycling and on hiking trails (guide recommended) ranging between 45 minutes to 4 hours to complete, all starting from the Eco-Tourism Centre.
Mabira has about 300 species of trees. Some of these trees include Rubber tree (Nkago Futumia elastic) Back cloth tree/Omutuba (Ficus Nantalensis) Albizia Zigia (Enongo) Vernonia Amydolina (Iron weed/omululuza) The locals also use part of the forest as a worshiping ground. We were fascinated by the belief in the “love tree”, whose thin branches we were told, once taken along to confess love to someone (who doesn’t love you) would make them love you!
About 280 of species of butterflies including the long tailed skipper, palm skipper, silver spotted skipper, regent skipper, southern cloud wing, giant redeye, painted skipper and striped policeman have been cited here. They are most frequent in July and August. Perfect for children traveling here.
There are 315 species of birds in Mabira forest like the black shouldered night jar, white spotted fluff tail, black and white horn bill, doves, Cassin’s hawk eagle, African pigeon, parrots, mouse bird, crane bird, sun bird, weaver bird, greater flamingo, white belled kingfisher, forest wood hoopoe, yellow spotted barbet, African dwarf king fisher, African pied horn bill and blue throated roller amongst others.
Mabira forest has about 10 species of snakes like the spitting Cobra, puff harder, python, black mamba, and green tree snake.
Our nature walk was insightful and reviving. Back at our cabins, we freshened up and relaxed before dinner. It was easy to relax, with sounds of nature and silence of the forest.
The beauty about my cabin was that it felt like we were elevated up in the trees. This was a remarkable experience that was made perfect by waking up surrounded by nature. Amazing that this breath of fresh air is all possible with a short drive out of the city.
The next morning as we got ready to set off, I took the longest shower before breakfast sad to leave the serenity at the lodge. Rainforest Lodge is perfect for nature lovers looking for a place to relax either going to or coming from their safari.
Have you taken a day-trip to the Mabira Forest reserve? Did you visit the Rainforest lodge? Let me know about your experience in the comment section below.
I made my booking through Patricia from Rainforest who would be happy to assist you :- )
Have wonderful week,