Zula Mabira Forest
Mabira Central Forest Reserve is located on the main Kampala – Jinja Highway in Mukono District. It is 54 km from the City Centre of Kampala and 26 km from Jinja Town. The Eco – Tourism Site is about half a kilometer from the road head along a short dirt road off the Najjembe trading center. The Forest is therefore accessible by all vehicles throughout the year.
By the time of the establishment of the Uganda Protectorate in 1894, the Mabira forest was already an isolated fragment of the equatorial rain forest believed to have once extended virtually uninterrupted across central Africa. In 1906, the forest was leased to the East Africa and Uganda Exploration Syndicate whose subsidiary, the Mabira Forest (Uganda) Rubber Co. Ltd., managed the property. The company initially anticipated the annual collection of more than 225,000 kg (500,000 lbs.) of wild rubber from the native species Funtumiaelastica. This proved unfeasible and the company later resorted to the establishment of several plantations of primarily coffee and rubber (Heveabrasiliensis). In 1932, much of what had formerly been part of the Company’s concession was officially gazetted as a Forest Reserve.
During the period Idi Amin’s reign (1971 – 1979) there was a significant breakdown in law and order, during which time Mabira Forest – as with most of Uganda’s natural parks and wildlife reserves – suffered tremendously from logging, poaching and encroachment by poor farmers. This situation improved little up until the end of the Civil War in 1985. Starting in 1986, conservation and reforestation efforts began in earnest, culminating with the expulsion of all those small farmers occupying land within the forest in 1988.
In the intervening years, various governmental organizations, foreign aid agencies, international NGO’s and various community-based organizations have worked to restore the forest while at the same time developing ecotourism opportunities for the advancement and support of the surroundings communities. In 2006, and then again in 2011, these efforts came under threat when the Ugandan government proposed de-gazetting as much as one third of the forest for the expansion of the neighboring sugar plantations operated by the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Ltd (SCOUL), a public-private joint venture partnership with the Mehta GroArea coverage:Mabira Central Forest Reserve is one of Uganda’s largest surviving Natural Forests covering an area of 306 sq km.Attractions:Mabira has Natural Habitat of 312 species of trees, home of 315 species of Birds, 218 Butterfly Species, 97 Moth Species, 23 Small Mammal Species,
They include Forest Walks with over 68 km of well-developed trail length, Mountain Biking, Bird Watching, Environmental Education and Research, Camping and Picnics, Primate Watching, Butterfly Identification and general Forest Exploration.
Mabira boosts of 3 Bandas which can accommodate a maximum of 10 Guests at the Eco – Tourism Site near Najjembe Trading Centre. The Bandas are self – catering although some light meals can be prepared for you by the House keeper. There is also a Camping Ground near the Site for do-it-yourself caravans at a modest fee. Mabira Forest Lodge, a modern eco – friendly facility by the Alam Group of Companies is nearing completion.