Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve

Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve

Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve is an ecological forest in Bushenyi district of western Uganda and habitat to primates, trees and bird species. The forest contains over 400 trees species, about 300 species of birds and six various primate species including chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, olive baboons, and red-tailed monkeys. The major activity in the forest is chimpanzee trekking and nature walks among others. One of the tourist attractions in western Uganda, Kalinzu Forest Reserve is extraordinarily one of the most outstanding forest reserve that any nature lover must not fail to explore. In case you plan to spend your next trip in Queen Elizabeth National Park, put this forest on the list places to visit.

Positioned not far from Queen Elizabeth National Park and Maramagambo forest, Kalinzu forest is among the few natural forests that still flourish in Uganda today. The forest is reachable by road after a drive of 382 kilometres drive from Kampala and it spans at an altitude of 1400 meters. The woodland that extends up to 147 square kilometres was established largely to offer sanctuary to its different wildlife. Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve is under the management of  National Forestry Authority (NFA), a body mandated by the government of Uganda to manage all central forestry reserves in the country.

What to see in Kalinzu Forest Reserve

Kalinzu Forest Reserve is predominant for its over 414 tree species comprising of shrubs, primates such as the 220 chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and more than 380 bird species that qualify the forest a true paradise for birders. Other birds include the black and white casket plus the great blue turaco among others, over 100 moths and 270 butterflies and reptiles. The main wildlife species to catch a sight with while on Uganda safari at this nature reserve include elephants, leopards, wild pigs, buffaloes, water-bucks, lions and many more that could be seen along the savanna side of this forest.

Nonetheless, most sightseers who visit Kalinzu Forest Reserve take part in the Chimpanzee tracking experience offering a chance to trackers to spend a minimum of one hour with the chimps who are 98.7% interrelated to humans. Kalinzu is among the superlative places for primate safaris in Uganda. Of the 220 chimpanzees in the Forest reserve, 70 of them were adapted by the Japanese Researchers to make them used to human presence, therefore are openly available for tracking. Similar to chimpanzee tracking in other chimp trekking places in Uganda,  visitors to Kalinzu should carry packed lunch, enough drinking water, wear long sleeved shirts, have to be 12 years and above to qualify for trekking these primates, wear long trousers, robust hiking boots, light rain jacket and a hat among others.

Visitors going to Kalinzu Forest Reserve are reminded that there are no lodges for accommodation in the Reserve but camping is facilitated to offer the most fascinating accommodation in the wilderness. On the other hand, travelers who are not at ease with camping can drive to Queen Elizabeth National park or Bushenyi town for night stay. A stopover to this forest takes you through its distinctive trajectories each of which prizes you with exceptional familiarity and these trails include;

The River trail

River trails is a short trail and a hike through it takes you about 1 hour. It takes you through River Kajojo or elephant waterway.  While here, you have a chance to come across several primate species. This is the shortest of all the trails in Kalinzu Forest Reserve and takes only one hour to complete but is very rewarding. The main attraction along this short trail is River Kajojo-locally translated as the Elephant River, because the elephants used to bathe in the River hence the name “Kajojo”. This interesting trail also introduces tourists to some of the species of “Parinari excelsa” that is the Climax tree within Kalinzu Forest reserve and a giant strangler figure. You will also see several primate species such as the chimpanzees, the black and white Colobus monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys and the L’Hoest’s monkeys along this trail.

The Palm trail

This is a 5 kilometres’ trail which takes you about 2 hours depending on one’s hiking speed. You will go through the woodland and get to fire tree, a distinctive tree species in this reserve. The 5 kilometre round-trip takes between one and a half hours to 2 hours and moves via a moderately flat landscape. When on this trail, travelers are rewarded with delightful tree species standing along the path, the widespread and attention-grabbing one is the Flame tree recognized for its massive, red tulip-like flames thought to upsurge Libido in Women, the outstanding Dragon tree and the Raphia Palm tree usually used for making carpets among others.

Waterfall trail

The waterfall trail is an eleven kilometer stretch that whose coverage lasts around 5 hours and offers magical views over fabulous Kilyantama waterfall. This trail involves tourists crisscrossing through some undulating zones as well as wet topographies. The water trail lets sightseers observe the stunning Kilyantama waterfall that welcomes visitors with its deafening noises and tranquil atmosphere.

The Valley trail

The Valley trail consumes approximately 2 hours to walk through it. This mighty trace is a three and a half kilometer spherical circlet and offers travelers with the captivating sights of the steep deep valley, therefore the title Valley trail. This trail encompasses walking along the ridge and goes past a number of attention-grabbing tree species like the prominent “Mutragyne rubrostipuleta” commonly identified as the Viagra tree that enhances men sexual performance.

What to do in Kalizu forest reserve

When on a safari in Uganda, the distinguished expedition activities to do in this Kalinzu forest reserve comprise of chimpanzee trekking, forest walks, bird watching, butterfly identification and many more.

Where to stay around Kalinzu Forest Reserve?

The lodging alternatives in this forest reserve include camping at Nkombe forest station and you need should have your own tents and camping gears.  But the close accommodation options include Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge, Enganzi Lodge, Mweya Safari Lodge, Katara Lodge and Kyambura Game Lodge among others.

Getting to Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve

Kalinzu forest reserve, one of the tourist attractions in western Uganda is roughly a 5 hours’ drive from Kampala. This drive is from Kampala through Masaka, Mbarara and then to Bushenyi. A tour to Kalinzu forest can also be joined with wildlife safaris and tours in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a package that would give you the most electrifying African holiday experiences. In addition to other similar destinations that offer nature walks and hiking safaris, the excellent Kalinzu Forest reserve permits tourists to discover some of the primate species, forest birds, butterflies, tree species and natural geographies like as waterfalls.