Most of Uganda safaris are tucked far away from urban establishments; you have to spend hours negotiating daunting terrains to get there.
But there is one place that comes with a swimming pool beneath a forest canopy, a candlelit meal amidst a ‘wildlife karaoke session’ and – surprisingly – its almost less than an hour away from the capital of Uganda Kampala
Mabira Forest Reserve is the closest one can get to a ‘national park’ within an hour’s drive from the capital Kampala. Extending over more than 300 square kilometres, Mabira, which straddles the Kampala-Jinja highway at about 20km west of Jinja, is primarily composed of moist, semi-deciduous forest, in which more than 200 tree species and 300 animals species have been identified, the bird life is just amazing and among those places where we take tourists for weekend birding in Uganda.
Call it a mini game park with the leading accommodation facility in the form of Mabira Forest Lodge. Offering family parties and romantic getaways, the forest is the perfect place to spend a public holiday or day off work away from the bustle and hustle of Kampala.
The cottages are built and positioned in a way that occupants have a clear view of the refreshing greenery through the wide windows, making them feel one with nature. Upon arrival, the eye is spoilt for choice, since there is so much to take in at a go. The eyes are torn between taking in the surrounding sights or the unique architecture of stone, raw metallic décor and pillars held together with ropes at the reception area. Most of the things about the lodge are made from natural materials, all blending in beautiful harmony with the surroundings.

Lights glowing at night in the lounge

 

The lodge has a gigantic swimming pool and they also offer sauna and massage services with Ugandans getting a discount. The main activity is guided walks/treks in the forest with the resident naturalist; the forest boasts at least 100 bird species including the African Grey Parrot with its amazing melodies, three primate species and a plethora of butterflies and insects.
It is an excellent choice for birders or for residents of Kampala in search of a convenient weekend hideaway. The streams with wooden bridges are also pretty sights to behold with the help of the guides. Among the trees are chattering monkeys, singing birds, butterflies, canopies, forest flowers and shrubbery, swaying rhythmically to the tune of the forest breeze.

If you have time to take a Uganda safari, ensure to include this on your to do list.

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