Kalinzu forest: With over 414 species of trees, Kalinzu is one of the remaining natural tropical forests in Uganda. The tropical forest is located in the western part of Uganda. The forest covers a total area of 147 sq. km with land at an average altitude of 1400m above sea level. The forest is controlled and managed by the National Forestry Authority.
The forest is next to Queen Elizabeth national park one of the most visited national parks in the country. The forest is one of the best chimpanzee safari destinations in Uganda because of harboring a high number of chimpanzees. Over 320 chimpanzees are said to be living in the dense tropical forest and about 70 have been habituated and used to human presence around them
The forest is known as the best area for chimpanzee trekking Kalinzu forest in the country although not so popular. Apart from the chimpanzees, other attractions are within the forest and among these include 414 tree species, 378 bird species, 6 primates, 262 butterflies, and 97 moth species among others.
Attractions in Kalinzu forest
Chimpanzees: Chimpanzees are the main attraction within the forest with over 320 chimpanzee species recorded here. Kibale forest national park has the highest number of chimpanzees followed by Kalinzu forest. The animals that have attracted many tourists within Kalinzu forest are the chimpanzees.
Kalinzu forest has 2 habituated chimpanzee families and chimpanzee trekking is currently the main activity carried out within this region. With chimpanzee trekking permits, tourists are able to trek chimpanzees and be around them for 1 hour. The chimpanzee trekking permits are issued by the Uganda Forest Authority which controls different natural forests within the country.
Wild animals in Kalinzu: Kalinzu forest is not a habitat of only chimpanzees but also other 5 primates and a few mammals. The forest is home to black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies, pottos, galagos, wild pigs, buffaloes, duikers, forest elephants, giant forest hogs, and waterbucks among others.
There are no game drives within the forest therefore these wild animals are seen during hiking and nature walks, or chimpanzee trekking activities. By going through different trekking trails, you will be able to meet some of these animals trying to graze, resting, or hanging up in the trees like the primates.
Birding in Kalinzu forest: Kalinzu forest is home to over 378 bird species that live within the tropical rainforest. Through nature walks and hiking, bird lovers will be able to see a big number of bird species. The activities are guided by armed ranger guides who know the best birding spots and protect you from dangerous Wild animals in Kalinzu. Birding here is best done using a pair of binoculars which are used to see distant bird species clearly.
Bird species of Kalinzu forest include casqued hornbill, great blue turaco, black and white casket, black-billed turaco, lesser flamingos, marital eagle, greater flamingos, papyrus gonolek, African broadbill, African finfoot, blue-headed bee-eater, white-winged warbler, verreaux’s eagle owl, blue-headed bee-eater, African skimmer, pink backed pelican, fin foot African bird and bar-tailed godwit among others.
Best time to go to Kalinzu forest
Are you wondering about what would be the best time to visit Kalinzu forest? Well.. Tourists can go to Kalinzu forest at any time of the year however there are certain months that are better than the rest. The dry months from June to September and December to February are the best to go to Kalinzu forest. This is because the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is short and thin with good views of the Wild animals in Kalinzu and the roads leading to the park are in good condition.
Tourists can still visit Kalinzu forest in the rainy season of March to May and October to November because all activities in the forest are open throughout the year. The rainy season is however characterized by plenty of rainfall that makes the trekking tails muddy and slippery, vegetation is tall and thick with good views of the wildlife and the roads leading to the park are in poor condition.
Accessing Kalinzu forest
Kalinzu located is located a few kilometers from Mbarara Kasese high way and it can be only reached by road transport. Tourists coming from Kampala/Entebbe can access Kalinzu by driving through Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi to Kalinzu and this journey takes 5-6 hours depending on the nature of the roads as well as the number of stopovers.