Kalinzu Forest Reserve Uganda

Kalinzu Forest Reserve Uganda

Kalinzu Forest Reserve Uganda : is a fascinating natural forest located in the western part of Uganda in Bushenyi district. It is located around the confines of Queen Elizabeth National Park and also expands to the Maramagambo forest. In addition, it has a biodiverse ecosystem consisting of the dense vegetation of the tropic rain forest and wildlife found in here. In fact, the reserve is famously known for chimpanzee trekking and it’s the second-best spot for chimpanzee tracking after Kibale Forest National Park. Besides, nature walks through the valleys will expose your mind to a whole new world of the forest life. During the nature walks, you have views of Mountain Rwenzori, Lake George as well as the beauty of Kazinga channel

Apart from the chimpanzees, the forest also harbors primates like black and white colobus monkey, baboons, vervet monkey, red tailed monkey, L’Hoest monkey, etc. The forest is a home to over 380 bird species and some of these include; the black and white casqued hornbill. The great blue turaco, sunbirds, cuckoos, bee-eaters, starlings, not to mention but a few. The reserve also harbors approximately over 100 moths, over 270 butterflies, flowers of nature and a few reptiles. Its also a home to wildlife species that reside in savannah grassland like the lions, leopards, wild pigs, giant forest hogs, waterbucks, buffalos, duikers, elephants, etc. These animals visit this area because of the thick forest with a variety of fruits and food and also because it borders Queen Elizabeth National Park.  A visit to this forest takes you through its distinct trails each of which rewards you with unique experiences. They include;

The palm trail

This is a 5 kilometer’s trail which takes you approximately 2 hours depending on your hiking speed. You will pass through its woodland trees and get to see unique tree species while crossing through a comparatively flat terrain in this reserve. While here, tourists are rewarded with wonderful tree species found along the path. Some of these include; the popular and interesting one being the flame tree also known for its vast. Red tulip-like flames which are believed to increase libido in women, the Raphia palm tree commonly used to making mats, ropes, baskets, etc.

The valley trail

This trail takes about 4 hours and offers spectacular views of the magnificent steep slopes of the right valley. You can as well encounter various wildlife on the way.

The waterfall trail

It is 11 kilometers and takes approximately 5 hours and while here, you will have magical views over stunning Kilyantama waterfall. The trail involves tourists transversing through some hilly areas and wet terrains. It also allows tourists to see the breathtaking Kilyantama waterfall that will welcome you with its roaring sounds and serene environment.

The river trail

The river trail covers approximately 3 kilometers and takes about 1 hour depending on your hiking speed. Chimpanzees and other primates are mostly seen in this trail and tourists will also come across River Kajojo also known as “Elephant River” because elephants were known to bath from here.

What to do at Kalinzu forest reserve

Chimpanzee trekking

This is generally the main activity done in the reserve led by the guide to different trails. Chimpanzee trekking takes approximately 4 hours however, you can also come across other primates. Some of these include; the black and white colobus, baboons, vervet monkey, red tailed monkey and many more.

Chimpanzee habituation

After your breakfast, have your packet lunch which you will enjoy since this activity takes the whole day. The ranger will first brief you and afterwards lead you into the forest in search for the chimpanzees. While here, you will have a rewarding view of their lifestyles as well as enjoy their daily activities. Therefore, book with us for your permits in advance to avoid inconveniences.

Bird watching

Kalinzu forest is home to over 378 bird species and its one of the best birding destinations in Uganda to all bird lovers. While doing the activity, you will have an insight to experience the different calling of different bird species. Some of the birds here include; the great blue turaco, sunbirds, black and white casqued hornbills, cuckoo, eagles, camaroptera, etc. 

Wildlife viewing

Since the forest reserve is close to Queen Elizabeth National Park and the great Maramagambo forest, expect to spot some animals. Some of these include; leopards, elephants, warthogs, wild pigs giant forest hogs, waterbucks, buffalos, duikers, etc. 


The forest also offers the perfect site for camping activities; in the middle of the forest, a camping site has been set up for tourists to sleep next to nature. While here, enjoy the beautiful African night while listening to amazing night animal sounds.

Guided nature walks

The guided nature walk in Kalinzu forest is an interesting activity that will offer a tourist an opportunity to explore the forest. Here, expect to see a number of different plant species since the forest is home to over 414 plant species. Also expect to spot different primates, bird species, the amazing waterfall, vegetation and plantations as well as the wildlife that come from Queen Elizabeth National Park..

Best time to visit the forest

The best time to visit this forest is in the dry season from July to August and December to February when the forest trails are not slippery however, the forest can be visited all year round.

How to get there

Kalinzu Forest Reserve is located in the western Uganda approximately 375 kilometers which is about 6 hours’ drive from Kampala. You will drive through Masaka-Mbarara-Bushenyi. Visitors can also board a bus to Butare and get a special hire to the forest.

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