Visit Kalinzu Forest
Visit Kalinzu Forest: Kalinzu forest in Uganda is among some of the top conservation areas to visit during your visit to the country. The forest is a natural forest reserve that is located in Bushenyi district in the south western province of Uganda. It is strategically situated near Maramagambo forest and Queen Elizabeth national park, which is the second largest national park in Uganda. Kalinzu forest lies on an average altitude of about 1400m above the sea level.
Kalinzu forest in Uganda is quite a popular site among tourists and biologists because of its rich bio-diversity in both flora and fauna species. The forest hosts about 414 tree species found in bushes and shrubs, 97 moths, 262 butterflies, reptiles, flowers, 378 bird species, 6 primate species such as Baboons, Chimpanzees, Black and White colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys, L’Hoest and Blue monkeys. Given its close proximity to Queen Elizabeth national park, Kalinzu forest also offers shelter to some animals from the park like; elephant, leopards, waterbucks, wild pigs, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, duikers among others.
Activities done in Kalinzu Forest in Uganda.
Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest is quite popular especially amongst tourists visiting Queen Elizabeth national park. This forest is the second best destination for chimpanzee trekking safaris in Uganda after the renowned Kibale national park. Kalinzu forest harbors over 300 chimpanzees and about 50 of them have been habituated therefore open for trekking by visitors.
Trekking Chimpanzees in Kalinzu forest can either be in the morning at 8am or in the afternoon at 3pm; however, the activity best done in the morning where you will get an opportunity to view chimpanzees feeding, breastfeeding among others. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest starts with a briefing at the park headquarters about the expectations while in the forest and after you will be grouped depending on the interest or physical fitness and then ever group will be given a park ranger or guide who will be leading you when trekking in the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in this forest can take between 3 to 4 hours or more depending on the location of the chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are always on the move from one place to another in search of food thus making it quite hard and tedious for trekkers to keep track of their movement. Once the chimpanzees have been found you will spend one hour with them in their natural habitat, one hour will be used to watch them as they feed, secure territories, learn about their behavior and habits, take photos with flash less camera among others. During chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest you will be able to view other primates like blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, baboons, bird species among others.
Chimpanzee trekking permit in Kalinzu forest costs USD 50 dollars for the Foreign Non Residents and its very cheap compared to other primate destinations like Kibale forest national park which costs USD 200 dollars. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Kalinzu can either be booked directly at the reception of Kalinzu forest or through a trusted tour operator like Explore Rwanda Tours which will not only book for your chimpanzee trekking permit but also plan for your entire safari in Uganda and other destinations. However though the chimpanzee trekking permits in Kalinzu forest can be acquired on the trekking day it’s still advisable to book in advance.
Kalinzu forest in Uganda is ideal for bird watching safaris. The forest shelters more than 378 bird species. Bird watching in Kalinzu forest in Uganda can either be done very early in the morning or in the evening with a park guide and a pair of binoculars which will help you to view the bird species clearly. During birding you will be able to view different bird species such as the great blue Turaco, black and white casket, sunbirds, cuckoo birds and wildlife species like wild pigs, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, Elephants buffaloes, baboons, blue monkeys, and red tailed monkeys among others which make your safari more rewarding.
Forest nature walks
Forest nature walks in Kalinzu forest are conducted within and outside the forest. During nature walk in the forest, you will be guided by a guide or armed ranger who will be showing you the trails to follow and also help you to spot interesting plant species, vegetation, plantations outside the forest, waterfalls, different bird and mammal species, primate species such as Red tailed monkeys, Blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Baboons among others. During the nature walk you will get an opportunity to climb Kishunja hill viewpoint where you will have excellent views of Queen Elizabeth national park, Rwenzori mountain peaks, Kalinzu forest canopy and many more hence giving you a great time on your safari in Uganda.
Wildlife viewing is another interesting activity that is conducted in Kalinzu forest in Uganda. Some of the wildlife animals that you are likely to view in the forest include: leopards, duikers, giant forest hog, buffaloes, elephants, wild pigs, waterbucks, lions and primate species like Red tailed monkeys, Chimpanzees, L’Hoest monkeys, Baboons, Black and white monkeys among others.
Accommodation near Kalinzu Forest
There are no accommodation facilities within the forest itself but visitors can always get accommodation in Queen Elizabeth national park. There are a number of luxury, midrange and budget lodging facilities located within the park. Some of the recommended lodges include: Mweya Safari lodge, Parkview Safari lodge, Katara lodge, Engiri Game lodge, Enganzi Game lodge, and Kingfisher lodge among others. The lodges will provide comfortable beds for visitors, drinks, local and international dishes, free internet, great views of the lake and wildlife hence making your stay more enjoyable and memorable.
Best Time to visit Kalinzu Forest in Uganda.
Kalinzu forest in Uganda can be visited all year round; although the best time to visit the forest is during the dry season in the months of June to August and December to February. During the dry season the forest receives little or less rainfall therefore the trails for chimpanzee trekking and forest nature walks will be passable. Kalinzu forest also experiences the wet season in the months of March to May and October to November where the park receives heavy rainfall which makes the trails muddy and slippery. However the wet season is a good time for bird watching because the forest will have plenty of fruits and food for bird species.
How to get to Kalinzu Forest
Kalinzu forest can be reached by road where you will drive from Kampala city via Masaka, Mbarara, and Bushenyi then connect to Kalinzu forest which takes about 6 hours’ drive. Since Kalinzu forest is near Queen Elizabeth national park, it can be easily accessed via the Mweya peninsular then connect to Kalinzu forest taking about a 45 minutes’ drive.
Conclusion: Kalinzu forest in Uganda is a must visit destination for visitors in the country. You can always combine a visit to this magnificent forest reserve with a Game drive, Launch cruise or Lion tracking safari in Queen Elizabeth national park.