2 Days 1 Night
For my second time, i found Mpanga Forest “Pristine”, “welcoming” and ” eco-friendly”. An environment with longer nights and short days.
In the middle of the silent night, i called Ramah Kizito. ” Sheila—-Sheila… Ramah…Ramah…Are you awake?, ” i called in a hoarse voice. It was 4: 00 am and the night seemed longer than i expected. I was tired of the Dorm loft beds. I asked Ramah whether he found it strange that the nights appeared longer. He answered back in a sleep mode ” the nights… are longer because the forest is… eco-friendly”, which reduced us to rib–cracking laughs.
Last Saturday, we woke up in spirit to have a Getaway for a weekend. We needed a serene environment to enjoy the tranquility of Uganda’s natural gifts. Without a doubt! It was Mpanga Forest.
Mpanga Forest is next to Mpambire village and is located in Mpigi District, Central Region. It is less than an hour drive from Kampala to the forest reserve. The cheapest mode of transport is by taxi/matatu from New taxi park. Once one boards a Matatu destined for Mpigi town, one will part with Ush. 3500, thereafter jump on a Boda Boda to the forest reserve which costs Ush. 2000.
Mpanga is beautifully positioned on 453 hectares, nested in Mpigi Valley. The forest has been conserved since 1932 and boasts of various attractions; 2 types of Monkeys; Red tailed and white Colobus Monkey,97 butterfly species,112moths, 300 bird species,500 trees and shrubs, nocturnals; bush babies, flying squirrels and owls.
The Forest is associated to the Ffumbe Clan(http://www.ffumbeclan.org/) Ffumbe is a Luganda word loosely translated as Civet cat. The Magunda people have their well in the forest. During cultural festivities, they fetch water from the water source. A legend is told about a special tree in the forest that was cut down by a power saw and it never fell, but rather regenerated.
Some of the activities on the Mpanga list are bird watching, Forest walks, Butterfly watching and camping. http://nfa-ecotourism.blogspot.ug/
According to Nanyombi Proscovia, the Mpanga tourism officer, power supply is one of the major challenges which by the next quota in 2016 will be sorted. There is a big plan for electricity rather than Solar. However, she is quick to highlight the tactical drum makers who sneak into the forest and cut trees down as the biggest challenge. The drums are the main source of livelihood in the area.
On Saturday night, we embarked on a guided forest walk for nearly I km. We later enjoyed a sumptuous moonlight dinner besides the camp fire at the edge of the forest. The birds chirped and the monkeys swung on trees.
Our accommodation unit was a dormitory large enough for 10 persons. It had Well laid beds, clean room and shower.
The following day, after a top notch breakfast prepared by Proscovia, we got ready for a test of Fitness. Biina Hill is one of those locations you’ll be glad to have on your adventure list. The hill offers a panoramic view of Entebbe International Airport, the dense canopy of Mpanga forest and ‘Mpambire’ commonly refered to as the drum makers village. No doubt! Photography is an activity one should not miss during a weekend away.
Would you like to have your retreat, bootcamp or getaway not far from Kampala City- Call PROSCOVIA NANYOMBI– +256 759 723 442
Prossy has vast knowledge about the forest and its attractions since her arrival in 2010. She is one of the best female bird guides in Uganda. Out of the 1068 bird species in Uganda, she has covered three quarters of them. The helpful Prossy made sure we had all that we needed and shared amazing stories and legends. Her flawless command of both English and the local dialect is exceptional and makes translations simpler. We also applaud her comparisons and contrasts of different destinations in Uganda which show how much she has travelled in the Pearl of Africa. It is important to note that she is certified by the Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA).