Uganda is a home to several Forest Reserves and Bugoma Forest Reserve is among the most popular. This Tropical rainforest is located in Western Uganda in the South-western side of Hoima district. It is located in the North-eastern side of Kyenjojo Town and the eastern side of Lake Albert. It is found in Hoima District and is managed by the National Forestry Authority (NFA), a governmental parastal mandated to manage all Central Forest reserves in Uganda.
Bugoma Forest Reserve covers an area of 401 square kilometers (155 square miles/40,100 hectares). It was established into a Forest Reserve in 1932 and it has been managed by the National Forestry Authority since 2003.
This Forest Reserve is specifically located on the top of an escarpment, East of Lake Albert on the fringe of the Western Rift Valley which offers breathtaking views of the countryside and other surrounding areas.
Vegetation of Bugoma Forest Reserve
The Landscape of Bugoma Forest Reserve is characterized by medium altitude semi-deciduous Forest. Around half of the forested section of the Forest Reserve is dominated by Iron wood (scientifically known as Cynometra alexandri and locally known as the Muhimbi). This Forest Reserve is drained by four small rivers that include River Bubwa, River Wake, River Sonso and River Waisoke that pour their water into Lake Albert.
Attractions within Bugoma Forest Reserve
Bugoma Forest Reserve is a real biodiversity hotspot that is worth exploring by tourists going on Uganda safaris. The forest hosts an astonishing diversity of floral and fauna species. This Reserve is a central Conservation Forest which is the 12th top places of importance out of the 65 forests studied for biodiversity. It is also amazingly the 17th among forests with exceptional species.
There are currently over 34 species of mammals including 4 globally threatened mammal species. There are 9 mammal species listed under IUCN’s Red List that live within the Bugoma Forest Reserve. These include primates such as chimpanzees, the Grey cheeked mangabeys, the Black and white Colobus monkeys, the Blue monkeys, the Red tailed monkeys and the Vervet monkeys etc.
It is estimated that about 600 chimpanzees live within the forest.
Other mammals that call the forest reserve home include Buffaloes, Bush Elephants, Uganda Kobs, Golden Cats and Side-stripped Jackals among others.
There are also 9 species of reptiles, over 257 tree and shrub species including 7 species that are Albertine Rift endemics, more than 12 species that are globally threatened and 14 tree species listed under IUCN’s Red List. Bugoma Forest Reserve is also a home to 20 species of Amphibians including one species that is endemic to the Albertine Rift, 118 species of moths, 292 species of butterflies that include 4 species endemic to the Albertine Rift Mountains.
There are over 225 bird species that have been recorded in the forest and these include several Guinea-Congo Biome bird species. Two of the noteworthy globally threatened bird species within the Forest Reserve include the Black-eared ground thrush (also known as Zoothera camaronensis) and Nahan’s francolin (Francolinus nahani)
Lake Albert and River Nkusi cannot miss on the list of important attractions within Bugoma Forest Reserve. However, this Forest reserve is threatened by human encroachment, poaching/hunting, political interference-from greedy politicians, illegal harvesting of local herbs, logging and timber cutting among others. Even the permanent rivers that sued to flow within the Reserve-River Rwemiseke and River Hohwa are now seasonal due to the high rate of deforestation. Currently, the Forest is supplied by water from streams that drain to the Rivers and later to Lake Albert.
How to Access Bugoma Forest Reserve
This magnificent Forest Reserve is found at 70 kilometers away from Hoima district, and can be accessed using road transport through a dusty road. You will use the Kampala-Hoima-Fortportal road, then to Kabwoya to access Bugoma via the Kasindi Forest Station.
In conclusion, the Bugoma Forest reserve is one of the most important Forest reserves in Uganda and is a home to over 34 species of mammals including 4 globally threatened mammal species of which 9 mammal species are listed under IUCN’s Red List. There are 9 species of reptiles. There are also over 257 tree and shrub species including 7 species that are Albertine Rift endemics. More than 12 tree species are globally threatened and 14 tree species are listed under IUCN’s Red List.