Zika Forest is a perfect tourist stop along Entebbe Road while on a Ugandan Safari. The small forest is situated in Kisubi along Entebbe road at about 23 kilometers from Kampala making it one of the most convenient destinations for tourists who prefer places not far from Kampala. Most importantly, it is a perfect escape from the urban confusion or a perfect destination for a short vacation in seclusion. It’s perfect for picnics and corporate retreats
This Forest is characterized by giant mature tree and verdant undergrowth with dense canopies that were originally known as the Upper storey. The range of vegetation diversity including grasslands, wetlands that extend to Lake Victoria-largest freshwater lake in the African continent, forest types and forest edges offer home to several wildlife species that capture the attention of tourists. This Forest was named after the Zika Virus because this is where the virus was first discovered in 1947, but is now rare in the Forest. However, the word Zika means “overgrown” in luganda due to its dense tree cover hence the name “upper storey”.
This tinny Tropical forest sits on 62 acres/25 hectares, although the Research area of the Zika Forest covers an area of 30 acres/12 hectares. However the nearby construction belonging to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI)-set aside for research on viruses is threatening the forest and making it smaller. Zika Forest has a 120 feet steel Research Tower that serves the purpose of studying high-flying mosquitoes and their viruses. Interestingly, this Forest is a home to over 40 species of mosquitoes. The Research Institute was originally within Mpanga Forest before it was transferred to Zika Forest in 1962 and up to today, it has offered ground for behavioral research and ecological studies within the Forest.
This forest is abundant with several mammal species, reptiles, over 62 species of Sphingid moths, about 135 species of woody Plants 58 species of trees including Nkoba, Musizi, jackfruits and Mvule tree that make it worth visiting while on a Uganda Safari. There are also several exceptional butterfly species that will amaze you and take your breath away.
Some of the wildlife species worth exploring in this small forest include foxes, Wild rabbits, alligators, Wild cats, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Sitatungas, the red-tailed monkeys, the red colobus monkeys, the Vervet monkeys, and leopards, a number of reptile species such as pythons and Cobras among others.
Besides the wildlife, this destination is a perfect place for bird watching and it is said that former resident of the United States-President Jimmy Carter once visited the site for birding. You should visit this site to experience what former president experienced and enjoyed in Zika Forest. However, even with the beauty of this Forest, people still fear visiting it because of its past-Zika Virus. Much as the forest is frequently visited by school students, International tourists are also frequent at the Forest.
In conclusion, the Zika Forest is a perfect stopover destination for tourists on a Ugandan Safari because you can get to see wildlife species such as the Leopards, primates and Sitatungas among others. It is also popular for birding and you will never know the treasure that former president Jimmy Carter saw until you visit the Forest.