Situated at the Southern side of Queen Elizabeth national Park (the second largest national Park in Uganda) in western district of Bushenyi is the luxuriant Maramagambo forest, characterized by canopy tree shades, tall trees, hard wood trees and buttress rooted trees. This forest derived its name from a famous ancient tale whereby a group of youth got lost within the Forest, and took then several days to find their way back to their home village, hence the name “Maramagambo” to mean “end of words”. This spectacular forest is a region within Queen Elizabeth National Park from the Kichwamba escarpment all through to the magnificent Lake Edward. If you are looking for a perfect spot for hiking/nature walks within the Queen Elizabeth National Park, then visit this forest and you will be rewarded with the golden chance to explore some of the magnificent Crater Lakes (Kyasanduka and Nyamasingiri).
Some of the most famous trails are the Canopy shaded trails through the stunning verdant forest that offer a rather exceptional experience compared to the experience you gain when you visit the Open Savanna plains of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Besides the verdant canopies of the forest that offer special experiences to tourists, the forest is a home to several mammal species that include Bate’s Pygmy Antelopes, diurnal primate species such as the Chimpanzees, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Red-tailed monkey, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Blue monkeys, vervet monkeys and nocturnal primate species such as Bush babies and Pottos. There are several bird species that call this forest home and they include the White Naped Pigeons, Rwenzori Turaco, and Forest Flycatchers among others.
Another famous attraction within this forest is the Bat Caves that harbor not only thousands of bats but also several pythons that mainly feed on the bats. After all is said, these are the activities that tourists can enjoy when they visit Maramagambo forest.
Besides Kyambura gorge, Chimpanzee tracking is also an important tourist activity within Maramagambo Forest, though not widely recognized by tourists.
The Maramagambo Forest is a home to several unique bird species that include Bar-tailed Godwit, more than 54 raptors, Martial Eagle, Chapin’s Flycatcher, African Broadbill, White-winged Warbler, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, White Naped Pigeons, Rwenzori Turaco, and Forest Flycatchers among others.
Guided nature walks/hiking
This forest is also known for numerous wildlife species that include Lions, Hippos, Elephants, Antelopes, Leopards, Buffaloes and primate species such as Red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Olive Baboons, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, Bush babies, Pottos and Blue monkeys. This forest offers the best hiking option than the Open Savanna Plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. While on your nature walks, you will also encounter some bird species within the Caves.
Kayaking the stunning Kyasanduka and Lake Nyamasingiri Crater Lakes
Maramagambo forest is the only area within Queen Elizabeth National park where you will encounter the Blue Lakes. An adventurous Kayak on the Kyasanduka and Lake Nyamasingiri Crater Lakes will reward you with unforgettable experiences while at this Forest
Cave exploration-visit to the bat cave
Maramagambo forest has continuously been known for the bat cave until 2008 when one of the tourists from Netherlands died from the dangerous Marburg disease. But the good news is that the cave is now open for visitation by tourists with the construction of a spectacular viewing platform/point with the support from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Besides the numerous Bats in the cave, there are also pythons that feed on the bats hence presenting a prey-predator co-existence.
How to Reach Maramagambo Forest
This Forest can be accessed by both air and road transport. Tourists interested in using air transport will have to land at Mweya airstrip (with Queen Elizabeth national Park), by chartering flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip within Kampala.
One of the routes-the closest route for tourists using road transport is Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Bushenyi-Queen Elizabeth National Park gate close to Jacana Lodge then to Maramagambo Forest. The other route is Kampala-Mubende-Fortportal-Kasese then link to Bushenyi route, then to Queen Elizabeth National Park then to the Forest.
When you visit the Queen Elizabeth National Park for a safari, you can visit the Maramagambo forest and participate in nature walks, bird watching, chimpanzee tracking and cave exploration among others.