Covering a part of Queen Elizabeth National Park, Maramagambo forest ranges from the Kichwamba escarpment to Lake Edward. The forest landscape is ideal for nature walks, hiking, and bird watching. There are immense opportunities to catch scenic views of verdant tree canopies covering the forest.
Image credit: naturesfrontline.org
The most significant attraction in Maramagambo Forest is the bat cave. This cave gained popularity from a bad experience. A Dutch woman contracted Marburg fever from these caves in 2008. The ministry of health sealed off the caves before re-opening them with safety precautions in place with assistance from the American Center for Disease Control.
There is safe viewing outside the cave to view thousands of bats and gorging pythons. This is quite a sight. Luckily, there is no fear of contracting the deadly Marburg fever. The safe viewing area allows watching the big serpents come out from the cave to get some heat from the sun.
The locals here offer immense opportunities from a cultural perspective. The name of this forest comes from a local legend where young people wandered off into this forest. These young people returned after a few days. They were worn out and unable to speak making the locals name the forest Maramagambo meaning loss of words in the local dialect.
The cave, at Nyanziibiri community, presents another cultural encounter. This brings the famous cave to life. This cave is located on the edge of lake Kamweru, one twin lake with lake Kyema. The river flowing out of this cave was used for cleansing people from misfortunes while they would make sacrifices inside the cave. The local elders say that this place was a hideout for various people during the period of tyranny in the country during past regimes. At Nyanziibiri campsite, located just above the cave, there is Banyaruguru hut museum with valued local artifacts once precious tools for everyday life.
A hike through Maramagambo Forest is short of catching glimpses of various primates. This forest is bordered by Kyadanduka and Nyamasingiri crater lakes making it a good spot for primate species including:
Apart from catching glimpses of chimpanzees in Maramagambo Forest, there is an opportunity to spot various rare animals. You will get a chance to snap away and to learn their behavior. A hike along the Kyasanduke Crater Lake offers a lot to discover more about this region.
Apart from discovering various tree species, there is a chance to track endangered species including pygmy antelopes, bushbabies, and pottos.
Maramagambo Forest offers various opportunities to watch various bird species making it a birders’ paradise. This location is home to various rare bird species to thrill any bird watcher including:
There is also a rare opportunity to find long columns of solder ants in Maramagambo Forest to thrill you. These might make a column about 100 meters long and over 6 meters sideways. Ensure to avoid getting into contact with these ants. A bite from a soldier ant comes with a sting with a long-term effect and of course pain.
Another attraction in Maramamgambo Forest is the nature walks. This unique experience requires walking through the canopy-shaded trail lasting for more than an hour to half a day. The options for nature walks to consider in Maramagambo Forest include:
This hike will give you a chance to encounter various exciting things on the trail. However, maneuvering through this dense forest requires good fitness. This will come in handy when climbing through the various hills.
The valley trail is a 3 ½ km walk over the valley. It offers various interesting experiences including walking along the ridge. There is an opportunity to discover various interesting forest species including the Viagra tree.
You should consider taking a 2 ½ km walk along River Kajojo for an hour. The river was named Kajojo a local name for a young elephant. This river was famous for elephants bathing in the water stream. On this trail, there is a chance to catch glimpses of species like parinari and various primates.
This 5 km walk lasts for 1 ½ hour to 2 hours over flat terrain suitable for everyone. It offers a chance to see breathtaking features including tree species and learning their local use from the guide. The frame tree is used here to arouse sexual desire in women. Raphia Palm trees are sources of raw materials for making mats.
Finally, you can take the 11km waterfall walk for 4 to 5 hours through dense vegetation to the hilly sections of Maramagambo Forest after maneuvering wet terrain. The trail leads to the Kiryantama Falls meaning sheep eater in the local dialect. You can’t miss seeing backcloth figs used as occasional attire by local men. This is used to make other commodities including table covers, curtains, and bags.
When considering a safari to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a visit to Maramagambo Forest should be top of your to-do list. There is a lot to indulge in here to give everyone a wonderful experience. You can book your visit to this wonderful landscape by yourself.
The forest can be accessed from two directions; from Kasese through Queen Elizabeth national park or from Mbarara- Ishaka-Bushenyi, heading to Kasese.
Traveling from Kampala is very easy by bus. You catch a bus from Kisenyi bus terminal-Kampala downtown. This bus drops you in Mbarara town. From here take a taxi heading to Kasese via Bushenyi, to stop you at the forest or your lodge near the forest. The distance is an estimate of 305km from Kampala to Maramagambo and will take an estimate of 5-6 hours traveling by car.
Everyone willing to visit Maramagambo forest can easily find a place to stay on the night before and after this forest experience. You will also find a range of accommodation options to select from in the Bunyaruguru and Bushenyi districts. The forest can be accessed from most lodges in and around Queen Elizabeth national park.
For those not familiar with this area, contacting any tour operator or lodges around Queen Elizabeth national park is ideal. Contact us today for more information about how to find accommodation in this area.