Kalinzu forest is a natural forest located in Bushenyi district south western part of Uganda near Queen Elizabeth national park and Maramagambo forest. Kalinzu forest lies on an average altitude of about 1400m above the sea level and harbors about 414 tree species found in bushes and shrubs, 97 moths, 262 butterflies, reptiles, flowers, 378 bird species, 6 primate species such as Baboons, Chimpanzees, Black and White colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys, L’hoest and blue monkeys. Kalinzu forest also offers refuge to some animals due to the fact that its located near Queen Elizabeth national park and the animals include elephants, leopards, waterbucks, wild pigs, buffaloes, giant forest hogs, duikers among others. Kalinzu forest is a great destination to visit on your safari in Uganda in that you will get an opportunity to engage in exciting and fascinating activities that will make your safari enjoyable and unforgettable.
Activities are done in Kalinzu Forest
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is the most popular activity carried out in Kalinzu forest. Kalinzu forest is the second-best destination for chimpanzee trekking in Uganda after Kibale national park. This forest harbors over 300 chimpanzees and about 50 of them have been habituated therefore open for trekking by visitors. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest can either be in the morning at 8 am or in the afternoon at 3 pm and its best done in the morning where you will get an opportunity to view chimpanzees feeding, breastfeeding among others. Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest starts with a briefing at the park headquarters about the expectations while in the forest and after you will be grouped depending on the interest or physical fitness and then ever group will be given a park ranger or guide who will be leading you when trekking in the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in this forest takes about 3 to 4 hours or even more trekking in the steep and muddy slopes, thick forests depending on the location of the chimpanzees because they like to move from one place to another in search of food. Once the chimpanzees have been found you will spend one hour with them in their natural habitat, one hour will be used to watch them as they feed, secure territories, learn about their behavior and habits, take photos with flashless camera among others. During chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest, you will be able to view other primates like blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, baboons, bird species among others.
Chimpanzee trekking permit in Kalinzu forest costs $50 for the Foreign Non Residents and it’s very cheap compared to other areas like Kibale national park which costs $150. A chimpanzee trekking permit in Kalinzu can either be booked directly at the reception of the forest or through a trusted tour operator like Achieve Global Safaris which will not only book for your chimpanzee trekking permit but also plan for your entire safari in Uganda and other destinations. However, though the chimpanzee trekking permits in Kalinzu forest can be acquired on the trekking day it’s still advisable to book in advance.
Bird watching: Kalinzu forest is also known as a birders paradise for bird lovers in that it harbors about 378 bird species. Bird watching in the forest can either be done very early in the morning or in the evening with a park guide and a pair of binoculars which will help you to view the bird species clearly. During birding, you will be able to view different bird species such as the great blue turaco, black and white casket, sunbirds, cuckoo birds and wildlife species like wild pigs, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, Elephants buffaloes, baboons, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others which make your safari more rewarding.
Forest nature walks: Nature walks in this forest reserve is done in the dense forests and outside the forest. Nature walk is an exciting activity where visitors move on foot into the dense forests as they experience nature, cool breeze among others. During nature walk in the forest you will be guided by a guide or armed ranger who will be showing you the trails to follow and also help you to spot interesting plant species, vegetation, plantations outside the forest, waterfalls, different bird and mammal species, primate species such as Red tailed monkeys, Blue monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Baboons among others. During the nature walk, you will get an opportunity to climb Kishunja hill viewpoint where you will observe some parts of Queen Elizabeth national park, Rwenzori mountain peaks, Kalinzu forest canopy and many more hence giving you a great time on your safari in Uganda.
Wildlife viewing: The forest is located near Queen Elizabeth national park and due to this factor the forest acts as a refuge destination for some animals such as leopards, duikers, giant forest hog, buffaloes, elephants, wild pigs, waterbucks, lions and primate species like Red tailed monkeys, Chimpanzees, L’hoest monkeys, Baboons, Black and white monkeys among others.
Butterfly Identification: Identifying butterflies is a fascinating activity where you will get an opportunity to view the beautiful butterflies in the forest as they fly with their colored wings.
When to visit Kalinzu Forest
The forest can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to August and December to February. During the dry season, the forest receives little or less rainfall, therefore, the trails for chimpanzee trekking and forest nature walks will be passable. Kalinzu forest also experiences the wet season in the months of March to May and October to November where the park receives heavy rainfall which makes the trails muddy and slippery. However, the wet season is a good time for bird watching because the forest will have plenty of fruits and food for bird species.
How to get to Kalinzu Forest
Kalinzu forest can be reached by the road where you will drive from Kampala City via Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi and connect to the forest which takes about 6 hours’ drive. Since Kalinzu forest is near Queen Elizabeth national park it will be easily accessible through connecting from the Mweya peninsula and drive to Kalinzu forest which takes about 45 minutes’ drive.
Accommodation near Kalinzu Forest
There are a number of luxury, mid-range and budget accommodations in Queen Elizabeth national park where visitors can sleep and then transfer to Kalinzu for any of the activities and the lodges include Mweya Safari lodge, Parkview Safari lodge, Katara lodge, Engiri Game lodge, Enganzi Game Lodge, Kingfisher lodge among others. The lodges will provide comfortable beds for visitors, drinks, local and international dishes, free internet, great views of the lake and wildlife hence making your stay more enjoyable and memorable.
Kalinzu is a must-visit destination in Uganda for a great chimpanzee trekking and birding experience which can be combined with wildlife viewing, boat cruise, lion tracking experience in Queen Elizabeth national park.