Kalinzu forest reserve

The Kalinzu forest reserve is among the attractions found around Queen Elizabeth national park in south western Uganda. There are over 414 species of trees, about 378 bird species as well as chimpanzees found in Kalinzu forest reserve. Other primates in Kalinzu forest which can be seen during a tour include blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons among others.

Kalinzu forest reserve which covers about 149 square kilometers is also home to different butterfly species. The forest is at an altitude of 1400 meters and is among the places to see chimpanzees during safaris in Uganda.

The forest is home to a diversity of wildlife and there are also different bird species found at the destination. Kalinzu forest is an extension of the Maramagambo forest which is another attraction found in Queen Elizabeth national park.

Activities to do around Kalinzu forest reserve

When visiting Kalinzu forest reserve, the different activities to engage in include the following;

  • Chimpanzee trekking

Kalinzu forest is another place to engage in chimpanzee trekking in Uganda although the activity is not as popularly done at the destination as compared to Kibale national park which is known for being home to many primates.

Chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest involves searching for the chimpanzees in their natural habitat and getting to observe their behavior closely.

Over 290 chimpanzees are found in the Kalinzu forest reserve and about 70 are habituated for chimpanzee trekking experiences. Chimpanzee trekking in the forest can be done in the morning and it takes about 4 hours to search for the chimpanzees and interact with them in Kalinzu forest.

The cost of chimpanzee trekking in Kalinzu forest is about 50 USD which is similar to the cost of chimpanzee trekking in Kyambura gorge. This allows one individual to engage in one visit to the chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees in Kalinzu forest are many and the cost of the chimpanzee trekking experience is also cheaper at the reserve.

  • Guided forest walks

During tours around Kalinzu forest, tourists can enjoy guided forest walks with and experience getting close to the surroundings in the forest.

Guided forest walks around Kalinzu forest also involve encounters with primates such as chimpanzees, colobus monkeys among others. These walks can be done around the valley area while enjoying views of the canopy and the valley.

These forest walks can take about 4 hours in Kalinzu forest and there are different trails followed around the destination and these include the waterfall trail, the valley trail and also the river trail. Views of the Rwenzori mountains can also be enjoyed during these guided forest walks.

The waterfall trail takes tourists to the Kilyantama forest during guided forest walks and using this route takes about 4 to 6 hours of exploring the forest. When following the palm trail, tourists can see different plant species.

  • Bird watching

Bird watching in Kalinzu forest can be done at anytime of the year and it is among the best birding spots in Queen Elizabeth national park.

Some of the bird species found in Kalinzu forest include Great Blue Turaco, Black Billed Turaco, Hammerkops, Verreaux Eagle, Crowned Eagles, African Emerald Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Green Breasted Pitta, African Broadbill, Yellow Billed Barbet, Black Bee eater, Red-faced Cisticola, Barn Swallow, Purple Headed Starling, Red Chested Sunbird, Black-Billed Weaver among others.

The birding experience in Kalinzu forest is best done in the morning and can also take place in the afternoon hours during visits to the destination. The search for the different bird species can also be a full day experience for a chance to spot many birds.

Apart from Kalinzu forest reserve, tours can also be done in the neighboring Queen Elizabeth national park where activities like game drives, boat rides, lion tracking, chimpanzee trekking, hiking, nature walks, bird watching and community visits are carried out.

When visiting Queen Elizabeth national park, chimpanzee trekking can also be done in the Kyambura gorge. The activity can be done in the morning and afternoon during safaris in Kyambura forests where tourists can also enjoy views of the River Kyambura and encounter many other primates in the forest.

Wildlife safaris in Queen Elizabeth national park involve game drives in the morning and afternoon hours in search of different wildlife species such as elephants, impalas, buffalos, lions, bushbucks, waterbucks and many others. Tree climbing lions can be seen in the Ishasha sector during tours at the destination.

Boat tours can also take place on the Kazinga channel when visiting Queen Elizabeth national park in the morning and in the afternoon with views of the surroundings and wildlife species such as buffalos, hippos, elephants among others by the water shores.

Kalinzu forest reserve
Red-faced Cisticola

Best time to visit the Kalinzu forest reserve

Tours around the Kalinzu forest reserve can be done at anytime of the year although the best time to visit the destination is the dry season around June, July, August and September and around December to February when chimpanzees among other primates can easily be spotted.

Exploring the trails in Kalinzu forest is also easier during the dry season since the roads are in better conditions.

Where to stay around Kalinzu forest reserve

There are different places to stay around the Kalinzu forest reserve are located around the town of Bushenyi and also in Ishaka town and also in the surrounding area of Queen Elizabeth national park.

The hotels around the Kalinzu forest reserve range from luxury, midrange to budget hotels and they include Mweya safari lodge, Jacana lodge, Katara lodge, Parkview safari lodge among others. Camping can also be done at the campsite at the Nkobe forest station where visitors are required to come with their own tents.

How to get to Kalinzu forest reserve

The Kalinzu forest reserve is located in Bushenyi district in south western Uganda and is about 5 to 6 hours drive from Kampala city.

The forest reserve can be accessed using the Kampala-Mbarara-Bushenyi route by suing private or public means of transport.

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