Maramagambo forest is a tree canopy section of Queen Elizabeth national park located the southern region of the park in bushenyi district, the forest is famous chimpanzees and caves. The Maramagambo forest is well grounded on Kichwamba escarpment stretching to Lake Edward, the forest boasting an extensive concertation of biodiversity is considered to be among the mature and diverse tropical forests in the Albertine rift in western region of Uganda.
The Maramagambo is a local dialect meaning ran out of words, Maramagambo forest derives its name from a local legendary tale. The tale states that a group of young boys entered the forest unfortunately they lost their way out of the forest, after a reasonable period of time (days) they traced their way back to their community. Their return was a jubilating situation but people/ villagers were shocked when the boys were unable to say a word as they had gone dumb, they attribute the dumbness to being extremely worn out from trying so had too trace their way back thus the name Maramagambo.
Maramagambo forest offers a remarkable eco-encounter as it is filled with numerous attractions which are of interest and loved by tourists, the forest is an ideal destination for chimpanzee tracking, hiking, nature walks and visiting caves.
Attractions in Maramagambo forest
- Crater lakes
Maramagambo forest is bordered by two crater lakes that is Lake Kyasanduka and Lake Nyamasingiri which offer a magnificent view, these crater lakes where formed by ancient volcanic processes leaving behind calderas which were later filled with rain water creating crater lakes
Maramagambo forest is a home to wide range of primates such as chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkey, baboons, blue monkey, vervet monkey and L’Hoests.
Maramagambo forest is a home to a number of mammal species such as pygmy antelope, yellow-backed duiker, giant elephant shrew, giant forest hog, and many more.
Maramagambo forest is an important birding site harboring many forest bird species such as Dark capped yellow warbler, fawn breasted waxbill, black headed batis, Sulphur breasted bush shrike, bat hawk, red tailed bristle bill African green pigeon, Ross’s turaco, black rumped button, martial eagle African skimmer, pink backed pelican, Chapin’s fly catcher, white tailed lark, papyrus gonolek, papyrus canary and many more.
- Cave bats
Maramagambo forest is famous for harboring a large population of bats in its impressive cave, the cave was open to tourists for bat viewing until in 2008 when it was closed following the a Marburg incent where a female tourist contracted the virus from the cave. Following the collaboration Uganda wildlife authority and American centre of disease control a secure viewing point was established just outside the cave. From this point you get to view the bats in the caves.
- Nocturnal animals
Maramagambo forest is a home to two nocturnal animals that is Pottos and bush baby
Maramagambo forest offers fascinating safari experiences with are full of memories such as
Maramagambo forest offers the best nature walk experience in Queen Elizabeth national park, nature walks in this forest takes you through the beautiful forests tree species following various demarcated trails which lead to various attractions such as waterfalls, river kajojo and you get to spot many animals like chimpanzees, verve monkey, baboons, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Baboons, Red Tailed Monkeys. As you navigate through the forest you are bound to encounter columns of matching soldier ants stretching t width of 100 meters, if you’re not careful you might realise that you’re in their territory when they are already up in your clothes. Bites from the ants are painful though not poisonous either way you should always be on a look out for them while in the forest.
Maramagambo forest is a great birding site as it is a home to a variety of bird species which are amazing and interesting to look at. Bird species which are encountered in the forest include Rwenzori Turaco, Forest Flycatchers and White Naped Pigeons. Other species include the African green pigeon, bat hawk, black-headed batis, dark-caped yellow warbler, fawn-breasted wax-bill, red-tailed bristle bill, Ross’s turaco, Sulphur-breasted bush shrike and white-naped pigeons and many more.
Visiting the bat caves
Visiting the bird caves is a very fascinating experience done in Maramagambo forest, due to previous Marburg virus incident the caves have a viewing point where you get to watch the bats in the caves. These caves are home to a huge population of bats which cannot be found everywhere in Queen Elizabeth national park
Maramagambo forest is a home to many species of primates which can be seen while on nature walks through the deep forests, primates such as chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkey, baboons, blue monkey, vervet monkey and L’Hoests are seen.
While in Maramagambo forest for hiking, nature walking and primate watching numerous trails are followed offering a tourist distinct experiences, the following trails are used.
River kajojo trail
River tail is a trail of approximately 1 hour walk navigating along river kajojo through a distance of approximately 2.5 kilometers, this trail is called river kajojo trail because elephants used to shower in the stream and they still do the same thus the name kajojo which means little elephant. Walking through this trail you will encounter the scenic kajojo river and elephants bathing in the river’s waters as you walk through the beautiful unique Parinari excels. You will always encounter primates playing on tree branches.
Palm trail is a relatively flat trail of approximately 5 kilometers, a walk of 2 hours. This trail is the most suitable trail and loved by tourists as it is easy to navigate, walk on this trail you will be blown away by the numerous tree species such as frame tree which is believed to responsible for sexual desires in women, there is also raphia palms used for making mats and the dragon tree among many more.
Valley trail is a trail of an estimated 3 hours walk through a distance of 3 and half kilometers in the valley, a walk in this valley will take you through the fascinating ridges filled with forests trees like Viagra tree and many more.
Waterfall trail is a trail of 11 kilometers through the valley leading to the magnificent kilyantama waterfalls, this trail is a 4-5 hours walk through the hilly section of Maramagambo forest through a wet train. While on a walk/ hike on this trail you will encounter local men making black cloths from figs, the falls and many more.
Visit Maramagambo forest and experience the forest life of queen Elizabeth national park.