Rabongo Forest is found in the far southeast of Murchison Falls National Park surrounded by savanna and covering just 4km2. This forest is just 1 and half hour’s drive from Paraa Safari Lodge.
Additionally, Rabongo Forest is an extension of Murchison falls park and it is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA). Historically, it is a place of great Uganda adventures that was marked by the great English explore John Speke and James Grant.
This forest is considered to be the Ugandan amazon considering the various tree species it has got. It is subjected to big tall Mahogany and Ironwood trees estimated to have a height of up to 60 meters. The other tree species are Parasitic Strangler Figs and Spiky Faraga trees.
Rabongo Forest is considered a birders’ paradise because of the endangered species found here. Some of the Uganda birds include the White Thighed Hornbills, Narina Trogon, Crested Guineafowl, Great Blue Turaco, Kingfishers, and Sunbirds.
The forest also harbors Uganda primates like
- Olive Baboons
- Black and White Colobus Monkeys
- Red-tailed Monkeys
- Vervet Monkeys
And, animals like Elephants, Buffaloes, Antelope species, Leopards, and Lions are rare visitors to the forest.
Rabongo is ideal for educational tours as it provides opportunities to identify animals, birds, medicinal plants, and trees.
For relaxation, visitors can camp and enjoy picnics along the Wairingo River and enjoy thrilling night falls of the sweet melodies from the birds.
Scenery Of Rabongo Forest
Rabongo Forest in Murchison Falls National Park is full of blooming nature and pristine to those on Uganda safaris. The forest is full of Mahogany and Ironwood trees which are tall going up to 60 meters and look like city skyscrapers.
The roots of these trees look like giant amazon pythons and their canopies are occupied by Monkey species. On a lucky day, you can hear the monkeys drumming the tree stems as they are trying to communicate with each other.
Rabongo Forest is bisected by the Wairingo River which supplies wildlife with water and has riverine vegetation. This makes the forest receive annual rainfall between 1200 and 2200 mm.
What To See In Rabongo Forest | Attractions In Rabongo
Rabongo Forest is a tropical rainforest evergreen and this favors the inhabitation of wildlife like primates, bird species, and wild animals.
Visitors on safaris in Uganda can always enjoy the thriving wildlife when they visit the forest. The best way to enjoy wildlife in the forest is during nature walks.
Primates in Rabongo Forest are not so many though sighting them will leave you mesmerized. Most of them are similar to those in Budongo Forest though are fewer in number since the forest is not so big.
Chimpanzees are absent in the forest though nocturnal primates of Galago species and Pottos are present.
These are some of the primates that are spotted in Rabongo Forest
Olive Baboons (Papio Anubis)
Olive Baboons are also called the Anubis Baboon and it is native to Africa. The population of the primate is not endangered or vulnerable as it is listed least concern on the ICUN Red List.
Identification; Olive baboons are heavily built monkeys with sturdy limbs. They have green-grey fur and their face looks scary due to their doglike pointed muzzles and powerful jaws. And, have long pointed canine teeth.
Behavior; these are social primates and live in groups of 15-150 individuals and are headed by females. When they die, their daughters inherit the leadership. However, males at times babysit the young ones to make friends with females.
Feeding and diet; Olive Baboons feed on leaves, roots, fruits, seeds, mushrooms, and lichens. However, they also eat small invertebrates.
Breeding; Females Olive Baboons mates with several males and their gestation period is about 226 days. And, they produce a single offspring.
Black and White Colobus Monkeys (Colobi)
A black-and-white Colobus Monkey is a beautiful species of old-world monkey native to Africa. It is closely related to the Red Colobus Monkey genus Piliocolobus
Identification; It has a distinctive black body, white facial markings, a long white tail, and a white side stripe. And, have whiskers and beards around their face.
Behavior; amazingly, this Monkey is capable of jumping up to 30m, an incredible sight with its white tail streaming behind.
They spend most of their time grooming each other.
Feeding; Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys are herbivores and feed on leaves, lichens, fruits, and flowers.
Reproduction; females give birth every after 20 months. Their gestation period is about 142-161 days producing a single infant.
Red-tailed Monkeys (Cercopithecus Ascanius)
The Red-tailed Monkey is also known as the Black-cheeked, White-nosed Monkey, Red-tailed Guenon, Red-tail Monkey, or Schmidt’s Guenon. It is a species of primate in the family Cercopithecidae.
Its population is stable as it is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.
Identification; it has a black or dark grey body however, it’s named after its red tail.
This Monkey has white cheek whiskers and a coppery tail. It as well has a distinctive white heart-shaped patch on its nose, giving rise to its more vivid alternative name of Black-cheeked White-nosed Monkey.
Behavior; it is a social primate as it lives in groups of about 10-30 members. The groups are headed by a mature dominant male.
However, grown males may decide to leave the group and fight other ruling males to take over power.
They collect and gather food in their mouths and eat in a safe place.
Feeding; the Red-tailed Monkeys are omnivores and on both fruits and flesh.
Reproduction; The Red-tailed Monkey is polygamous. A male can have more than two females. This Monkey’s gestation period is about 5-6 months producing a single offspring.
Blue Monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis)
The Blue Monkey also known as a Diademed Monkey is a species of Old World monkey native to Central and East Africa. This Monkeys population is listed least concern on the IUCN Red List meaning that it’s stable and not vulnerable.
Identification; Despite the monkeys’ name, the Blue Monkeys are not blue. They’re called so due to the hairless face which seems to be colored blue. However, it has a dark head top and the coloration of the body is mainly olive or grey.
Additionally, the Blue Monkey exhibits some black and white markings all over its body with a long tail as its body.
Behavior; these are social primates and live in groups though they consist of mostly females.
Sub-adult males leave the group and return at a later age to challenge the male leader to take over.
Feeding; Blue Monkeys are herbivores and feed on fruits, flowers, and on tree figs.
Reproduction; males are polygamous and mate with many females. Females have a gestation period of about 5 months and produce every after 2 years.
Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)
A Vervet Monkey is an Old World Monkey of the family Cercopithecidae native to Africa. Its population is stable as it is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List. This means that the Monkeys population is stable and not endangered.
Identification; Vervet Monkeys have black faces with a white fringe of hair while their overall hair color is mostly grizzled-grey.
Males are recognized by a turquoise-blue scrotum. Also, males are larger and heavier than females.
Behavior; these Monkeys are social primates that leave in groups. They also groom each other.
Feeding; Vervet Monkeys are herbivores and feast on crops, fruits, flowers, and seeds. They as well feast on the eggs of birds and their chicks.
Reproduction; these primate species have a gestation period of 165 days producing a single offspring every year.
Galagos | Bush Babies (Galagidae)
Bush Babies are also known as Galagos and are native to sub-Saharan Africa.
They’re named bush babies after their distinctive shrill baby-like cry in the quiet night of the jungle.
Identification; the most prominent feature of the Galago is its saucer-like eyes. These allow them to see in the dark as they hunt for prey at night.
They have small ears strong back limbs and long tails. The ears are sharp for hearing and are used for tracking insects.
Behavior; they are nocturnal primates that are most active during nighttime. They jump long distances in mere seconds.
Feeding; Galagos eat tree gum, fruits, insects, and small animals.
Reproduction; Galagos have a gestation period of about 110-133 days producing 1 baby or 2 and at times triplets.
Galagos are caring as they feed their young ones for 6 weeks and when they are 2 months, they then start to feed themselves.
Infants grow at a faster rate as they can outgrow their mother though she still has to carry them.
Pottos (Perodicticus Potto)
Pottos are also called Tree Bears, or slow-moving tropical African primates. It’s a nocturnal tree dweller found in rainforests from Sierra Leone eastward to Uganda. It has a strong grip and grips tightly to branches.
Identification; Pottos have woolly greyish-brown fur and a non-functioning index finger.
Pottos have webbed fingers and feet. They have 4-6 tubercles that shelter their long vertebrae from the neck. They as well have scent glands under their tail and an odor.
Behavior; they are nocturnal primates and are mostly active at night. They live in big territories having more males than males though the males lead.
Pottos feed in the night and can sometimes be located at night by shining a spotlight into the canopy.
Feeding; Pottos mostly feed on fruits and sometimes feast on strong-smelling insects that other animals don’t eat.
Reproduction; the mate at any time of the year. Females have a gestation period of 193 days and usually produce a single offspring or twins.
Uganda birds in Rabongo Forest are extraordinary and sweet to watch especially for those birding in Uganda. If you are interested in watching forest-related birds, then Rabongo Forest is the ideal spot.
Most bird species here are the same as those in Budongo Forest. It has 2 of the big 5 Uganda birds that is the Great Blue Turaco and the Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill.
These are some of the notable birds in Rabongo Forest
Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani)
A Crested Guineafowl is a member of the Numididae, the Guineafowl bird family. It breeds in sub-Saharan Africa. This, bird’s population status is stable as it is listed least concern on the IUCN Red List.
Identification; It is a beautiful big-bodied, small-headed, black gamebird flawlessly creased with rows of bluish-white spots. This fowl has ridiculous-looking plumes above the naked face, which holds a prominent ivory-colored bill and red eyes. Its facial skin color (red, black, and blue,) varies on geographical location.
It’s much similar to the Helmeted Guineafowl lacks a feathered crest and holds a bone-like casqued on top of its head.
Habitat; this nice-looking bird mostly forages on the ground in thickets, open woodlands, and savanna mosaics however, it’s rarely spotted.
Feeding; feasts on seeds and small insects.
Breeding; this bird is monogamous and spends most of its time in couple pairs. They lay 4-5 nearly white eggs in nests well-hidden scraped in long grass or under a bush.
Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes subcylindricus)
The Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill is also called the Grey-cheeked Hornbill. It is least concern according to the IUCN Red List and it is non-migratory.
Identification; the Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill is a large black-and-white hornbill easily identified by its enormous blackish bill with a large casque on top.
In flight, they show a broad white patch at the back of the wing and a black tail with white sides
Males have relatively large black and white bills while females are smaller. They’re monogamous, and commonly seen in pairs.
Feeding; their diet consists mainly of figs, fruits, and insects.
Breeding; females lay up to two eggs
Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata)
The Great Blue Turaco is the largest species of the Turaco and breeds throughout the African tropical rainforest. This bird is non-migratory and its population is stable as it is not endangered or vulnerable.
Unquestionably, the Great Blue Turaco is one of the most attractive birds in Uganda.
Identification; this lovely bird is easily identified by its tall black crest, red-and-yellow bill plus black bars at the end of the tail.
It has grey-blue upper parts, a white chin, a yellow-green lower breast, and a yellow belly darkening to chestnut brown posteriorly.
Behavior; the Great Blue Turaco is gregarious, with birds forming small troops of six or seven individuals.
Feeding; this bird eats leaves, flowers, and fruits.
Reproduction; females lay 1-3 greenish-white eggs and both parents incubate the eggs for about 29-31 days.
Other Birds In Rabongo Forest
- White Thighed Hornbill
- Plain Greenbul
- Cassin’s Hawk Eagle
- Blue-Breasted Kingfisher
- Chocolate-Backed Kingfisher
- Crowned Eagle
- Chestnut-Capped Flycatcher
- Grey-Headed Sunbird
Other Wild Animals In Rabongo Forest
Since Rabongo Forest is surrounded by savannah grasslands, it attracts a few animals from Murchison Falls National Park. Visitors can always spot these animals on the trails that are visible in the plains.
Buffaloes and Elephants roam in the grasslands and usually come near the Wairingo River to refresh. Antelope species run on the floors of the forest. Visitors on camping safaris in the forest should be vigilant as Leopards and Lions are rare visitors.
Safari Activities In Rabongo Forest | Things To Do At The Forest
Rabongo Forest is small in size though rewarding with its unforgettable safari activities. Visitors on safaris to Uganda can always engage in nature walks, and bird watching and as well enjoy picnic and camping safaris.
Nature walks in Rabongo Forest are rewarding as you get to see most of the wildlife while on foot. Since the forest doesn’t have safari tracks for game drives, it’s best explored on foot.
The well-developed walking trails will lead you to unusual wildlife like birds, primates, and plant species. Visitors on Murchison falls safari in Rabongo Forest can do nature walks in the morning and afternoon lasting for 2 hours.
These walks are return trips and take you around Wairingo River to see a natural beauty.
Tourists can spot primates like Olive Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, and Red-tailed Monkeys. Uganda birds spotted include the Crested Guineafowl, White-Thighed Hornbill, Crowned Eagle, and Sunbirds.
Nature walks in Rabongo Forest are done all year through though the best time to get great experiences is in the dry season.
Rabongo Forest is one of the best bird watching spots during your birding safaris Uganda. Many birds here are forest-related birds some being Uganda endemics and others are migratory.
The birding trails in Rabongo Forest are most rewarding with phenomenal birds like the White Thighed Hornbill and Crowned Eagle. These birds are natives and sightings come easy and quickly.
Other birds one can see include the Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Olive-Breasted Greenbul, Brown Twinspot, Little Green Sunbird, and Kingfishers.
Visitors can enjoy bird watching in Rabongo Forest in the morning and evening hours as this is when the birds are most active. During morning hours, birds are leaving their nests and come back in the evening.
Birdwatching in Rabongo Forest is good all year though sightings come quickly during the dry season. However, migratory birds are in the forest from November to April.
Please note; Rabongo Forest is also an ideal spot for those on camping safaris in Uganda since it offers a good setting for camping.
Many visitors camp in the forest for picnics along the Wairingo River giving exclusive nightfall as you hear nature calling. However, always be on high alert as Leopards and Lions are occasional visitors to the amazing forest.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Rabongo Forest?
Rabongo Forest is open to visitors all year long though the best time for wildlife viewing is in the dry months. Also, this is as well-known as the peak season as the trails in the forest is dry and easy to access.
Little or no rainfall is expected during this time making leading to successful activities as nothing is causing any delays.
Dry months are from December to February and from June to August. Migratory birds come to the forest from November to April.
Additionally, one has to put in mind that Ugandan weather can change at any time due to climatic changes. It can rain unexpectedly during the dry season or shine hot in the wet season.
Why Visit Rabongo Forest? | What Is Unique About The Forest?
Rabongo Forest is a top destination that shouldn’t be missed when on your Uganda wildlife safaris. This forest has epic lifetime Uganda safari activities that are best here like birdwatching and nature walks.
The Uganda birds in Rabongo Forest are unspoken for as they are spotted whistling, swooping, and singing in the trees. The primates in the forest are gorgeous and sightings are easy and quick, unlike in other areas.
This forest is not so far away from Murchison falls park meaning that one can do activities at both destinations in a day. The trails in Rabongo Forest are well developed as anyone with the least levels of fitness can enjoy the activities in the forest.
Accommodation In Rabongo Forest | Where To Stay ?
Rabongo Forest has no accommodation though those interested in visiting the forest can always opt to sleep in Murchison Falls National Park. Visitors can sleep in the park and do Uganda safari activities in the forest during day time.
Here are some of the Uganda safari lodges in Murchison Falls National Park;
Luxury Accommodation In Murchison Falls National Park
- Chobe Safari Park
- Paraa Safari Lodge
- Bakers’ Lodge
- Nile Safari Lodge
Mid-Range Accommodation In Murchison Falls National Park
- Murchison River Lodge
- Pakuba Safari Lodge
- Fort Murchison
- Sambiya Safari Lodge
- Kabalega Wilderness Lodge
- Twiga Safari Lodge
Budget Accommodation In Murchison Falls National Park
|a. Parkside Safari Lodge|
b. Red Chilli Rest Camp
c. Heritage Safari Lodge
d. Boomu Women’s Group Bandas
e. Budongo Eco-Lodge
f. Parkside Safari Lodge
g. Red Chilli Rest Camp
h. Heritage Safari Lodge
|a. Shoebill Campsite|
b. Hornbill Bush Lodge
c. Bar Lyec Safari Lodge
d. Yebo Safari Camp
e. UWA Bandas
Indeed Rabongo Forest is a supreme of nature and a true source of happiness as you get to see the unusual. The forest is rich with wildlife especially primates and its avian diversity is extraordinary.
Visitors on Uganda safaris can always enjoy the best nature walks in the forest as well as Uganda birding tours. Let us be your ambassadors and tailor your lifetime safari with activities in Rabongo Forest.
Feel free to contact us.