Nestled within the captivating embrace of Queen Elizabeth National Park lies the extraordinary Kasyoha Kitomi Forest Reserve, a treasure trove of biodiversity waiting to be explored. Situated just 35 kilometers from Bushenyi Town, to the south of Lake George and the Kazinga Channel, this forest reserve sprawls across an expansive 433 square kilometers. A visit to this reserve promises a plethora of activities, including forest walks, canoeing, birdwatching, swimming in Crater Lakes, camping, exploring legendary caves, fishing, primate watching, boat rides, nature hikes along the waterfall trail, and sightseeing adventures encompassing the Twin Lakes, the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake George, and Conservation Education, among others. Nature enthusiasts seeking relaxation and communion with the natural world need look no further—this forest reserve beckons.
Kasyoha Kitomi Forest Reserve is home to a diverse range of primate species, including the elusive Chimpanzees (though not yet habituated), blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Red Colobus monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, among others. This magnificent forest reserve also cradles several breathtaking Crater Lakes, such as the Twin Lakes of Kamweru and Kyema, as well as the transient, glistening Lake Kamunzuku, among others. Unlike its more frequented counterparts, Kyambura Gorge and Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Kasyoha Kitomi remains an authentic and less-visited gem in the heart of Uganda.
Kasyoha Kitomi Forest Reserve boasts a proximity to the splendid Queen Elizabeth National Park, bordered by Kanyambogo to the north, Kyamuhanga Tea estate and Ndangaro Parishes to the south, Maramagambo and Kalinzu Forest Reserves to the southeast, Rwanjere to the east, and Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve to the west. Within the forest reserve, several mammal species commonly found in Queen Elizabeth National Park thrive. Among them are Antelopes such as Bushbucks, Uganda Kobs, Bush duikers, Topis, and Oribis, alongside other fascinating creatures like Bush pigs, Forest Elephants, Giant Forest hogs, Forest Buffaloes, leopards, warthogs, and the occasional Lions, among others.
With over 308 bird species, including endemics to the Albertine Rift Mountains, Kasyoha Kitomi Forest Reserve is a true haven for bird enthusiasts. Among the highlights are sightings of the grey parrot, the white-collared olive-back, the Afep pigeon, the Black bee-eater, the Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, the Blue-throated sunbird, the White-napped pigeon, Blue-headed sunbird, the Cinnamon-breasted bee-eater, and the Blue-throated roller, among others. The forest reserve is also inhabited by various reptile and butterfly species, adding to its allure.
While accommodations within the forest reserve are limited, visitors can opt for camping experiences at Nyanzibiri Eco-community Camp near Magambo Parish Headquarters. This campsite offers picturesque views of the Twin Lakes, but visitors are advised to bring their camping equipment.
Due to the condition of the roads leading to the reserve, it is advisable for tourists to utilize 4WD vehicles. The best time to visit is during the dry season when the trails and roads are less muddy and slippery.
For an optimal experience, plan your visit to Kasyoha Kitomi Forest Reserve during the dry season, which typically occurs from June to late August and from December to late February. These periods offer more manageable road conditions and weather for an enjoyable excursion into this remarkable forest reserve.