Nestled along Entebbe Road, Zika Forest in Entebbe, Uganda, beckons as an enticing stop for travelers embarking on a Ugandan Safari. This petite forest is situated in Kisubi, along Entebbe road, a mere 23 kilometers from Kampala. Its proximity to the capital city makes it a remarkably convenient destination for tourists who seek to escape the urban hustle and bustle or simply yearn for a brief and secluded getaway. Zika Forest is a haven for picnics, corporate retreats, and those in search of serene seclusion.
The forest’s landscape boasts towering mature trees and lush undergrowth, adorned with dense canopies that were once known as the “Upper storey.” The array of vegetation encompasses grasslands, wetlands that extend to Lake Victoria (the largest freshwater lake in Africa), various forest types, and forest edges. These diverse habitats provide a sanctuary for several wildlife species, captivating the hearts of visitors. Zika Forest derived its name from the Zika Virus, which was first discovered here in 1947, although the virus is now rare within the forest. The word “Zika” itself means “overgrown” in Luganda, reflecting the dense tree cover that led to its name “upper storey.”
Zika Forest in Entebbe, Uganda, not only offers a fantastic escape from the urban life of Entebbe and Kampala but also stands as an essential attraction for anyone visiting Uganda. Its natural beauty and unique character earn it a prominent place on the list of must-visit destinations in the Pearl of Africa. Notably, this forest holds educational value, particularly for students studying classification and leisure tourists seeking an enlightening adventure. It is worth mentioning that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter listed Zika Forest among the must-visit attractions during his birding safari in Uganda.
Birders, take note! The iconic shoebill stork, a critically endangered species, is a must-see. Mabamba Swamp, located just 45 minutes by boat from Entebbe and a 1-hour and 30-minute drive from the city, is considered the best spot for spotting this magnificent bird. Day trips to the swamp can be arranged in the morning or afternoon.
Situated 23 kilometers south of Entebbe, this island is part of the Jane Goodall Institute Research Centre. It is accessible by boat and home to over 45 chimpanzees that roam freely on the 100-hectare forested island.
Initially established in colonial times to provide shelter for rescued wildlife, this facility was known as the UWEC Zoo. It has since transformed into an educational site where visitors can observe various Ugandan wildlife species, including chimpanzees.
Explore 40 hectares of heavenly landscapes in Entebbe’s botanical gardens. Consider hiring a local site guide, readily available every day. Here, you can admire century-old tree species, observe monkeys, appreciate beautiful birdlife, and enjoy stunning views of Lake Victoria.
Discover the charm of Lake Victoria through boat excursions, including bird-watching cruises, sunset and sunrise trips. Both speed boats and traditional motorized canoes can be arranged, though booking in advance is essential, as boats may not always be readily available.
Lake Victoria, where Nile perch was first introduced by the British colonial masters, has become one of the best places to catch Nile perch. The fish have also spread to the Nile River, thriving below the Murchison Falls.
A nonprofit organization founded by Mr. Kazibwe Yasin, this facility rescues reptiles from homes and properties in Entebbe. Given the forested surroundings, snakes, pythons, and other reptiles occasionally encroach on local residences. The village offers a safe haven for these creatures before their release into the wild.
Entebbe serves as the entry and exit point for many travelers and hosts a considerable foreign expert population. As a result, numerous craft markets have emerged, where visitors can purchase beautiful carvings, African fabrics, authentic cow products, pygmy art, traditional drums, and exquisite ceramic items.
Approximately three fishing villages are nestled in Entebbe, offering tourists a glimpse into the daily lives of the village inhabitants. These areas, characterized by temporary structures and overpopulation, provide a unique cultural experience.
Embark on one of Uganda’s top activities as you ride pillion behind a motorcycle rider. This mode of transport is prevalent in Uganda’s major cities, and it offers a fun and exhilarating way to explore beautiful places and visit shopping centers.
Rent a bicycle and venture around Entebbe, guided by a local expert. You’ll have the opportunity to visit various points of interest in and around Entebbe, thanks to the city’s reputation for safety, even during late evenings.
The best things to do in Entebbe, Uganda, can be arranged at your convenience, except during late evenings and nighttime. Local taxis are available for hire, or tour operators can arrange transfers and book activities on your behalf to ensure a seamless experience.