Kalinzu Forest

Kalinzu Forest

Kalinzu Forest is a unique nature reserve of its own and undoubtedly, a worth visiting destination on Uganda safari. Located in Bushenyi District, Western Uganda, Kalinzu Forest is found closely to the lush Maramagambo Forest Reserve which forms part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. In terms of size, Kalinzu Forest Reserve occupies the land area of 147sq.kms and it is accessible from Kampala capital about 5 hrs drive/382kms.

Lying on altitude of 1400m, Kalinzu Forest is endowed with a huge profusion of wildlife that makes it an exceptional nature reserve of its own. It is an amazing natural forest with over 97moth species, 414 tree species, 6 species of primates, 262 species of butterflies, 380 bird species and a lot more.



About 6 species of primates are all sheltered within the lush Kalinzu Forest Reserve making it an important primate tracking destination. The special primate species to look for while on Uganda safari in Kalinzu Forest include over 300 chimpanzees, the bush babies, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, pottos, Galagos, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys. Other animal species that survive within the forest include wild pigs, leopards, buffaloes and elephants etc.


If there are special birding sites worth visiting in Uganda then it is Kalinzu Forest, a home to about 280 species of birds. While on birding tour in Kalinzu Forest, the birds of interest include sunbird, great blue turacos, cuckoos, black and white casqued hornbills etc.


Chimpanzee trekking.

Chimpanzee trekking is incredibly the major reason why most tourists visit Kalinzu Forest Reserve. This is a lovely primate safari experience that tourists can enjoy and offers a great chance to interact with chimpanzees, sight a range of other primates, birds etc. About 4 trails exist, each offering opportunity to nature lovers to indulge themselves into the jungles of Kalinzu to view more than chimpanzees.

The trails include the River Trail, Waterfall Trail, Valley Trails, & Palm Trail. Treks to see chimpanzees in Kalinzu Forest starts with briefing at the forest’s offices and the overall adventure takes 2-4 hours, either during morning or afternoon session. Whether you embark on an early morning chimpanzee trek or afternoon, you have a chance to enjoy 1 hour face to face with chimpanzees. Kalinzu Forest chimpanzee permits cost visitors USD50 and you can plan for your chimpanzee tracking safari with our reservation team.

Other than carrying a valid chimpanzee permit, other important items worth having for your chimpanzee tracking tour in Kalinzu Forest include long sleeved shirt, face mask, camera with no flashlight, sunscreen, first aid kit, bottled water, snacks, walking/hiking shoes or boots.

Guided nature walks.

Kalinzu Forest is known for its exceptional nature walking experiences. A nature walk in the lush Kalinzu Forest lets you enjoy, get close to nature, explore the different species and so much more. The forest offers the most scenic nature walks via ridges, valleys with opportunity to enjoy excellent view of the Lake George, Kazinga Channel and Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon.

There are 4 main nature walking trails worth exploring in Kalinzu Forest and they include the River Trail which is 2 and half kms taking visitors about 1 hour and gets you a chance to see chimpanzees plus several other primates. The waterfall trail which takes 4-6 hours’ walk and introduces visitors to the beautiful Kilyantama fall, the Palm trail 2 hours walk and lets you explore the unique tree species.

Birding experiences.

Kalinzu Forest also offers amazing bird sights especially for enthusiastic birders in need to see forest birds. The lush forest reserve boasts of diverse bird species including the black and white casqued hornbills, sunbirds, cuckoos to mention but a few.


Camping is another interesting experience Kalinzu Forest has to offer to nature loving visitors on Uganda safaris. It is a perfect opportunity if you want to get a close interaction with nature. Camping at Kalinzu is perfectly done just at its center area.

When to visit?

Visiting Kalinzu Forest for a holiday is possible any time of the year though the dry season is incredibly the best time due to its ideal weather conditions. The dry season is when most forest trails remain drier due to low or no rains and it starts from June to September, December till February. These are the best months of the year to visit Kalinzu Forest for chimpanzee tracking or nature walk.

Where to stay?

The available places for visitor overnight stay while at Kalinzu Forest exist around Queen Elizabeth National Park. Kalinzu Itself offers camping as alternative way for visitor overnight stay and this is done at Nkombe where its offices are found. But the comfortable places to book around Queen Elizabeth National Park near Kalinzu Forest include Mweya Safari Lodge, Katara Lodge, Jacana Lodge, Engiri Game Lodge & Campsite, Queen Elizabeth PVT Lodge, Enganzi Lodge, Pumba Safari Cottages and Marafiki Safari Lodge,

Getting there.

Reaching Kalinzu Forest is possible by road. Travelers can begin driving from Kampala to Western Uganda via Mbarara city, 5 to 6 hours’ drive and you can use a bus or a rental car.