Echuya Forest

Echuya Forest is one of tropical rain forests still existing in Uganda along the famous Kigezi highlands and this makes it the forest with high altitude in the south western Uganda joining the border with Rwanda. The forest is well known as a bamboo forest and lies in the Albertine Rift section of the Eastern Afro montane Hotspot, the most endemic-rich region in Africa.

The forest is situated in one of the most densely populated and poorest agricultural regions of Uganda. Its long-term conservation depends on the support of the surrounding population. The forest extents over 340km of the hilly areas between Lake Bunyonyi and Kisoro. It is the least visited reserves in Uganda. The reserve protects a wide range of Montane habitats including ever green and bamboo forest.

The forest includes a high-altitude swamp called Muchuya. The forest cover is approximately 80 per cent mature macaranga kilimandscharica and hagenia abyssinica and 20 per cent mountain bamboo yushania alpina.¬†Muchuya swamp is home to an important population of 30-50 pairs of the endangered Grauer’s swamp-warbler and the entire reserve is considered a priority amongst BirdLife International’s 30 Ugandan Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Echuya Forest is also one of the best bird watching destinations in Uganda with 153 species recorded. The forest is also a habitat for the Batwa Pygmies, the forest people and one of the last groups of short surviving people on earth. Although they were evicted, they live close to the forest margins and thus can be encountered by tourists.