Wambabya Central Forest Reserve

Wambabya Central Forest Reserve in Hoima and Kikuube Districts

Wambabya Central Forest Reserve is found in both Hoima District and Kikuube district in Western Uganda proximate to the north-eastern border of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. The forest operated by the National Forest Authority (NFA) was established in 1932 and occupies an area of 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres).

Setting and Structure

The Wambabya Central Forest Reserve one of the many forest reserves in Uganda on 9000 hectares is positioned at a latitude (1° 26′ 21″ north) and longitude (31° 8′ 21″ east).

Wildlife in the Forest

This woodland is a home to numerous species including chimpanzees, forest amphibians (Golden Puddle Frog and Kivu Clawed Frog), bats (Duke of Abruzzi’s, silver and mongalia free tailed bats), plant species like Mutuba trees and several birds as well.

Conservation Satus

In 2008, the National Forestry Authority (NFA) planted more trees in the Wambabya forest on the 2,000 ha (4,900 acres) that had been trespassed by human activity.

In 2011, over 260 encroachers were given a month notice to vacate the forest reserve by Jean Kaliba who was the resident district commissioner at that time.

Some human activities in the area that affect the forest cover include charcoal burning, logging, poaching, deforestation and agriculture like rice growing and tobacco leading to massive devastation of trees.

In 2021, Wambaya Forest Conservation and Development Association got a funding worth Uganda Shillings 1.3 billion from Australia Development Agency to carry on a project, the “Green Lug Forestry Restoration” whose was goal was to reduce conflicts between wildlife and human beings. The project’s aim targeted about 3,000 households in the districts of Kikuube and Hoima and the beneficiaries were given tree seedlings, improved seeds of beans, banana suckers and maize, beehives and goats to strengthen their household incomes and food.

A hydro power plant was constructed on River Wambabya in Buseruka Sub County, however, the silting of river Wambabya because of human activities has stalled power generation. In a collaborative move, Electricity Regulatory Authority partnered with National Forestry Authority to plant trees in this forest reserve.


The planned construction of the 1,443 km (897 miles) East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) faced resistance by environmental activists. The project that would originate from the Kabaale Industrial Park in Hoima would pass via Wambabya, Bugoma and Taala Central Forest Reserves plus other areas in Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania. This caused international banks such as HSBC, BNP Paribas and insurers such as insurer Allianz Group to not to fund the pipeline. The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), Total Exploration and Production (Total Energies), the Uganda National Oil Company and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Cooperation are still working on pipeline until it starts conveying the crude oil by 2025. It is estimated over 14,000 households will be displaced in both Uganda and Tanzania.

The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan that was launched and it showed how Uganda was prepared to manage oil spills, response mechanism to oil spills, impact of oil spills, tiers of response levels, waste management and many more. Royal Norwegian Government and the Norwegian Coastal Administration helped in the creation of The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

Other Forest Reserves in Uganda

Other forest reserves in Uganda which are also assets for tourism activities include Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a home to mountain gorillas, Mabira forest, Budongo Central Forest Reserve, Mpanga Forest and Bugoma Central Forest Reserve. The list also has Katonga Wildlife Reserve, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, Semuliki Wildlife Reserve and Kalinzu Central Forest Reserve among others.