Cycads plants in Uganda; These are rare nature plants to see on Uganda safaris which can be seen in few destinations in Uganda along Africa. Of which, some can be seen in Mpanga River Gorge near Queen Elizabeth National park which have been existing here for over decades and date back before the Age of cycads and dinosaurs. Note, the locals who live around Mpanga River Gorge they do cut them down to make room for animal’s farming and grazing. We see tourist who plant lovers venture in this place with a purpose of seeing the ancient Cycad plant after reading about them in the ‘Uganda Bradt Guide-Book’.
Time came when the endangered Cycads of the Mpanga Gorge were facing eradication by locals and many Ugandan Ecologists came out with a ring for help to stop the threat which was started by locals. After rising their voice for help, today the tide has turned with senses and sensibility and have prevailed.
The place looks beautiful with its green nature and according to the Uganda Tourist Board’s Chief Executive Officer Lilly Ajarova, paved away in order to make the area accessible for tourists. Although the area is often muddy and challenging Cycad trail in the Mpanga River Gorge require one to be physically fit to enjoy its beautiful views.
Facts about Cycads plants;
They are scientifically named as the Encephalartos villosus, this plant is an evergreen ornamental plant categorized as either female or male that stays for a long time. Some times are mistaken for palms tree ferns. The male species produces cones filled with pollen while the female or tend to produce seeds.
Cycads plants are renown as the oldest seed plants on earth, traced from 315 decades, even before the Jurassic period when dinosaurs flourished. It’s often been called ‘’the Age of Cycads and Dinosaurs’’.
They act as medicines for ornamental purpose and some cultures in Africa use Cycads for ceremonial cones.
Cycads leaves are also helpful in thatching –roofing your hut but in village areas.
They are seed plants which are typically characterized by a stout and woody trunk with a crown of large, hard and evergreen leaves.
Cycads plants have pinnate leaves. Meaning they are individual plant which are either all male or all female.
There sizes vary from having trunks from only a few centimeters to several meters tall.
Cycads typically grow on slow base and live long with some specimens known to be as much as 1,000 years old.
They are endangered species.
Cycads plants can be found in Mpanga river, Kabarole, Kitagwenda in western and south of Kakira sugar plantation
It has been said that this plants are food for dinosaurs thus leading to conclusions that the beasts left Uganda millions years ago.
Other destinations to see Cycads plants in Uganda are found in Kitagwenda and Kitgum district in northern Uganda. They can also be found in the Mpanga Gorge a very beautiful area near Queen Elizabeth Park. From Mpanga Gorge trails can be visited with other tourist destination in Western Uganda like a visit to Kibale Forest and Queen Elizabeth National park.
On your day of hiking on safari to Mpanga Gorge Cycad trails where you will be staying in Queen Elizabeth to adventure the unique Cycads plant, you need hiking gears like a daypack, packed lunch boxes right from the lodge, mineral water bottle, walking stick to ease the challenging hikes which will be supplied at the lodge. Remember hiking is best done long trousers and a long sleeved shirt since they protect you.
The Mpanga Gorge a beautiful place of view with Cycads plants, while on visit here you can go visit around the Mpanga River and the Mpanga Falls. Still a wonderful place to see abundance of bird species such as large Blue Turaco and much more.
On visit to Kitagwenda a great location to rare cycads plant , you can opt to visit the locals in the area called Batabwenda people and get entertained with their amazing traditional dances and songs.