Raising awareness and drumming up support for the survival of Mabira Forest comes in many different forms and key stakeholder, GeoLodges Africas RainForest Lodge will be breaking new ground when they hold a night of music at the lodge deep in the forest. On the evening of the 22nd October will a live music event be staged at the lodge and the audience will comprise not just ordinary music lovers but also expected is a cross section of supporters for Save Mabira Forest who will come to show flag, although it has been stressed that the evenings programme is purely a cultural event and not of any political nature. Nevertheless, those coming to the lodge for the concert will be able to appreciate the pristine rain forest environment surrounding the property and they will go back home knowing just what is at stake here.
Ill considered plans have been revived a few months ago, first defeated in 2007 in the wake of a wave of street protests in Kampala, to convert over 7.000 hectares of prime rain forest into sugar cane plantation, aimed to benefit the arguably worst performing sugar company in the country from which the very same government has divested for lack of profits and dividends. However, public reaction was swift and broad based once more, pitting development partners including the World Bank, a majority of Ugandas parliamentarians, the business community and society at large against the project, hopefully this time stopping it for good and leaving this green lung of the country intact for future generations. Experts have in any case projected that the value of the forest, if kept as it is, will in the long term earn the country considerably more revenue through carbon credit trading and tourism use than the sugar barons could ever do. Besides, Mabira is a crucial water tower and catchment area benefitting Lake Victoria and the upper Nile and cutting down a quarter of it would most likely cause a major environmental degradation and long term negative fallout for the country, something the powers that be have clearly not appreciated as yet.
The RainForest Lodge has several options on offer for the event night and a basic package of self-drive to the lodge, a BBQ dinner and a ticket to the concert sells at 50.000 Uganda Shillings at current exchange rate less than 25 US Dollars. Other packages include the transport option as well from and to Kampala. Overnight options are also available for one or two nights at the lodge, which has always given this correspondent this special enchanted feeling when visiting. The wooden cabins are set far apart for privacy and tranquility, allowing guests to hear the sounds of the forest and catch glimpses of its furred and feathered residents.