It is no secret that forests play a decisive role in encouraging and sustaining biodiversity, and the forests in Punjab are no exception. Not only do these woodlands support wildlife growth in the region, but the forestry in Punjab is also responsible for attracting a major chunk of tourists to Pakistan every year. From night camping to hiking trails to wildlife watching and exciting sports, these woodlands welcome adventure seekers with many activities.
We had previously shared a brief overview of some wildlife sanctuaries in Pakistan, followed by the important things you should know about Pakistan’s wildlife. In line with our past endeavours, here’s our list of forests in Punjab that you should visit at least once. We’ll also share their exact location and ways for you to get there.
So, wear your safari suit, and let’s get exploring!
Exploring the Most Popular Forests in Punjab
Besides housing the queen of hill stations in Pakistan, Punjab offers a delightful mix of forests that are populated with a mountainous backdrop, pine and oak trees, exotic wildlife, and make way for a range of sporting activities.
That said, here’s our compilation of Punjab’s most beautiful forests that are totally worth experiencing:
- Changa Manga Forest
- Pabbi Range Forest
- Lehi Nature Reserve
- Lohi Bher Forest
- Takhat Pari Forest
Changa Manga Forest
Spread across an area of 12,510 acres, Changa Manga is the largest forest in Pakistan and one of the worlds’ largest man-made forests. According to an old legend, the forest got its name from two brothers called ‘Changa’ and ‘Manga’, who escaped the law-enforcement authorities. The brothers found refuge in this region due to which the people of nearby areas lived in constant terror until one day, they were both arrested by the police.
Besides the unique history behind its name, this particular region is known for its natural gifts and exceptional wildlife. As history goes, forestry and plantation in this region began in 1866, and it developed into a forest in around fifteen years. Indian peafowl, golden jackal, mouflon, nilgai, and wild boar are some species of animals found in this region.
The forest falls under the care of the Punjab Forest Department. The department has converted a large portion of this region into a public-friendly space and recreational area that comprises a swimming pool, an artificial lake for boating, a mini wildlife refuge, and a motel coupled with a cafeteria.
Now that you have all the background information about this forest, let’s know more about the location of Changa Manga.
How to Get to Changa Manga Forest?
Located in Kasur District of Punjab, and about 80 km southwest of Lahore, this wildlife reserve in Pakistan is closely connected to the National Highway (N-5). The forest enjoys a central location in the province, but the route may vary according to the city you are starting your journey from.
If you are travelling from Islamabad, you can use the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway to get to the forest. The distance between the starting and the endpoint is around 437 km, and the journey might require a drive of 5+ hours to complete.
Head over to our recently published guide on Changa Manga Forest if you want a complete overview of this wild forest in Punjab.
Pabbi Range Forest
Featuring a wide range of recreational activities, lush green spaces, swaying trees, and exceptional views, Pabbi Forest is another famous wildlife park in Punjab. The unparalleled beauty of Pabbi Range Forest, coupled with a variety of facilities for tourists, makes this region an exciting place to be explored by individuals intrigued by environmental sciences.
According to the people who have visited Pabbi Forest, the most spellbinding attraction is a lake in the forest, adding further beauty to the woodland. The concerned authorities have constructed a bridge across the lake to facilitate visitors looking to explore the other side of the woods without any hassles.
The Sara-i-Alamgir Tehsil Municipal Administration has, quite recently, revamped the public spaces in the forest by developing a resort for the public.
The forest is home to various winged-creatures, including common myna, house crows, Indian robin, black drongo, and black kite. Further, red turtle dove, red-wattled lapwing, rock pigeons, rose-ring parrot, and halcyon have also been spotted by people exploring the forest.
How to Get to Pabbi Range Forest?
Sitting on the edges of one of the most important arteries of Punjab – GT Road – Pabbi Forest is easily reachable from Kharian, a city also known as the mini Norway of Pakistan. In fact, due to its proximity to the city, the region is counted as a part of it. On the other hand, it takes around a 3-hour drive to reach the forest if you are travelling from Islamabad via National Highway (N-5).
Lehri National Park
Boasting some of Pakistan’s most diverse and surprising ecosystems, this nature reserve in Punjab is home to beautiful landscapes coupled with captivating views of Jhelum River. That said, Lehri National Park – also known as Lehri Nature Reserve – is home to a wide variety of birds, animals, and plants.
The forest is spread across an area of 17,000 acres and houses wild bushes, valleys, hills, and stark rocks, all in one place. According to some people who have been to the park, a large chunk of this forest is covered with trees such as phulai, sanatha, and wild olive. Meanwhile, the wildlife of this region comprises pangolins, foxes, jackals, leopard cats, grey partridges, and chukor.
Moving forwards, if you want to spend a night at Lehri Nature Reserve, the forest boasts average lodging facilities at economical rates, as well as a kitchen for visitors. And oh, if you want to make the most of your time there without any inconveniences, it is best to take a forest department guide with you and book everything in advance.
How to Get to Lehri National Park?
Situated around 7 km north-west of Mangla Cantonment, Lehri National Park is the perfect getaway to truly feel like you have discovered a new world in Pakistan. The park is situated close to a small village in Punjab named Lehri, hence the name ‘Lehri National Park’.
It takes a drive of around 2.5 hours to get to this hidden natural gem in Punjab from the federal capital. The roads leading to the forest are mostly paved, so you won’t have any difficulty in getting there.
Lohi Bher Forest
If you want to truly appreciate the miracles of nature, then Lohi Bher Forest is the place to be. The forest is famous for its wildlife park, which was established between 1988 and 1996 under a scheme called the ‘Development of Wildlife Park Lohi Bher Rawalpindi’. The park serves as a wildlife reserve for the rare species of this region. The small animal reserve in the forest is ideal for learning more about the wildlife in Pakistan.
How to Get to Lohi Bher Forest?
Situated along Korang River, Lohi Bher Forest is also closely connected to a few areas of the twin cities such as Pakistan Town and PWD Housing Society. It does not take more than 15 minutes’ drive to reach the park and enjoy a day amidst the picturesque beauty waiting to welcome you.
Takhat Pari Forest
Takhat Pari is in proximity to Bahria Town, Rawalpindi, and serves as the lungs of this area. The wildlife reserve provides refuge to the precious wildlife of this region. According to visitors, some of the most prominent species of animals found in Takhat Pari Forest are grey francolin, quail, rose-ringed parakeet, wild pigs, and hedgehogs.
As mentioned earlier, the forest supports a variety of wildlife in Punjab, so you will see plenty of critters and insects playfully contrasting the usual fast-paced life of an individual who is coming here from a megacity.
If you are anything like us, stuck in your comfort zone, which we are going to assume is switching between your couch to your bed, then it is likely that you don’t get to interact with nature very often. We suggest that you visit this particular gem on our list of forests in Punjab if you live anywhere near Bahria Town. Take our word for it, this forest will make you forget the city life and appreciate nature.
How to Get to Takhat Pari Forest?
Situated extremely close to Phase 8, Bahria Town, Rawalpindi, this nature reserve is one of the most important forests in Punjab for several reasons. A slightly longer than usual trip to this part of the federal capital leads you to Takhat Pari Forest, which makes up the largest open space in the city and a perfect spot to destress.
This was our compilation of the forests in Punjab that are indeed worth a visit. The maintenance and preservation of these areas fall under the jurisdiction of the Punjab Forest Department. Currently, there are several drives associated with forest conservation in Pakistan and to promote forestry. If you have something else that is worth mentioning on our list of forests in Punjab, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know that the Punjab government is taking some serious initiatives to preserve greenery in the province? One of the great examples in this regard is the implementation of the Miyawaki Method in Lahore. Not to mention, several campaigns for tree plantation are running nationwide to raise awareness about deforestation.