Top Visited Wildlife Reserve in Uganda : Uganda has 12 outstanding wildlife reserve but among them there four top best visited wildlife safari destination in Uganda that sounds with impressive tourist attraction such as beautiful scenery, diversity of wildlife species, bird species and cultural tour.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
The Pian Upe wildlife reserve known as second largest conservation area after Murchison Falls National Park that covers an area of about 3,893 square kilometers. More so, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve covers an area of around 2,275 square kilometers to the north of Mount Elgon, which are under management of Uganda Wildlife Authority mandate to conserve to all national parks and reserve and other protected areas it’s a government body. It is also connected to other two wildlife protected areas in the North-eastern part of Uganda namely; the Matheniko and Bokora Wildlife Reserve and Mount Elgon National Park in order to form the Mount Elgon Conversation Area.
Location; Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve lies in the North Eastern part of Uganda region in Nakapiripiti district which is surrounded with a total of about 8 other district, they include; Amudat, Moroto, Napak, Kween, Kumi, Bukedea, Bulambuli and Katakwi among others.
Furthermore, Pian Upe wildlife reserve got its name from its community where ‘’Pian’’ which refers to a clan among the Karamojong people of North-Eastern Uganda whereas ‘’Upe’’ refers to a Kalenjin speaking pastoralists community of the Karamojong who said to have originated from the Pokot tribe in Kenya. Currently, they settle close to the wildlife reserve in Amudat districts which means ‘’Calm hearted people’’ while the word ‘’Upe means enemy. When we combine both words we get ‘’friendly enemies’’. However, the Karamojong people are known as pastorists and are very people who live a very traditional lifestyle and good in catering about their cattle. These group is mainly found in Nakapiripirit district close to the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve Headquarters.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is one outstanding safari destination that inhabitants of unique animal species like high population of healthy cheetah and numerous antelope’s species. Meaning, it’s a best place to see the world’s fastest land mammal on Uganda Safari. Other predators to watch in the reserve and there are 80% chances of seeing them such as Jackals, Spotted Hyena, Serval cats, leopards, pride of lions which keeps on moving between Amudat Wildlife Conservation Area and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve.
Wildlife species to see in reserve; large herd of ungulates including; Common Eland, Zebras, Hartebeests, Gunther Dik-Dik, various Oribis, Impala, Cape Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Blue and common Duiker, Klipspringers and Bohor and Mountain Reedbuck among others.
Some unique animals to see in reserve includes; vervet, patas monkeys, African Hare, Crested Porcupine, Rock Hyrax, Olive Baboons, Four-toed Hedge Hops.
Pian Up Wildlife Reserve is also a home to various reptiles including, Common Agama, Geckos, Venomous puff adders, rock pythons, Savannah monitors, chameleons and crocodiles which can be seen in River Girik.
Activities to do in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Morning and evening game drive are the top done activity that allows visitors to view variety of animals with the dazzling sunset and sunrises. In the morning the sun comes out behind the mountains and descends over the horizon in some of the most impressive sunsets.
Other activities include; Community tour, Mountain hiking and guided nature walk, birding.
Where to stay; The reserve has only one Mid-Range accommodation facility called Overland Camp with tents which are self-contained feature en-suite facilities like showers and electricity. Or you choose to book a suitable lodge in Murchison Falls National Park as a way to combine it with a visit to Pian Upe.
What to carry with you on safari to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
They include; Lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, bath soap, deodorant, cameras, photos, camera, power bank, binoculars for bird watching, sunglasses, sunhat among others. Accessibility from Kampala Capital city via Mbale to Soroti road takes about 8 to 9 hours and about 4 – 5 hours from Mbale city town.
From Kidepo National Park to Pian Upe wildlife reserve takes 5 to 6 hours’ drive.
Travel by Air; You can access the Pian Upe by domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport by Bar Aviation to land you to Amudat Airstrip.
Karuma Wildlife Reserve
Karuma Wildlife Reserve is one of the most visited reserve on Uganda Safari most especially travelers visiting Uganda’s largest and Oldest Murchison Falls National Falls National Park, located in western Uganda in the Kiryandongo district covering an area of about 317 square miles and it was named after the stunning Karuma falls that are very near to the reserve thus rewarding with scenic views of the impressive waterfalls.
However, the Karuma falls are located in the eastern part of Murchison Falls National Park and sits within Murchison Conservation area that is made up of the Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo forest reserve and Bugungu wildlife reserve and the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest.
The reserve was gazette in the 1960’s to act as barrier between Murchison Falls National Park and the villages that were in the unobserved area of the region thus leading to less conflict and poaching of animals.
Before being encroached, the reserve was a home to diversity of animal species such as the big five animals like elephants, buffaloes, leopards and other animals like hippos, antelopes, zebras many more.
Karuma Wildlife Reserve is home to over 50 animal species and best to explore on game drive. Karuma falls offers a landmark of rewarding sound of the waterfalls and their spectacular view.
Wildlife Species to see in Karuma Wildlife Reserve includes; elephants, Uganda kobs ,hippos ,kobs ,giraffes ,zebras ,cape buffaloes , Oribis ,topis ,impala ,leopards primates species like ;Colobus monkeys ,Vervet monkeys ,L’Hoest monkeys ,Olive baboons .
Bird life in Karuma wildlife reserve include; Senegal thick-nee, Long toed plover, Giant kingfisher, Malachite kingfisher, Secretary bird, Dark chanting Gosh walk, Goliath heron, Denham’s bustard, Rock particle among others.
Activities to do in Karuma wildlife reserve Uganda
They include; Game drive, Birding, Karuma falls viewing and community tour.
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve
Kyambura Wildlife Reserve is mainly to unique endangered chimpanzee’s primates which are habituated. This reserve is park of Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda’s top most visited safari destination found in southwestern region of Uganda, approximately 5 to 6 hours’ drive.
More so, this game reserve was established to serve as a buffer zone because during the dry season and drink water from Kyambura gorge. It is also water source for the wildlife’s in the park.
The reserve it is also a birding area, birds to see includes; African Skimmer, African Broad bill, white tailed lark, pink backed pelican among others
Activities to do here includes; Chimpanzee tracking, birding, Guided nature walk.
Toro –Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve was established in 1926 and ranks Uganda’s best wildlife reserve to be visited, located between the Kabarole and Ntoroko district in western Uganda. It is a home to various bird species 400 birds such as ; Malachite kingfisher ,African open bill ,Abyssinian ground hornbill ,Luhdrers Bushrike ,Tropical Boubal ,Black-billed Barbet ,Red necked Falcon among others.
Animals to see in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve includes; Hyenas, Uganda kobs, Buffaloes .Primates species to see includes ; Grey cheeked mangabey ,Vervet monkey ,Central Africa red colobus ,Blue monkey ,Red-tailed monkeys ,Dent’s Mona monkeys many more .
Activities to do in Toro –Semliki Wildlife Reserve includes; Community tours, visit the handcrafts, birding, wildlife viewing, Boat cruise on Lake Albert among others