Uganda is a country gifted by nature and also known as “The Pearl of Africa” as was named by the famous British premier Sir Winston Churchill way back in the 18th century. Uganda offers the best weather in the world lying on the equator, with tropical forests, water bodies like the source of River Nile the longest in the world, Lake Victoria the largest freshwater body in Africa and second-largest in the world, bundant wildlife and having the highest number of bird species in Africa makes it a birders haven. Uganda’s wildlife population has continued to thrive because of its wildlife game reserves the proper management is done by Uganda wildlife authority. Each wildlife game reserve is home to all forms of wildlife; from mammals like the African elephant and vast primate species to the smallest of rodents. Their views are picturesque with undulating terrains, diverse vegetation coupled with abundant activities to indulge in when you visit the wildlife reserves on a Uganda safari. Here are some of the reserves to visit while on a Uganda safari.
1. Pian Upe wildlife reserve
- Pian Upe wildlife game reserve is the second largest conservation area in Uganda after Murchison falls national park. It is situated in Nakapiriprit District in North Eastern Uganda not very far from Kidepo valley national and Mount Elgon national park. Mountain climbing at Mt. Kadam, guided nature walks and wildlife safaris, cultural community visits, and bird watching are some of the activities to do while at Pian Upe wildlife game reserve on your Uganda safari.
- 2. Karuma wildlife reserve
- As the name suggests, Karuma Wildlife game reserve is known for its greatest feature; the Karuma falls yet there is more to this place than watching the dashing waterfalls. It is abundant in primate life and while on a nature walk here you are bound to see the Olive Baboons, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys. The game reserve is also home to Buffaloes, Leopards, Rothschild Giraffe, Elephants, Lions, and Antelopes like The Uganda Kobs, Oribis, and Topis. Karuma Wildlife Reserve is located in Kiryandongo District next to Murchison falls national park and Chobe safari lodge. On a Uganda safari while entering Murchison falls from the northern bank you won’t miss this game reserve as you have to pass by Karuma falls.
- 3. Bugungu Wildlife Reserve
The game reserve is nestled between the Bulisa and Masindi districts at the base of the rift valley escarpment to the western side of Murchison Falls National Park the largest in Uganda. It covers 473 square kilometers which are home to 600 Uganda Kobs, 1200 Oribis among other animals and 240 bird species. The well-maintained trails at the reserve allow tourists the chance to enjoy a game drive, nature walks and other activities such as community visits to experience the cultures of the people living near the game reserve, camping, picnics and bird watching. The drive on Uganda safari always too and flor from Murchison falls national park to Kibale forest national park or queen Elizabeth national takes you through this game reserve.
4. Kabwoya wildlife game reserve
Kabwoya Wildlife game Reserve is found along the western rift valley trail between Murchison Falls Park and Kibale Forest Park and covers 87 square miles. Given that the reserve is in the Albertine rift valley region and therefore close to Lake Albert, fishing is a must-do activity while visiting the reserve. The ideal catch would be the Nile Perch although there are many fish species to choose from. The absence of predators has made guided hikes and nature walks a safe and fun activity to add to your to-do list when in Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve. The reserve’s topography allows mountain bike safaris as well as ATV Quad biking. A particularly rare activity in Uganda is Fossil finding but it can be done at the Kabwoya Wildlife reserve and is quite engaging for those on safari with children. It’s a lovely site for birders on a bird walk and you will find Kabwoya wildlife reserve a birding delight with over 460 bird species to see on your Uganda safari.
5. Bokora Corridor Wildlife game Reserve
- The Bokora Corridor Wildlife game Reserve is located in North-Eastern Uganda near Kidepo valley national park in the Karamoja sub-region and derives its name from the ethnic group of the Bokora people. It sits on the acreage of 2056 square kilometers. Birding at the Loporokocho swamp, hikes to Mount Kadam and nature walks are the activities available at this reserve given the bounty of wildlife species and bird species. The most sought after animals in the reserve include the Rothschild’s Giraffe, Spotted Hyenas, Leopards, The Topis, Oryx, Oribis, Cheetahs, Reedbucks, Striped Hyenas, The Uganda Kobs, The Lesser Kudu, Buffaloes, Lions, Zebras, Roan Antelopes, and Elands. The Ostrich, Dusky Turtle Dove, Eastern Bronze-Napped Pigeon, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, The Hartlaub’s Turaco, African Hill Babbler, Alpine Chat, Jackson’s Hornbill, Mountain Yellow-Warbler, Black-Throated Wattle-Eye, Lemon Dove, White-Headed Buffalo-Weaver and Thick-billed Honey Guide are some of the birds to tick off your bird checklist while on a Uganda safari to this game reserve.
- 6. Kigezi wildlife game reserve
Kigezi Wildlife game reserve is located in Rukungiri District in Western Uganda and covers 265 square kilometers. If your goal is to set your eyes on the African elephant, the Kigezi Wildlife reserve is the place for you. It is the sanctuary to elephants crossing from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Other animals that can be seen include Kobs, Buffaloes, Giant Forest Hogs, Bushbucks and Topis as well as a number of Bird Species. If you plan to spend a night at this reserve on your Uganda safari prepare to pitch your tent because there are no resorts or lodges within the reserve yet.
7. Katonga wildlife game reserve This one is located on the banks of Katonga River, Katonga Wildlife game Reserve‘s existence supports that of 40 mammal species. These mammals include the shy Sitatunga Antelope, African Elephants, Reedbuck, Uganda Kob, River Otter and Waterbucks. Guided nature walks, hikes and canoe safaris are the only possible activities in Katonga Wildlife Reserve. This is due to the absence of developed road networks making Katonga Wildlife Reserve a sanctuary best explored on foot and canoe on a Uganda safari.
8. Kyambura wildlife game reserve
Kyambura Wildlife game Reserve is best known for its chimpanzee population making chimp tracking easy with the guidance of experienced guides as the main activity of this game reserve. The game reserve is a water source for the animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park which makes it a hotspot for wildlife viewing. The birder is not at a loss when visiting Kyambura because it is home to bountiful bird species including; Falcons, African Skimmer, African Broad Bill, Pink Backed Pelicans, and the White-Tailed Lark among others. A guided nature or forest walk should be added to your bucket-list on things to do while at Kyambura. It would be a rewarding walk given the location of the reserve; northeast of Queen Elizabeth National Park and close to the Kazinga Channel on your Uganda safari.
9. East Madi wildlife game reserve.
In Northern Western Uganda, north of Murchison Falls national park the largest in Uganda-Amuru District is where the East-Madi Wildlife reserve can be found. The reserve rests on 831 square kilometers of land that houses 50 mammals, 181 bird species and 374 plant species making nature walks, wildlife viewing and birding some of the activities to do while at the reserve. There are a number of primates that can be seen here on your Uganda safari including the Blue Monkeys, Colobus Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, and Red-tail Monkeys
10. Toro-Semiliki wildlife game reserve
The Toro-Semiliki wildlife reserve gazetted in 1926 is among Uganda’s best wildlife reserves for Uganda safari. It is located between the Kabarole and Ntoroko Districts in western Uganda nearby Kibale forest national park popularly known as the world’s primate capital for its 13 species of primates. While on a Uganda safari in Toro-Semiliki Wildlife Reserve you can take a boat ride on Lake Albert, go birding, hike a whole 7kilometres to the Nyaburogo Gorge, take a guided primate walk that can last for up to 4hours or visit the local community and watch them perform a traditional dance or make handicrafts.
11. Ajai Wildlife game Reserve
- Situated on the west bank of the Albertine Nile in northwestern Uganda – Arua District the Reserve sits on 166 square kilometers of land. Grass plains, sparse savannah woodland and swamps would best describe the site’s topography. With Marabou stocks, African Fish eagles and Grey-crowned cranes having their home here, birding is a must-do activity at this reserve. Nature walks and game drives can be taken by those who visit the Ajai wildlife reserve. You will catch a glimpse of the Uganda Kob, Hartebeest, Warthog, Hippopotamuses, Leopard, Oribi, Crocodiles, Python Snakes, Waterbucks, Sitatunga, Buffalo, Common Duiker, Olive Baboon, Black and White Colobus, and Vervet Monkey while on a nature walk or game drive. Plans are underway to reintroduce rhinos and the Nile buffalo given that the reserve was originally home to white rhinos. For Uganda safari and birdwatching Uganda safaris, this game reserve is a perfect destination.
- 12. Matheniko wildlife game reserve
Found in the Karamoja sub-region North East of Uganda near Kidepo valley national park, Matheniko Wildlife reserve ranks number 5 in the most threatened protected conservation areas in Uganda. In spite of that, the Lesser Kudu, Roan Antelopes, Bright’s Gazelle and Ostriches (which can only be found only here and in the Kidepo National Park) as well as bird species including the Alpine Chat, Grey-Cuckoo Shrike, and Thick Billed Honey Guide can be seen while on Uganda safari to this reserve. Matheniko Wildlife Reserve also has some ancient rock paintings said to date back to 3000 years ago. Birding, nature walks, community and cultural visits are some of the activities to do while at the Matheniko wildlife game reserve.