The Pearl of Africa is abundantly by so many gifts and one of these is the various Wildlife reserves. Her wildlife has continued to increase due to the increase in the number of the thriving Wildlife reserves.

These Game reserves are a home to many forms of wildlife animals such as mammals like Elephants, primate species to the smallest animals’ rodents.

The Ugandan Game reserves are blessed by beautiful vegetation, terrains and activities that are fit for Uganda safaris.

Ajai Wildlife reserve

The Ajai wildlife reserve is located in the Albertine Nile in the North of western Uganda. It is found in Arua district. It takes 6-7 hours driving from Kampala to Arua and by air it takes 40 minutes. Ajai Game reserve covers an area of 166 square kilometers and its home to the following wildlife. The marabou stocks, African fish eagles, grey crowned cranes.

It was managed by an old chief called Ajai hence its name derived from him.

The wildlife reserve can be accessed both by air and road. It takes 6-7 hours from Kampala city to Arua district where the reserve is located. By air it takes about 40 minutes.

One of the activities not to miss in this game reserve is bird watching, it’s a must do activity.

Other activities are guided nature walks and game drives that will allow you watch animals such as; the Ugandan kob, warthogs, hippopotamus, leopard, crocodiles, python snakes, waterbucks, olive baboon and so many others.

Ajai Game reserve is on the way to reintroduced Rhinos and Nile buffaloes.

The best time to visit Ajai wildlife reserve is all times throughout the year but during dry seasons between December-March; June-October is the best.

Karuma Game reserve

This game reserve is located in Kiryandongo district. It covers an area of about 820 square kilometers. Karuma wildlife reserve was establishes in 1964 as a buffer zone for Murchison falls national park and its surroundings.  Karuma game reserve is situated on the Masindi-Gulu highway

Karuma game drive is known for its greatest feature which is the Karuma falls on the Victoria Nile. These dashing and amazing falls are what make this game drive a place to visit. The fascinating waterfalls are situated not far from Murchison falls national park.

Some of the wildlife found in Karuma game reserve is; primate life, cape buffaloes, the elephants etc. from nature walks you will be able to watch olive baboons, black and white Colobus monkeys.

Karuma wildlife reserve has various bird species such as Kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, sunbirds among others.

Kigezi Game reserve

This game reserve is situated in Rukungiri district western of Uganda very close to Maramagambo forest. It is an idea place to explore since it is near Queen Elizabeth National park.

It was established in 1952 as a buffer zone for Rwenzori mountains national park. It was put as a sanctuary to protect elephants from within DRC and Queen Elizabeth national park.

This is the home for the African Elephants. These African elephants cross from Congo to Queen Elizabeth national park. Apart from elephants other animals you can watch in this game reserve are; Kobs, buffalos, bushbucks, and various bird species.

Another interesting factor for campers is that in Kigezi game reserve there are no resorts or lodges there so come ready to pitch your tent in the reserve.

Getting to Kigezi takes approximately 5 hours driving from Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Ntungamo-Rukungiri.

Kyambura Game reserve

The Kyambura game reserve is located in the north east of Queen Elizabeth national park. It is also close to Kazinga channel.

The Kyambura Game reserve is known for Chimpanzees for chimp trekkers.

An interesting fact is that one can spot animals drink from the Kazinga channel from this game reserve since it is very close to this water body.

Other beautiful wildlife to watch is; the beautiful bird species such as Falcons among others.

Guided nature walks in Kyambura game reserve are advised.

Pian Upe Game reserve

The name Pian upe is derived from a native language that means “friendly enemy” in English.

This is the second largest game reserve in Uganda and it’s found just after Murchison falls national Park. Pian Upe game reserve is one of the most remarkable protected areas.

It is located in the Nakapiripiti district in the North Eastern side of Uganda, near Kidepo national park.

Pian Upe is composed of hot springs mercury wells and mammals, reptiles and bird species, flora and the beautiful local people.

Pian upe game reserve is surrounded by beautiful mountains namely; Mt Elgon located in the south, Mountain Kadam in the Northeast and Mountain Napak in the west.

The famous Napadet cave is located in the Pian upe game reserve. The was a hunting ground cave and up to date it still has its ancient look, cooking stones, pieces of firewood caved seats.

Activities in Pian upe game reserve are; mountain climbing on Mt Kadam, guided nature walk, wildlife safaris, community walks and bird watching.

Bokora corridor wildlife reserve

It is located in the Karamoja sub region north eastern Uganda and it is named after the Bokora people. The Bokora game reserve is 2056 square kilometres blessed with wildlife. Many visit this game reserve for its various activities.

The most sought animals in Bokora game reserve include; hyenas, topis, cheetahs, Uganda Kobs, oribis, Oryx, alphine chat, elands, roan antelopes, zebras, lions, buffaloes lesser kudu, leopards among others.

There is also birding of various bird species at the game reserve which takes place in the Loporocho swamp. Some of the birds found there are; the ostrich, dusky turtle dove, eastern bronze-napped pigeon, African hill babbler, alphine chat and others.

Apart from wildlife and birding, there are other activities to be done in the game reserve. Mountain Kadam hikes and nature walks are available at the game reserve.

Bugungu Wildlife reserve

The Bugungu game reserve is found in-between Bulisa and Masindi districts at the bottom of the rift valley. Bugungu game reserve is situated in the western side of one of Uganda’s popular Game park namely Murchison falls national park. It covers 473 square kilometres.

It was established in 1968 as a wildlife reserve to shelter and protect the savannah grassland.

Bugungu wildlife reserve is the home to about 600 Ugandan Kobs, 240 bird species and 1200 Oribis. This means that you can have various activities such as game drive; nature walks that will allow experiencing the culture of the people living near the reserve, bird watching, provides camping for campers and picnics.

This wildlife reserve includes animals likes; hippos, Uganda kobs, leopards, lions, warthogs, bushbacks, and primates such as pata monkeys, black and white Colobus etc.

Katonga wildlife reserve

The Katonga game reserve is situated along the banks of the Katonga River. The river provides the game reserve with beautiful scenery for both the surrounding communities and the wildlife.

Wildlife found in Katonga game reserve are; antelope, African elephant, reedbuck, Ugandan kob, river otter, waterbucks, etc. Katonga game reserve is known for providing habitant to about 40 mammal species.

Activities found in Katonga game reserve are game drive, guided nature walks to experience surrounding cultures, canoe safaris in the river and hikes.

Katonga game reserve has bad road network so it can only be explored on foot or boat canoes.

Kabwoya wildlife reserve

Just along the western rift valley between Murchison falls national park and Kibale forest park lies Kabwoya wildlife reserve. It covers 87 square kilometres. The Kabwoya is in the Albertine rift valley near Lake Albert.

Activities done in Kabwoya game reserve are; fishing which is a not to miss activity since many enjoy catching the famous Nile perch apart from the other many fish types found.

You can also take guided hikes and nature walks in the game reserve. These walks are fun and safe because Kabwoya wildlife is known for not having predators loitering around.

Its topography provides a good mountain bike for people who enjoy bike safaris and ATV quad biking.

Fossil finding is also another activity to be done in Kabwoya wildlife reserve and it can only be done in Kabwoya game reserve. Such an activity is good for family safaris.

Kabwoya wildlife safari is a home to 460 bird species making it the right place to visit for bird watchers.

East Madi wildlife reserve

East Madi game reserve is located in the northern western of Uganda, north of Murchison falls. It is a habitat to about 50 mammals, 181 bird species and 374 plant species.

Activities to do in East Madi game reserve are; nature walks due to the various plant species. Wildlife viewing and birding are others activities done whilst in East Madi game reserve.

The primate wildlife found includes; blue monkeys, Colobus monkeys, red tail monkeys etc.

Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve

Toro Semuliki game reserve was in 1926 known as one of the best wildlife reserve in Uganda. The game reserve is found in Kabarole & Ntoroko district is west of Uganda. It is the oldest protected area in Uganda since 1926.

Toro Semuliki reserve is located near the western boarder of Uganda where you can see the Democratic Republic of Congo. The largest city next to it is Fort Portal.

While in Toro Semuliki game reserve you can do activities such as boat ride on the Lake Albert, bird watching, Nyaburogo gorge hike, guided primate walk and local community. The wildlife primate walk takes about 4 hours allowing you to watch the primate wildlife and spend some time with them.

Some of the wildlife found in Toro-Semuliki wildlife reserve include elephants, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs, waterbucks, warthogs, among others.

Bird species of about 400 species namely, shoebill, tropical boubal, black-headed bushrike among others. 

The local communities are mainly inhabited by Bakonjo, Karugutu-Kyabandara, Rwebisengo, Ntoroko and Kasesenge-Kyakabaseke community.

Getting there by road is for about 4 hours via Kampala-Fort Portal Mubende highway. By air from Kajansi airfield it takes about 40 minutes.

Matheniko wildlife reserve

The Matheniko wildlife reserve is found in the Karamoja region East of Uganda. It is said to be the 5th wildlife reserve endangered in Uganda.

Ancient rock paintings from 3000 years ago are found in this game reserve.

Despite the fact that the Matheniko game reserve is on the list of the most endangered reserves, it is still rich with wildlife such as; Kudu, roan antelopes, Bright’s gazelle and ostriches which are only found in this reserve alone and Kidepo national park.

Bird species such as cuckoo shrike and thick billed honey guided are also found in the game reserve.  

Activities done whilst in the game reserve are;

  • birding
  • nature walks
  • community and cultural walks.
  • mountain and rock climbing
  • game drives

For every safari you undertake in Uganda, endeavor to include one or two wildlife reserves.