Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve; Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is a land mark conservation area that ranks the second largest conservation protected area after Murchison Falls National park that covers about 3893 square kilometers in entire Uganda. It is located in the Karamoja sub region of northeastern Uganda in Nakapiripiriti district. However, this reserve sits on an area of about 2,275 square kilometers under protection of ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Originally, the word Pian Upe derives its name from its community ‘’Pian’’ referring to a clan among the Karamojong people of northeastern Uganda whereas Upe refers to a Kalenjin Speaking pastoral community of the Karamojong who originated from the Pokot tribe in Kenya, but today settles near to the wildlife reserve in Amudat district. In other way around, ’Pian’’ means calm hearted people while ‘’Upe’’ means ‘’enemy’’ when you combine both words, you get the same meaning ‘’friendly enemies’’.

Historically, the southern part of the reserve first gazette as the Debasien Animal Sanctuary in year 1958. For that matter, a government led project to divide land to the south of the Greek River for agriculture which is threatened the viability of wildlife conservation in the whole area. Later in 1964 the area enlarged northward and renamed it ‘’Pian Upe Game Reserve’ ’ .Since it is located in semi-arid regions ,the area features with one  rain season annually.

More so, the reserve is comprised  of plant species that is covered by undisturbed grassland and wooded grassland surrounded with small areas riverine woodland, Kopjes. It is also an area that inhabits dominant tree species such as red acacia and desert date which are presented into bush willows, Harrisonia abyssinica and red spike thorns and shrubs such as; wooly caper bush and butterfly pea.

In general, Pian Upe wildlife reserve is home in rich in wild animal species that attracts tourists on their safari visit here. Animals species to explore include; Carnivores like; Jackals civet, spotted hyenas, Wildcats, Cheetahs, Servals, Leopards among others.

Ungulates –antelope species includes; Topi, Common eland, Roan antelope, Klipspringer, Waterbuck, Gunther’s dik-dik, Blue and common duiker, Oribis Uganda kobs, Impala, Giraffe, Bihor and mountain reedbuck, Rock hyrax, Four- toed hedgehog, Hare, Crested porcupine, Aardvark among others. This reserve also inhabits   reptile’s species which can be viewed on visit here such enormous rock pythons and small venomous puff adders as well as home to harmless water snakes. Pian Upe is also home to savannah monitors, common agama and skinks, chameleons as well as geckos. To add on that, it also harbors primate’s species which can be watched swinging on tree branches such as Vervet monkeys, Patas monkeys, Olive baboons among others. It is also paradise of unique bird species such as Ostriches the most sought after bird in the area, other species include Abyssinian ground hornbill, rare shoebill stock, Fox weaver bird, Super sterling’s, Green bitta among others.

Things to do in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

They include; Bird watching, Mountain hiking and guided nature walk, Community tours, game viewing;

Community tours

On visit at Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve you will be able escorted with a local guide to lead you to amazing culture around the community where you will get excited with their unique cultural music, dance and drama performance by the locals especially the famous Edonga dance.

Mountain hiking -Guided nature walk

Along your visit here ,you can take a guided nature walk to Napedet cave which is an popular ancient recreational place  which was a painting area before it was gazette .You can have  a great opportunity to engage in mountain hiking that takes place along Mount Napat ,Mount Kadam and Mount Elgon and on its top gives a gainful view of the plain and you will be able to sight see dotted acacias ,rocky ridges  ,animals like Antelope ,Hartebeests ,Baboons and giraffes while roaming around the open plains of the reserve.

Location; Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is located in Nakapiripiriti district with 8 more surrounding districts partly covered by the stretch of the wildlife reserve, other districts includes; Moroto, Amudat, Bukedea, Bulambuli, Katikwi, Napak, Kween Kumi among others. More then, this reserve can easily be reached by car from Kampala Capital City via Mbale to Soroti road which covers about 8 to 9 hours’ drive and about 4 to 5 hours’ drive from Mbale city town. Travel from Kidepo Valley National Park to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive.

While from Nakapiripiti to Pian Upe can be accessed from the south of Chepsikunya trading Centre or to the north of Namalu Trading Centre for travelers driving from Moroto city. Those who hate travelling long distances you can book a domestic flight ‘’Aerolink Uganda from Entebbe International Airport to Amudat Airstrip.

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Birding at Pian Upe

What is the best to visit Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve?

Since the reserve is located in semi-arid areas where rain is rare thus making all year around the best time to visit the reserve. On your visit here on game viewing you will have clear views of animals while gathering around the water source for thirsty. When that rain season turns, they have to do bush burning to keep the grasses short   in order to make it easier in viewing the animals around while gathering for a drink. Rain seasons tends to happen from April to May and during this period road transport become challenging and your recommended to travel in 4WD vehicle.

Where to stay on visit to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve accommodation are still under construction but there Uganda Wildlife Bandas provides comfortable stay on safari, there are also good accommodation facility ‘’camps’’, Karamoja Overland Camp with tents which are self-contained while featuring en-suite facilities like electricity and showers.

Best essentials to carry on safari here

On your visits to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve always remember to pack items like ;Cameras ,binoculars for bird viewing , toothpaste –toothbrush ,bath soap ,deodorant ,extra battery charger ,insect repellent ,sunglasses ,a sunhat ,sunscreen lotion among others.

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