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Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Experience great game in a pristine African wilderness reserve

African wildernesses have been tapped by man but guess what! Safari Uganda for that exact experience outside imagination in Pian-Upe wildlife reserve.

Sitting below towering hills in admiration is a pristine, un-touched yet exceptional game reserve in the Karamoja plains of north eastern Uganda Pian-Upe wildlife reserve. The game reserve area is occupied by two tribes from which it derives its name, the pian are part of the Karamojong in north eastern Uganda and the Upe are part of the Kalenjin speaking people more widely known as the Pakot within Kenya and Uganda. In 1958 the southern part of the reserve was gazetted as the Debasien animal sanctuary and expanded northward in 1964 with renaming to Pian Upe game reserve.

Location of Pian-Upe wildlife Reserve Uganda

The magnificent pian-upe wildlife reserve is the second largest conservation protected area in Uganda after Murchison Falls National park. The wildlife reserve is situated in Moroto district within the Karamoja region in north eastern Uganda. The game reserve covers an area of 2.788km2   dotted with undisturbed and wooded grassland. Pian-Upe wildlife reserve is between Mount Elgon national park and Kidepo valley national park with ideal wildlife waiting to be explored by one on a Uganda wildlife safari. Pian-Upe wildlife reserve is under the management of Mount Elgon Conservation area, located north of Mount Elgon and east of Mt Kadam on the reserves boundary to Mount Napak.

Uganda Safari attractions/What to see in Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve Uganda

Pian-Upe wildlife reserve just by its name has a variety of wildlife (though not comparable to the national parks) ranging from mammals to reptiles. The Jackals, civets, spotted hyenas, servals, cheetah, vervet monkeys, patas monkeys, olive baboons, Topi, buffaloes, Eland, Ugandan Kob, Waterbuck, common duiker, Gunther’s dik-dik, Bohor, hare, four toed hedgehog, rock pythons, smaller but venomous puff adders, harmless water snakes, savannah monitors, common agama, chameleons and geckos are some but not limited to what you will sight on a Uganda wildlife tour. Pian-Upe wildlife reserve is the only area with the roan antelope and a chance to glimpse at the rare Rothschild’s giraffe in Uganda.

Ugandan Kob

There’s much more to offer besides wildlife, over 100 bird species can be sighted in the wildlife reserve including the great hartlaubs bustard, uncommon ostrich, White headed buffalo weaver, African eagles, herons, owls, egrets, cormorants, darvers, pelicans, hawks, Jacanas, cranes, turacos, wood hoopoes, grass birds and Jackson’s hornbill with the best sight position at Loporokocho swamp and cheposukunya hot spring for perfect Uganda birding safaris.

Uganda Safari activities /What to do in Pian-Upe wildlife Reserve Uganda

The grass land -leaf carpeted routes in Pian-Upe will lead someone on a wildlife safari in Uganda to a game drive through the undisturbed plant, shrubs and grass species hosting numerous wildlife. Game drives offer the best opportunity to view wild game like the roan antelope which is endemic to this place, the Uganda Kob, the cheetah, hyenas, leopards and much more wildlife roaming in the plains. The reserve will leave one wondering in the wilderness of the great wild beauty that awaits here.

Bird watching in the plains stunning landscape scenery surrounded by mountains offers an ultimate Uganda birding safari experience, if lucky welcomed by giant ostriches. Birds like White headed buffalo weaver, African eagles, herons, owls, egrets, cormorants, darvers, pelicans, hawks, Jacanas, cranes, turacos, wood hoopoes, grass birds and Jackson’s hornbill with the best sight position at Loporokocho swamp and cheposukunya hot spring.

Though in the plains, mountain climbing is encountered in a Uganda safari on the soaring mountains proximate. One can decide to have a hike on mount Elgon or do a Uganda mountain hiking tour to Mount Kadam 3,068m above sea level. Hiking to Libo peak 3,063m is an exciting option to more strenuous hikes because of its lower elevation, milder climate and less technical experience required. The mountain is un tapped yet so rewarding with the highland people.

Imagining of an African traditional society beyond tales but can’t find one? A Uganda community tour to Karamoja region will not disappoint. Community tours and nature walks in the north eastern region gives insights of the community from the natives themselves as one moves through the scorching sun to Karamoja wood carving workshop, Karamoja sculpting workshop, Karamoja gold mining tour and for a Karamoja manyatta experience.

How to get to Pian-Upe wildlife reserve Uganda

By road;

Road distances vary depending on the route someone decides to take to tour Uganda’s Pian-Upe wildlife reserve;

From Kampala, the fastest route is Kampala via Jinja – Soroti 399km taking about 7h 51min.

Kampala via Masindi – Apac road takes 502km taking about 8h 29min.

From Entebbe International airport, Kampala -Jinja – Soroti road is 438km taking about 9h 2min.

From Mount Elgon National Park, Mbale – Moroto road is 178km about 3h 29min.

The fastest route is Mbale-Soroti route 234km about 3h 54min

By air:

Chartered flights for Uganda safaris can be organized from Entebbe International airport to Kidepo airport by Aerolink Uganda for 2h 15min on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. From Kidepo airport, the fastest route is Kotido-Moroto road 315km taking about 5h 41min.

Opting for air transport though is not a better option, its better using road and explore more beauty within the “pearl of Africa”.

Best Uganda safari /tour time to Pian-Upe wildlife reserve

The best time for Uganda tours to Pian-Upe wildlife reserve is during the months of January, February and March when the vegetation is dry giving clear views of the wild game.

Where to stay/ Uganda Safari hotels/Lodges in Pian-Upe wildlife reserve/Uganda safari accommodation in Pian-Upe wildlife reserve

Safari accommodation/lodging for nature lovers on wildlife safari tours in Uganda’s north eastern region is a bit distant in the neighboring towns of Moroto 114km, Mbale178km or in Kapchorwa near Sipi falls. The best option to have a blissful experience is opting for camping at the wildlife reserve in Uganda wildlife Banda’s. There two options that are, a self-contained safari tent or self-contained cottage which are clean and affordable, the food menu here is basic or one can take their own food and pay someone to cook for them at the reserve. When planning to camp it’s advisable to come with your own tents to hitch at the reserve.

Is the search about extraordinary wildlife interactions, a pristine African setting with a reserve all to yourself?  This is what one encounters on a safari in Uganda’s Pian-Upe Wildlife reserve.

Want to visit Kidepo?

Want to visit Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda's finest game viewing safari park?