PIAN UPE GAME RESERVE-Remarkable conservation Gem


In North-Eastern Uganda, is the country’s second-largest conservation area after the Murchison Falls conservation area-(Pian Upe Game Reserve). The reserve is connected to Bokora and Matheniko Game Reserves. In the reserve, is Mount Kadam near the Kenyan border and it is the highest point in the game reserve standing at 3063m. This is way taller than the savanna woodland and grassland that cover most of the reserve.

For travelers that visit Kidepo Valley national park via the Eastern route, the beautiful scenery of the reserve cannot go unrecognized. The game reserve once hosted high densities of wildlife but due to poaching and encroachment between the 1970s and 1980s, they reduced and some were extinct. Uganda Wildlife Authority is doing everything possible to protect the reserves remaining unique wildlife and also restore it. In November 2019, Uganda Wildlife Authority translocated Rothschild’s giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park to the reserve. These were being reintroduced to the reserve after their extinction from here. 

The reserve is pristine and less explored despite harboring rare and unique wildlife in the country. This includes the Roan Antelope, Greater Kudu, Cheetahs, unique birdlife that includes the Secretary bird, Ostrich, Yellow-Billed shrike among others.

Pian Upe game reserve derives its name from the two Karamajong clans the “Pian” which translates to “Calm hearted people” and the “Upe” a Kalenjin speaking group of pastoralists. “Upe” translates to an enemy and the name of the reserve combined translates to “Friendly enemy”.

To do at the reserve includes

Nature walks

Game drives are done here but the tall grass makes it a bit difficult most during the wet season. This has opened an opportunity to explore the beauty of the reserve on foot. Look out for grazers like Zebras, roan antelope, elands, the browsers (giraffes), and birds. The walks here are guided by armed rangers from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Mountain Climbing and Hiking

The mountains around the reserve make it an exciting adventure area for visitors who would like to challenge themselves. Visitors can take on Mt. Kadam which is the second-highest in the region after Mt. Moroto. Local guides lead visitors to the peak that offers endless views and views that can’t be seen from below heights. Hikers can also climb the Moroto and Napak mountains. Visitors can also hike to the Nepedet cave. The cave has a unique view of the reserve from the Arch and it hosts old rock paintings which are believed to be by the first inhabitants of the reserve.

Community tours

The area and communities harbor a rich culture. A visit to the Nakapelimoru Village and the cattle auction market in the area is an encounter found nowhere else in Uganda. You can visit the homesteads (Manyattas) to learn about the clans and tribes in the region. Also, spend time at the local markets to shop for traditional crafts.

Bird Watching 

 The reserve has 242 recorded bird species and of these is the largest bird Ostrich which can be seen here and Kidepo Valley National park in Uganda. The reserve also hosts species like the Hartlaub’s Turaco, African Hill Babbler, Eastern Bronzed napped Pigeon, Jackson’s hornbill, among others.

So, if you want to Visit Eastern and Northern Uganda, you can break the long drive to the top corner (Kidepo Valley) and have a day at the Pian Upe game reserve.   

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