Attractions in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Attractions in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Attractions in Pian Upe wildlife reserve; Pian Upe wildlife reserve is the second largest protected area located in northeastern part of Uganda in Karamoja sub region. The wildlife reserve is part of the Mount Elgon conservation area and was established in 1964. Pian Upe wildlife reserve covers a total area of about 2,788 square kilometers which is comprised of grassland and woodland vegetation, vast plains, rocky outcrops and mountains.

Attractions in Pian Upe wildlife reserve



Pian Upe wildlife reserve is a home of a large variety of mammal species including giraffes, buffaloes, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, mountain reedbucks, roan antelopes, hippos, Jackson’s hartebeest, oribi, elands, topi, zebras, impalas, Gunthers dik-dik, duiker, klipspringer, porcupines and predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, civets, serval cats, jackals, wild cats among others which make it one of the best wildlife viewing destinations in Uganda. Mammals in Pian Upe wildlife reserve can be viewed during a game drive in the savannah plains with an experienced driver guide who is well conversant with different game tracks. Pian Upe wildlife reserve also harbors different primate species such as vervet monkeys, olive baboons, pattas monkeys, reptiles like rock pythons, venomous puff adders, monitor lizards, crocodiles, geckos, water snakes, chameleons among others which are found in River Girik.


Pian Upe wildlife reserve is a home of over 250 recorded bird species including ostriches, white headed buffalo, secretary birds, Abyssinian ground hornbill, superb sterling, great Hartlaubs bustard, Jackson’s hornbill, shoebill stork, fox weaver, yellow billed shrike, Karamoja apalis, green bitta among others. Bird species in Pian Upe wildlife reserve can be viewed during the game drives, nature walk and birding.

Attractions in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Birding in Pian Upe

Napendio caves

The Napendio caves have amazing paintings of wild animals in Pian Upe wildlife reserve such as antelopes, baboons which date back thousands of years ago when the first man settled in the area. The caves used to be a recreational place for art during the ancient days and are considered to be sacred by the local people.


Pian Upe wildlife reserve is a home of two nomadic pastoralist tribes namely the Karamojong and the Kalenjin. Both tribes are cattle keepers with large herds of cattle which are used for meat, milk, blood, skin. The people have a unique culture that you shouldn’t miss out during your Uganda safari and a Karamojong museum that has a collection of Karamojong artifacts that describe their culture.

Best time to visit Pian Upe wildlife reserve

Attractions in Pian Upe wildlife reserve can be viewed anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season access roads to the reserve are passable, the wildlife reserve receives little or less rainfall therefore vegetation will be thin which gives you an opportunity to view wildlife species clearly. Due to less rainfall animals will gather around the water bodies in the reserve which helps you to view abundant animals and take great photos.

Pian Upe wildlife reserve offers interesting activities including,

Game drives along the savannah plains where you will get an opportunity to view animals like lions, leopards, waterbucks, impalas, oribi, zebras, buffaloes, Uganda kobs among others.

Bird watching where you will get a chance to spot different bird species like the ostrich, secretary birds, superb sterling, lapwings, herons, plovers, pelicans, weaver birds among others.

Cultural encounters where you will be able to interact with the local people who live in the neighboring villages for example the Karamojong and Kalenjin. During the cultural encounters you will be able to learn about the local people’s culture, history, their way of living, watch their traditional songs and drama, visit their homesteads, farmlands, listen to their ancient stories among others.

Nature walks where you will be able to explore the vast plains on foot accompanied by an experienced guide. During the guided nature walk you will be able to get up close and personal with wildlife species in the reserve, listen to sweet sounds of bird species, view colorful butterflies, take beautiful pictures among others.

Mountain climbing where you will be able to

Attractions in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
hike Kadam Mountain

which is the second highest volcanic mountain in Karamoja region that stands at an elevation of 3,063 meters above the sea level.


Where to stay in Pian Upe wildlife reserve

There are limited accommodation facilities in Pian Upe wildlife reserve where you can stay during your safari including Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Bandas and camping grounds for visitors who opt for camping however they should carry their own camping equipment’s. There is a number of accommodation facilities around Sipi falls and Mbale town where you can stay during your Uganda safari in Pian Upe wildlife reserve.

How to get to Pian Upe wildlife reserve

Pian Upe wildlife reserve is located in the northeastern part of Uganda and can be accessed by road transport means whereby you will drive from Kampala to the park headquarters which takes about 6 hours’ drive and 2 hours from Mbale town in a 4WD safari vehicle.

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