Wildlife in Pian upe wildlife reserve; Pian Upe wildlife reserve is one of the most beautiful and largest protected area in Uganda located in Karamoraja region northeastern part of Uganda in Nakapiripiriti district. Pian upe wildlife reserve covers a total land area of 2,788 square kilometers which makes it the second largest protected area after Murchison falls national park and it’s managed by Mount Elgon conservation area. The southern section of the reserve was gazette as the Debasien animal sanctuary in 1958 and in 1964 the area was expanded northwards and named Pian upe game reserve. The wildlife reserve derives its name Pian from the Karamojong word which means good spirited people or people with calm hearts while Upe is a word used by the Pokot tribe to mean enemy and when you combine the two words, you will get a phrase “friendly enemy”. Pian upe wildlife reserve was established in 1964 and it’s comprised of different vegetation types including wooded grasslands, riverine woodland, grasslands, kopjes and some forests which act as habitats for different wildlife species.
Wildlife in Pian Upe wildlife reserve
Mammals in Pian upe wildlife reserve
Pian upe wildlife reserve is known for harboring abundant mammal species including buffaloes, elands, oribi, roan antelopes, leopards, topi, Uganda kobs, cheetahs, waterbucks, bohor and mountain reedbucks, Jackson’s hartebeest, Gunthers Dik Dik, impalas which were recently relocated from Lake Mburo national park, common duikers, klipspringers, lions, aardvarks, rock hyrax, crested porcupines, jackals, spotted hyenas, serval cats, civets, wildcats, among others.
Pian upe wildlife reserve also harbors primates like vervet monkeys, patas monkeys, four-toed hedgehogs, olive baboons among others, mammals in Pian upe wildlife reserve can be viewed during the game drive in a comfortable 4 WD safari van and guided nature walks
Birds in Pian upe wildlife reserve
Pian upe wildlife reserve is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda that offers great bird watching experiences in that it harbors over 250 recorded bird species including endemic birds, migratory birds, forest birds, water birds among others. Bird species that can be spotted in Pian upe wildlife reserve include Karamoja apalis, Secretary bird, Abyssinian Ground hornbill, Superb Sterling, Ostrich, Hartlaubs Bustard, Jackson’s Hornbill, White-bellied tit, Abyssinian roller, Grey-headed batis, Black-breasted barbet, Fox Kestrel, Pygmy Falcon, Verreaux’s eagle, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Eurasian Hoopoe, Pale Flycatcher, Brown Babbler, Rufous Chatterer, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Stone Partridge, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Purple Grenadier, Ring-necked Francolin, Green Bitta among others. Different bird species in Pian upe wildlife reserve can be viewed during the game drive or nature walk around Lokoropocho swamp.
Reptiles in Pian upe wildlife reserve
Pian upe wildlife is also a home of different reptiles which include puff adders, rock pythons, harmless water snakes, savannah monitor lizards, common agama, skinks, chameleons, geckos and crocodiles which are found in River Girik.
Plants in Pian upe wildlife reserve
The game reserve is covered by uninterrupted grasslands, wooded grassland, riverine, kopjes with some forest which is dominated by different tree species including desert date, red acacia, bush willows, red spike-thorns, Harrisonia Abyssinica and shrubs like wooly caper bush, butterfly pea, grasses like thatching grass, bristle species, beard grass, lemon grass, red nut sedge among others.
Climate in Pian upe wildlife reserve
Pian upe wildlife reserve is characterized by semi-arid climate with one major rain season in the months of March to May which experiences heavy rainfall and light rainfall in June all year round. Though rain is unpredictable in Pian upe wildlife reserve, during the rainy season game drive tracks and access roads are almost impassable and grasses be tall which make wildlife viewing hard.
Best time to visit Pian upe wildlife reserve
Pian upe wildlife reserve can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and January to march. During the dry season, there is less rainfall in the reserve therefore access roads and game drive tracks will be dry and passable compared to the rainy season when access roads and game tracks are muddy and slippery. During the dry season the reserve management carries out controlled bush burning to keep the grass short which helps you to have clear views of different wildlife species.
How to get to Pian upe wildlife reserve
Pian upe wildlife reserve is located in northeastern part of Uganda and can be accessed by road transport means whereby you will drive from Kampala to the reserve headquarters which takes about 8 to 9 hours’ drive.
Pian upe wildlife reserve can also be accessed from Kidepo valley national park which takes about 5 hours’ drive, from Mbale town it takes about 90km drive and from Sipi falls in Kapchorwa district which takes about 2 to 3 hours drive.