Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is one of Uganda’s biggest protected areas situated in the Northeastern Uganda of Karamoja region. The reserve covers an area 2788 kilometers which makes it the biggest reserve after Murchison falls national park in the Northwestern Uganda. The southern part of this area was earlier gazette as Debasien animal Sanctuary in the 1950’s and later 1964 extended northwards and was recognized a wildlife reserve and renamed as Pian Upe a karamoja dialect which means Friendly enemy. Pian upe is a home of two main pastoral tribes from which the name was derived: the Pian the biggest sub group of Karamongs and Upe known as the Pakot in Kenya who speak Kalenjin language.
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is mainly composed of untouched grassland, wooded grasslands and on other occasions there is a section of riverine woodland, Kopjes among others. The reserve lies in the semi-arid county which receives moderate rainfall mainly received in the months of April, June and September throughout the year. The reserve is also considered an incredible destination with mercury wells because of its remarkable hot springs at mount Kadam. It being in a semi-arid area also has got a number of tree species which include the red cassia, bush willows, the desert date, harrisonia Abyssinica, shrubs, red spike thorns and butterfly pea among others.
Pian Upe being a wildlife reserve, accommodation various wildlife/mammal species such as lions, buffalos, elephants, giraffes and black rhinos. Among others are common elands, plain zebras and Orib the only roan reminding antelope in Uganda. In addition, there are also magnificent reptiles to spot on especially the rock pythons, puff adders, harmless water snakes and numerous monitor lizards. Others are chameleons, shrinks and agama, geckos among others.
A variety of rare bird species can also be sighted in and around this reserve for example the uncommon Ostriches, white headed buffalo weaver, great hartlaub’s bustard, Jackson’s shoebill and others mainly spotted in Lopolokocho swamp. To add on, the reserve also has sightings of certain primate species such as Olive baboons and vervet monkeys.
How to get to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve
Pian Upe wildlife reserve is situated Northeast of Uganda mainly in the Karamoja region north of Mount Elgon. Its headquarters are located along Mbale-Moroto road 90 kilometers from Mbale and 11 kilometers north of the reserve’s northern boundary. A few kilometers from Chepsukunya trading Centre ascertains you to the entry point of the reserve.
When on a wildlife or birding experience in Kidepo valley national park particularly Pian Upe or Mount Elgon national park, there is no need to worry about accommodation facilities. The major and nearby accommodations are the four bandas at the game reserve headquarters and others in the neighborhood.