Established in 1998, Katonga Wildlife Reserve is a protected area in western Uganda. It covers approximately 211 square kilometres and set along the banks of Katonga River. Many of the species of plants and animals in the reserve are unique to its wetland environment.
Katonga is a little-known, low-key wildlife reserve about 270km/168mi (five to six hours drive) east of the city of Kampala. Efforts to better protect the park against poaching are slowly restoring the animal population. Several antelope species are easily seen, including the Uganda kob.
The rare, marsh-dwelling sitatunga antelope can sometimes be spotted as well, as can hippo and otter. There are no roads for vehicle safaris, so the park is best explored on foot. As a first phase of restocking, zebra and impala were translocated to the park from Lake Mburu in 2013. The birding is great due to the variety of habitats.
Some of the possible mammals to be viewed include water bucks, reed duck, River otter elephants, the Uganda Kob, warthogs various species of primates such as olive baboons, and colobus monkeys among others and the reserve is considered one of the places to view the secretive Sitatunga Antelope in the East and central Africa.
Katonga can be visited at any time of the year, but the best time for wildlife viewing is in the Dry season (December-February and June-July).
Guided walks can also be arranged within the park and there 3 guided half day trails. The first one is the Kyeibale trail which takes you through an area with tall rock formations as well as forested caves and valley, the Sitatunga trail takes you through the grassland and wetland and this trail offers you an opportunity to come across the rare sitatunga Antelopes and it’s from which the name suggests.
The third trail is the Kisharara trails which takes you through main habitats within the park comprising of grassland, savanna and swamp fringes and is a good trail for seeing Sitanunga antelopes.
Canoe trips offer visitors a chance to view various species of mammals and birds such as water and papyrus associated birds, the river otters and the sitatunga antelopes, it also provide a good opportunity to see Kingfishers and storks like shoe bill stork.
A visit to the Banyakole homestead is regarded as a breathtaking activity, entertainments can also be arranged to the visitors to enjoy.
You can only camp here. And other basic accommodation is available at Katonga View Hotel and lodges which can be accessed at Kabagore just about 2km from the reserve Headquarters.