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Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

The Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is an area in the Karamoja sub region of northeastern Uganda. It is the second largest conservation protected area in Uganda. It covers an area of about 2,788km2 to the north of mountain Elgon and is managed by Mountain Elgon Conservation department.

It is located in the North Eastern part of Uganda in Nakapiripiti and can easily be accessed by road from Kampala which takes about 8 ½ hours and about 2 ½ hours from Mbale and 6 hours from Pian Upe to Kidepo Valley national park.

The beauty of this game reserve is the stunning landscape sceneries with surrounding mountains and most of the time you will have the whole game reserve to yourself.

January – March is the best time to visit Pian Upe. The vegetation is dry, you have clear views and animals gather at the water sources which makes it easy for game viewing.

What to do in Pian Upe

Bird watching safaris.

Pian Upe is a birder’s paradise. There are a massive number of birds, with about 242 confirmed, and 11 unconfirmed bird species. This makes the reserve 2nd to Queen Elizabeth National park to bird species density. You will see land’s largest bird- the ostrich only found here and in Kidepo Valley National park.

Mountain climbing.

A traveler can go for Mountain climbing to the less challenging hills of the area like Mt. Kadam, but you can also go on one of our mountaineering adventure safaris to Mountain Rwenzori National park, up to Margherita peak, the only place with snow in Uganda.

Guided wildlife safaris

You can go for guided game drives in the plains of the reserve where you expect to see the Roan antelope. This is the only place you can see the roan antelope in Uganda.

Other animals you should look out for on this Uganda safari are the cheetahs, the zebras, greater kudu, dik dik, buffalos, black backed and side stripped jackals, eland, and harte beast.

Guided nature walks

Guided nature walks are a great way to get up close and person to wilderness at Pian Upe wildlife reserve.

For sightseeing, look out for zebras, antelopes, baboons and the many birds in the reserve. The walks are guided by a ranger from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Cultural community visits

To learn the culture and ways of the people living around Pian Upe, go for a guided community visit.

You will learn about their traditional weddings and marriages, traditional dances that you can take part in, and their raiding activities for cattle.

Visit to Napendio cave

This is an old cave that is close to the hearts of people around the area. During ancient days, the cave was used as a recreational place especially for art. Drawings of baboons and other animals by the first people who stayed here are still visible to-date.

Where to stay

Uganda Wildlife bandas– There are two options; one is the self-contained safari tents and the other option is the self-contained cottages. They are very clean and affordable.

Camping- For the more adventurous traveler, you can opt for camping. You MUST bring your own tents to hitch; you can camp at the reserve for about 5 US dollars only.