The Katonga wildlife reserve is one of the most reserves in Uganda, however, it’s remoteness doesn’t mean it’s has nothing to offer the reserve is one of those places where you can explore the wilderness on foot and get in contact with most animals you would hardly see on a game drive due to the absence of big cats.
The Katonga wildlife reserve is situated in between I and Kamwenge districts of western Uganda, the reserve derives its name from River Katonga which flows from Lake Victoria to Lake George, the reservecovers an area of about 200 kilometers squared. It was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1964 as a migrating corridor for animals moving from western Uganda to Tanzania and Sudan it was then established as a wildlife reserve in 1998.
The Katonga wildlife reserve boasts with acacia woodlands, Savannah grasslands, riverine forests, tropical forests and wetlands, the reserve used to be home to very many animals but was affected by heavy poaching and human settlements but it’s now recovering ever since poachers were evicted in 2004.
Katonga wildlife reserve provides visitors with wildlife viewing of opportunities including seeing the rare Sitatunga antelope some of the animals that can be seen here are; Uganda kob, elephants, buffalos, bush bucks, water bucks, Reed bucks, primates such as baboons, black and white colobus monkeys can also be spotted in the reserve. Zebras and impalas of Lake Mburo were also translocated in the reserve in 2013.
Canoe riding can be done at the majestic Katonga River as it exposes you to the Flora and fauna of the reserve, the trip is worth taking with views of aquatic and papyrus birds. The canoe ride takes you through two kilometers through the Reed with a local boat operator.
Nature guided walks can be taken with the help of a tour guide though to the swamp in the Sitatunga trails the groups moving should not exceed three people. There are also other two walking trails where you can sight a combination of animals this are; Kisharara trail and Kyeibale trail.
Tourists visiting the Katonga wildlife life reserve should combine their safari with a cultural experience by visiting the local Banyankole people renowned for keeping long horned cattle, tourists can participate in grazing the cows, milking and learn a lot about their rich culture including the process of making cow ghee or butter. Tourist can also buy a number of sovenirs from the local craft shops for remembrance.
Katonga wildlife reserve also provides a great birding experience gifted with over 150 species of birds
There is a campsite where tourists can camp at the park with basic requirements you may need to use during your stay, the camping site is called Kabangole and is two kilometers ride from the parks headquarters. Other places where to sleep can be got outside the reserve such as Katonga view lodge.
Katonga wildlife reserve can be visited all year round but the best views of wildlife are in the dry season when the grass is short and the vegetation is not thick the dry seasons are tow that is from June to July and December to January.
The reserve can be accessed from Uganda’s capital city on fort portal- Kampala road the drive will take about 4 hours time depending on traffic jam when living the city center.