Katonga Wildlife Reserve is one of Uganda’s well known Wildlife Reserves that is worth visiting while on a safari in Uganda. It is situated in Western Uganda along the banks of River Katonga, within Kamwenge and Kyenjojo districts. This wildlife Reserve was established into a game Reserve in 1964 mainly as a corridor for migrating Wildlife species from Western Uganda National Parks to the neighboring countries of Tanzania and South Sudan and covers an area of 207 square kilometers/20,700 hectares. Thirty two (32) years later, Katonga game reserve became a Wildlife Reserve (in 1996) when the previous Game Department and Uganda National Parks were combined to form the current Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). Presently, the Wildlife Reserve is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority under the Kibale Conservation Area management with the Warden in-charge of the Wildlife Reserve found at the Reserve Head quarters at Kikorogoto. This Reserve was named after the Katonga River, which drains from Lake Victoria (in the Eastern side) to Lake George in the western side.
Vegetation of the Katonga Wildlife Reserve
The landscape of this Reserve is mainly undulating in nature with different Vegetation types that include wooded grasslands, grasslands, woodlands, Swamps, riverine woodlands, riverine grasslands and papyrus vegetation. Majority of the area’s terrain is integrated with Savannah, Woodland or Acacia. Nevertheless, vast parts of the Wildlife reserve are either permanent or seasonal wetlands which explain the riverine vegetations. The exceptional strategic location of this Reserve within Forests, Wetlands and Savannah vegetation offers the Reserve with the variety of ecosystems that are ideal for the survival of several wildlife species. However, the predominant plant species within this Reserve include Chloris gayana and Sporobolus festivus.
What to See and Do within Katonga Wildlife Reserve
The outstanding vegetation of the Reserve supports the existence of about 40 Wildlife species that include Sitatunga, waterbucks, and hippos, primates such as Olive baboons, Black and white colobus monkeys, Zebras, Elands, African Elephants, Water chevrotain, Topis, Buffaloes, reedbucks, Impalas, River Otters, Warthogs, Uganda Kobs, Leopards, Duikers and bushbucks among others. With these interesting wildlife species, it is undeniable that hiking/nature walk is the main tourist activity within this Wildlife Reserve.
This Reserve is also a haven to over 150 exceptional bird species, especially the species specific/endemic to the wetlands. There are also various Amphibians, reptiles and butterflies that call this Wildlife Reserve home. Bird watching is therefore an important tourist activity within this remarkable wildlife Reserve.
The marvelous wildlife species, avian species and the varying vegetation types within this Reserve are best explored on foot or by river canoe.
Best Time to Visit Katonga Wildlife Reserve
This place can be visited at any time of the year, but the best time is the dry season from December to February and July to September. However due to the high rate of climatic chance and the unpredictable seasonal changes, the rains can come at any time of the year.
How to Access the Katonga Wildlife Reserve
Katonga Wildlife Reserve is 200 kilometers (120 miles)/3 hours drive from Kampala to Kyegegwa Council Headquarters, after which you will drive for 42 kilometers southwards through clearly visible signposts.