Matheniko Game Reserve: Culture and Nature
Matheniko Game Reserve: it is located in North Eastern Uganda in the Karamoja sub region conservation area and as it is now, the wildlife reserve sits in the 5th position among the most threatened wildlife conservation protected areas in Uganda. It is part of a stretch of protected areas that connects from as far as Kidepo Valley National Park through Bokora & Pian Upe Wildlife Reserves.
Matheniko Game Reserve is located within the Somali – Masai area with semi-desert grassland and the other section of it is shrub land. This reserve receives an estimated 670 milliliters of rainfall annually and most of the rain comes in the well known wet months of April, May and November. To the North East of Matheniko is the border between Uganda and Kenya.
It is home to handfuls of wildlife and the visitor numbers are basically to the minimum compared to other wildlife reserves. Visitors to this reserve are mainly those on hunting safaris in Uganda. The major species include the Oribi, Jackals, spotted hyenas, Leopards, civets, serval cats and wild cats. There are also a few primates including Olive baboons, vervet monkeys, patas monkeys. Other game includes the Cape buffalo, eland, roan antelope, dik-dik, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, and Uganda kob among others but do not expect them in herds.
For reptiles, Matheniko game reserve is habitat for enormous rock pythons, smaller puff adders and harmless water snakes. The Savannah monitors are the biggest lizards present in Pian Upe. Agama lizards, skinks, geckos and chameleons are also a common sight.
Despite the location of the reserve, the vegetation is appealing and UWA – the Uganda Wildlife Authority has stepped up efforts to develop the supporting tourism infrastructure in a bid to boost the visitor numbers to the reserve. Plans are under way to put up accommodation facilities and improve the tracks within the wildlife reserve.