Katonga Wildlife Reserve is one of the twelve outstanding nature reserve in Uganda, located in western Uganda along the rim of the Katonga River and was set up in 1998, sited approximately 211 square kilometers that inhabits plant species and animal species and the reserve stuns to its wetland environment.

More so, the reserve was named after the Katonga River which is primarily flows from the swamps southwest of Lake Wamala   towards in the east with lesser periodic flows from those common swamps to Lake George in the west.

Location. This nature reserve is located in the Ibanda and Kamwenge districts in western Uganda, which is bordered with the Biguli sub county and also part of the Mpara sub county in Kyenjojo District. More then, the reserve estimates about 200 kilometers by road, west of Kampala Uganda’s capital city to main visited destination.

Ideally, the Katonga Wildlife reserve vegetation has mixed savannah consisting of acacia scrubland or woodlands. They also offer both permanent and seasonal wetlands comprised of riverine and tropical forest.

This reserve harbors over 40 animal’s species and over 150 bird species and mammal species to adventure includes; Elephant, Reedbuck, Warthog, Waterbuck, Sitatunga, Bushbucks, hotter, Colobus monkey. Bird to view includes; kingfishers and storks, dwarf Bittern, great Bittern, White-backed Night-heron, Cattle Egret, Striated Heron, Black Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron Great Egret, Black Heron, Grey Heron, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Madagascar Pond-Heron among other. However, it can be easily explored on foot or by river canoe, managed by ‘’UWA’’ Uganda Wildlife Authority who also maintains about the camping site with guides and restaurant within the reserve.

Amazing facts about this reserve it harbors with elusive and unique Sitatunga Antelopes, though other wildlife species have decreased in number in the recent years. But the government and Uganda Wildlife Authority have stepped up more effort to improve on Katonga and rid it of poachers and number has started regaining in the reserve.

Canoe Ride Experience

A canoe ride can be done along the narrow channel and swampy vegetation within the reserve while riding, you’re able to enjoy the stunning swamp vegetation of the park and various bird species as well as watching other animals as they graze in the reserve. Otter species can be seen also on a canoe ride.

Guided Nature Walk

Guided nature walk is also thrilling activity in Katonga where tourists hike through various well-developed trails to enjoy the beautiful nature of the reserve and viewing animals like forest elephants, Uganda Kobs, Sitatunga, Zebras, Impala many more.

Birding Encounter

This reserve is also good for birders which are best view in rainy season starting April to May and November a perfect month to spot migratory birds. Bird species to view includes; Black-crowned Night –Heron, Cattle Egret, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Dwarf Bittern, Great Bittern, Rufous –bellied Heron, King fisher among others.

Katonga Wildlife Reserve
Birding in Lake Mburo

Game Viewing

Katongo Wildlife Reserve is also a fabulous place to game viewing.

However, you can choose to combine a safari to Katongo with a visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda’s second largest and top visited safari destination in Uganda because it harbors with unique tree climbing lions and large number of wildlife with over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.

Best time to visit

Katonga Wildlife Reserve can be visited all year around but the best time for game viewing is in dry season of December to February and June to July.

How to get there;

Katonga Wildlife Reserve is located closer to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, which takes about 5 to 6 hours’ drive away and can be accessed from the Fort Portal through Kampala road. It is easily incorporated in a standard Uganda itinerary and this due to the lack of amenities and low wildlife densities.

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