KATONGA WILDLIFE RESERVE.
Katonga wildlife reserve is situated in western Uganda along the banks of river Katonga, named after Katonga river. It was established in 1998 covering an area of approximately 211 square kilo meters. The reserve is located in Ibanda and kamwenge districts, bordering Biguli subcounty and Mpara subcounty in Kyenjojo district. The vegetation of the reserve is a mixed savannah with acacia woodlands. The reserve has permanent and seasonal wetlands.
Katonga wildlife reserve harbors over 150 bird species and over 40 species of animals. These include; elephants, colobus monkeys, warthogs, waterbucks, reedbucks, sitatunga Antelopes, Uganda kob, olive baboons among others. The reserve is approximately 200km which is about 4-5 hours from Kampala city.
Katonga was first gazzetted as a game reserve for the migrating wildlife from western Uganda to Tanzania. In 1996 Katonga game reserve become a wildlife reserve. Katonga wildlife reserve is managed by the Uganda and wildlife authority, under the kibale Conservation Area Administration.
In 2015, 5 zebras and 60 impalas were translocated to the reserve to boast animal population and tourism. Currently, there are over 300 impalas in Katonga wildlife reserve.
Activities in Katonga wildlife reserve.
Katonga wildlife reserve is a great place for game viewing. As early noted, the reserve harbors over 40 animal species, these include; elephants, colobus monkeys, warthogs, waterbucks, reedbucks, sitatunga Antelopes, Uganda kob, olive baboons among others.
Sail on river Katonga as your see the beautiful bird species the reserve is endowed with. It’s a two kilo meters ride through the papyrus and reed swamp. The trips are guided by a local boat operator. While on a canoe trip, you get an opportunity to see birds like kingfishers, shoebill stork. You will also see animals like the sitatunga Antelopes.
There are three arranged guided walks within the reserve. These include; the Kyeibale trail which goes through tall rocks formations, forested caves and valleys. The sitatunga trail, this takes you to the grassland and wetlands, this is a trial that will give you an opportunity to see the sitatunga Antelopes. The Kisharara trail, this takes you to the main habitants in the reserve.
The reserve is surrounded by the Banyankole people, you can go and visit them and see the famous Ankole cattle, visit their homestead. Local entertainment can be arranged for you.
Flora and fauna
The reserve has distinct vegetation which include; grasslands, papyrus, riverine grassland, swamps and woodlands with seasonal and permanent wetlands. When you visit Katonga wildlife reserve you will see the tropical forests and pockets of riverine. Plants you will also see include; Chloris gayana, Sporobolus festivus, Seteria species, panicum maximum, hyparrhenia among others.
When to visit
Katonga wildlife reserve can be visited all year round, however the best time to visit the reserve is during the dry seasons of January to February and from July to August.
Where to sleep
Katonga wildlife reserve has a wide range of accommodations, some inside the park others outside. These include; Katonga view hotel and lodges, Bugoma jungle lodge, avocado bay private retreat, nakoosi eco-lodge and back parkers, lake Lyantonde eco campsite.