Explore Karuma wildlife Reserve -Birds and wildlife safaris
Explore Karuma wildlife Reserve – Situated in Kiryandongo district (former Masindi district) in the western side of Uganda is Karuma and stands at an elevation of 902 meters/2959.32 feet above sea level. What makes this spectacular wildlife Reserve stand out is the roaring Karuma waterfalls located on the breathtaking Victoria Nile and makes it a must see attraction on a Ugandan Safari. The fascinating waterfalls are situated not far from Murchison Falls National Park-Uganda’s largest and oldest Protected Area/National Park along the Eastern edge of the National Park and only one hour’s drive from Gulu district. This Wildlife Reserve is located within the Murchison Conservation Area that consists of the Murchison Falls National park, the Budongo Forest Reserve, the Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest and the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve.
History of Bugungu wildlife reserve.
There is a local legend that the Rocks that form these Waterfalls were contrived by a powerful traditional spirit called “Karuma”, and it is from it that the waterfalls acquired their name. When travelling to Northern Uganda districts, you will not hesitate but get impressed by the breathtaking appearance and the sounds of these powerful waterfalls. The appearance is more mind-blowing during the rainy seasons where they appear as white as snow.
Karuma Wildlife Reserve extends over an area of 820 square kilometers/317 square miles and was established into a Wildlife Reserve in 1964. Initially, it was established to act as a buffer zone between the Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding Villages in addition to other un-conserved areas. However, throughout the years the Karuma Wildlife Reserve has slowly lost its significance of protection against wildlife intrusion from the National Park to the surrounding areas and now looks to be a buffer for the Park against human population pressure instead. The outcome has been tremendous encroachments of the local communities into the Wildlife Reserve. The establishment and existence of a Refugee settlement in Kiryandongo where more than 7000 people have been relocated has contributed to extreme impediment on the tourism resources of the Wildlife Reserve.
Wildlife Species within the Karuma Wildlife Reserve
Some of the notable Wildlife species to look out for in the Karuma Wildlife Reserve include the Cape Buffaloes, the Elephants, the Uganda Kobs, the Rothschild’s giraffes, the Vervet monkeys, the Olive baboons, the Black and white Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, the Topis, the Hippos, the Oribis, occasionally the Lions and the Leopards among others.
Birds of Karuma Wildlife reserve.
Murchison falls national park is a home to over 600 bird species some of these include the endangered shoebill stork, Abdmin’s stork, yellow billed stork, Goliath heron, white faced whistling duck, secretary bird, osprey, Dark chanting Gosh walk, martial eagle, Denham’s bustard, Rock pranticle, Senegal thick-nee, Long toed plover, giant kingfisher, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, red throated bee-eater, Northern carmine bee-eater and many others.
Where to stay within Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserve?
This remote wildlife reserve does not have a lot of accommodation facilities except the luxury Chobe safari lodge, but travelers with tents can camp at the budget Uganda wildlife campsite near the park entrance.
Luxury Chobe safari lodge.
Located in the Murchison Falls National Park, this Five Star lodge is undoubtedly the gem in Uganda’s crown of tourism destinations. The breathtaking panoramic views, coupled with the sounds of the River Nile’s magnificent rapids, sets the scene for an adventure that will impress even the most discerning of visitors.Chobe Safari Lodge offers a unique opportunity to sample the wildlife, birds, flora and fauna; all in an area of the park that has yet to be discovered. This area of Murchison Falls National Park is ideal for fishing, and will revive this newly refurbished lodge to become one of the best fishing destinations in Africa.
How to get Karuma Wildlife Reserve?
The Wildlife Reserve is found on the Masindi-Gulu highway that crosses the Nile River, at about 110 kilometers/68 miles drive North-west wards from Masindi Town and only 70 kilometers/43 miles drive south from Gulu Town.
From Kampala via Luwero-Nakasongola.
The 258 km road from Kampala to Karuma wildlife reserve is easily accessible by 4 wheel drive as the roads in the park are very every slippery. This trip will take you through Nakasongola where Uganda’s white rhinos are protected before crossing the Karuma rapids.
From Murchison falls National park via Purongo-Anaka. The 125 kms drive from Paraa park station is one of the most diverse drives with countless amount of wildlife to see on the way. Will exit the park at Wankwa gate before driving North eastern direction towards Karuma falls.
Best time to explore Karuma wildlife reserve
The best time to visit Murchison Falls National Park is during the dry seasons from December to late February and from June to September, as the animals congregate around water bodies making them easier to observe.