On the savannah plains of the Karamoja sub-region to the North of the Mount Elgon sprawls the remote Matheniko Wildlife Reserve, the 5th of the most endangered Wildlife Conservation Protected Areas in Uganda. This exceptional Wildlife Reserve is a section of the Karamoja Protected Areas and stretches from the spectacular Kidepo Valley National Park through the Bokora Wildlife Reserve to the Pian Upe Wildlife reserve-second largest protected Area in Uganda after the Murchison Falls National Park. The North-eastern boundary of the Matheniko Wildlife Reserve lies in the Uganda-Kenya border. Located within Moroto district, Matheniko Wildlife reserve covers an area of 1520 square kilometers/590 square miles and is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The wildlife reserve falls under the Somalia-Masai eco-region of the Semi-arid Savannah and shrubland, and its landscape is dominated by Red acacia and the desert date (Balanites aegyptiacus), red spike-thorns (Gymnosporia senegalensis), bushwillows (Combretum apiculatum) and Harrisonia abyssinica. There are also numerous shrubs that are common within this Wildlife Reserve and they include woolly caper bush (Capparis tomentosa) and the butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea). This Reserve stands at an altitude of 1070 meters/3510 feet to 1830 meters/6000 feet above sea level.
In order to fully develop the Wildlife Reserve and increase on tourist visitation, the Uganda Wildlife Authority is intensively putting efforts to developing the Reserve’s Infrastructures particularly lodging facilities and roads connecting to the Reserve. As of 2012, the UWA was seeking for bidder to construct a 6-roomed Guesthouse within the Matheniko Wildlife reserve. However, there is nothing as interesting as camping in the wilderness of the animals or you can spend overnights within some of the lodges in the neighboring towns of Moroto or Kotido.
Wildlife species within Matheniko Wildlife Reserve
This Reserve is a home to exceptional wildlife species that include Antelopes such as the Bright’s gazelle, lesser kudu, roan antelope, Waterbucks, Mountain reedbucks, Ugandan kobs, Blue duikers, Oribis, Bohor reedbucks, Topi, Common duikers and Common elands, Primates such as Olive baboons, Patas monkeys and Vervet monkeys, Carnivores such as the Jackals, Cheetah, Striped hyenas, Servals, Civets, Leopards, Wildcats, Spotted hyenas,
The bird species that call Matheniko Wildlife Reserve home include the Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon, the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, the Mountain Yellow Warbler, Verreaux’s Eagle, the Egyptian Vulture the Thick-billed Honey guide, the Hartlaub’s Turaco, Ethiopian swallow, Pygmy Falcon, the Black-headed plover, the Cattle egret, the Red-billed Oxpecker and the Clapperton’s Francolin among others.
Best time to visit Matheniko Wildlife Reserve
The best time to visit the Wildlife reserve is the dry season (June to September and December to February) because most of the murram roads become muddy and slippery during the rainy season-the months of April, May and November. This annual rainfall of the reserve is estimated at 670 millimeters.
In conclusion, Matheniko Wildlife reserve is one of the must visit destinations within Uganda-especially the Karamoja region because it is a home to several unique wildlife species such as the Cheetahs, several antelopes such as Mountain reedbucks, lesser Kudu, the Roan antelopes, Blue duikers, common duikers, reedbucks, Topis, Uganda Kobs and waterbucks among others, Striped hyenas and serval cats.