Explore The Pian Upe Game Reserve -Uganda’s Best-Kept Secret

Uganda Safaris

Pian Upe game reserve is one of the largest wildlife-reserved areas in Uganda. It has been recently recognised as a top tourist destination. Yet to be explored, this mysterious land is a perfect combination of photogenic sceneries and epic African wildlife.

This game reserve is located in the North Eastern part of Uganda in the Nakapiripiti district. It is joined by other two wildlife-protected areas namely; the Matheninko and Bokora Wildlife Reserves. It is named after two local tribes; the Pian (the sub-group of Karamojong) and the Upe (known as Pakot). With less number of tourists, this reserved area is a peaceful safari destination on your Uganda Safaris.

How To Visit Pian Upe?

Pian Upe is an 8-9 hour drive from the capital city of Uganda, Kampala. This drive will go through Mbale city and Soroti town. Pian Upe is about 90 kilometres from Mbale town.

You can fly to the nearest airstrip located at Amudat. It will take a 3-4 hour drive to reach Pian Upe.

The Best Time To Visit Pian Upe

Pian Upe is a semi-arid forest. Though rain is unpredictable in this region, it receives heavy rainfall in the rainy season. The climate of the game reserve throughout the year is as follows:

  • January- March: It is the dry season in this region. The vegetation is dry and hence you will get a clear view of animals.
  • April to October: During this time of the month, this region receives heavy rain. Muddy roads and long grass make it difficult to go into the forest. Animals easily hide in the lush vegetation.
  • November- December: Though it is a dry season, the lush vegetation is a big obstacle to tracking the animals.

However, to get an exact weather update, you can contact the reserve management or trusted Uganda Safari Tour Operators.

Wildlife At Pian Upe Game Reserve

This game reserve is mostly covered with wooded savannah grassland. It is a perfect habitat for many birds, reptiles and a huge deal of rare animals.

  • Animals:

During your game drive, you will find many common animals, such as lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, buffalo, waterbuck, Uganda kob, mountain reedbuck, roan antelope, Jackson’s hartebeest, and oribi.

Eland, topi, and zebra migrate here during their breeding season from North Bokora and Matheninko reserves. The only remaining roan antelope in Uganda is tracked here.

Except these, numerous primates such as Vervet monkeys and unique olive baboons live here.

  • Birds:

Many common and uncommon species of birds such as the uncommon ostrich, great hartlaub’s bustard, white-headed buffalo weaver, secretary bird Sagittarius, and uncommon yellow-billed shrike and Jackson’s hornbill are seen in this reserved area.

  • Reptiles:

Pian Upe is a perfect habitat for enormous reptiles, especially rock pythons, puff adders, and harmless water snakes. Other reptiles are common Agama and skinks, chameleons and geckos, etc.

  • Plants:

Plants like red acacia, desert dates, bush willows, Harrisonia abyssinica and red spike thorns are commonly found in the forest.

Grasses like thatching grass, bristle species, red nut sedge, lemon grasses, and beard grasses make the land look like a green carpet.

Entry Fees

To get permission to visit the game reserve, a visitor has to pay a certain amount. This will generate revenue for wildlife conservation activity.

Some general costs to be paid are:

  • Park entry per person- 10 US dollars per head
  • Guided nature walks per person-30 dollars per head
  • Game drives- 20 dollars per vehicle

Things To Do At Pian Upe

Pian Upe is a less visited Uganda Safari Destination. So, if you want to avoid crowds, add Pian Upe to your Uganda Safari Tours.

There are many safari activities to do in this game reserve.

  • Game Drives

The game drive is one of the reasons why tourists are attracted to Pian Upe. Having a game drive on a 4×4 safari vehicle with an open roof shows surprising views of animals grazing and hunting on the savannah grassland.

  • Birds Watching

Sheltering over 242 bird species, Pian Upe is a great place for bird watchers. Many common and uncommon birds are seen in the protected area. So get your binoculars ready for bird watching!

  • Mountain Hike And Natural Walk

Surrounded by beautiful hills and mountains, Pian Upe is worth visiting for its scenic views. At the same time, the place is best for hiking Mount Napak (2538m), Mt. Kadam (3063m) or Mount Moroto (3083).

With the guidance of the ranger from Uganda Wildlife Authority, you can walk near the animals like zebras, giraffes, baboons, monkeys, etc. during your natural walk in the game reserve.

  • Cave Exploration

Visit Napedet Cave to explore the ancient recreation centre. Drawings of animals like baboons, roan antelope, and other animals by ancient people are still visible.

  • Cultural Tour

Do not forget to visit the local communities. It is a great chance to know their vibrant culture. The people are very warm-hearted. It will create unforgettable moments for you.

Accommodation In Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Accommodations near the reserved area are limited. But, there are a lot of options within a little distance. Most accommodations are available near Sipi Falls, Mount Elgon National Park, and Mbale Town. Within the reserve area, you can rest in the cottages and tents by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Likewise, a visitor can choose to camp around park headquarter with their tent or hire one from the park.

Some Essential Tips

Pian Upe is a semi-arid forest. As you are visiting a new place, you never know what awaits you. For a comfortable trip to Pian Upe Game Reserve on your Uganda Safari, here have some essential tips:

  1. It is recommended to pack light neutral colour clothes. Also, get some warm clothes for the chilly morning and evening.
  2. Wear comfortable closed shoes for the game drive and natural walk.
  3. It is advised to pack sunscreen lotion, mosquito repellent, sunglasses, and a sunhat to protect yourself from heat and insects.
  4. For those who are planning to camp, they must get camping equipment. This includes a tent, bedding, cup, plate, toiletries and other necessary things.
  5. Carry your cameras and binoculars to capture and see the views from a distance.
  6. Do not forget an extra battery, a flashlight, and a universal adaptor for emergencies.

SASO Uganda Safaris are licensed by the Uganda Tourism Board; are full members of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators; we feature on Safari Bookings and are reviewed positively on Tripadvisor, a worldwide recommended travel review website.

Get ready with your backpack to visit Pian Upe Game Reserve! Feel free to Contact Us for your Uganda Safaris plan. Our team is happy to help you with your plan and query.

Pian Upe Game Reserve is worth visiting for its peaceful safari activity. Though it is under development, you will experience the beautiful wilderness of Uganda Safari in Pian Upe.

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