Kabwoya wildlife reserve

Kabwoya wildlife reserve is positioned within the western part of the Albertine rift valley between the breathtaking Blue Mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the tranquil Lake Albert. It was gazetted in 1980 and became a wildlife reserve in 2002. The reserve was initially a controlled hunting ground and in the year 1963, it became part of the 227 kilometers Kaiso-Tonya Controlled Hunting Area (KTCHA), which then represented an important component in a migration route along the eastern shore of Lake Albert between Murchison Falls National Park and the Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve. Nevertheless, the large herds of elephants, buffaloes, Defassa waterbucks, Uganda kobs, Jackson’s hartebeests and many more once associated with the KTCHA but in 1982 when a survey was undertaken, they vanished. A big number of animals were wiped out by poachers during the long years of civil war and others just dispersed elsewhere as a result of completion with cattle herders.

At the turn of the millennium, a belated effort to protect the remnant wildlife led to an 87 kilometers portion of KTCHA southwestern part of River Hohwa being upgraded in status to form the Kabwoya wildlife reserve and at the same time, the northeastern part was rebranded as the Kaiso-Tonya Community Wildlife Area. It is characterized by remote Savannah plains along Lake Albert and tourists can enjoy the striking views of the magnificent Blue Mountains of Democratic Republic of Congo and Lake Albert. With the translocation of more animals into the reserve, it is increasingly becoming a Uganda wildlife safari paradise.

What to do in Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve

Fishing

Fishing within Kabwoya wildlife reserve is conducted from the fresh waters of Lake Albert where tourists can be able to catch different sizes of the Nile perch, tilapia and cat fish among others. It is a half day adventure using motorboats with a maximum of three (3) anglers also known as the fishermen in each boat for safety reasons. While on the motorboat, a safari guide will provide you with fishing equipments such as the hooks which you will use to catch various fish species.

Birding

Kabwoya wildlife reserve is an important birding area due to it being a home to over 460 bird species including the Albertine rift endemic bird species such as dwarf honey guide, black-faced apalis, Rwenzori apalis, grauer’s swamp warbler, grauer’s warbler, Neumann’s warbler, red-faced woodland warbler, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Rwenzori batis, purple-breasted sunbird, dusky crimson-wing, strange weaver, blue-headed sunbird, archer’s robin-chat, regal sunbird,  shelley’s crimson-wing, grey crowned crane, Willard’s sooty boubou and many others. You will need a camera and binoculars for an ultimate birding experience.

Game drives

Kabwoya wildlife reserve is relatively a small reserve but this doesn’t stop it from being a perfect place for game drives. During your game drives, you will get to enjoy the scenic views of the park, the short vegetation cover with shrubs and a large population of animals which include the leopards, hyenas, buffalos, elephants, oribis, reedbucks, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, bush bucks, duikers, impalas, sitatunga, warthogs, hippos and primates such as chimpanzees, black and white colobus and vervet monkeys as they roam in the short grass of the reserve. Don’t forget your cameras to take pictures and videos for memories.

Mountain biking

This activity is done in biking trails running through the magnificent savannah plains of the reserve. Mountain biking experience is good for keeping your body physically fit and as you ride through the reserve, you will spot many animals and bird species.

Primate watching

The reserve has also got a number of different primate species which include the baboons, chimpanzees, black and white colobus and vervet monkeys which are usually found along the banks of River Hohwa and River Wamababya. At times, short chimpanzee tracking tours can be done due to the presence of chimpanzees found in the riverine forest along the Hohwa River.

Guided nature walks

This is an interesting activity where tourists get an opportunity to explore the reserve on foot with the company of an experienced guide who will protect you from dangerous animals. During the guided nature walk activity, you will get a close look at some of the animals, view different bird species, enjoy the cool breeze and sweet sounds of bird species singing in trees.

Horseback riding

This is an amazing activity that you can opt to go for either early morning or in the evening when the heat is not too much. Horse ride safaris are highly recommended because it is a great way of game viewing; all the wildlife that you hope to see during your game drives or even nature walks can be expected during your horse ride in the reserve.

Fossil hunting

Fossil hunting is one of the most important and interesting activities that allows tourists to go out on an expedition for fossils such as the spear head and piece of pottery that have existed for generations. Fossil hunting on the Kabwoya wildlife reserve produces results for visitors and is not just an exercise in futility but people actually find fossils here. So, don’t hesitate to go for this activity when you visit the reserve.

Quad biking

Quad biking activity is yet another fun way of touring the natural beauty of Kabwoya wildlife reserve and while carrying out this activity, you’re expected to follow demarcated trails in the savannah plains and while doing so, you get to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and also sight animals and birds in the reserve.

Best time to visit the reserve

Kabwoya wildlife reserve is visited throughout the year although the best time to visit is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. In the time of the dry season, the reserve receives less rainfalls therefore vegetation will be thin which helps you to view wildlife species easily and also access roads to the reserve will be passable.

How to get there?

Kabwoya wildlife reserve can be accessed from Kampala to Hoima via Busunju-Kiboga which is approximately 240 kilometers and from Hoima; it is just a distance of 82 kilometers to the reserve. Before the oil industry began to operate in the area, the road was in bad condition but now, it has been well surfaced with bitumen making accession to the reserve easier.