Bugungu wildlife reserve
Bugungu wildlife reserve is a small gazetted area on the western side of Murchison falls national park between the park and Lake Mobutu Sese Seko. Bugungu wildlife reserve is located in Bulisa and Masindi districts at the base of the Rift valley escarpment and it comprises savannah vegetation. This wildlife reserve was gazetted by the government in 1968 to protect different wildlife species that were living in the area.
Bugungu wildlife reserve occupies a total area of 473 sq. km which are full of open savannah woodland vegetation. The wildlife reserve is home to over 240 bird species, mammals, and primates. This reserve is said to be home to over 200 Uganda kobs and 1200 oribis and these are seen everywhere within the reserve.
Activities to do in Bugungu wildlife reserve
Game drives: Game drives are one of the most done activities in Bugungu wildlife reserve where tourists are taken through different game trucks to see different wildlife within the park. The game reserve is home to several mammals, primates, and bird species most of which can be seen on game drives.
During game drives in Bugungu wildlife reserve animals to spot include lions, Uganda kobs, oribis, warthogs, elands, topis, buffaloes, waterbucks, oryx, did-dik, elephants, reedbucks, giraffes, sitatungas, l’hoests monkeys, patas monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, hippos, and many others.
Bird watching: This is another common activity done in Bugungu wildlife reserve since its a home to over 240 bird species. The activity is done in form of nature walks and the armed ranger guides do lead bird lovers to the best spots of the reserve where different birds are seen with naked eyes or with a pair of binoculars.
Birds in bugugu wildlife reserve include Shoebill stork, African dove, Abyssinian ground horn bill, dark chanting goshowak, black-headed batis, long-tailed nightjar, white-browed sparrow weaver, chestnut-crowned sparrow weaver, black-bellied bustards, red-winged grey warbler, goliath heron, eastern grey plantain-eater, pel’s fishing owl, speckle-breasted woodpecker, rock pratincole, and spotted morning thrush.
Other birds in bugungu wildlife reserve include northern red bishop, yellow-throated greenbul, yellow-throated greenbul, black-billed barbets, black-billed wood dove, black-faced waxbill, double-toothed barbet, white-fronted black chat, fork-tailed drongo, saddle-billed stork, whistling cisticola, common teal, grey crowned crane, giant kingfisher, black-faced waxbill, swamp flycatcher, silver bird, and black-headed gonolek among others.
Nature walks: Nature walks in Bugungu forest reserve are by tourists that would love to explore the region on foot. The nature walk activities in Bugungu forest reserve are guided and it’s the armed ranger guides who lead participants to different areas of the protected area. The nature walks give tourists an opportunity to see different bird species, mammals, primates, vegetation, and Lake Albert.
Community visits: While at this wildlife reserve, tourists can take a visit to the nearby communities and get to interact with the locals. A visit to the communities around the park gives tourists an opportunity to see how local people live their day to day lives, interact with the elders, be part of the community activities, support small businesses and donate to the needy.
Where to stay in Bugungu wildlife reserve
Tourists that are planning to visit Bugungu wildlife reserve and looking for where they will stay if they are to be there a night or more. They should know that there is no established accommodation facility in this area but there are camping sites where they can stay while protected by armed ranger guides all through the night. For those that want well-built lodges, they will have to sleep in those of Murchison falls national park.
Getting to Bugungu wildlife reserve
Bugungu wildlife reserve is located about 291 km from Kampala and it can be accessed by road transport within a single day. From Kampala, tourists can use Kampala-Hoima Road or Kampala-Masindi Road to get to this reserve which is in the southwest of the national park. From Masindi, tourists will enter the national park using Bugungu gate through Budongo forest to the wildlife reserve.
Travelers who want to access this wildlife reserve in the quickest way possible can fly to Murchison falls national park because it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. Flights to Murchison falls national park are used by luxury travelers and even those that hate traveling for long distances. Flights start from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip and land at Pakuba airstrip or Bugungu airstrip inside the park.
When to visit Bugungu wildlife reserve
Bugungu wildlife reserve can be visited at any time of the year however there are months that are better than the rest. The dry months are best to visit the wildlife reserve and they happen from June to September and December to February, they are characterized by little or no rainfall which makes the tracks dry, vegetation is short and thin with good views of the attractions and the roads leading to the reserve are passable.
Travelers can still visit this wildlife reserve in the rainy season from March to May and October to November to enjoy discounts on accommodation and tour packages. The rainy season is however characterized by too much rainfall that makes the tracks muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall and thick with unclear views of the parka animals and the roads leading to the reserve are in good condition.