Ajai game reserve
Ajai game reserve is another fascinating tourist destination in Uganda located in the north western region, this interesting reserve is situated along the shores of the west bank of white Albert Nile in Arua district on the shores of Lake Albert. Ajai game reserve is a small protected area covering an area of 148 square kilometer standing at an altitude of 658 meters above the sea level, the reserve is a very secluded protected area making it perfect for touring.
Ajai game reserve managed by Uganda government through its wildlife authority the Uganda wildlife authority was declared as a wildlife reserve in 1965, purposely to safe guard the white rhinoceros from being killed by poachers. Unfortunately gazetting the land as a reserve contributed nothing to the conserving of the white rhinoceros as they are now non-existent in Uganda. Historically before the reserve being declared a reserve, it served as a sanctuary during the colonial era in the names of Ajai rhino sanctuary habiting 60 rhinos out of 80 which were remaining in Uganda, as a sanctuary it was put under the leadership and protection of an extremely powerful chief Ajai. This explains where the park derives its name from, Ajai as the leader of the introduced tough measures in order to put a stop on poaching and encroachment practices which were taking place in the reserve.
After gazetting the sanctuary as a game reserve in 1962, it received funds to finance an anti-poaching project in the reserve from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 1962, in 2002 out of the area covered by the reserve 12 square kilometers were curved off and given to people for settlement. In 2008 the operations of Ajai game reserve was privatized by the Uganda wildlife authority and the authorities were given to a hunting and photographic operator Uganda wildlife safaris limited.
Ajai game reserve is characterized of a prominent island which is surrounded and filled with savannah, swamps, these swamps are seasonal and being fed by river Acha and Ala. In wet season period where too much rain fall is received the swamps get extremely flooded cutting off the island from the outside world.
Though white rhinoceros are non-existent in the reserve, Ajai game reserve is a home to a variety of wildlife species which are encountered while on a tour in this reserve such as Olive baboons, the black and white colobus monkeys and the Vervet monkeys, the warthogs, the Sitatungas, the lions, the Lelwel Hartebeest, the Leopards, the Warthogs, Sitatungas, the Blue duikers, the zebras, Common Duiker, the Oribis, Uganda Kobs, black cobras, monitor lizards, hippopotamus, dik dik, waterbucks and many more. Ajai game reserve is one of the places where a leopard can easily be spotted as confessed by one of the tourists who visited the reserve on a safari.
Ajai wildlife reserve is also a great spot for bird watching, the reserve is a home to many bird species which can be seen in the park such as Marabou Stocks, weaver birds, African Fish Eagles and Grey Crowned cranes. The reserve can be explored on nature walks or game drive through the heart of the reserve.
Currently there are plans of reintroduced animals like Nile buffalo, plains zebra, hartebeest and Lelwel into the reserve.
Best time to visit Ajai wildlife reserve
Ajai wildlife reserve can be visited on a combined safari to Murchison falls national park, as an exciting tourist destination Ajai wildlife reserve can be visited throughout the year but if you are looking for the best experience. It is got in the dry month periods of December to early march and June to October.
NOTE: Visiting the reserve in rainy months is ok but the only problem with it is that when it rains so much the swamps in the island completely flood leaving no access to the rest of the world.
Accommodation in Ajai wildlife reserve
While on a safari in Ajai wildlife reserve accommodation can be got either from Arua or Gulu, in Arua you can use hill top hotel, new oasis hotel, royal crane resort hotel and many more. If you opt to get accommodation in Gulu you can use continental hotel Gulu, hotel free zone, Gulu crystal hotel, heldan inn and many more
Access to Ajai wildlife reserve.
Ajai wildlife reserve can be accessed by both air and road transport, by road transport it is approximately 7 hours’ drive from Kampala the starting point of most of the safaris to the reserve. From Gulu town it is a drive of about 4 hours and from Arua town it is a drive of 40 minutes. If opting to use air means of transport to the reserve, chartered domestic flights are offered from either Entebbe international airport or kajjasi airstrip landing at Arua airfield.
For a tourist on a safari to Murchison falls national park and kidepo national park, visiting Ajai game reserve will make your safari experience more exciting.