Matheniko game reserve
Matheniko game reserve is an amazing conservation area found in north eastern Uganda in Moroto district, this game reserve covering an area of 590 square kilometers lies in karamoja sub region and part of the great karamoja wildlife protection zone which includes the reserve itself, Pian Upe, Bokora and the vast Kidepo Valley National Park. Matheniko game reserve is close to mountain Elgon lieing at an elevation range of 1070 and 1830 meters above the sea level, this fascinating game reserve is ranked as the 5th threatened conservation area in Uganda partly because of human threats to the animals and vegetation it harbors.
Matheniko game reserve experiences semi-desert climatic conditions which are very similar to masai-land in Kenya and Somalia, climatic conditions in this reserve consists of long dry season periods that is June to September and February to December with short rain periods of April, May and November. The average annual rain fall received in the reserve is 670 millimeters.
ATTRRACTIONS IN MATHENIKO GAME RESERVE
Matheniko game reserve is made up of very beautiful and scenic landscape which provides good photography, the landscape is filled with mountains and rocky out crops which makes the reserve more attractive.
Matheniko game reserve is covered by various beautiful vegetation species which are influenced by semi-arid climatic conditions, vegetation types include red spike thorns, Red acacia, Harrisonia abyssinica, bush willows and shrubs like butterfly pea and woolly caper bush. This kind of vegetation offers uninterrupted view of the wildlife to the tourist while on a game drive.
Matheniko game reserve is one of the best areas to view a variety of wildlife in northern Uganda, though animals are not of large population like kidepo national park they are always seen scattered in the vegetation of the park. The reserve is known for harboring a large population of antelope species and wildlife species in the reserve include predators, reptile and primates. Wildlife include serval cats, wild cats, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, civets, Leopards, topi, duikers, waterbuck, jackals, stripped hyena, cheetah, leaser kudu patas monkeys, baboons, vervet monkeys, dik dik, eland, Uganda kob, Oribi, Bright’s gazelle, cape buffalo. Reptiles encountered in the park include puff adders, small lizards, chameleons, skinks, geckos, water snakes, large rock pythons and large monitor lizards.
The unique aspect about animals in this reserve is that they can take long without getting a drip of water and most the animals found in this reserve are very rare outside the karamoja region, also animals like giraffe do visit the reserve from kidepo national park and pian Upe wildlife reserve
Matheniko game reserve is a certified bird paradise as there are numerous colorful bird species which are encountered while in this reserve, bird species include the fascinating ostrich, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, African hill barbler, Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon Black-headed plover, Thick-billed Honey guide Bronze napped pigeon, Cattle egret, Verreaux’s Eagle Clapperton’s Francolin, Dusky turtle dove, , Egyptian Vulture, Ethiopian swallow, Grey cuckoo shrike, Black throated wattle eye, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Lemon dove, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Pygmy Falcon, Red-billed Oxpecker, and many more.
SAFARI ACTIVITIES IN MATHENIKO GAME RESERVE
Matheniko game reserve offers many interesting safari activities which are to offer you the best experience you can get in Uganda the pearl of Africa, these interesting activities include
Cultural tours in matheniko game reserve take you to the amazing Karamojong people, a tour in the Karamojong community will unveil you the unique aspects of the tribal people. Karamojong are a few tribal groups in Uganda which still have unspoiled culture, traditions and values, in the community you will be welcomed by people with interesting dress code and body marks/ scars on various body parts such as face and the rest of the body. Cultural dances, touring the kraal and manyattas houses will blow your mind and leave you fascinated.
Game drives and sport hunting
Matheniko game reserve is a known home for many interesting beautiful wildlife species and scenic landscape where game drive take place, on the game drive you spot many animals like , hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, civets, Leopards, topi, duikers, waterbuck, jackals, stripped hyena as they graze in the vegetation. When going for a game drive you register with the reserve’s office in Moroto town which assigns you an escort guide to the reserve.
Sport hunting in matheniko game reserve is favored by a suitable terrain making it easy to hunt various animals like antelopes, this practice is managed by Karimojong Overland Safaris and Karamoja Safari.
Mountain and rock climbing
Mountain and rock climbing is another breath taking safari activity in the reserve involving climbing countless massive rocks and mountains in the karamoja plateau, climbing these rocks and mountain are best suit for first timers in hiking and while on top you get to enjoy the picturesque view of karamoja plains and the numerous animals in the reserve.
Community visit to matheniko community conservation and bee keeping project
Just outside matheniko game reserve there is matheniko community conservation and bee keeping project which are open for visits while on your safari in the reserve, this project was established to teach locals that is the turkana, Tepeth and matheniko self-reliance so as to stop participating in environment degrading activities like illegals logging of trees from mount Moroto forest reserve for charcoal and firewood. The project also teaches modern bee keeping methods to the locals and upon your visit to this project you get to witness and participate in the process.
Matheniko game reserve is dotted with many rocks with rock painting dating back to over 35000 years ago, according to legendary stories the Nilotics and kushites were responsible for these painting which they did during their free time as a way of conveying what their life style is all about. Visiting these rock painting help you relive their life as you learn more about them through explained paintings on the rocks.
Camping is also another loved safari activity in the reserve, many tourist want to experience nature and its wilderness while on a safari which can only be experienced by camping in the reserve. While camping in matheniko game reserve you get to enjoy the breathtaking sunrise, sun set and clear view of the galaxies in the night.
ACCESSING MATHENIKO GAME RESERVE
From Kampala city the beginning spot for most of the safaris to matheniko game reserve it’s a distance of 248 kilometers drive while using road transport means. When driving to the reserve it is very advisable to use a 4X4 air-conditioned safari car because the area is hot and dusty, also airport means of transport can be used to access the reserve. Domestic flights to the reserve are offered by aero link to the reserve o scheduled basis.
ACCOMMODATION IN MATHENIKO GAME RESERVE
Matheniko game reserve has few good facilities offering accommodation to tourists, while on the safari in this reserve more comfortable accommodation can be got from either Kotido or Moroto town. Within the reserve there is public campsites where you can also spend the night but expect to cook your own meals
BEST TIME TO VISIT MATHENIKO GAME RESERVE
Matheniko game reserve is open throughout the year but the best time to visit this interesting game reserve is during the dry months of June to September and February to December. What makes dry season the best time for visiting the reserve is that during these periods the roads are passable, the vegetation in the reserve is short making it more visible to spot animals. Unlike in wet season periods of April to May and October to November when roads leading and in the park are muddy making them totally impassable.
Matheniko game reserve is among the fascinating conservation areas in Uganda where visiting it won’t only give the best safari experience but also enhance your knowledge and love about nature, the reserve can be included in your safari to the great kidepo national park, pian Upe game reserve and mountain Elgon situated in eastern Uganda.