Matheniko Wildlife Reserve is one of Uganda’s outstanding protective conservation area sited in the Karamoja sub region of northeastern country and ranks the 5th most threatened conservation protected area in Uganda. More so, it lies on low and high latitude of between 1070 and 1,830 meters.
Generally, Matheniko wildlife reserve covers an area of about 590 square miles and is also part of the wider Karamojong wildlife protection zone including Pian Upe, Bokora and the Kidepo Valley National Park at large. This game reserve is close to Mount Elgon and offers its own rocks that spans up to about 6.000 feet. More then, its located in semi rid conditions but rain tends to fall between April and May and in November. The common grown vegetation includes the Red acacia, Red spike thorns, Harrisonia abyssinica, shrubs-butterfly pea, woolly caper bush and bush willows and more.
Despite the fact, the reserve stands out with its scenic landscape, unique vegetation, mountains and rocky outcrops. Matheniko wildlife reserve lies few meters away from Kidepo Valley National Park Africa’s untouched wilderness but less visited, because of its poor location being remoteness and poor infrastructure to access the park. The area where it is located it is home for Karamojong known as cattle keeper whom you can visit and enjoy gainful view of their machete fences or enjoy their tradition dances and songs. In so doing, the government has supported them through help in building the image of the Karamojong as well as promoting tourism in the area.
For that matter of discovering of Gold in the Matheniko county has helped a lot to emphasize on the area and its wildlife, by the governmental body the Uganda Wildlife Authority which has taken good adventure of this newly selling thing found positive publicity to market the Matheniko wildlife reserve and the whole Karamoja region as a worth more destination in Uganda. Which added on Uganda’s Tourism industry ‘s growth.
The government of Uganda has improved on infrastructure roads both within and outside the reserve which are being revamped while nice hotels have been set up to cater for the ever increasing number of people eager to discover this unmatched part of Africa.
Just few years, Matheniko will most likely to compete with Pian Upe and Bokora Game Reserves to form part of Kidepo Valley National Park.
Wild animals in Matheniko Wildlife Reserve
Wild animals and plants to encounter in Matheniko Wildlife Reserve comprises of mainly to those species that survive in harsh conditions. This wildlife reserve is semi-arid for a great side of the year with high temperature and little rainfall. Animals in this area are used with the weather condition in the area whereby they can survive for long period of time without water. Animals here are scattered in smaller groups and not as dense as in the large game parks like Kidepo Valley or Murchison Falls.
Predators to explore here includes; serval, cats, wild cats, Cheetahs, Civets, Leopards and Jackals, Hyenas, Jackels. Primates to see include patas monkeys among others. Antelopes species includes dik-dik, eland, mountain reedbuck, roan antelopes, Uganda kob, Oribis, Bright’s gazelle, Topi, duiker, bohor reedbuck among others. Other animals like Giraffe can be seen in Kidepo Valley National Park and Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve.
More so, Matheniko Game Reserve is hoven for birders, bird species to see include; African hill barbler, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Black throated wattle eye, Black-headed plover, Bronze napped pigeon, Cattle egret, Dusky turtle dove, Clapperton’s Francolin, Eastern Bronze –napped Pigeon, Egyptian Vulture, Lemon dove, Thick-billed honey guides, Red-billed Oxpecker, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Grey cuckoo shrike among others.
Best time to visit to Matheniko Wildlife Reserve
One can visit the reserve throughout the year, though the wildlife viewing is quite rewarding during the dry season –December to January and June to September. This time is extremely beautiful offering memorable photography of the vast mountains, rocks, valleys and shrubs.
Attractions in Matheniko Wildlife Reserve
Game drives and Sport hunting has great attraction on visitor’s visit to the reserve. Along your game hunters you will enjoy the terrain through hunting down antelopes for sport. Tourists interested in standard game drives are advised to first register with the office in Moroto town with a guide to escort you to the open savannah.
Mountain and Rock Climbing;
The karamoja area boosts with massive rocks and mountains. Have chances of experiencing awesome climbing adventure along the large rocks found in Matheniko Wildlife Reserve which out putting in much energy, on its top you will be able to view the vast Karamoja plains and wildlife.
On visit to northeastern Uganda region to Matheniko Game Reserve, you will also get amazed of Karamojong people culture, value and their unique traditional which is unspoiled. Though they are known as pastoralists but also their intriguing dress code which is made facial and body scars that signify beauty. The women beauty themselves with beautiful beads to reveal their appearance. Perhaps, they are good in entertaining their amazing cultural dance show.
Visit the Matheniko Community Conservation and Beekeeping Project
There are three tribes which are The Turkan, Tepeth and Matheniko who are enclosed by the Mount Moroto forest reserve. These three tribes are good in collecting honey in the forest through using destructive methods like smoking out the bee from their hives before harvesting.
These rocks have been existing for years and on visitor’s visit here you will enjoy painting experience on the rocks.
This is also another experience you can engage in under romantic sunset place of rest no other than Matheniko Wildlife Reserve. Camping offers a clear view of the galaxies and milky way.
Most importantly, on visit to Matheniko you must use an open roof to provide fresh air and the vehicle must be 4×4 vehicle wheel drive.
Where to stay on visit
The area around Matheniko Wildlife Reserve has few nice accommodation facilities, you can sleep in public campsites where you can prepare your own meals while within the reserve.
There is also private camping within the game reserve that offers a level of privacy and easy to access to wildlife species which can be possible in the major national parks.