Bugungu Wildlife Reserve

Bugungu Wildlife Reserve is located in the northwestern part of Uganda near Murchison Falls National Park in the Rift Valley escarpment. The reserve is made up of the savannah type of vegetation and seasonal wetlands. Bugungu Wildlife Reserve was established in 1968 to protect the ecological system of the area. It covers an area of about 473 square kilometers. It was first gazette in 1963 as a controlled hunting area.

The reserve also consists of the Karuma Wildlife Reserve and part of the Murchison Falls National Park. It also acts as a buffer zone and it is well known for the chimpanzee trekking since it also consists of the Budongo forest reserve.

 Bugungu is home to over 240 bird species which include the savannah residential and migratory birds. These include the Saddle-billed stock, Abyssinian ground horn bill, the rare shoe bill, dark chanting Goshawk, white-browed sparrow weaver, black-billed wood dove, swamp flycatcher, and many others. The wildlife in this reserve includes; lions, elephants, warthogs, waterbucks, Uganda Kobs, and many other small mammals.

What to see in the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve (Attractions)

Though the reserve is small in size, there are attractions to see while on your visit to the reserve and these include;


The reserve has a quite number of wildlife and include; lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, water backs, and many more attractions. The reserve is also home to some primates like L’Host monkeys, colobus monkeys, black and white  monkeys, olive baboons, patas monkeys, vervet monkeys, and many others.

Bugungu Wildlife Reserve
Bugungu Wildlife Reserve
Bird species

The reserve is home to over 240 bird species and among these bird species, we have the migratory and resident bird species. Some of these species are rare that is to say that they are not easy to find during a birding safari. The bird species include; white-browed sparrow weaver. Black-billed wood dove, swamp flycatcher, shoe bill, Abyssinian ground horn bill. Saddle-billed stock, and many others. This makes the reserve a birder’s haven.

What to do while in Bugungu Wildlife Reserve? (Activities)

While in the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, there are a variety of activities to do while in the reserve and they include;

Game viewing

Bugungu wildlife is home to a variety of wildlife species which are usually spotted during game viewing. It is done through trails with the savannah grassland. The game viewing will involve driving a 4×4 van through the savannah plains viewing and encountering wildlife like lions, buffaloes, elephants, warthogs, bushbacks, and many other animals.

Nature walk

The nature walks or safari walk is done within the reserve along the savannah vegetation with a game ranger where through this walk. You will be able to see some wildlife like buffaloes, warthogs, water backs, Oryx, and many others. This experience will allow you to have a close encounter with the wild on your Uganda safari.

Bird watching

The reserve is home to over 240 bird species and includes the savannah residents and migratory birds. These birds will offer an opportunity to a traveler on a Uganda safari to do his birding within the reserve. The bird species in the reserve include; black-headed Batis, saddle-billed stock. Black-billed bustard, yellow-throated greenbul, double-toothed barbet, saddle-billed stock. Giant kingfisher, and many others. this makes it a birder’s haven.

Accommodation – Where to stay?

Bugungu Life Reserve has no accommodation facilities. However, a traveler on a Uganda safari can choose either to camp within the reserve or to stay in the lodges in the Murchison Falls National Park. These include; the Chobe Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Paara Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, and many more.

Accessibility – How to get there?

While on your visit to the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, there are two routes the travelers will need to choose from.  Kampala to Bugungu via Hoima which is about a 5-hour drive in a distance of about 292.9 kilometers. Alternatively, the Kampala – Masindi – Bugungu road is also about 313 kilometers by road. Additionally, travelers can choose to book direct domestic flights from Entebbe Airport, Kajansi Airstrip to Bugungu Airstrip.

What is the best time to visit Bugungu Wildlife Reserve?

Bugungu game reserve is usually visited throughout the year. However, it is better to visit the reserve in the dry season December to January, and June to September. These months are the best to enjoy the activities in the reserve. On the other hand, during the wet season, it is highly recommended to move in a 4×4 safari van since the road is muddy. Additionally, during this season the vegetation is so thick that you can see well the wildlife.

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