Skip to content
Call Us: +256782105855 Email:

 Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Pian Upe is located in Nakapiripiti district in the north-eastern region of Uganda, with a total of roughly 8 additional districts either closely or partially covered by the stretch of the game reserve.

 Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is located in Nakapiripiti district in the north-eastern region of Uganda, with a total of roughly 8 additional districts either closely or partially covered by the stretch of the game reserve. These districts are: Amudat, Moroto, Katakwi, Napak, Kween, Kumi, Bukedea, and Bulambuli. The little-known reserve spans 2,788 kilometers of semi-arid terrain north of Mount Elgon.


Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve at a glance

Pian Upe gets its name from its community, where “Pian” refers to a clan among the Karamajong people of north-eastern Uganda, and “Upe” refers to a Kalenjin-speaking pastoral community of the Karamongs who are said to have originated from the Pokot tribe in Kenya, but are now settled near the Amudat district’s wildlife reserve. “Pian” means “calm-hearted people,” and “Upe” means “enemy,” therefore when both terms are combined, you get the phrase “friendly foes.”

pian upe game reserveIn 1958, the reserve’s southern section was designated as the Debasien Animal Sanctuary. The feasibility of wildlife conservation in the entire area was jeopardised by a government-led proposal to convert land immediately south of the Greek River for cultivation. The area was enlarged northward and renamed Pian-Upe Game Reserve in 1964.

A plan to degazette the reserve in order to harvest fruit on the site was defeated in 2003.

Cheposukunya has a hot spring potential for geothermal tapping. In addition, there are Mercury wells on Mt. Kadam.

The reserve has a semi-arid climate with only one rainy season each year.


Wildlife at Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve


The reserve is mostly made up of undisturbed grassland and forested grassland. There are also small pockets of riverine woods and kopjes. Some land is farmed, and conversion is especially dangerous along the Greek River.

Red acacia and desert date are the dominant tree species. Bushwillows, Harrisonia abyssinica, and red spike-thorns are also prevalent. Butterfly pea and woolly caper bush are two shrubs. There are several live fences of yellow oleander in cultivated regions.

Thatching grass and bristle species are common grasses in grasslands. Lemon grasses and beard grasses are less prevalent. Vlei bristle grass and red nut sedge predominate along the waterways. Every year, the bottom vegetation layer burns.





Although there were previously strong populations of lions, elephants, black rhinos, and giraffes in the region, these are now locally extinct. According to reports, the last giraffe was poached in 1995. UWA reintroduced 15 giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park into the reserve in October 2019. Grants gazelle populations are threatened, as are plains zebra and common eland populations.


The oribi is the most often seen animal in the reserve. Other species known to live in the vicinity (as of 1996) include:

Carnivores include Jackals, Civets, spoted Hyenas, Servals, Leopards, and Cheetahs. Primates include Vervet monkeys, Patas monkeys, and Olive baboons. Ungulates include Cape buffalo, Topi, The common eland, Antelope roan, Duiker, both blue and common, The dik-dik of Günther, Klipspringer, Waterbuck, Uganda kob, Mountain reebuck and bohor, Giraffe, Impala, The rock hyrax, Aardvark, crested Porcupine, and the Hedgehog with four toes


Pian Upe is home to huge rock pythons as well as lesser yet deadly puff adders. There are also harmless water snakes there.

Savannah monitors are the biggest lizards in Pian Upe. The reserve also has skinks, chameleons, and geckos, as well as the common agama.


Activities at Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Game drives, nature walks, hiking, cycling, camping, community walks, and birding are all popular activities. Community visits will introduce you to the traditions and ways of life of the people in your surroundings. The Pian and the Upe are the two most populous tribes in the area around Pian Upe. In Kenya, the Upe are a Kalenjin-speaking people known as the Pokot. The Pian are a Karamojong subgroup. These two tribes are pastoralists. You will learn about traditional weddings, clothing, and dances on your community stroll. There is an ancient cave with paintings of baboons and other animals that was used for art and pleasure. The Napendio Cave is the name given to this cave.






Best time to visit Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

The best time to visit the reserve is during the dry months of December to March, when the vegetation is dry and animals congregate around water sources. This makes them more visible. The rainy season lasts from March to May and September to November, making road travel difficult. Visitors who want to see the lush valleys and luscious foliage can go during this season.

Consider taking light clothing for your visit to the reserve, considering the hot climate and the air that flows through the valley system during the day. The nights are quite chilly, necessitating the use of thick gear. Other items to bring include a cap, dark sunglasses, bug repellant, hiking boots, and devices like as cameras and binoculars.





Where to stay at Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

There are self-contained safari tents and cottages available for lodging. The Uganda Wildlife Authority bandas and the Karamoja Overland Camp are examples of them. Other nearby lodging options include Hotel Leslona, Lavender Inn, Shalosa Hotel, and Mount Moroto Hotel, among others.