Ugalla River Game Reserve

Welcome to Ugalla River Game Reserve 

This flat and low-lying Game Reserve was created in 1965 and covers an area of 5000 square kilometers (1930 square miles) across Tabora region in Central-western Tanzania, on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika. It derived its name from River Ugalla that flows through its landscape and is one of the most exceptional Protected Areas in the country because it is the only licensed Reserve for fishermen and honey gatherers (for only 6 months a year)

Climate and Vegetation of Ugalla River Game Reserve

There are two main seasons here-dry and wet season with rains coming from March to May and is the perfect time for bird watchers to visit but majority of the roads become impassable due to heavy rains while the dry season begins from June to September and December to February and is ideal for game viewing. The general temperature of the Reserve ranges from 13 to 41 Celsius degrees depending on the altitude of the area.

The area of this Game Reserve is made up of two main ecosystems that include the vast floodplains and the immense Miombo woodland that offers shelter to a wide range of wildlife and bird species. There is a flood plain alongside the Wala and Ugalla Rivers offering all year water supply for the elephants and other wildlife species found in the Game Reserve.

Attractions within Ugalla River Game Reserve

Wildlife species inhabiting this Game Reserve include the elusive leopards, Sable antelopes, lions, greater kudus, Dik-diks, common reedbucks, Hyenas, Topis, Crocodiles, African wild dogs, the Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, Oribis, the Roan antelopes, jackals, elands, bush pigs, warthogs, Defassa waterbucks, elephants, buffaloes, yellow baboons, Bohor reedbucks,  lesser kudus, East African bush duikers, elephants and waterbucks among others. Also, there are numerous Hippos and crocodiles within the Ugalla River.

Additionally, bird species such as Ostriches and secretary birds are easily spotted within Ugalla River Game Reserve. Besides the animals and birds, the spectacular Ugalla River that drains through the middle of the Game Reserve is another important attraction to explore within this wonderful Reserve. Some of the activities to enjoy here include game viewing walking safaris, fishing, honey gathering and hunting.

Perfect Time to explore Ugalla River Game Reserve

Much as the Reserve is open all year round, it is a good idea to explore it during the dry season because the wet season is inaccessible due to the extensive floods and muddy or slippery roads leading to and within the Reserve. The dry season is also a perfect time for wildlife viewing much as there are also numerous bird species to see during the wet season.

Access to Ugalla River Game Reserve

Accessibility to this Game Reserve is by road where 4WD Vehicles are used due to the impassable roads during rainy season or air transport where chartered flights are organized from Arusha and Dar es Salaam.

In conclusion, Ugalla River Game Reserve is a wonderful tourist destination within Tanzania and rewards tourists with the views of wildlife species such as common reedbucks, Hyenas, Topis, Crocodiles, African wild dogs, the Lichtenstein’s hartebeests, Oribis, the Roan antelopes, jackals, elands, bush pigs, warthogs, Defassa waterbucks, elephants and many others, thus making nature walks the main activity within the Game Reserve.

Bugungu Wildlife Reserve Uganda

Welcome to Bugungu Wildlife Reserve

Did you know that while on the safari to Murchison Falls National Park, you can also get the chance to visit other beautiful Protected Areas within the popular Murchison Falls Conservation Area, especially Bugungu Wildlife Reserve (MFCA)? Yes it is absolutely possible during Uganda safaris.

Extending for approximately 473 square kilometers (182 square miles), Bugungu Wildlife Reserve is small Protected Area that protects a seasonal wetland and grassland at the base of the magnificent Rift Valley Escarpment to the western side of the vast Murchison falls National Park. Established into a Wildlife Reserve in 1968, it is one of the oldest Reserves in the country and currently sits between Masindi and Buliisa Districts, thus making it one of the must-visit sites while on a safari from or to the Murchison Falls National Park.

A number of wildlife species call the Wildlife Reserve home and these include antelopes such as over 1200 Oribis, Dik-dik, bushbucks, over 600 Uganda Kobs, elands, Topis, Sitatunga, waterbucks, Reedbucks, primates such as Olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and vervet monkeys as well as Warthogs, Oryx, Lions, Leopards, Hippos, Buffaloes, and Giraffes among others.

Additionally, there are over 250 species of birds recorded within the Wildlife Reserve but the common ones include the Saddle billed storks, Shoebill storks, Double-toothed barbets, Giant Kingfishers, Black-headed Batis, Abyssinian ground hornbills, black-headed Gonolek, Black-bellied Bustards, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Black-bellied Barbets, Swamp flycatcher, white-browed sparrow weavers, Speckle-breasted woodpecker, Eastern grey Plantain-eater, Yellow-throated greenbul and black-billed wood doves among others.

Activities You Can Enjoy Within Bugungu Wildlife Reserve

Some of the exhilarating tourist activities any enthusiastic tourist should expect to relish after visiting the small Bugungu Wildlife Reserve include game viewing through some of the well-maintained game tracks, bird watching, nature walks/hiking, picnics and camping as well as community visit to the villages surrounding the Wildlife Reserve.

Perfect Time to Visit the Wildlife Reserve

If you ask about what the perfect time is to visit Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, I would say anytime of the year because this destination is an all year round site thus you can choose to visit at whatever time you wish to. However, most tourists prefer visiting in the dry season (mid June to September and December to early March) because it offers higher chances to spot the animals that usually converge at water points due to limited access to water.

Besides Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, tourists have the chance to visit Ajai, Pian Upe, Bokora Corridor, Kigezi Mountain, Toro-Semliki, Kabwoya, Katonga, Karuma and Matheniko Wildlife Reserves during Uganda safaris. These offers wildlife species such as giraffes, Hippos, buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, antelopes (Uganda Kobs, Topis, bushbucks, waterbucks and elands), warthogs and many others that most tourists always think are only found within the 10 National Parks in the country.

Jozani Forest Reserve

If you ever find yourself within Zanzibar, stop by Jozani Forest Reserve where you will not only explore pristine Beach resorts but also see several endangered wildlife species especially the phenomenal loose-fringed monkeys and the photogenic Kirk’s red colobus, rare and beautiful primate specie whose home range is restricted to the Zanzibar Island. These Primates have been habituated and are easy to spot on top of being approachable but the Forest is not only known for the monkeys but also outstanding bird species. The Kirk’s red colobus monkeys mainly feed on leaves and live on tree branches and bushes.

Also referred as Jozani Chwaka National Park, this Forest Reserve was gazetted in the 1960s at the heart of Zanzibar Island (in the central east of the Island) with an aim of conserving the endangered Kirk’s red colobus monkeys and extends for only 50 square kilometers and is so far the only National Park on this lush Island. Found on the main Island of Zanzibar known as Unguja Island, the forest Reserve also includes a tidal water-washed area between Chwaka and Uzi island bays, characterized by mangrove trees as well as other spectacular marine vegetation.

The large size of the woodland landscape of this verdant forest cover is magical and is nestled within an ancient coral bed that creates a shallow depression with lush coral rag forests as well as dense bushlands that cover the higher ground around it. It is characterized by a wide range of woodland landscape that features tidal water-washed areas between Uzi and Chwaka Island Bays but the mangrove trees are the main marine vegetation type here.

Special attractions to see within Jozani Forest Reserve

Jozani Forest Reserve supports a stunning variety of flora that in turn host a wide range of fauna including mammals like the Suni antelopes, the rare Zanzibar leopard, bush pigs, Sykes monkeys, bushbucks, Ader’s duikers, galago and shrew, more than 100 species of butterflies and reptiles like monitor lizards and chameleons in addition to the Amphibians such as frogs.

When you visit this Forest Reserve, pay a close attention to the beautiful and brightly colored sunbirds as they flit among the nice tropical flowers as they suck nectar from them. Also, beautiful fish species such as crabs and Mollusks can be found within the area.

Tourist activities within Jozani Forest Reserve

  • Nature walks/Hiking

The main activity within Jozani Forest Reserve is the 45-minute walk and the Forest has a wonderful hiking trail as well as trained, experienced and informative guides that take tourists through the jungles to sight the different wildlife, butterflies and tree species such as Mama Mtondoo (also referred as Mother Mahogany, believed to be about 200 years old), the raffia fern trees and twin trees (sycamore and stranger fig that grow together) on the Island. Due to the thick vegetation, tourists are advised to dress comfortably because there is very little or no shade on the walk. There is a boardwalk to take you through the creek mangroves and coastal forest to see the wonders of this Reserve.

Besides the Jozani Forest Reserve, other places to visit on Zanzibar Island include the Zanzibar Butterfly Center and Paje, known for its stunning beaches and breathtaking surroundings.