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The fifth most threatened conservation area in Uganda, the 1520 square kilometre Matheniko Game Reserve is situated in the Karamoja region of the Moroto county. The park, which has its unique rocks that reach heights of six feet, is adjacent to Mount Elgon. The Somali-Masai ecoregion, which consists of a semi-desert, grassland, and shrubs getting little rainfall and difficult weather conditions, is where the north-eastern limit of the Matheniko Game Reserve is on the Uganda-Kenya border. The vegetation and wildlife in this area are able to endure the circumstances and are resilient.

Matheniko Game Reserve

A section of the Kidepo Valley National Park to Bokora and Pian Upe Game Reserves spanning corridor of protected areas in the Karamojong sub-region includes Matheniko Game Reserve. Despite its location, the game reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including reedbucks, topis, Uganda kobs, common duikers, lesser kudus, patas monkeys, vervet monkeys, elands, cheetahs, and leopards. Bird species including the cattle egret, Egyptian vulture, thick-bellied honey guide, Ethiopian swallow, pygmy falcon, and abbysian ground horn bill are among many more.

Due to the area’s historical significance dating back to the colonial era, when the locals (Karamojong) plundered firearms from an abandoned army barracks and used them to raid livestock, few visitors visit the area nowadays. They are nomads who think they own every cow and bull on the planet. These individuals upset nearby towns and nations, creating the impression that the northern region is hazardous for visitors. Matheniko’s unpopularity is attributed to the area’s isolation and lacklustre infrastructure growth.

The development of Matheniko Game Reserve’s infrastructure has received significant attention from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The finding of gold in the area has also helped to distance it from the gloomy Karamojong days and given the wildlife authority a chance to promote it as a desirable travel destination. It has been sought after as an option for a traveler who would love to receive something unique and fresh, along with the expanding tourism sector.

Due to the abundance of different animal species present, a variety of activities, including game drives and spot hunting, are conducted inside the park. Check out the ancient rock drawings that depict animal life in the park. In contrast to the Elgon and Rwenzori, the Karamojong plateau is abundant of rocks that may be climbed on. Cultural outings to the Karamojong people, who have not been exposed to western civilization at all and yet maintain their native way of thinking. A visit would provide you an insight into their cultural practises, social mores, and way of life.

The game reserve is open all year round, but the dry season is when most people go. The greatest time to go is right after the rains when everything is still green since that is when the animals come to graze a lot. Rainy seasons might be a bit challenging because of the scarce and poorly maintained roads. It is situated in northern Uganda, in the Moroto area, about six hours’ drive from Kampala. For people who don’t enjoy camping and want nicer lodging, there are campgrounds and cities like Kotido and Moroto nearby.

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