Matheniko Wildlife Reserve

Matheniko Wildlife Reserve is part of the larger Karamoja sub-regional conservation areas which covers three game reserves of Matheniko, Pian-Upe and Bokora in northeastern part of Uganda. The reserve was gazzetted in 1964 as part of the controlled hunting areas, Matheniko game reserve covers an area of 1520km2 (590 square miles) with drier weather conditions similar to Somalia and Maasai-land in Kenya. The area has semi-desert conditions but with rains between April and May and in November. The common vegetation are the red spike thorns, Red acacia, Harrisonia abyssinica, bushwillows and shrubs like butterfly pea and woolly caper bush.

The game reserve is under management of Uganda Wildlife Authority, because it’s located in the remotest reach to tourists. The discovery of gold in the region near the Matheniko reserve is of great deal that infrastructures are being built which is facilitating tourism growth in the region. In recent years of 2012 building simple sleeping facilities.

Geographical Location of Matheniko Wildlife Reserve

Matherniko game reserve resides in Moroto district stretch to share border with Uganda and Kenya. It’s in the Karamoja region, north of Moroto along the imaginary line of 2°40′-3°07’N, 34°10′-34°50’E. lUCN Directory of Afrotropical Protected Areas Altitude 1,200- 1,600m Area 160,000ha. Matheniko ends the larger Karamoja conservation area that stretches right from Kidepo Valley National Park covering Bokora game reserve and Pian-Upe game reserve forming the wider karamoja plateau.

Wildlife in Matheniko Wildlife Reserve


Resident mammals include lion Panthera leo, leopard Panthera pardus (V), cheetah Acinonyx jubalus (V), giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, eland Taurolragus oryx, roan antelope Hippotragus equinui, and Bright’s gazelle Nanga notatus.

Animals and birds

The reserve is habitat to a wider wildlife species among which include Antelopes ie. Bright’s gazelle, lesser kudu, roan antelope, Waterbucks, Mountain reedbucks, Ugandan kobs, Blue duikers, Oribis, Bohor reedbucks, Topi, Common duikers and Common elands. There are primates including Olive baboons, Patas monkeys and Vervet monkeys. The carnivores also include the Jackals, Cheetah, Striped hyenas, Servals, Civets, Leopards, Wildcats, Spotted hyenas.

Bird species of Matheniko Wildlife Reserve

A number of bird species have been recorded at Matheniko Wildlife Reserve, among the birds to encounter here include; Eastern Bronze-napped Pigeon, the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, the Mountain Yellow Warbler, Verreaux’s Eagle, the Egyptian Vulture the Thick-billed Honey guide, the Hartlaub’s Turaco, Ethiopian swallow, Pygmy Falcon, the Black-headed plover, the Cattle egret, the Red-billed Oxpecker and the Clapperton’s Francolin among others.

What to do at Matheniko Wildlife Reserve

Game drive; due to noted animal records, these have enabled an animal search wild drive through the remote reserve. For a rewarding game drive with a reserve guide from UWA, then need to register with the UWA office at Moroto town and get assigned to an experienced guide.

Cultural tours

Visit the local people and experience unique culture of the matheniko a sub-group of the karamonjong people. Can visit their communities and find these people that resisted the trial of modernization, the people have embraced the pastoralism where their major life depends on animal raring. The stylished manyatta housing has always been the perfect outer display on their traditional of these people. Mainly Matheniko reserve is a residence of mathenik people a sub-group of people from the Karamajong.

Nature walks

These leads to a wider package of view including animals, hiking certain folded landscapes to a number of communities. Climbing to the top of the Matheniko rock offers a wider view of reserve.

Rock paintings

Matheniko game Reserve this semi-arid savannah is dominated by rocky corns and some of the rocks have paintings that date back to about 3,500 years ago. Can make arrangement to go and spot some of these paintings. The Nilotics and Kushites who are the grand of the northern Uganda region are held responsible for these great works of art. The paintings offer an idea of what life was then and what kind of animals roamed the plains then.

Where to sleep

Well, there are public Bandas available which are managed by UWA, and public camp sites. However, can use the well descent hotels and lodges that spread in Moroto town, but can move along with your camping gears and have a self-esteemed adventure at the reserve.