Unveil one of Uganda’s best-kept secrets as you embark on thrilling game drives through the pristine landscapes of Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. This untouched gem, a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, ranks as the second largest conservation area in the country, encompassing a sprawling expanse of approximately 2,788 square kilometers. Nestled to the north of Mount Elgon National Park, Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is under the stewardship of the Mountain Elgon Conservation department. Located in the northeastern reaches of Uganda, in Nakapiripiti, this hidden treasure is a testament to the raw and untouched beauty of the African wilderness.
Embarking on game drives in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve offers a unique opportunity to explore a land less traversed, where the allure lies in the untouched and untamed. Accessing this remote destination is relatively straightforward, with the journey from Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, taking approximately 8-9 hours by road. Alternatively, if you’re in the picturesque town of Mbale, the reserve is a mere 2-3 hours away by road. The adventure continues with a 6-hour drive from Pian Upe to the captivating Kidepo Valley National Park. What sets Pian Upe apart is the rarity of encountering crowds, allowing you to savor the untamed wilderness in solitude.
The southern part of the reserve, initially established as the Debasien Animal Sanctuary in 1958, serves as a prelude to the untamed wilderness that awaits. In 1964, the sanctuary expanded northward, revealing even more of its hidden treasures.
Prepare for guided game drives that will introduce you to the enchanting plains of Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, where the elusive Roan antelope roams freely. This reserve holds the distinction of being the sole location in Uganda where you can witness the majestic Roan antelope. As your safari unfolds, keep your eyes peeled for a captivating cast of characters, including cheetahs, zebras, greater kudu, dik-diks, buffalos, black-backed and side-striped jackals, eland, and hartebeests. Traverse the terrain in style aboard our 4×4 wheel customized safari vehicles, designed for optimal wildlife viewing and comfort.
Game drives are an integral and exhilarating part of any Uganda safari, offering a chance to immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and observe the magnificent wildlife that calls these plains home. These drives typically range from 2-3 hours to full-day excursions, occasionally punctuated with bush breakfasts and picnic lunches.
The term “game drive” comprises two distinct elements: “game” and “drive.” “Game” refers to the untamed animals that roam freely in their natural habitats within the savannah plains. This captivating menagerie includes the likes of elephants, giraffes, African cape buffalos, and many more. “Drive,” in turn, signifies the act of traversing these lands in search of these magnificent creatures. Therefore, a game drive is essentially an expedition, conducted via a safari vehicle, into the heart of national parks and wildlife reserves, with the primary objective of encountering big game.
Game drives are a quintessential safari experience, and Trek Africa Expeditions recommends embarking on a full-day adventure for an immersive wildlife encounter. These captivating journeys typically commence at the break of dawn, around 6:00 a.m., when the animal kingdom stirs to life. Before setting off, indulge in a hearty breakfast to fuel your expedition. Unless you opt for an alternative activity such as a bush walk, your day will likely feature two game drives. During the morning drive, witness the mesmerizing spectacle of lions and hyenas on the hunt, vultures feasting on the remnants of predator kills, and the graceful presence of elephants, giraffes, and a variety of antelopes, including the iconic Uganda Kobs.
Following the sunrise game drive, return to your lodge for a substantial breakfast and a well-deserved rest, mirroring the animals’ habit of seeking respite from the midday heat. However, Uganda’s national parks often offer afternoon adventures, whether it’s a tranquil boat safari along rivers and lakes to observe animals and birds quenching their thirst or a sundowner at picturesque vantage points within the park.