Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is the second largest conservation area after Murchison Falls National Park. It covers an area of about 2043sq.km to the north of mountain Elgon located in Nakapiripiriti district in North Eastern Uganda as your heading to Kidepo Valley National Park. It is also surrounded by 8 other districts that is Amudat, Moroto, Katakwi, Napak, Kween, Kumi, Bukedea, and Bulambuli.

The name Pian Upe derives from “Pian” which is a clan among the Karamajong people of north-eastern Uganda while “Upe” refers to a Kalenjin speaking pastoralist community of the Karamongs who are said to have originated from the Pokot tribe in Kenya, but now settled close to the wildlife reserve in Amudat district. “Pian” actually means “calm hearted people” while “Upe” means “enemy”, when both words are combined, you get a word “friendly enemies”.

These people are predominantly pastoralists and live a very traditional lifestyle, only being cantered around their cattle. This group is mainly found in Nakapiripirit district close to the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve Headquarters.

Many years back before the place was gazette, it was a famous battle ground for karamajongs pastoral groups comprised of those from North Eastern Uganda and pokot who are from Kenya.

Pian Upe is managed by Mountain Elgon conservation department, it is joined to the two conservation areas in North Eastern part of Uganda that’s Matheniko and Bokora conservation area.

The conservation area harbors a large variety of mammals including Ugandan Kob, waterbucks, hares, porcupines, the rock hyrax, aardvark, hedgehogs, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffe, buffalo, mountain reedbuck, roan antelope, oribi topi and zebras.

Pian Upe
Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is the second largest conservation area after Murchison Falls National Park. It covers an area of about 2043sq.km to the north of mountain Elgon

It also protects various bird species such as the rare Ostriches which are easily seen from a distance, Superb sterlings, Secretary bird, Abyssinian ground hornbill, the rare shoebill stock, the Fox’s weaver bird and many others.

Most of the reserve is covered by undisturbed grassland and wooded grassland. Small areas of riverine woodland, kopjes also exist. Some land is cultivated, and especially the area near the Greek River is threatened by conversion.

There are many activities that take place in Pian Upe including

  • cultural walk which is so interesting due to the fact that this conservation area is surrounded by the Karamajongs that have the same culture with the Masai of Kenya and Tanzania. These people will feed you with nice Music, dance and drama performed by the famous Edonga dance.
  • Mountain hiking is also and activity done in Pian Upe, this place is surrounded by Mount Kadam, Mount Napak and Mount Elgon which give you an opportunity of mountain hiking. There is also this place called Nepedet cave which gives you the best experience while at Pian Upe. Nepedet cave is a popular ancient recreational place for the first inhabitants of the area who would gather to engage in painting before the area was gazette.

Pian Upe is more interesting in the dry season between the month of January and March. In this season the grass is always short and dry enabling wild animals to gather together for water and giving tourist a chance to view many animals at once. Between April and October, it is always a rainy season which makes safari vehicles stuck in the muddy roads and wild animals hide in the bush.

It is 8 hours’ drive from Kampala to Pian Upe. One can access the place from south of Chepsikunya trading center through Mbale city to Soroti city then Nakapiripirit district where the reserve is located.

We do not have much accommodation in Pian Upe but one can have an overnight in Uganda Wildlife Bandas which are located at the park headquarters. There is only one available mid-range accommodation facility called Karamoja Overland Camp with self-contained tents featuring en-suite facilities like showers, electricity.

Travellers will get the best experience when you book your safari with the help of Funride adventures.