The Katonga Wildlife Reserve is located in western Uganda within Kyenjojo and Kamwenge Districts., along the river banks of Katonga. The journey into the Reserve is a three-hour drive from Kampala to Kyegegwa Town Council. At Kyegegwa, detour southwards for 42 km following well visible signposts.Many of the species of plants and animals in the reserve are unique to its wetland environment.
Katonga Wildlife Reserve covers an area of 207 square kilometres was gazetted in 1964 as a game reserve, to serve as a corridor for migrating wildlife from Western Uganda to Tanzania and Sudan. It became a Wildlife Reserve in 1996 when the former Game Department and Uganda National Parks merged to form Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). It’s recently managed by UWA under the Kibale Conservation Area administration with a Warden In-Charge based at the Reserve Head Office at Kikorogoto.
The Reserve contains different vegetation types. Vegetation includes grasslands, wooded grasslands, woodlands, riverine woodlands, swamp, riverine grasslands, and papyrus. Most of the area is mixed savannah with acacia or woodland. However, large portions of the reserve are either permanent or seasonal wetlands. The reserve also contains various pockets of riverine and tropical forests.
Its fantastic geographical location among forests, swamps and savannah vegetation gives the reserve a diverse ecosystem that favours the existence of a variety of animal species. The most dominant plant species include Sporobolus festivus and Chloris gayana. These species exist with associate species like Setaria species, Hyparrhenia species and occasional Panicum maximum.
The Katonga wetland system is interlinked with the Nile system forming an important wetland system for human survival. The variety of different vegetation types, particularly the wetlands, provides a range of habitats, which enhances the faunal diversity of the reserve.
Katonga Wildlife Reserve has a viable Situating population inhabiting the Katonga Wetland System. The reserve also harbours high population of waterbucks. The population of Hippos and birds is also growing in addition to primates.
In the 1960s, the reserve was home to a various animals including the zebra, topi and eland, which are no longer seen in the reserve. Elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, reedbuck are residents in the reserve. Between 1971 and 1985, most of the wildlife was killed through commercial and subsistence poaching. The reserve was also heavily encroached by cultivators and cattle grazing. In 2014 however, all the encroachers in the park were evicted.
60 Impalas and 5 Zebras were successfully Trans located to the Katonga game reserve in order to rise and increase the animal population for the purpose of boosting wildlife tourism. The population of impalas is now 300 and 150 birds including wetlands, savannah and forests species. There are other animals like Black and White Colobus Monkey, the River Otter, and Olive Baboon, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Leopard, Buffalo, reedbuck, bushbuck and duiker and chevrotain. The reserve is also home to various reptiles, amphibians and butterflies.