Karuma Wildlife Reserve 

Karuma Wildlife Reserve is located in western Uganda in the Kiryandongo district covering a total area of 317 sq miles. The Reserve is named after the Karuma falls that are very close to the reserve and give you some of the most scenic views of the waterfalls. 

Karuma Wildlife Reserve

The Karuma falls are situated in the eastern part of Murchison falls National Park and hence the Karuma Wildlife Reserve is also situated in the Eastern part of the Murchison falls National Park and it’s located within the Murchison conservation area. The Murchison conservation area is made up of the Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo forest reserve, the bugungu wildlife reserve and the kaniyo-pabidi forest. 

Karuma Wildlife Reserve was established in the 1960s to act as barrier between the Murchison falls National Park and the villages that were in the unconserved area of the region so that there is less conflict and minimal poaching of animal land the was part of Murchison Falls National Park

However this barrier function of the reserve has been almost rubbished because of the numerous people settlements that have extended into the conservation area and even the establishment of the Kiryandongo refugee settlement camp in the recent years has made the barrier role of the reserve impossible. The refugee camp hosts over 7000 people and the numbers keep growing and extending into the game reserve and the Murchison falls conservation area

Before the severe encroachment on the reserve, Karuma Wildlife Reserve was a hub for the big animals including some of the big five animals like the elephants, buffaloes, leopards and other animals like the hippos, antelopes, zebras and many more. 

The Reserve hosted over 50 animal species and was a delight to visit for game drives and other activities. 

Karuma is a local name that is believed to have come from a great spirit that the locals around Karuma believe that this spirit formed the rocks on which the karuma waterfalls flow. The Karuma falls are such a stand out landmark that as you travel through the region you will not but fail to notice the raging sound of the waterfalls and their spectacular appearance.

Karuma wildlife reserve is accessed through Gulu town and the reserve is just an hour from Gulu town. Gulu town is 4 to 5 hours from Kampala capital city. 

Even with all the encroachment, Karuma Wildlife Reserve is still a wildlife hub with yes less the number of animal population but still a variety of animal species. The animals in Karuma Wildlife Reserve include Uganda kobs, elephants, hippos, kobs, giraffes, zebras, cape buffaloes, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, olive baboons, oribis, topis, impalas, leopards, and others

On your visit to the Karuma Wildlife Reserve, you will be able to take part in a couple of activities that include but not limited to:- 

Game drives

As stated Karuma wildlife reserve is hub of animals, you can always take a game drive through the reserve to view the different animals that make their home in this reserve. Game drives are normally done in the mornings and afternoons by trained guides. 


On top of being an animal hub, the reserve is also a habitat for numerous birds that you can see on drive or a walk through the reserves especially in the mornings.

Karuma falls viewing  

Since your already at Karuma, you can also take the opportunity to go view the scenic karuma falls as they flow over the uniquely formed rocks. You will enjoy the sight of the water as it flows over the rocks, the sound of the gnashing water as well as the views of the surrounding flora and other features 

Community tour 

You can also visit the Kiryandongo community which is mainly the refugee camp and experience the life that is happening in that area as you appreciate the work that is being done by the Ugandan government and several international communities. 

Other activities will be nature walks and visits to Murchison falls National park for game drives and boat rides among other things. 

For accommodation, you can always stay in accommodation in Murchison Falls National park or there is some budget lodging facilities in Kiryandongo town that you can access though they are normally filled with aid workers that are serving the refugees in the Kiryandongo camp.

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