Hunting in Uganda Safaris
Uganda is a country blessed with a rich biodiversity especially wildlife among which is the largest numbers of Mountain Gorillas in the world and a very large number of herbivores in addition to the big 5 animals.
What is Sport Hunting / Trophy Hunting?
In simple terms, trophy hunting can be described as the shooting of wild animals that have been carefully selected under an operating license issued by the government for leisure. Some of the animals that are normally hunted include: elephants, buffaloes. One would wonder what is the trophy in such a sport, well the actual trophy is the animal being hunted or body parts of the animal say a head, horn or skin which the hunter gets to retain as a souvenir. Globally, trophy hunting is looked at as a divisive issue with many people looking at it as the major reason behind the declining number of wildlife in Africa.
Importance of Sport Hunting
There are a number of conservational significancies associated with trophy hunting or sport hunting.
Avoid Wildlife Population Explosion: This activity helps control wildlife population explosion of various species such as antelopes particularly in destinations where the number of herbivores is extremely high and availability of grazing grounds would become a serious challenge.
In instances of population explosion, the animals normally move out of the Uganda safaris wildlife reserve or Game Park to the neighboring areas in search for grazing land and as a result the animals destroy the farmlands and crops belonging to farmers.
Generate funds for Wildlife Conservation: to take part in this sport, all participants are required to purchase a hunting license and all the accumulated money is invested in different wildlife conservation efforts as well as sensitize, employ locals and develop the local communities found close to the wildlife sanctuaries.
Reduce Poaching: normally such hunting areas offer employment opportunities as guides and wildlife trackers to the locals who would have opted to poaching. With an increase in revenue among the locals, it improves their standards of living hence reducing chances of poaching.
Increase of the Country’s revenue: Sport hunting in conducted in various countries across the world however this activity is a big contributor to the economy of such countries, taking for instance neighboring Tanzania where Sport Hunting contributes more than 75 million dollars annually.
About Sport hunting in Uganda
Although the wildlife population back in the 1980’s was faced by several challenges including poaching, and the raging political wars that saw the number of animals greatly reduce in a number of gazetted national parks and reserves, fortunately over the years that followed these number increase and some to hit beyond their former glory a thing that resulted into wildlife population explosion of a number of species. The large number of animals then started moving beyond the park boundaries and started feeding off the farmlands as well as the domestic animals of the locals that live nearby.
it is believed that the large population of wildlife in Uganda can support trophy hunting however, the licensing Authority – the Uganda Wildlife has on several occasions cancelled the hunting licenses with the greatest fear being that this sport may be miss-managed a thing that may affect the animals population.
In addition, the Uganda Wildlife Authority 2010 released a general statement that was stopping any kind of Sport hunting or trophy hunting, with claims that the revenue collected from the sport was insufficient to support anti-poaching activities and wildlife conservation programs.
Nonetheless, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has partnered with a number of companies such as the Uganda Wildlife Safaris as well as the Aswa-Lolim Wildlife Association not only to re-fill the population of wild animals in the northern part of Uganda but also to hire former poachers in the hunting areas as guides in a bid to discourage them from poaching (illegal hunting).
the relocation of wild animals such as buffaloes, hartebeest, waterbucks, warthogs and other types of antelopes has been done in various ways among which is by decongesting some of the national parks and reserves like the Murchison Falls NP where such animals are in very large number.
Where to Sport Hunt in Uganda
There are a number of hunting regions in Uganda; and most of the game meat in this activity is given back to the local community and these have been highlighted below. During the Uganda Hunting Tours only weak and old animals are hunted down and the hunters may take the horns, skin and hide as their trophy for the hunt.
The Kafu River Basin
this large area found in central Uganda stretches along the shores of the deep lake kyoga, River Mayanja and River Kafu covering nearly 7 different districts in this part of Uganda which include: Kiboga, Masindi, Luwero, Nakaseke, Kiryandongo, Nakasongola ad Nakaseke.this river basin landscape is mainly comprised of thick bushes and swamps and it’s for that reason that this is the best place to find and hunt the huge Sitatunga antelope in addition other species like duikers, bohor reedbuck, the bushbucks and warthogs. Because of its rich diversity of birds, you will also encounter several bird species.
The Ssese Islands
Hunting within the Ssese area is accompanied by more than eight (8) escorts who are sometimes referred to as beaters. Former poachers in this area have been hired as escorts on hunting tours due to their great knowledge of these grounds as well as their great hunting skills. This area is popular for the sitatunga.
The Karamoja plains
The hunting area within the Karamoja plains stretches over an area of 4,900 sq km and shares borders with the remote faraway kidepo National park locate in the north eastern corner of Uganda offering opportunities to hunt species like the buffaloes, oribi, waterbucks and elephants. Because of its vastness, hunting is centered around the following wildlife reserves: Matheniko, Pian Upe as well as Bokara to karenga Community Wildlife Area found close to south Sudan’s border with Uganda.
Additional hunting places include: Lipan Community Wildlife Area found in Kitgum, kabwoya –Kaiso Wildlife Management area as well as around Lake Mburo Game Park.
Awsa Lolim Wildlife Reserve
This reserve that shares borders with the well known Murchison falls park was degazetted during the leadership of former Ugandan President Idi Amin. It covers a number of sub-counties among which are: Koch-Goma, Purongo, Anaka as well as Alero. Unfortunately several farmers including those operating on large commercial scale have encroached on this habitat which nonetheless is home to various animals such as Waterbucks, Buffaloes, warthogs, Hartebeest, oribi and the Uganda Kobs.
Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve
This 87 sq km reserve is found in the western part of the Albertine Rift in Uganda (hoima) and its savanna grasslands offer perfect hunting grounds for various species such as the Uganda Kob, buffaloes, Duikers, warthogs, hartebeest, oribi and bushbucks.
Ajai Wildlife Reserve
Covering an area of 148 sq km, this reserve is found in the north eastern part of Uganda and today is managed and run by the Uganda Wildlife Safaris. it is another popular area for trophy hunting with various animal species.
Best time for Sport Hunting in Uganda
In Uganda the prime hunting season is from the month of January to November, with the months of April, May, June and July receiving some rains. Starting in December to the finish of April, the grass is short and it is easy to hunt different species such as the hartebeests and buffaloes; however, other wildlife species can be hunted all year round.
As a country, Uganda experiences a warm tropical climates and the average temperature range is 25C to 29C / 77F to 84F with temperatures rarely dropping below 5C. however it is also worth noting that this climate isn’t uniform across the country with the variation in altitude modifying it.
Cost of a Uganda sport Hunting License
In Uganda, sport hunters are required to get a hunting license as well as a permit for your riffle before arriving into the country. A fee of US$100 should be paid as a conservation fee daily per hunter while non-hunters will pay a fee of US$ 40 per day ad these fees have been set by the regulating authorities. There are special charges that have been to shooting some particular animals such as hyenas -$100, leopards – $2000 and hippos – $1000.
Which Fire arms to Use when Sport Hunting
The best combination would be 20 hard & 20 soft for a heavy riffle or sixty (60) rounds when bringing a light riffle. Automatic and semi-automatic firearms, as well as hand guns, are not allowed for hunting. Furthermore, silencers are strictly prohibited. For buffaloes, you are recommended to use a .375 to .416, while for other wildlife you can use a .270 to .300. In Uganda, hunters are permitted to bring two (2) riffles and although there is no maximum value on the number of ammunition to bring into the country, the weight restrictions which are about 11 pounds will surely restrict you. There are also ammunition and rifles available for hire at an additional cost for those who do not wish to bring their own.
Please do not forget to get full insurance cover for all your fire arms when traveling to Uganda and to the rest of Africa
What to pack for sport hunting
T-shirts and Long sleeved shirts
Sturdy hiking boots
Stockings and enough underwear
Warm jacket and rain coat
Flip flops and sandals to wear back at your lodge.
Recommended Hunting Gear:
A camera and appropriate lenses
Documentations need for your travel
Bring copies of your personal documents
Documentation and clearance for your rifle import
A list of your contacts to reach out in case any emergencies arise
A yellow fever vaccination card
Additional medical prescriptions
Cell phone, laptop and additional chargers
Where to stay on a Uganda Sport Hunting Tour
Uganda as offers a number of accommodation options for hunters during the Sport Hunting Tours, and depending you’re your budget you surely wont fail to get a place to stay. They offer all meals and additional services plus amenities like swimming pool and fully stocked bar depending on the type of facility. These range from lodges, cottages and bands as well as mobile tents.
Mayanja River Lodge
This is the best place to stay especially when you are hunting within the Kafu River Basin. it offers 4 well fitted en-suit tents having large verandahs from which you can enjoy breathtaking views. There are in additional amenities like a fully stocked bar and Wi-Fi. there is a common dining area, a fire places and full time power running on both generator and hydro-electricity.
Aswa Lolim Camp
This camp is ideal for those hunting within the Awsa Lolim Wildlife Reserve. It offers 4 en-suit tents as well as 6 bungalows thatched with grass and these offer sweeping views into the valley below.
Karimojong Overland Safaris Camp
This camp constructed near the game reserve offices of Uganda Wildlife Authority within Moruajore is perfect for those hunting within Pian Upe Game reserve and the surrounding area. This camp has four well furnished tents with en-suite facilities offering cold and hot water that are set on raised wooden platforms to offer beautiful views to its guests.
Located at the park entrance into the remote Kidepo Valley National Park, this camp offers six (6) spacious tents that are self-contained with en-suit facilities. it’s ideal location enables hunters not only to hunt in the Karamojong area but also enjoy different safari activities in Kidepo National Park such as game drives.
Other Popular Sport Hunting Destinations
As earlier highlighted, the sport hunting / trophy hunting is carried out internationally. Below are some of the most popular destinations where you can do this and these include: Botswana, Canada, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Argentina, Namibia, New Zealand, Mexico and Tanzania.