Katonga is a little-known, low-key wildlife reserve about 270km/168mi (five to six hours drive) east of the city of Kampala. Efforts to better protect the park against poaching are slowly restoring the animal population. Several antelope species are easily seen, including the Uganda kob. The rare, marsh-dwelling sitatunga antelope can sometimes be spotted as well, as can hippo and otter. There are no roads for vehicle safaris, so the park is best explored on foot.
Katonga doesn’t support most of the large safari animals. Big cats are absent, and elephant and buffalo occur in small numbers only. But the park is one of the few places in East Africa that offers a chance to see the sitatunga antelope. Several other antelope species are present as well, including reedbuck, bushbuck, waterbuck, and Uganda kob. Baboon and black-and-white colobus are also regularly spotted. As the first phase of restocking, zebra and impala were translocated to the park from Lake Mburu in 2013. The birding is great due to the variety of habitats. A variety of habitats can be explored in the park including rainforest, papyrus swamps, and savannah. The park is on the edge of the Katonga river valley.
The weather and climate of Katonga are comparable to that of Uganda in general. More info:
Katonga can be visited at any time of the year, but the best time for wildlife viewing is in the Dry season (December-February and June-July).
Katonga is the closest park to Kampala as the crow flies, but it still a good six-hours’ drive away, and can be reached from the Fort Portal–Kampala road. It can easily be incorporated in a standard Uganda itinerary, but seldom is due to the lack of amenities and low wildlife densities.