Ugalla River National Park : Tanzania’s low-lying 5,000-square-kilometer Ugalla River Game Reserve is situated north of Katavi National Park, just east of Lake Tanganyika, and just east of Katavi National Park. The Ugalla River, which is seasonal, dominates the Ugalla River Game Reserve, as its name would imply.
The extensive floodplains are directly cut through by the wide, meandering river, which is the reserve’s wildlife stronghold. Although the river dries up during the dry season, it nonetheless produces permanent pools of water that are home to a wide variety of wildlife. For walking safaris and animal viewing, this will be the time to go.
Ugalla is known for its extraordinary vistas and high predator concentrations. By the river’s edge are grassy floodplains with fan palms as accents, and farther away, the Miombo forests define the reserve’s more inland regions. The flat environment is broken up by a few small, mountainous termite mounds, which give predators strong vantage points to see prey. Elephants, lions, and wild dogs all flourish in this complex environment.
Arusha or Dar es Salaam are the two gateway cities from which ardent safari-goers can enter the Ugalla River Game Reserve. The closest airport to Ugalla is the small domestic Urambo Airport.
UGALLA RIVER WILDLIFE
Elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras, and the largest herds of sable and roan antelope to be found in Tanzania live in the Miombo woodlands and tall grass savannas that drain a vast landscape of shallow hills and valleys. The Sitatunga antelope, Cape clawless otters, and a variety of fascinating water birds, including shoebill storks, wattled cranes, and pygmy geese, can be found in the swampy areas to the west.
These creatures focus more and more on the Ugalla River during the dry season, which lasts from July to October, and it develops into a region where interesting species can be found virtually everywhere.
The Ugalla River is home to several hippos and crocodiles, including some of the biggest crocodiles ever seen in Africa. They eat catfish and other fish during the rainy season, but as the dry season wears on, they begin to supplement their diet with animals that come down to drink. These animals can grow to be more than 21 feet long.
The river itself, with all of its stunning overlooks and countless loops and twists, will be the main subject of game viewing. Groves of enormous trees are strewn along the banks, making for ideal camping spots or perhaps just peaceful places to unwind for a mid-day picnic or coffee break while taking in the wildlife surrounding you.
Outside the confines of the national park, the Ugalla River gently flows westward into the intricate network of canals and marshes of the Moyowosi Swamps, which finally empty into Lake Tanganyika. Undoubtedly, this huge and inaccessible region contains some of Africa’s finest undiscovered natural treasures.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The reserve is completely inaccessible from January to April because of the wet season. There is significant flooding when it rains. This time of year is ideal for birders to visit, despite the weather. During this time, a large number of migratory birds arrive in the region.
When the river dries up, wildlife gathers around the puddles of water it creates, making the dry season the greatest time to come.
The primary activities in the Ugalla River Game Reserve are birding and walking safaris. Visitors are introduced to a variety of unusual species and vegetation on guided walking safaris that are frequently missed while traveling by car. The best time to go on a walking safari is during the dry season, when the terrain is more accessible.
Another popular pastime in Ugalla is bird watching. In search of the rare shoebill stork and other summer migration birds, birders swarm to the river’s beaches. Even though the wet season is the best time to see birds, the route is only accessible during the dry season.
There is a huge bee population in the Miombo woodlands and fragrant grasslands, and for six months of the year, it is acceptable to collect honey. There are numerous active beekeeping projects that are worth investigating.
By Air: Ugalla is accessible at all times by private charter.
By Road: The Ugalla River National Park is accessible by 44 safari vehicles in the dry season, from June to October.
Private camping is the only form of lodging that is currently offered and is organized through TANAPA Headquarters in Arusha. There are tented camps and fully equipped campgrounds inside the wildlife reserve. The majority of lodging alternatives are hotels outside the reserve that have just the most minimal amenities.