Mount Moroto National Park
Mount Moroto National Park lies in the north east Uganda in the Karamoja region and its one of a chain of volcanoes along the border with Kenya that begins with Mount Elgon in that south and includes Mount Kadam and Mount Morungole. Moroto is a forest reserve protecting a range of habitats from arid thorn savanna to dry montane forest. Although a long hike is required to reach the higher areas, excellent arid thorn savanna and rocky slopes are accessible from the town at the foot of the mountain. The mountain is between 920-3084m above sea level is a Forest Reserve and public land cover 483 square kilometers excluding the surrounding areas. It has over 225 bird species and tree varieties like Dry Combretum and Acacia savanna, dry montane forest. It is ideal for visiting throughout the year and the safari typically takes 1 to 2 days.
Bird species at Mount Moroto National Park
Moroto is a home to several species not known somewhere else in Uganda and has more in common with similar areas in north-western Kenya and include Jackson’s Hornbill, Hemp Rich’s Hornbill, Stone Partridge, Black-headed Plover, White-bellied Go-away Bird, handsome Silver bird, Grey-headed and Pygmy Batises, Bristle-crowned and Superb Starlings, Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Purple Grenadier and Straw-tailed Whydah, African Grey-Fly-catcher and many others.
Mammal species at Mount Moroto National Park
Moroto does not have a lot of animals but inhabitants include Monkey or the amazing Golden Cat and Potos. There is widespread hunting in the reserve using automatic weapons and dogs, and most large mammals have been hunted to extinction.
Lake Opeta and Lake Bisina extending from Kyoga system on the eastern side are the only sites for Uganda’s only widespread bird, the Fox’s Weaver. With no facilities at present, the lakes can be toured en route from Mount Elgon to Moroto or visited for a day from Soroti or Mbale. Of the two lakes, Bisina is easily reached taking good murram road which branches to the north off the main Mbale-Soroti road at Kapiri, 20km southeast of Soroti. Moving along this road to the lake end, a local fisherman will guide you across to the northwestern corner where a camp of Fox’s Weavers nest in the waterside vegetation can be found. Their numbers are high in March and April but relative numbers can be look at throughout the year. The silent water areas host African Pygmy Goose, Lesser Jacana and Shoebill which are often seen at the extensive papyrus edge.
White-bellied Go-away Bird, Jackson’s Hornbill, Fawn-colored Lark, African Grey Flycatcher, the handsome Silver bird, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, Pygmy Batis, Brubru and Eastern Vilet-backed Sunbird can be seen on the thick thorn savanna around the T-junction with the Mbale road 11 km from the town. Continue south from the junction for 5 km and see the dark chanting Goshawk, Yellow-necked Spur fowl, Crested Bustard and the smart Black-headed Plover at the roadside where Plovers and Temminck’s Courser are seen on the airstrip closer near the town. D’Arnaud’s Barbet pairs engaged in their bizarre tail-wagging duets are also regular around here. Open your ears with awareness for the unique sound of Pebbles being struck together that may tell that the Grey Wren Warbler is present.
Conservation of Mount Moroto National Park
There are 3 communities living on Mount Moroto slopes. The Tepeth people are the largest and most known population, the Kraals are scattered on the lower slopes and the Karimajong on the lower plains. They grow crops, rear domestic animals and rely on the forest for much of their essential needs like firewood, building poles and medicine (including the stimulant leaf locally called ‘mairungi’).
Attraction outside Mount Moroto National Park
On the road to Soroti from Moroto that crosses the Bokora Game Reserve 50 km from town and the dry thorn bush at the roadside, you can watch Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Mouse-Colorado Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned Shrike, fine-looking Sunbird and Grey-capped Social Weaver. Pink-breasted Lark favours the arid Acacia savanna in this area. Hartlaub’s Bustard has been described as “common on the Bokora Plains “and Red-fronted Warbler, a scarce specie in Uganda, is known from arid scrub at the roadside between Kangole and Iriri villages about 30 to 65km from Moroto. From Mbale to Moroto using the eastern route is an amazing road for bird watching. Subsequently the area between Nakapiripit and Moroto is superlative for watching the pygmy falcon, Jackson’s Hornbill and White- headed Buffalo Weaver which is regularly observable on the roadside although a fair selection of dry country ” specials” may be found a mere 25km north of the Kapchorwa turnoff.
Accommodation facilities around Mount Moroto National Park
– Moroto Hotel on the edge of town has good roods and meals.
– There also other descent hotels on the main road.
– Restaurants serve local foods and basic provisions are obtainable from several sellers.