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.
Mount Moroto lying 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. Its ideal for touring throughout the year and the safari usually take 1 to 2 days.
Bird species at Mount Moroto National Park
Moroto supports several species not known elsewhere 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 more.
Mount Moroto National Park Mammal species
This park does not a lot of animals but inhabitants include Monkey or the spectacular Golden Cat and Potos. There is extensive hunting in the reserve using automatic weapons and dogs, and most large mammals have been hunted to extinction.
Lake Opeta and Lake Bisina from extending from Kyoga system on the eastern side are the only sites for Uganda’s only endemic bird, Fox’s Weaver. With no facilities presently, the lakes can be covered en route from Mount Elgon to Moroto or toured for a day from in Soroti or Mbale. Of the two lakes, Bisina is easily accessible using good murram road which branches north off the main Mbale-Soroti road at Kapiri, 20km southeast of Soroti. Moving along this road to the lake end, arrange with a local fisherman to take you across to the northwestern corner where a colony 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 watched throughout the year. Silent water areas habour 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 dense thorn savanna around the T-junction with the Mbale road 11 km from 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 common around hear. Open your ears carefully for the distinctive sound of Pebbles being struck together that may reveal that the Grey Wren Warbler are in place.
There are 3 communities living on Mount Moroto slopes. The Tepeth people are the largest and most established population, the Kraals are scattered on the lower slopes and the Karamojong on the lower plains. They grow crops and do livestock and rely on the forest for much of their basic needs like firewood, building poles and medicine (including the stimulant leaf locally called ‘mairungi’).
Attraction Outside the Park
On the road to Soroti from Moroto that crosses the Bokora Game Reserve 50 km from town and dry thorn bush at the roadside, you can watch Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Mouse-Colorado Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Beautiful 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 species in Uganda, is known from arid scrub at the roadside between Kangole and Iriri villages (30 -65km from Moroto). From Mbale to Moroto using the eastern route is a wonderful road for watching birds. Then the area between Nakapiripit and Moroto is ideal for watching the pygmy falcon, Jackson’s Hornbill and White- headed Buffalo Weaver which commonly visible on the roadside although a fair selection of dry country ” specials” may be found a mere 25km north of the Kapchorwa turnoff.
- 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 available from numerous stores.