Ajai Game reserve

AJai game Reserve – Uganda  safaris 

Ajai Game reserve

Ajai Game reserve is situated in the Northern part of Uganda in Arua district on the western bank of the marvelous  white Nile. The  Ajai game reserve  is characterized by a prominent island that is surrounded  by Savannah grasslands, forests, woodlands,  highlands and seasonal swamps fed by the river Acha and Ala. During the rainy season, the Ajai  game reserve swamps get completely flooded cutting off the island from the outside world. Ajai game reserve is an area with a higher elevation of 658 m above sea level covering an area of 148 sq km (57 sq mi ). The reserve was well known for its Rhinoceros which were extinct in the reserve due to heavy poaching , protecting the Rhinos was the main reason for  gazetting of the reserve. The  reserve is today  home to a large mammal including the leopards, Uganda Kob, Sitatunga, Hippo, Warthog, Orbis, Bushbucks, Antelopes, duiker and  Black-and-white colobus e.t.c. Primates like  Vervet monkeys, olive baboons, Black colobus monkeys among others are also found in the Park. Reptiles like Pythons. The government has long term plans of reintroducing white rhinos to the reserve. Ajai game reserve is also a birding area with various woodland birds to be spotted; some birds are endemic. The reserve derives its name from its former local Chief  “Ajai” who greatly protected the reserve through introducing tough measures to stop poaching and encroachment on the reserve premises. The reserve hosted the then President of the United States of America President Theodore Roosevelt on his visit to King Ajai’s palace in 1910, He hunted a number of white Rhinos which drastically reduced the number of White Rhinos in the reserve. The reserve is a potentially big wildlife reserve. Activities in the park include Sport hunting, Nature walks,birding, photography tours, Wildlife viewing and fishing. The Park is accessible all year round but the best time to visit is during the dry season December to early March, June-October.

History of Ajai game reserve.

Ajai game Reserve was known as the Ajai Rhino Sanctuary  managed by a local Chief “ Ajai” in the 1930s hence the reserve derived its name from him. The Ajai game reserve gained World attention when expedition Theodore Roosevelt, a former American President Visited in 1910 on his hunting tour. The Ajai  Reserve was home to 60 white rhinos out of the 80 Rhinos in Uganda by then. The high demand for the Rhino horns in Southern Sudan increased poaching and the other reason for poaching was increase in the population hence locals hunted the Rhinos for food. King Ajai started supervising hunting in the area; his efforts led to the declaration of a controlled area about 4 sqkm by the government in  1937 as part of his palace. It was later declared a game reserve in 1965.The WWF funded anti-poaching project in 1962. The surviving Rhinos were taken to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary leaving the area with no Rhino. In 2002 Uganda Wildlife Authority began efforts to enlarge the boundaries of the reserve because they are hoping to reintroduce the Rhinos into the reserve following years of being kept in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

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