Lake Opeta is a lake with an extensive wetland system. . It’s found in eastern Uganda in Soroti.
The wetland lies south of the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and serves as a dry-season refuge for both wildlife from the park and domestic cattle of the surrounding Karamojong and Pokot people
The lake and swamps protect one of the most prolific shoebill populations in Africa, breeding colonies of the endemic fox’s weaver, papyrus gonoleks, rufus-bellied heron and the marsh dwelling sitatunga antelope.
Lake Opeta and its surrounding swamp falls in four Districts; it is the only significant wetland in the Karamoja area, and one of the few remaining intact marshes in Uganda.
The IBA covers Lake Opeta itself and the surrounding marsh from Lake Bisina in the west, bordering East Teso Controlled Hunting Area in the north, Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve in the east, and covering the seasonal grassland indicated as Lake Okolitorom on maps.
The IBA is predominantly an extensive swamp of Miscanthus to the east and south, merging into dry Hyparrhenia grass savannas.
There is a wooded island in the middle of the swamp called the Tisai, where a few people live. The area is mainly used by the Karamojong and Pokot people for grazing their cattle in the dry season.
Lake Opeta is primarily fed by rainfall on Mount Elgon and drains into Lake Kyoga via Lake Bisina.
Lake Opeta is one of Uganda’s 33 Important Bird Areas and since 2006 a Ramsar-listed wetland of international importance.
A Biodiversity and Eco-Tourism Centre funded by the Global Environmental Facility and UNDP serves the lake.