Known for being among the oldest protected areas in Uganda, Toro Semliki wildlife reserve is a true wonder nature that shouldn’t  be missed on your Uganda safari.

Located in the western region of Uganda,  Toro sub region, in western Uganda. The reserve was gazette in 1962 as a protected area for wildlife, and due of the presence of numerous Uganda kobs, this made its protection vital in kabarole and Ntoroko district. Toro Semliki wildlife reserve lies at the base of the western arm of the East African rift valley and it is situated between the backdrops of the kijura escarpments, Lake Albert and the Rwenzori Mountains.

The wildlife reserve is generally found on a low altitude, with the vegetation of swamp extensions, patches of Borassus palm forest, open acacia –combretum woodland, belts of riparian woodland especially along the water courses and grassy savannah. This type of vegetation in Semliki wildlife reserve has favored the existence of many beautiful wildlife.

Semliki wildlife reserve is among the top tourist destinations in Uganda, with its numerous attractions and activities, the wildlife reserve attracts thousands of nature  and wildlife lovers across the world.  The reserve as the following activities;

Game drives

With the savannah grassland as being part of the Semliki wildlife reserve, game drives in the reserve are highly done in view of different mammal species that include duikers like water bucks, Buffalos, giant forest hog , leopards, forest and savannah elephants. With the fact that Semliki wildlife reserve was a lion conservation unit since 2005, there is a chance to spot this carnivore while your game drive through the savannah plains of the reserve. Game drives in Semliki wildlife reserve are conducted during the morning, evening and night depending on the interest of the tourist.

Boat rides

In Semliki wildlife reserve, a boat ride is organized on Lake Albert. This lake is located in western Uganda, and it is shared by Democratic republic of Congo and Uganda. It is the second largest lake in Uganda and holds the seventh position in African for it’s size. Boat rides on this lake give a great view of mammals such as antelopes, as they feed at the shores of the lake, semi aquatic such as the Hippos and the crocodiles. Water birds sighted on this lake include the famous shoebill, water fowl, Blue-headed coucal, Blue cheeked Bee eaters, Blue –breasted Bee eaters, and the African pygmy goose among others. This lake is ideal for bird watching while on a birding safari in the pearl of Africa.

Primate walks

For primate lovers, this is a reserve not to miss out. Semliki wildlife reserve is a home to many primate species that can be enjoyed while on a nature walk through the reserve forest. Primate walks in the reserve begin with a short briefing about ones conduct while tracking the primates, followed by a 2 to3 hour track for the primates. Primate species such as the, white and black Colobus, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, red –tailed monkeys and chimpanzees. And a sight of other mammal species such as Buffaloes, bushbucks, elephants, warthogs and antelopes, all can be experienced in Semliki wildlife reserve.

Nature walks

Nature walks in the reserve take about 3 hours of view of the beautiful vegetation of the reserve, mammal species, birds, and primate species. Some of which include Ground hornbills, antelopes and many more.

Nyaburogo hike

The hike to the nyaburogo gorge is truly refreshing; the gorge is part of Semliki wildlife reserve, endowed with diversity of wildlife.  This hike commences for the headquarters of the reserve, a journey of 7km trail with a view of different primate species such as chimpanzees (occasionally), monkeys, baboons, vervets, Colobus,    bird such as the shrikes, babblers and many more.

Community based tourism

There is a community initiative in the reserved called karugutu community conservation association. The objective of this community is to conserve education through the performance of music dance and drama. The members of this community entertain the guest of the reserve through their interesting traditional dance, music and drama, that helps them uplift their social wellbeing. The community produces local handicrafts that are sold to the visitors that enable sustainable economic growth of the community.

Other communities in the reserve include.

Kasenge –kyakabaseke

This community is situated in the eastern region of the rift valley. The community is mainly occupies by the Bakiga people who are crop cultivators of bananas, beans, maize and ground nuts. These people where once depending on tea, as they used to work in tea plantation farms during the 1960’s.

Rwebisengo community.

The community is mainly comprised of the Batuku who are the Batoro and Bahuma. These people are mainly pastoralists situated at the north western region of the Semliki flats.

Ntoroko community

The Ntoroko community members mainly depend on fishing as a main source of income. They are located at the south eastern tip of Lake Albert.

How to get to the reserve

This reserve can be accessed by air or by road transfer. It is 55 kilometers north of fort portal city the nearest city in kabarole district. From Kampala it takes approximately 5 hours to reach Semliki wildlife reserve.

Besides a visit to the nature full wildlife reserve, a drop by at Semliki national park in Bundibugyo is worth a while on every Uganda safari. This national park is a suitable for birding watching , with 35 bird species that are endemic to the park .

A birding experience in the park in worthwhile, bird species include Grant’s bluebill, Pale -fronted Negrofich, Maxwell’s Black weaver, Swamp palm bulbul, Simple Greenbul, White crested hornbill, Bate’s Nightjar, Spotted Honey guide, Long -tailed hawk and the African Piculet among others. Among the highlights of Semliki national park include a hike to the mysterious hot springs.

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