Semuliki National Park
Semliki Wildlife Reserve is located in western Uganda, within Ntoroko and Kabarole districts covering an area of 542 km2 and was established as a game reserve in 1926. It was among the first protected areas to be gazetted for protecting the large numbers of Uganda Kobs in the area.
Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve enjoys a dramatic rift valley setting between the Rwenzori, kijura escarpment and Lake Albert. The reserve itself is topographically unremarkable, set at a relatively low altitude starting from around 700m above sea level, but on a clear day the setting is truly awesome, with plenty of attractions that include its most famous, the Sempaya Hot Springs. After watching the boiling hot springs blast off into a steamy spray, you can hike through the forest to catch glimpses of its many bird species and exotic animals such as flying squirrels, red-tailed monkeys, pygmy antelope and the endangered shoebill stork.
Activities in Semliki Wildlife Reserve
The Semliki Valley has much to offer to the visitors on Safari in Uganda such as game drives through the Savannah, primate walks, birding, village visits including a small village of the original people of the ancient forests of the area, the Batwa or here the Bambuti people. The scenery alone is worth a visit to this Valley in the Albertine Western Rift, you will certainly enjoy your time here.
On the primate walk you will encounter key species that include chimpanzees, Red-tailed, vervet, Black and white colobus monkeys, Baboons. Angulates encountered are Water bucks, Warthogs, Bush bucks, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Elephants and the walk lasts up to three hours starting from semuliki safari lodge.
There are three well maintained game tracks that lead tourists to see a variety of wildlife as there are about 53 different kinds of mammals found in the Semliki Valley and 27 of are larger animals and 11 of them are only found in this area such as pygmy antelopes, two different kinds of flying squirrels. The Semliki Valley is also home to forest elephants and buffaloes which are smaller versions of their savanna-dwelling relatives. On a lucky game drive lions, leopards and elusive Bush babies may be spotted.
Semliki National Park has are two Hot Springs, the male hot-spring Bitende is about 12 meters in diameter and the female hot spring is called Nyasimbi and is a boiling geyser which spurts out bubbling water and steam about 2 meters into the air. The people living near the hot-springs used to boil food in the hot-spring pools, even now you can bring some eggs and law bananas along and have them boiled here.
Hike to Nyaburogo Gorge
This is an ideal walk for birders that starts right at the Reserve Headquarters. It is a 7 km hike that goes through a diversity of habitats including savanna, woodland and a forest in the gorge. Common birds sighted include, Arrow marked Babbler, Tropical Boubal, Black-headed Bushrike, Luhdrers Bushrike and primates including Black and White Colobus, Baboons, vervets and occasional the Chimpanzees.
Batwa Cultural experiences
One of the great opportunities while visiting Semliki is The Batwa trail experience, letting you experience the lives of the pygmies who lived in this forest before it was made a national park and now live around the park boundaries but sometimes they visit the forest in search of medicines. They will entertain and demonstrate how they lived in the forest, how the hunted, how they got food, how make fire, the hunting tools bows and arrows they used, how they lived and danced.
Toro semliki contains a wide range animals and the key species in the park include Elephant, Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Water buck, Warthog, Giant Forest Hog, Hippopotamus and primates species such as Chimpanzees, Baboons and Monkeys including Vervet, Red-tailed and Black and White Colobus. Uniquely, the 200 strong Elephant population includes Savannah and forest Elephant plus a hybrid form from inter-breeding.
Birders will have a great time as there are over 400 recorded species of birds here in the Semliki Valley. Keep a lookout for birds that include Nkulengu Rail, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Horn bill, White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, African Piculet, White-throated Blue Swallow, Yellow-throated Nicator, Leaf-love, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Crested Malimbe, Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue-billed Malimbe, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Orange-cheeked Waxbill. The reserve boosts of 440 bird species including Red-necked falcon, Black-billed Barbet and the Shoebill is usually sighted in the marshes of Lake Albert.
Hiking and Nature Walks
There are numerous Hiking and Nature Trails that are guided, depending on your preferences as to want to do and see such as hippos, crocodiles, birds, monkeys for example. The trek starts at 8 am and can last 4 hours or longer, you just might see other primates such as baboons, grey-cheeked mangabey, black-and-white colobus, Central African red colobus, blue, red-tailed, de Brazza’s, vervet, and Dent’s Mona monkeys.