Toro Semiliki Wildlife reserve was established in 1926 being among the very first protected areas in Uganda, it was mainly gazzetted to protect the large number of Uganda. The reserve is located situated in Ntoroko and Kabarole districts western Uganda, the reserve covers an area of 542 kilometers squared.
Semuliki Wildlife reserve is featured with fluctuating shrubbery shields which sorts from Savannah grasslands, acacia woodlands, riparian woodlands, swamps and palm forests. The reserve is strategically sat superintending the dramatic valley in the western arm rift valley escarpment and offering a majestic Rwenzori Mountains. It’s elevated an altitude of 700 meters below sea level.
The reserve is surrounded with at least four local communities of Karugutu-Kyabandara community in the southern side located about 18 kilometers from Fort Portal city, this community is for the popular Bakonjo the renowned traditional farmers who grow mainly maize, cassava, beans, beans, bananas, rice and others. Other communities are Rwebesingo community situated in the western and northwestern side and features the Batuku pastoralists who are said to be descendants of the Abarusula the royal army of King Kabalega of Bunyoro Kitara kingdom.
The Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve is part of the Semuliki Conservation Area which as well covers the Semiliki National park. Indiana researchers have been studying Murugiri forest this particular elephants are inter breeded from Savannah and forest elephants.
Wildlife species at Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
The reserve is sanctuary for high concentration of wildlife species among which are the special forest elephants, Ugandan Kobs, bush babies, antelopes, bush bucks, water bucks, leopards, buffalos, giant forest hogs, and primates like Olive baboon, white and black colobus monkey, vervet monkey and chimpanzees. Semiliki wildlife reserve also organizes night game drives where tourists can come along nocturnal animals.
The semiliki reserve savannahs and thickets are shelters to over 420 bird species of which some are endemic to the central African forests and can’t be seen in other Ugandan protected areas. Birds which recorded at semuliki include; Abyssinian ground hornbill, the rare shoebill, white winged night jar, blue cheeked bee eater, African pygmy goose and blue headed coucal, Arrow marked babbler, black headed bush shrike, Ludhersbush shrike, tropical boubal, rednecked falcon, and black billed barbet among the rest.
Things to do at Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
Semiliki wildlife reserve is among the adventure most rewarding reserves in Uganda with a number of conserations that one can undertake. Among the things to do include boat ride on Semiliki river, the boat rides can also be done at Lake Albert, if wishing for an authentic wild boat ride will require to organize in advance.
Guided nature walks takes you close to encounter different bird species, primates and other animals, nature guided walks always take about three hours of exploring the wilderness on its natural state.
Hiking at Semiliki wild life reserve, various folded landscapes of Nyabarongo Gorge is very thrilling especially to bird enthusiasts, the gorge is about 7 kilometers, tourists can also come across other primates like black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and many more.
Community visits to experience the African culture by visiting the people; among the 4 local communities around the reserve they are impacted with different cultural values and traditions. Visiting them you have a chance to engage in activities traditional dances with the local people and get entertained by the locals.
Where to stay
Visitors at the reserve can have their overnight at campsite and budget bandas which are operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) along the shores of Lake Albert in Ntoroko. They can also use these various options of Semliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge or campsite at the headquarters in Karugutu or campsite at Ntoroko landing site.Accessing Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
How to access Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
The reserve can be accessed via two routes, Kampala-Fort portal passing through Equator via Masaka-Mbarara the –Kasese, it’s a longer distance to cover of about is 465 kilometers about 8 hours of driving. The other route is the shortest Kampala-Fort portal via Mubende which is about 290 kilometers.