Semliki Wildlife Reserve

Semliki Saddle Billed Stork

Travel to Semliki Wildlife Reserve – Western Rift Valley

Semliki Wildlife Reserve is a large reserve abutting Lake Albert and the northern base of the Rwenzori Mountains. Semliki is a reserve of dramatic contrasts with miles of acacia savannah dotted with borassus palms, deep riverine forests meandering across the savannah, and the shimmering shores of Lake Albert with its green slopes leading up to the escarpment.

Formerly called the Toro Game Reserve, poaching once took a heavy toll on wildlife in the reserve. However, populations are now recovering well. The habitat diversity within the 558 sq. km area of the reserve supports a variety of wildlife including Uganda kob (the commonest large mammal), lion, leopard, elephant (both savannah and forest species) buffalo, and chimpanzees as well as a staggering number of birds.

The park is of particular interest to birdwatchers since a high proportion of the 400 bird species recorded here, are thought to occur nowhere else in Uganda (10% are essentially Congolese species). The most popular bird being the rare Shoebill, which resides in the reeds bordering Lake Albert.

Within the reserve spotlit night game drives, as well as daytime game drives are possible. Guided forest/jungle walks on specially constructed walking trails with the chance to see primates, butterflies and birds are another highlight. Boat trips are available on Lake Albert where you can make the most of the stunning setting of the sheer escarpment of the rift valley dropping into the lake. Fishing trips and visits to local communities can also be arranged. Chimpanzee tracking is also possible.

Semliki Safari Lodge is the only accommodation in over 500 square kilometres of wilderness, offering a truly private experience. While at the lodge guests may choose to do nothing more than relax by the pool which overlooks the Blue Mountains of the Congo.

The border of the reserve is located an hour and a quarter from Fort Portal. Follow the road towards Semliki National Park and Bundibugyo for 30 km, then take a right turn which after about 35 km leads to Semliki Safari Lodge. From Kampala to Semliki Safari Lodge is approx. 360 km (6 hrs).

  • Of the 400 bird species recorded, the shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert
  • Game drives, guided walks and boat trips on Lake Albert can be arranged from Semliki Safari Lodge
  • A group of chimps has been habituated in Semliki, head out on foot to find them on a chimp-tracking walk


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