Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve is one of the best Wildlife Reserves in Uganda. Situated in western Uganda, the reserve lies within Kabarole and Ntoroko districts. It was created as a game Reserve in 1926 making it one of the first Protected Area to be established, and was gazzeted majorly to conserve the large numbers of Antelopes especially the Uganda Kobs within the area. Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve spans at 542 square kilometers/54200 hectares.
The terrain of the Reserve is dominated by Open acacia-combretum woodland and savannah plains, dotted with borassus palm forest, vast belts of riparian woodland on the major water courses and some expansive swamps towards Lake Albert. This Reserve lies within a comparatively low altitude ranging from 700 meters above sea level but on a lucky day, the appearance is totally amazing. The Rift Valley escarpment towers sharply from then Eastern shore of Lake Albert, the 2500 meters high Congolese Blue Mountains on the western side and the breathtaking snow-capped summits of the Rwenzori Mountains visible to the South-west.
There are four local communities surrounding the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, and they include the Ntoroko Fishing Community (located at the South-Eastern edge of Lake Albert between Rivers Muzizi and Wasa), Rwebisengo Community (situated on the West and North western border of the Semliki Reserve), Karugutu-Kyabandara Community (located in the South of the Wildlife Reserve) and the Kasesenge-Kyakabaseke Community (on the Eastern escarpment of the Rift Valley).
Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve is a home to some of the paramount wildlife species also found in Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National park. The wildlife species include primates such as chimpanzees, Vervet monkeys, Black and white Colobus monkeys, Olive baboons and Red-tailed monkeys, Reedbucks, Elephants, Waterbucks, Spotted hyenas, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Bushbucks, Leopards, Giant Forest hogs, Pygmy Hippos, Lions and warthogs among others. Over 440 bird species including the black-billed barbets, Abyssinian ground-hornbill and the Red-necked falcons call this Wildlife Reserve home.
Tourist Activities within Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve
The Toro-Semliki wildlife Reserve boasts of three well maintained game tracks that lead tourists to explore attractions like waterbucks, buffaloes, warthogs and Uganda Kobs among others. Game drives are conducted in the morning, afternoon and evenings.
Nature walks in this wildlife reserve lead to the several habitats within the Reserve while exploring the Savannah woodlands, Riverine forests and swamps to explore unique bird species such as Ground hornbills and mammals such as primates like the Black and white colobus monkeys, Olive baboons and Vervet monkeys, buffaloes, and warthogs among others.
Hike to the Nyaburogo gorge
Hiking to the Nyaburogo gorge is the perfect activity for the bird enthusiasts. This walk is a 7 kilometer walk that passes through a variety of habitats that include woodlands, riverines, swamps and lowland tropical forests to see several bird species such as the Tropical Boubal, Arrow-marked babbler, Black-headed bushrike and the some primates such as Olive baboons, chimpanzees and Vervet monkeys among others.
Primate walks within Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve last for 3-4 hours and take place next to the Semliki Safari Lodge where you will get in touch with the qualified ranger guides who will lead you through the Jungles. Some of the main primate species you are likely to encounter include Chimpanzees Olive baboons, Chimpanzees, Vervet monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys, and Black and white Colobus monkeys. You will also come across other wildlife species such as Elephants, Buffaloes, waterbucks, Bushbucks, warthogs and Uganda Kobs among others.
Boat rides within this Reserve are conducted within Lake Albert, and the common bird species you will find include the rare Shoebill storks, Blue-headed coucal, the Blue-breasted bee-eaters, African Pygmy Goose and Blue-cheeked bee-eaters.
This involves visiting the Karugutu Community Conservation Association (Locally known as KCCA) which is a locally owned Association that performs invigorating traditional songs and dances.
You can participate in several adventure activities while on a safari in Semliki Wildlife Reserve. These include Primate Walks, community tourism, boat rides, game drives, bird watching, visit to the Nyaburogo gorge and nature walks among others.