Overview – Toro-Semliki WR

The Semliki Valley is mainly of interest to bird watchers. The reserve has an impressive checklist, which includes many birding specials. Other attractions are the hot springs at Sempaya and a Pygmy village in the adjacent Semuliki National Park. The only lodge in the reserve offers a very exclusive bush experience with guided activities.

Best Time to Go December to February and June to July (Dry)
High Season June to September (Peak time for Uganda)
Size 543km² / 210mi²
Altitude 619-1,462m / 2,031-4,797ft

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent birding
  • Many lowland forest bird species associated with the Congo basin
  • Seven primate species including chimpanzee
  • Night drives and boat trips on Lake Albert are available
  • Animal densities are low
  • Chimp sightings are rare as they are not habituated
  • Limited accommodation options – only one lodge
  • The roads become impassable in the rainy season

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Wildlife

Buffalo and elephant are rarely seen, and lion are more often heard than seen. Leopard can sometimes be spotted on night drives. The park is home to many primate species, including chimpanzee, but encounters are rare. Grey-cheeked mangabey, black-and-white colobus, Central African red colobus, baboon, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, de Brazza's, vervet, and Dent's mona monkey can all be found along the forest trails. Potto and bushbaby can be found at night.

Scenery

The reserve, located in the Albertine Rift Valley, has an amazing setting between the Rift Valley escarpment on the east, the Congolese Blue Mountains on the west and the Ruwenzoris on the southwest. The dominant vegetation is woodland and savannah. There are several rivers running through flanked by riverine forest and patches of borassus palms are dotted around.

Weather & Climate

Toro-Semliki is characterized by a hot climate, with the temperature halving after the sun sets, and the constant prospect of rain. Its two Wet seasons (March to May and August to November) bring little relief from the heat, despite lots of rain – particularly from March to May when local roads get washed out. You’ll get slightly less soaked during what passes for the Dry seasons (December to February and June to July).

Best Time to Visit

If you’re into birding, bring your binoculars during the drier, sunnier period from January to March. This is also a good time for chimp trekking, as is the mid-year dry stretch (June to July). At other times of year, you can expect rain, rain and more rain, so bring plenty of wet-weather gear.

Want to Visit Toro-Semliki WR?

Semliki Safari Reviews

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Most Helpful Expert Review
Uganda’s forgotten Valley
3/5

This isn’t a reserve for those seeking reliable big five encounters, since it has never recovered from heavy poaching during the civil war of the 1970s and 1980s, despite some promising indications at around the turn of the millennium....

Latest User Review
5/5

Highlights were Semliki Lodge and a boat trip to see the shoebill on lake Albert. The lodge is superb for food and hospitality. Wild chimps also seen, but not a great variety of other wildlife. Tsetse flies a big problem