Semuliki Game Reserve

Semuliki Game Reserve

Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is Uganda’s oldest wild life reserve formerly known as the Toro Game reserve which was gazetted in 1932.This large reserve abutting Lake Albert and the northern base of the Rwenzori is a rich mosaic of grassland, savannah, forest and wetland habitats. Semuliki is a 545km sq sanctuary lying in western Ugandan, to the northeast of the Bundibugyo road extending to Ntoroko on the southern shores of Lake Albert.
The fauna in Semuliki game reserve is correspondingly diverse: Semuliki is known to have species of birds you will be able to see many of these birds over 400 bird species recorded at Semuliki during your game drives, including the Abyssinian ground hornbill.
Within this wildlife reserve you will also be able to see buffaloes and a small number of elephants and waterbuck, though not seen on a daily basis.
Semuliki wildlife reserve has the primates well represented, among these include; the black & white Colobus monkey, Olive baboon, red-tailed and vervet monkeys in the gallery forest close to the Semliki Safari Lodge.
Other mammals can be rarely spotted such as the Leopards and Owls while taking a night drive within the park.

Noted Bird Species
Bird species in this area include:- Zenker's Honeyguides, African Piculet, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Sassi's Olive, Xavier's, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Forest and Grey Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell's Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negro finches, Grant's Bluebill and Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaubs's Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin, Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bates' Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed

Wildlife in Semuliki
Semuliki holds over 53 species of mammal have been recorded from the park, 9 species of, which are diurnal forest primates (for example the chimpanzees, blue monkey, and vervet monkeys and olive baboon), while nocturnal primates include pottos and galagos these are shy and very rare.
A list of 374 species of butterflies and months have been identified including 46 species of forest swallowtails and charaxes plus atleast 81 species of large moth, 12 of which are classified as restricted.
The wide range of species is attributed not only to the forest's location, but also to the varied habitats, forest swamp, grassland and an extensive system of hot springs, warm swamp and Savannah woodland with a total 305 species of trees recorded, of which 125 species are restricted to this park alone.

The other of mammals are also found in Semuliki , forest buffaloes, blue duiker, bee croft’s flying squirrel, pigmy squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotaain and target rat.
Hot Springs
Two hot springs are situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swamp land, where visitors see a two meter jet of hot water (130oc) and a pool (12m diameter) of oozing boiling water (106oc). One can boil food especially eggs in the natural boiler within 10 minutes and eat it.

The people of Semuliki
Years before there were four ethnic groups living around the park, the Bamba , Batuku ,Batwa and Bakonjo are found in the vicinities a round the park. The Batwa (pigmies) are hunters and gatherers, and are an Ituri ethnic group who historically depended and still depend on Semuliki forest. Their lifestyle is now changing due to interaction with other local communities and the impact of tourism.

Game Drives
Game drives in the Uganda wildlife reserve can be very interesting. You will be able to appreciate the vast fauna in Semliki during your game drive. Here you will also be able to see the Mugiri River Forest, the best tourism destination in Uganda for viewing different tree species, including the elusive leaf–love and many other local species.
When you drive through the open plains you will see a fascinating variety of raptors and the Abyssinian hornbill.

Guided Walks
Guided forest walks will offer you the chance to see more than 40 chimps that are residents of the Mugiri forest, these chimps are being habituated.
You also stand a chance of encountering the localized forest race of elephant.

Boat Trips
You can organize a Boat trip on Lake Albert through the Semuliki Safari Lodge or with the local fishermen around, this is a worthwhile activity.

Accessing semuliki
Following the road Fort Portal, there is a turn-off to the Semuliki Valley and it is two (2) hours drive on a murram road to Sempaya gate (52kms) and a 4WD vehicle is recommended. The drive to Sempaya takes one through a winding road through the lower ranges of Rwenzori Mountains where at several places one can view the rift valley floor where the Semuliki flats and Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve are located. There is a 40 km long road that connects Karugutu to Ntoroko on Lake Albert, this runs right to the heart of the game reserve
Public transport is readily available that runs directly between Fort portal and Ntoroko on most of the days.

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