Semliki Game Reserve

Semliki Game Reserve

Semliki Game Reserve is located near the western border of Uganda and Congo and is a birders paradise and a sanctuary for a lot of wildlife species. Semliki is located in Kabarole district within Tooro sub-region. It is found in the foothills of the magnificent Rwenzori mountain and on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, at the back drop of Kijura escarpment of the western rift valley.

Semliki game reserve was formerly called the Tooro-semliki wildlife reserve acts as conservation protected area located in western Uganda. Semliki game reserve was established in 1926 and is one of the first gazetted protected areas in Uganda. In 2005, Semliki was a gazetted area for the conservation of lions in Uganda. Semliki game reserve has set a paradox as many times, and it has been mistaken for Semliki national park. However, it is Semliki game reserve and not Semliki national park.

Wildlife in semliki

Semliki is a relatively small protected area of great impotantance because it horbour a lot of wildlife species such as primates, birds, insects and mammals among others. semliki game reserve is a safe haven for buffaloes and elephants, even though they are rarely spotted in the fields, but you can easily hear the cries of the elephants in distances away.

During game drives, you can spot a number of leopards, especially during the night game drives in the reserve. The most popular wild animals are the primates like chimpanzees although rarely encounter. The grey checked mangabeys, black and white colobus, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, baboons, red tailed monkeys, and de brazza, vervet and dent’s mona monkey and other primates roam the trees in semliki game reserve. You can also enjoy the night primates like the pottos and bushbaby during the night game drives in the semliki.

The climate of semliki

Just like any other tropical area in Uganda, semliki game reserve experiences a hot climate all through the year. However, the temperature halves down in the evening when the sunsets. Despite the hot weather, the dry season is the best season for safaris in the semliki game reserve. The rain is always expected in the semliki game reserve, even though some months receive more rain than the others. The first wet season in the Semliki game reserve occurs in March to May, and the other happens later in the year starting from august to November. The wet season in Semliki brings about a little cooling to heat in the valley.

Scenes of semliki game reserve

Semliki game reserve is one of the best scenic protected areas in Uganda; the location of semliki is strategically set in the verdant valley borders with mountains and undulating hills. Semliki is situated in the Albertine rift valley with an awesome setting of the kijura escarpment in the east, the Congolese blue mountain ranges bordering in the west, and the magnificent Rwenzori mountains in the southwest.

The vegetation cover in semliki, supplements on the scenery of the area. The valley is dominated by a woodland kind of vegetation and savannah grassland perches. The woodlands of semliki valley host a range of primates like monkeys, bush babies, and baboons among others. The rivers which run through semliki game reserve are flanked with riverine forests and lustrous patches of Borassus palms harbor a number of water birds.

Activities in semliki

Your safari to semliki offers an opportunity for you to enjoy the boat ride along the elongated Lake Albert that borders the Uganda and Congo in the west. The boat ride will give you a chance to see the sought after a prehistoric bird called the shoebill stork and other birds the fishers, pelicans and other shorebirds. You also got a chance to see the number is hippos on the shores of Lake Albert, plus the scenic view of the rift valley escarpment plunging into Lake Albert.

Chimpanzee tracking is another interesting activity for you in Semliki. The chimpanzees play in the trees within semliki game reserve, although rarer than the other primates, the time with them is such a rewarding one. Chimpanzee tracking in semliki is conducted with the help of two professional guides who lead the tracking trail through the forest.

The night game drives are conducted in an open landrover with a flashlight to help you see the night creatures that bring the forest to life when the sun is set. The night game drive is an opportunity for you to see a lot of wild animals like lions and leopards, spotted genets, mongooses, eagles, owls and nightjars among others.

The forest walks are also awesome adventures in semliki. They are actually guided nature walks in the forest which offers you a chance to see the animals like monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, and insects such as butterflies, plus a lot of different tree species among others.


Semliki is reached along the Kampala Fort portal route which is almost 300km from Kampala and about 52km from fort portal which takes about one and a half hours to drive to karugutu in Bundibugyo district. From karugutu trading center you can board a taxi or special hire to karugutu visitor center in semliki, which is about 11 km away. Alternatively, you can board kalita bus from the kampala bus terminal straight to bundibugyo via fort portal town to karuugutu.

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