The Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve (formerly Toro Game Reserve) was the first protected area to be gazetted in the country and had historically been a very popular destination on the safari circuit. It was also well loved for its hunting. The game at Semliki was bountiful. A lodge, run by Uganda Hotels, did good business but unfortunately during the troubled years of civil war, Semliki was truly plundered.
Game was shot and carried out daily by the truckload. Elephant were machine-gunned and lions poisoned by herders who wanted the land for grazing. The lodge burnt down for a time – Toro Game Reserve was silent. Game guard morale was low. They did not have uniforms, many were barefoot and they did not have the means to patrol the area. Some had not been paid in many months. Morale soared, poachers were caught, patrols were done regularly and at last the reserve was beginning to rehabilitate. Uganda kob numbers doubled, at least one new herd of elephants migrated into the reserve, and lion and hyena, believed to be extinct in the area, have made a remarkable return. Semliki is thriving again.
It is located in the Western Rift Valley in Uganda between the Ruwenzori Mountains and Lake Albert. Semliki is a reserve of dramatic contrasts with miles of acacia savannah dotted with borassus palms. The shimmering shores of Lake Albert and the steep green slopes of the foothills of the Ruwenzori leading up the escarpment, borders the reserve.
Getting to Semliki Game Reserve is now much easier with the completion of the road upgrade between Fort Portal and Karugutu trading centre. There is now a direct bus between Kampala and Bundibugyo run by Kalita Executive bus Co.
The bus will stop in Karugutu trading center at the junction to Semliki Game Reserve for those intending on visiting the park. Pick-up trucks ply the road between Karugutu and Ntoroko throughout the day departing when full.
Semliki Game Lodge:
The lodge offers the only accommodation in the reserve in a luxury tented camp aimed at up market clients. Private camping is not entertained
If you get stranded in this trading centre there is a small hotel where basic rooms are available.
A night game drive will take you in an open Land Rover equipped with a spotlight to explore the creatures of the night.
You can see species such as leopard, lion, spotted genets, white-tailed mongoose and eagle owls. Semliki Lodge is the only place in Uganda that offers Night Game Drives
Guided nature walks in gallery forest where you can see primates, birds, butterflies and different species of plants. Over 40 Kms of walking trails have been developed. Guests are invited to wake early and join our chimp researcher on his habituation work.
Boat trip on Lake Albert – Excellent opportunities to see the rare Shoebill Stork, shore birds, hippos, and the rift valley escarpment plunging into the lake. A longer day trip, which includes a visit to the remote and spectacular Nkusi Falls, is also possible.
Ntoroko landing site
At Ntoroko you can camp at the Police Post or in any one of several very basic hotels for a nominal amount.
These hotels are catering for persons traveling to the DR Congo across Lake Albert from Ntoroko. You can get basic meals, cold drinks and beers in Ntoroko. Pick-up trucks ply the road between Karugutu and Ntoroko throughout the day departing when full.
Activities at Ntoroko
At Ntoroko you can contract a local motorized fishing boat to take you on the lake to search for Shoebill Stork which nests in the area. Note that you will be within the reserve on such a trip so ensure your park permit is valid should you be approached by rangers.