Semuliki National Park Uganda 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.
Wildlife & Animals – Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
Buffalo and elephant are rarely seen. Leopard can sometimes be spotted on night drives, but lion is more often heard than seen. The park is home to many primate species, including chimpanzees, but encounters are rare. Grey-cheeked mangabey, black-and-white colobus, Central African red colobus, baboons, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, de Brazza’s, vervet, and Dent’s mona monkey can all be found along the forest trails.
Wildlife densities in the park are low. Only the Uganda kob is common. Buffalo, elephant, and waterbuck are around but irregularly seen. All wildlife is quite skittish and hard to approach by car. Lion and hyena are around, but are rarely seen; it is much more common to hear them at night. Leopard are sometimes spotted on night drives.
A troop of chimpanzee can be tracked; however, they aren’t very habituated, so sightings are very hit-and-miss. Their distinctive pant-hooting calls can often be heard from far away. Semuliki National Park Uganda, Some primate species regularly seen include vervet and red-tailed monkey, the beautiful black-and-white colobus, and olive baboon. Some of the more unusual primates which inhabit the forest include the Central African red colobus, Dent’s mona, and the De Brazza’s monkey.
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
The best time for wildlife viewing in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is during the Dry season (December to February) when animals are concentrated around predictable water sources. Some of the roads become impassable after heavy rain.
Bird Watching Safaris
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve might not be the best destination for wildlife viewing, but it is a bird-watchers paradise. It has more than 460 species recorded in a variety of habitats. Boat trips on Lake Albert are ideal for a chance to see the elusive shoebill and a breeding colony of the stunning Red-throated bee-eater. The adjacent Semuliki National Park offers a great opportunity to add several species associated with the Congolese rainforest. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Best Time to Visit
The Dry season is the best time for a trip to Toro-Semiliki Wildlife Reserve. The two Dry seasons are from December to February and from June to July. During the Wet season months (March to May and August to November) the roads become almost impassable and game viewing drives are very limited.
Weather & Climate
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve has a hot climate. These high temperatures remain throughout the year. Daytime temperatures hover at 30°C/86°F, and taper off at night to around 18°C/64°F. Semuliki National Park Uganda
Rain is unpredictable in Toro-Semliki, as there is no true Dry season. There are, however, two distinctive Wet seasons – from March to May and from August to November.
Dry seasons –December to February and June to July
December, January & February – The weather is typically dry, though rain can still occur.
June & July – These are relatively dry months, but rain should still be expected, potentially for a few days at a time. Daytime temperatures average 30°C/86°F, and nighttime temperatures average 18°C/64°F.
Wet seasons –March to May and August to November
March, April & May – The region is the wettest at this time, with the rains peaking in April. Average temperatures range from 30°C/86°F in the afternoon to 19°C/66°F at night. All roads in the park including access roads become virtually impassable.
August, September, October & November – Similar weather to March, April, and May. Rainfall returns after a period of slightly less rain in June and July.
How to get there
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is only one hour’s drive from Fort Portal (the closest town to Kibale NP). The reserve is located at about 300km/180mi from Kampala. The direct drive takes six to eight hours. It is also possible to fly to the airstrip by scheduled or chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala.
One enters Uganda through Entebbe International Airport (EBB) near the town of Entebbe, located about 46km/29mi from the capital, Kampala. Your tour operator will usually arrange for your pick-up from the airport, and arrange any travel needed as part of your safari package.
Best Time for Bird Watching – Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
The birdlife in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is good year-round, but at its best at the height of breeding season. This is in March, just after the relatively dry spell from December to February. There is rain throughout the year, but March to mid-May and August to October are the wettest months. The heavy rains might result in delays due to impassable roads and slippery hiking trails and can limit your bird-watching time. Migratory birds are in Toro-Semliki from November to April.
Scenery Luxury & Mid-Range Safari Trips
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 Rwenzoris 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 Semuliki National Park Uganda. 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).
Malaria & Safety – Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
Toro-Semliki WR is a safe place to visit in our opinion. Other than employees of the reserve and tour operators, most people that you encounter will be tourists.
Malaria & Vaccinations – Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
It is important to guard against malaria. Taking antimalarial medication and wearing a mosquito repellent (those containing DEET are most effective) is essential. Also recommended is covering up exposed skin in the evening. Ensure that you have the necessary vaccinations before you depart for Africa. Semuliki National Park Uganda
Wildlife Viewing and Primate Tracking – Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve
The risks that come with wildlife viewing can be limited greatly by listening to the advice and direction of your guide. And please take note of the wildlife viewing and chimp trekking safety precautions below.