Semliki National park.

The Semliki national park , formerly the Toro Semliki wildlife reserve is a conservation protected area in Uganda’s western region.

Location.

It is located in the kabarole district in the Toro sub-region. This is on the floor of the Rift Valley where L.Albert, the Rwenzori mountains and Kibumba escarpment crest backdrops. The reserve is about 55 kilometers by road, north of fort portal, the nearest large city. The geographical coordinates of Semliki wild reserve are 0°53’50’’N, 30°21’48.0’’E.

Historical background.

Toro-Semliki reserve was established as a game-reserve in 1926 and was among the first areas to be gazetted in Uganda. The main reason was to protect the large numbers of Ugandan Kobs in this area. It covers an area of 542 sqkm. It is located in the western Uganda within Ntoroko and kabarole districts.

Toro Semliki wildlife reserve enjoys a dramatic Rift Valley setting between the Rwenzori, kijura escarpment and lake Albert. The dominant vegetation type is the open acacia-combretum woodland and grassy savannah. These two are sprinkled with patches of Borassus palm-forest, and significant belts of riparian-woodland along the main watercourses. Lastly, there are some extensive swamps towards L.Albert. The reserve itself is topographically remarkable! Set at a relatively low altitude at 700m, on a clear day, the setting is truly awesome! The sheer Rift Valley escarpment rises sharply from the eastern shore of L.Albert. The 2,500m high Congolese blue mountains on the western horizon and the mighty glacial peaks of the Rwenzori are visible.

Semliki National park is famous for being home of the largest population of Uganda kobs and birds. The park is a rich wildlife destination with a variety of tourist attractions. The reserve hosts a number of mammals approximately to 53 species.

Wildlife.

The reserve hosts a number of wildlife like antelopes, buffaloes, Uganda Kob’s, waterbuck, leopards and red-tailed monkeys among others. The Park also consists of birding as it hosts a approximately 420 species. These include Blue swallow, white throated blue swallow, swamp palm bulbul, spotted Greenville, white starred robin, lowland akalat, red throated Alethe, fire crested alethe, snowy- headed Robin chat, blue shouldered robin chat, red eyed puff back, white tailed robin chat, and many others.

Vegetation.

Semliki National park is an extension of the vast ituri forest; making it one of the wealthiest areas in Africa for flora and fauna. Semliki National park is consisting of savannah grassland, and lowland Tropical forests (one of the ancient and bio diverse forests). The vegetation consists of approx. 336 tree species with 3 endangered species and 24 restricted tree species and these include Euphorbia, chrysophyllum begui.

Semliki National park is a natural overwhelming wonder consisting of Semuliki River and ever bubbling hot springs.

Other Attractions.

Semuliki national park is a destination made up of a variety of interesting features which attracts a large number of tourists such as;

Hot springs: The hot springs are the prominent attraction in Semliki National Park. The park has two hot-springs; the Male hot spring named Bitende which is a diameter of 12m and Female hot-spring named Nyasimbi. The female is a boiling-geyser which spurts our hot bubbling water streaming about 2m up in the air giving a magnificent view. Water from these hot-springs are so hot that visitors boil eggs in the hot pool of water. The water are 100°C hot.

Boat Cruise.

As you plan your safari in the Semliki National park, boat rides should never be forgotten on your list. Boat rides in this park take place on the Semliki river of about 160km running from the Rwenzori Mt. to Lake Albert and River Nile. On this boat ride, you get to have a lively quality view of the crocodile and hippos as the room along the river banks. You will also be watching the river meandering through the Rift Valley is such a magnificent view.

Culture.

The Batwa culture experience, the people of the Batwa are naturally short also termed as the Pygmy. They are traced to the outskirts of Semliki National park. They also are believed to have originated from the D.R. Congo through Ituri forest. The Batwa cultural experience takes the tourists through the ancient life of Batwa and there way of life. Here you witness ways of construction with aid of local Materials, gathering of local medicine, local ways of making fire, hunting, traditional dancing etc.

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