Deep in the heart of Uganda’s Western Rift Valley, the Semliki Valley is a prime conservation area. Boasting both a national park and a game reserve, much of the valley remains untouched, and the area is home to specialities such as the shoebill stork, which nests in the shallows of Lake Albert.
Amongst Semliki’s profusion of bird species are at least 30 rare endemics, both southern and northern migrants, the carmine bee-eater, scops and pearl-spotted owl attract many visitors.
Forming the easternmost reaches of the Central African Rainforest, the savannah of the Semliki basin is criss-crossed by shining rivers, bordered by an escarpment, at the point where the valley plunges into Lake Albert. There are fine examples of riparian forest, gallery rainforest, borassus palm forest, and both short and long grass plains. In the lush river valleys chimpanzees co-exist alongside lion, leopard, elephant and Cape buffalo. The hot springs at Sempaya are a key attraction.
Nearby Toro-Semliki Game Reserve stands at a classic geographical crossroads, where tropical rainforest meets grassy savannah, and wetlands give over to majestic Lake Albert. Here the flat plains are punctuated by deep river valleys, with the dramatic rise of the Rift Valley escarpment and the rolling foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains as a backdrop. This unique geography is reflected in the diversity of wildlife. Here you can see Central Africa’s forest species – such as forest buffalo, a darker leopard sub-species, and the smaller forest elephant – as well as East Africa’s savannah species: lion, elephant, numerous antelope species, warthog, buffalo, etc.
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