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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 wildlife 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 the bird species to be found in the Semliki Wildlife Reserve are at least 30 rare endemics, and both southern and northern migrants. Specialities such as the shoebill stork, 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.

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, chimpanzee, African elephant, leopard, pygmy hippo
  • Where: Bundibugyo District, Uganda

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Best of Uganda

Uganda is a land full of stunning landscapes and remarkable wildlife. This itinerary begins in the mists of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of mountain gorillas, and culminates in a relaxing stay on the tranquil shores of Lake Victoria, with wildlife highlights such as lion, leopard, elephant and chimpanzee in between.

  • When to go: Dec-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,295 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Semliki Safari Lodge

Semliki Safari Lodge is a beautiful small tented lodge nestling on the crest of Uganda’s Wasa River Valley, ideally located for chimpanzee tracking. Tents have permanent thatched roofs and are furnished with a large four-poster bed, with private verandahs providing panoramic views across the bush.