Who They Are
Semliki Safari Lodge, a member of the Wild Places group in Uganda, lies in the heart of the Albertine Rift Valley in the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Toro-Semliki, 550 square kilometers of pristine habitat, is home to several West African species as well as the unique forest elephants and dry habitat chimpanzees. It is also a hotspot for bird watchers, with over 450 species. Lake Albert, on the northern boundary of the reserve, provides excellent opportunities for shoebill sightings.
Accommodation at Semliki Safari Lodge is in 8 luxury tents with thatched roofs, mahogany floors, stone bathrooms and private verandahs with sweeping views of the Wassa forest or the Kijura escarpment.
What They Are Doing
As part of the original concession agreement, Semliki Safari Lodge has always played a large role in the conservation of the reserve. Assistance with ranger patrols, controlled burning and wildlife monitoring over the years has led to the creation of the Wild Places Conservation Trust. The trust, established in 2008, combines elements of park management and conservation with community development in order to preserve the ecological environment in and around the reserve and improve the quality of life for neighboring communities.
The trust, in cooperation with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, has stepped up
anti-poaching efforts through increased mobile patrols and the creation of ranger outposts. Together they have made great strides in reducing timber and wildlife poaching and in stemming cattle encroachment. The recent purchasing of GPS equipment has assisted greatly in anti-poaching efforts and wildlife monitoring.
The trust has also pioneered a conservation education program in the local primary schools with the aim of creating a new generation of conservation-minded citizens along the reserve boundary. The trust has targeted 13 neighboring schools, which each receive regular classroom instruction and have “environmental days.” Teacher training and the establishment of a community nature center are part of future trust plans.
The trust has been active in the local health centers in an effort to improve public health services available to expectant mothers. In addition to providing training and supplies to local traditional birth attendants, it also conducts regular maternal health education programs in the local health centers.
In Their Own Words
“The Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is a very unique reserve, both in terms of habitat and wildlife diversity. It is with great pride and passion that we created the Wild Places Conservation Trust to work towards the protection and preservation of the reserve in cooperation with the local communities. The trust aims to combine eco-tourism, sound park management, and community development to create a healthy environment in which the reserve and its wildlife thrive with a direct benefit to the neighboring communities. We believe the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is a truly special place and we are pleased to be involved in its preservation and to share its magic with both its residents and its visitors.”