Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park is one of the most diverse national parks in Uganda located in the remote corner of the southwest region in the Bundibugyo district. Semiliki is one of the newly established protected areas that is the only park in Uganda and East Africa protecting lowland tropical forest forming an eastern extension of the vast Ituri forest which continues to stretch across the Zaire River.

Semuliki national park lies in the western arm of rift valley north east of Bundibugyo extending to ntoroko on southern shores of Lake Albert, covering 542 square kilometers the park stretches across the floor of semiliki on the western side of Rwenzori mountains bordering semuliki flats in north, Democratic Republic of Congo in west, Rwenzori mountains in the west and lake Albert. 

The national park is one of the richest areas containing flora and fauna diversity famous for sheltering the largest population of Uganda knobs. It is also one of the richest areas for forest birds and the best forest for birding. Semuliki national park is composed of moist and deciduous lowland tropical rain forest and 336 tree species with 24 species only restricted to semuliki forest such as Ecuphorbia, Chrysophyllum begui in the eastern range of the park. Among many, some tree species endangered to semuliki national park are lovoa surymertonii and cordia millenii. Semuliki national park is composed of forest swamps, grassland, warm swamp and savannah woodland.

Semuliki national park is a unique naturally impressive national park which is a home to many magnificent wildlife which use the park most especially the flat landscape in the valley as their home. Among wildlife in the park there is approximately 53 species of mammals such as antelopes, buffaloes, Uganda knobs, waterbuck, leopards, lions and forest elephants, there is also blue duiker, forest Beecroft’s flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, pygmy squirrel and water chevrotain. The park is also a home to amazing primates in the forests such as black and white colobus monkey, olive baboons, red tailed monkey, blue monkey and vervet monkey. Among the primates there is also nocturnal primates such as galagos and Pottos.

Semuliki national park is one of the best forests in Uganda and East Africa for birding as it is a home to many spectacular forest bird species such as  Blue Swallow, White-throated Blue Swallow, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Spotted Greenbul, White-starred Robin, among others.

Semliki national park is an overwhelming fascinating tourist destination with breath taking tourist features including the amazing Sempaya hot springs, Semuliki national park is gifted with two amazing bubbling hot springs, these hot springs jetting from the ground at a terrible force with hot water at 100°C. There is both male and female hot springs at different locations with 30 minutes’ walk from each other, Bitende a male hot spring is a 12 meters hot spring and Nyasimbi is a female hot spring spurts out really hot water at 2 meters in the air. The hot springs are loved by many tourists as they get to enjoy the spectacular view of very hot water and also get too cook various food stuffs in the hot water pool such as eggs.

Semuliki national park is made up of breath taking trails which lead to various attractions in the park which include

Sempaya nature trail. Sempaya nature trail navigates through the semuliki forest heading to the magnificent hot springs, as you walk down this trail you will encounter many primates such as  black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys and grey-cheeked mangabey together with beautiful scenic view and the various bird species.

Kirumia trail. Kirumia trail a re-known trail in the park best for birding interested tourists, it goes through the forest leading to Semuliki River where you get to see a lot of bird species in the forest.

Red monkey trail. This trail begins from the border of the park covering 11 kilometers to Semuliki River as you encounter Dee Brazza monkeys.

The park is crossed by river semuliki and river Lamia which provide the park with permanent water, at times because of these rivers the park’s valleys flood during rainy seasons.  Semuliki national park is surrounded by four ethnics that is the Bakonjo cultivators, bwamba farmers, batwa pygmies the gatherer—hunters and batuku cattle keepers which favors culture tours on the out skirts of the park. 

Semuliki national park is a special unique national park offering memorable experiences through its amazing safari activities such as 

Game drives: Game drives in Semuliki national park is a wonderful activity where tourists get to encounter the beautiful nature and wonderful wildlife, on these game drives a variety of animals like leopards, forest elephants, pygmy antelopes and also primates like chimpanzees, grey-cheeked mangabey, black-and-white colobus monkey and lions. Many bird species such as Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bates’ Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-Wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed are also seen.

Nature guided walks: Guided nature walks in semuliki national park are the most enjoyable safari activity taking the tourist to various trails such as Kirumia trail, Red monkey trail and Sempaya nature trail which lead to various tourist attractions. While on nature walks you get to enjoy the beautiful forest nature, many wild life and birds.

Bird watching: tHE park is the best spot for bird watching and for bird lovers semuliki is the perfect spot, while birding in semuliki many bird species such as Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrow hawk, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin, Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bates’ Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-Wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed and Zenker’s Honeyguides, African Piculet, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill as encountered. Most of these birds are forest bird species.

There is also nocturnal bird watching in semuliki national park around Sempaya which is a great birding spot where bird species like buff-spotted Fluff tail, African Wood Owl, African Goshawk, Red-thighed and Great Sparrows, Ayres Hawk-Eagle and Cassin’s Spine tail are seen.

Batwa cultural experience: The Batwa pygmies commonly known as the Bambuti pygmies in semuliki national park live on both sides of the Semuliki River, these people are close relatives to the Basu pygmies of democratic republic of Congo. A culture encounter in semuliki national park in the smaller population of the Batwa takes the tourist through the primitive day to day lifestyle like sheltering the house using local materials, hunting and gathering fruits. 

Primate tracking: Semuliki national park is a home a wide range of primates such as black and white colobus monkey, olive baboons, red tailed monkey, blue monkey, vervet monkey, and chimpanzees. Primate tracking especially chimpanzee tracking begins at 8 am in the morning and last for 4 hours and on this activity, many beautiful primates are seen.

Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park

 View the hot springs: Hot springs of Sempaya are the prominent tourist attractions in semuliki national park, these hot springs are both male Bitende and female Nyasimbi, watching hot water bubbling from boiling geysers is a wonderful view never to miss in a lifetime. Tourists get to boil eggs in the hot water pools. While at the hot springs it is advisable to get too close to water pools to avoid getting burnt from 100 Degrees Celsius hot water.

Semuliki national park lies along with the fort portal-Bundibugyo main road 52 kilometers from the fort portal,  in semuliki national park is got from Uganda Wildlife Authority Campsite, Local shoe string lodges and Ntoroko Game Lodge.

The following is the current pricing for safari activities in Semuliki national park.

Activity  Foreign non-resident $ Foreign residents $ EAC (UGx)
Park entrance 35 25 1,5000
Nature walks 30 15 10,000
View of hot springs 15 15 10,000
Batwa experience 10 10 10,000

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