Semuliki National Park
About Semuliki National Park
The park covers 220 kms, lies along the Congolese border following the Semliki River, within the Western arm of the Albertine Rift Valley, in the North of Rwenzori Mountains, semuliki national park happens to be one of Africa’s bio-diverse forests. This forest is mostly covered by the eastern parts of Ituri forests from Congo Basin, Semuliki valley national park contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa.
It’s altitude is on the average of 700 m above sea level. Semuliki national park is now the number one birding destination in Uganda.
Thatched huts found with in semuliki valley are shaded by West African oil palms, the Semuliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, while the local population includes a Batwa (Pygmy) community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, a visit to Semuliki provides a taste of Central Africa just a couple of hours from the comforts of Fort Portal.
Semuliki national park recorded species
Semuliki national park has more 336 recorded tree species of which 24 are restricted to the Park (like Isolana Congolana and Ejacis Guinness), 435 bird species (at least 40 of them are found nowhere else in Uganda), 63 Mammals, like Elephants, Leopards, Buffaloes (nowhere else are found flying squirrels, pygmy antelope and six types of bats), 9 primates (Chimpanzee, Blue monkey, Vervet monkeys, Baboon), at least 374 species of butterflies.
Semuliki national park tourist Activities
Semuliki national park Birding
Bird watchers encountering semuliki national park stand higher chances of witnessing Africa’s best forest birding. Ntandi and Sempaya provide excellent viewing of the birds including the piping hornbill, white-crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, great blue and ross’s turacos, yellow-throated nicator and shoebills are rarely seen along the shores of lake Albert, forest walks are always great for watching water birds.
Semuliki national park Hiking and nature walks
Semuliki national park offers a 13km nature walk to kirumia through the heart of the forest to the semuliki river. this trail is perfect for birdwatcher, natural walk from the headquarter at Sempaya gate down to the river Semuliki, enjoying bird watching, butterflies, flowers and coming across different tree species.
Semuliki national park Hot springs
Semuliki happens to contain two hot springs (one male and one female), situated in a tract of hot minerals encrusted swamp land, where visitors see a jet of hot water and a pool of boiling water that can cook edibles like an egg, matooke(green plantations). An hours long trail to the outer male springs leads you through a patch of forest where red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, black and white colobus monkeys are common. A tree house en route provides an aerial view while 30 minute hike through palm forest from the main road leads to the inner, female spring dominated by a boiling geyser.
Semuliki national park Game drive
Toro semuliki wildlife reserve is a Savannah grassland that is being crossed with tracks so as to enable tourists view Savannah elephants, Buffaloes, Waterbucks, Crocodile, Warthog, Pygmy hippos, Bush babies and Leopards.
Semuliki national park Cultural encounters and trails
A visit to the pygmies(Batwa) who happen to be hunters and fruit gathers from the semuliki valley forests, will give you an amazing life time experience as you will get to know their origin and way of surviving.
How to get to Semuliki national park
There are two major roads from Kampala to Fort Portal: Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is about 180 Km. (about 4-5 hrs drive) while Kampala -Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese is about 465 Km (7-8 hrs). In both routes 2-wheel drive vehicles can be useful. While the Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is much shorter, the Kampala-Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese gives you opportunity to Visit Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
From Fort Portal, A 2-3 hours drive on the rough road towards Bundibugyo will bring you to Sempaya Gate (52Km). Semuliki national Park headquarters at Ntandi is 6Km further from the gate along the same route. A vehicle with high clearance is recommended.
Using public means you can take a taxi (mini bus) or a bus to Fort Portal. From the Taxi Park, board one of the pick-up trucks for Bundibugyo and stop at Sempaya Gate, which is well sign posted. Return trip will be by the same means but a void being too late (not later than 4.00 p.m.).
Semuliki national park Accommodation facilities
At this park accommodation can be done at the Semuliki safari lodge (Luxury) or accommodated in the nearby towns like Fort portal or Bundibugyo town, camping is also an option for clients who want stay in the park.
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