SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK
Semuliki National park was a forest gazzetted in 1993 and is located in the extreme western corner of Uganda in Bundibugyo district. The park lies along the Uganda/Democratic Republic of Congo border with in the East African Rift Valley. This largely forested park presents the easternmost limit of the great lturi forest of the Congo basin and contains numerous species associated with Central rather than Eastern Africa. Semuliki is one of Africa’s most Biodiversity forest and is particularly known for its varied bird population and night game drives
Size; The Park lies on the land of 220sqkm
Tourism activities and attractions in Semliki National Park
Bird watching and bird life
The varying vegetation types found in the park offer birders a chance to see different birds which include forest birds, wetland birds, grassland birds as well as water birds. The area around the geothermal hot springs at Sempaya is not only very scenic but also offers some great birding most especially during nights.
Nature walks in the Park
Semuliki jungle life is breathtaking especially for birders, primate, butterfly and plant lovers. These jungle walks always starts from Sempaya Gate and take about 2 hours ending to the Hot Springs through the rainforest with Palm Trees and partly muddy ground. While on the walk, tourists have a chance to see primates like Mangabeys and Blue Monkeys, mammals such as forest buffaloes, elephants, sitatungas, leopards, pygmy hippopotamus, as well as birds such as Hornbills, Honey guides and Palm nut Vultures. There are also 305 species of trees recorded and 125 species are restricted to this park alone.
Sempaya hot spring
The guided walk trail leads from the road side tourist office to Sempaya Hot springs. Ringed by forest and palm trees and veiled in a cloud of steam, these springs are a primeval, evocative sight and well worth the diversion. The largest spring is a geyser which spouts up to 2m high from an opening in a low salt sculpture. The emerging water has a temperature of more than 100 degrees centigrade, so the geyser should not be approached too closely. The trail to the springs leads through a patch of rain forest where red tailed monkey, grey-checked mangabeys and black-and-white colobus are common. Among the more interesting birds regularly seen a long this trails are eight forest hornbill, blue-breasted kingfisher, red rumped and yellow –throated tinker bird, Frasier’s ant thrush and honey guide green bull. Another spring, more of a broad steaming pool than a geyser, lies on the far side of the swampy clearing reached by a board walk. Rather than retracting your steps to Sempaya, you might ask whether the Uganda wildlife Authority has finally re-opened an old trail that creates an attractive loop passing through forest and a lovely track of swamp.
The water fall of Mungiro
This lies next to the hot springs and once you have seen the hot springs, then you have to continue to the north side of the main road north of Rwenzori forest reserve.
This place provides an excellent sight for red-billed dwarf horn bill, white-crested hornbill and massive black-casqued wattled hornbill. A nature walk a long the eastern margin can also be exciting through the red tailed monkey trail to the exposure to the far greater variety of birds other than the trail to the hot springs. The trail can be under taken as a day trip and an over night, one may carry a tent and food to camp along side bank of the River. A part from birds, a variety of Monkeys, hippos, buffalo, elephants and crocodiles a long the River.
Game drives and game viewing
This Park is the only place where one can take a night game drive clearly. This activity takes place because the National Park hosts many mammals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopards, Bush babies. With luck you may see pigmy Hippopotamus and Crocodiles. Eight species of primates have also been recorded and more than 300 species of butterflies have been observed.
Local community visits
There are "Batwa”, a local pygmy Ituri ethnic group of people. They were the inhabitants of Semuliki Forest. Their livelihood basically depends on fruit gathering and hunting in the forest. Today there is a mixture and cultural exchange with other ethnic groups started. A community visit to the pygmy village near Sempaya Gate will enable you witness their lifestyles, traditions, dances, as well as an opportunity to buy souvenirs.
Accommodation in Semuliki National park
There are Camp sites at Bumaga with basic cottages located 2.5km away from Sempaya and Semliki safari lodge
Semliki Safari Lodge