Semuliki National Park is located in a remote corner of western Uganda in Bundibugyo district bordering DR Congo. The Park protects an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest and forms part of a forest continuum that stretches across the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Zaire River. It is one of the richest areas for forest birds in Africa, these include some of the continent’s most spectacular and sought-after birds such as; Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Nkulengu Rail, Black-wattled Hornbill, and Lyre-tailed Honeyguide.
Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993. It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals. Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori.
As Safari Vacations and travel services, we do organize trips to Semuliki National park with various activities for visitors to enjoy as per interest as detailed below.
Semuliki National Park is known as the Birds haven of Uganda, it is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda that you do not have to miss if so much interested in Birds. Common species in this area are Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaub’s Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, 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, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Sassi’s Olive, Xavier’s, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Forest and Grey Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negro finches, Grant’s Bluebill. Contact us to book your birding safari to Semuliki National Park in Uganda.
Visiting the Sempaya Hot springs
The Sempaya hot springs in Semuliki National Park is among the most interesting things to see in Semuliki National Park, The male and female hot springs have a rich local history attached and have attracted numbers visiting the Park. The hot springs are found within the forest and are worth visiting. The site of the steaming male hot spring is historical. It is said the Bamaga women had gone to fetch firewood from the forest when they sighted a hairy man dressed in bark cloth wielding a spear and with a dog moving in a zig-zag formation around that location. The women ran back home to tell their husbands who decided to pick and take him to their homes and subsequently got him a wife from the same village.
The said man who later became known as Biteete continued hunting but one time never returned home. After three days, the men went out to search for him and at the present day male hot spring, they only found a spear but no traces of the man nor his dog. It was assumed he had disappeared from the same spot ad they ran back to tell the wife (Nyansimbi) who also ran to the forest never to return. In the subsequent search, only her clothes were found at the present day female hot spring. This was how the two springs became to be known as the male and female hot springs and to-date the Bamaga believe their female ancestors live beneath the female hot spring while their male ancestors live at the male spring. Contact us to visit and see the amazing hot springs in Semuliki National Park.
Batwa pygmy community Encounter
This is one of the most interesting activities to do in Semuliki National Park, The Batwa’s hunter-gatherer lifestyle was being dependent on Semuliki forest for food, shelter, medicine, and tools, though this is beginning to change as a result of interaction with other local communities and due to gazetting of the forest for protection and conservation of Nature.
Tourism offers an alternative source of income for the Batwa and gives them the opportunity to maintain and display their rich cultural history through music and dance performances at Ntandi. They also produce intricate handicrafts for sale to visitors who buy them as souvenirs. Other ethnic groups staying near the forest are the Bamba, Batuku, and Bakonjo.
The forest walk is among the activities to do in Semuliki National Park, The Park is a tropical forest harboring a lot of things to look at. The most common forest walk trail is the 13km Kirumia Trail that runs through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River. It is an 8-hour round trip that starts at 8 am and is perfect for birders. There is also the 11km Red Monkey trail that runs from the park’s eastern border to the Semliki River. The other Major forest walk is the 8km Sempaya Nature Trail, you can view the hot springs and primates. You will have a great time in Semuliki National Park, contact us to tailor your safari.
Mammal Watching/ Other wildlife
There are 53 species of mammal have been recorded from the park, many of which are shy, rare, and nocturnal. Conspicuous species include Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet, Red-tailed and Mona, Gentle (Blue) Monkeys, Olive Baboon, and Guereza Colobus, De Brazza’s Monkeys are rare and Chimpanzees may seldom be heard than seen. While nocturnal primates include Pottos and Galagos. You are also lucky if you glimpse Elephant, Bushpig, Water Chevrotain, Buffalo, Sitatunga, White-bellied Duiker or Dwarf Antelope, Beecroft’s Anomalure or Zenker’s Flying Mouse. You are far more likely to spot the lively and agile squirrels such as Fire-footed Rope or Red-legged Sun Squirrel. Little collard fruit Bat and Target Rat. 30 species of butterflies have been identified, including 46 species of forest Swallowtails and Charaxes (75% of Uganda’s total) and at least 235 species of moths have been classified as restricted. Book your safari to Semuliki National park with Safari Vacations and travel services.
There are recommended campsites in the forest which are at the first oxbow lake and at the second Kirumia River crossing, and outside the forest at the Sempaya ranger post for travelers interested in Camping. You can as well stay Amagara safari lodge, Semuliki safari lodge which is close to the Park, you can also opt to stay in Fort Portal City which is a tourism hub with various hotels and lodges ranging from Budget to Luxury. Semuliki National Park is such a beautiful Place worth your visit to Uganda.
You can get to Semuliki by road, Semliki National Park lies along with the main fort Portal to Bundibugyo road, 52 km from Fort Portal. It is about 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive to the Park, Most travelers have opted to visit Semuliki as a one-day excursion to the Park. The driving is very interesting as there is a lot to see on the way as you drive on the foot of Mountain Rwenzori. You can as well opt to fly to Semuliki Airstrip from Entebbe International Airport.
Safari vacations and travel services is a travel company based in Kabale Town in southwestern Uganda. We specialize in magical experiences and holidays to Uganda, Rwanda, and DR. Congo. We are members of AUTO (Association of Uganda Tour Operators) and are registered by UTB (Uganda Tourism Board). We have a good working relationship with UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) making it easy to book your activities to Semuliki National Park. Please contact to visit Semuliki, the rest of Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo. We will tailor the itinerary to best meet your expectations and budget as you explore Semuliki National Park.