Semuliki National Park is situated in western Uganda and was gazetted in 1993. Approximately 220 square kilometers of it are surrounded by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is located in the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. The park includes the Tooro-Semliki wildlife reserve, which is made up of flat plains, tropical rainforest, and grassy savannah. As an extension of the Ituri Forest, the park has some of the best flora and fauna.
Semuliki National Park attractions
Sempaya Hot springs
Hot springs are one of the main attractions in Semuliki National Park. There are two hot springs—the male hot spring Bitende, which spans around 12 meters, and the female hot spring Nyasimbi. Visitors to this region can perform experiments like cooking eggs, potatoes, bananas, and other items because the water from these hot springs is quite hot.
With more than 450 bird species, Semuliki National Park is one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. It is impressive to birders as the park has a varied flora cover that serves as habitat for various bird species and has an excellent checklist for birds. These species include the Ross’s and White-crested Turacos, as well as the Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, the Red-rumped Tinkerbird, the Gabon Woodpecker, the Spotted, Lyre-tailed, and Piping Hornbills. Black-wattled Hornbill, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, buff-spotted Fluff tail, African Wood Owl, African Goshawk, Red-thighed and Great Sparrows, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Nkulenga Rail, The Crested Malimbe, Ayres Hawk-Eagle, Ituri Batis, Maxwell’s Black weaver, Red-billed Helmet-shrike, Swamp Palm Bulbul, and
mammal species, including elephants, water bucks, civets, target rats, antelopes, flying squirrels, kobs, leopards, and pygmy hippos, are found in Semuliki National Park. Additionally, the park is home to nine different primate species, including chimpanzees, black-and-red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, and grey-checked mangabeys.
One of the most beautiful sights in Semuliki National Park is the Batwa Cultural Experience. These people are also referred to as Bambuti pygmies. They are closely related to the Basu pygmies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and reside on both banks of the Semuliki River.
Semuliki National Park activities
As they lead you across the savannah area in Semuliki valley, the game drives in the park are highly fascinating. The park’s game drives last for roughly three to four hours. Game drives are conducted in the morning starting at 6:00am and in the evening starting at 3:00pm. You can see animals such as leopards, forest elephants, pygmy antelopes, primates like chimpanzees, grey-cheeked mangabeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and lions during game drives in the park. You can also see various bird species, including the Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping, and Black-Wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed, and African Dwarf Kingfishers, among others
For those who enjoy birds, Semuliki National Park is a popular destination. Blue-billed Malimbe, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Nkulengu Rail, Piping Hornbill, Blue-billed Malimbe, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed Malimbe, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, and Leaf-love are among the bird species found here.
There is also nocturnal bird watching in the Semuliki national park near Sempaya. Ayres Hawk-Eagle, Cassin’s Spine tail, African Wood Owl, Red-thighed and Great Sparrows, as well as buff-spotted Fluff tails and African Goshawks, are among the birds to look for.
Visiting Sempaya Hot Springs
A thrilling and delightful experience, visiting Sempaya hot springs will let you understand God’s strength and creation. You may see hot water bubbling up to two meters high while at the hot springs, where locals and visitors cook food and fry eggs on the heated pool water from the springs.
Nature walks / Hiking
In the park’s Ituri woodland, which is a part of Semuliki National Park, visitors can go on nature hikes. A knowledgeable Kibale tour guide leads hikes into the forests and takes people on nature walks. You can see birds, primates, and other park species while taking a nature walk. This shouldn’t be missed because visitors can see the wildlife and plants up close.
The tourists are taken through the historical way of life by the Batwa culture. You will learn about the Batwa people’s way of life via cultural tours with them, including how they eat and perform traditional dances.
The lowland forests that make up Semuliki National Park are home to many primates, including chimpanzees. On the treetops, chimpanzees can be seen leaping. The park also offers chimpanzee habituation experiences.
Best Time to visit The Semuliki National Park is accessible at any time and is open all year long. However, the dry months of April through June and July through September are the greatest times to visit the park. Because there is less mud during these dry months, traveling through Semuliki National Park is simpler. The park is difficult to navigate during the rainy season, which occurs between December and March and between October and November.
The park can be accessed both by Road and by Air.
By Road: Fort Potal is 300 kilometers from Kampala. From Kampala, there are two highways that lead to the park. It takes four to five hours to travel from Kampala to Fort Portal via Mubende, alternatively it takes seven to eight hours to travel from Kampala through the towns of Kasese, Mbarara, and Masaka.
Air: It is possible to arrange domestic flights to Semuliki National Park. Visitors can take a 2-hour flight from Entebbe International Airport to Semuliki airstrip.
Accommodations in Semuliki National Park
Numerous lodging options are available in Semuliki National Park. These include luxury accommodations, affordable accommodations, and accommodations in the middle range. These include Hotel Vanila, Ntoroko Game Lodge, Nyati Game Lodge, Mountains of the Moon Hotel, UWA Bandas Guest House, Kirimia Guest House, and local lodges on a shoestring budget.