How to get to Semuliki National Park – Sempaya Hot Springs
How to get to Semuliki National Park – Semuliki National Park found in the south western corner of Uganda in Budibugyo district can be accessed by road on two routes especially when you are coming from Kampala Uganda’s capital, for these two routes it is advisable to use 4WD vehicles;
- Route 1:Kampala-Fort portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese.
- This is approximately 465 km and it takes between 7 and 8 hours to reach, which makes it a longer route but it’s on this same route where you can visit some other places along the way such as Queen Elizabeth National park, Lake Mburo National park and other places.
- Route 2:Kampala-Fort portal via Mubende.
- This route is approximately a 4-5hour drive about 180km; this makes it a shorter route.
How to get to Semulliki National Park – The park is situated in Bundibugyo about 59 km from Fortportal which takes between 2 and 3 hours on the bumpy road to reach the Sempaya Gate. Along the way there is a lot to see like the different Rwenzori ranges, the beautiful view of the floor of the Albertine Rift valley, Some times in the rainy season the road especially in the mountainous region are bad hence would need more time to access the park. But currently the road is being widened to quicken transport.
Activities in semuliki national park.
Tourists who visit Semuliki National Park are rewarded with some of the most fascinating forest bird species and other swamp bird species. Some of the notable bird species to look out for in this Park include the elusive shoebill stork and Swamp Palm Bulbul found mainly around Lake Albert. Others include Lemon-bellied Crombec, Black Dwarf Hornbill, African Piculet, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Red-billed Dwarf hornbills, Blue-billed Malimbe, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, White-crested hornbill, Yellow-throated Nicator, White-throated Blue Swallow, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-bellied Malimbe, Nkulengu Rail, White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, Piping hornbill, Leaf-love, Crested Malimbe, the Ross’ Turaco and Orange-cheeked Waxbill among others especially found ar0ound Ntandi and Sempaya. Apart from the mentioned bird areas, Kirumia River is also an interesting birding spot.
Nature walks and hiking
Nature walks within Semuliki National park are also a must activity that allows tourists to get up-close with the mammals, birds and butterfly species that cannot be explored during game drives. Nature walks within this Park allow tourists to explore animals such as primates, Hippos, Crocodiles birds and butterflies. There are three main hiking trails within this Park and they include the 8 kilometer Sempaya Nature trail, the 11 kilometer Red-monkey track along the Eastern margin of Semuliki National Park and the 13 Kilometer Kirumia Hiking trail that passes the heart of the Semuliki Forest and stretches towards the Semuliki River.
Much are there are several tribes around Semliki National Park, meeting the Batwa people who live within Semuliki Forest is the most riveting cultural encounter within Semuliki National Park. These people were hunter-gatherers who were entirely dependent on the Semliki Forest for food, shelter, firewood and medicine before it was gazzeted into forest reserve in 1932 and a National Park in 1993. With the development of tourism, their livelihood shifted from the forest, but instead they display their fading ancient ways and cultures through dances, music and drama.
Another riveting cultural encounter is the visit to the Bambuti pygmies who inhabit the banks of the Semuliki River and are close relatives of the Basu pygmies within the Democratic Republic of Congo, although some people believe that the Bambuti pygmies are closely related to the Batwa around Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. These people are even smaller in number than the Batwa Pygmies and have more interesting activities that include growing and smoking of marijuana. The similarity between the Bambuti Pygmies and the Batwa Pygmies is that they all once lived within Forests, were hunter-gatherers and were all evicted from their ancient homes.
Visit to the Sempaya hot springs
This is the most participated activity within Semuliki National park, and is a must-do for all tourists to this National Park. There are two Hot springs-Male hot spring called Bitende that measures about 12 meters in diameter and the Female hot spring named Nyasimbi and is a boiling geyser that ejects out hot water and steam at about 2 meters into the air. The Temperature of the water can be able to boil at 100 degree Celsius and eggs can boil within 5-10 minutes. What fascinates tourists is not the scientific formation of the feature but the cultural/legendary story that surrounds it. Visit these hot springs and you will be amused by the cultural significance, and there are several mammals such as primates and birds within this site.