Semuliki National Park travel guide – Semuliki National Park, is located in Bwamba County, a remote part of the Bundibugyo District, in the Western Region of Uganda. It was made a national park in October 1993 and is one of Uganda’s newest national parks. Covering a total area coverage of 219 km2 (85 sq mi). And it’s the only tropical rain forest found in the East Africa’s lowland.
Semliki National Park was gazzeted in 1993 and covers an area of 220 square kilometers. This Park is characterized by huge tropical low land forest in the famous Congo basin, the Sempaya hot springs, Semliki River, lowland tropical rainforests bordered by the magical Mountains of the Moon. It is a home to over 2o mammal species including several primates such as chimpanzees, monkeys and over 400 bird species with some species being typical forest bird species. Much as this National park is rich with Biodiversity, it has become a birders paradise as it has West African species like the Congo serpent Eagle.
Semuliki national park is situated in the floor of the semuliki valley on the remote western side of the Rwenzori Mountain. The park is bordered by Ituri forest of the Congo basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forest that survived the last ice bag 18000 years ago. The semuliki valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than East Africa making it a unique destination in Uganda. Thatched huts are shaded by West African palm oil, the semuliki which marks an international boundary with Congo the miniature version of the Congo River. The forest is a home to numerous central African wildlife species and the local population include Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri as a result semuliki national park provides a test of the central African tradition within Uganda.
Wildlife of semuliki National park.
The forest is a home to 53 mammal species of which 27 are large mammals, 11 are endemic to the park including the pygmy antelope and two fly squirrel.it is also a home to the fanged deer. The park is also a home to forest elephants and forest buffalos that are small than the savannah buffalo. The forest is a remarkable rich primate destination this include chimpanzee, baboon, grey checked Mangabeys, black and white Colobus monkey, central African red Colobus, blue monkey, red tailed monkey, de-braza’s monkey, Vervet monkey, dent’s Mona monkey, nocturnal primates include potto, and bush baby.Bigger semi-aquatic animals like hippos and crocodiles can be seen in the Semuliki River.
Birds of semuliki national park.
Birdlife in semuliki is spectacular with 441 bird species recorded representing 40% of Uganda’s total bird species and 66% of the country’s forest bird species.The list is expanded by the riverine habitat and the grassland east of the park. There are numerous rear birds in the park, 46 Guinea-Congo biome species that are found nowhere in East Africa while another. 35 can be seen in 3 birding areas in Uganda. 5 species are endemic to Albertine rift endemic these include Nkulengu Rail, Yellow –Throated cuckoo, piping Hornbill, Red billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, Black-casqued wattled Hornbill, Red rumped Tinkerbird, African piculet, White Throated Blue swallow, Yellow –Throated Nictor, Leaf-love, swamp palm bulbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Maxwell’s black weaver, Crested Malimbe, Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue- bellied Malimbe, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Orange checked Waxbill.
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.
Semuliki National Park travel guide – 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.
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;
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.
Semliki Forest National park lies in the extreme side of Western Uganda in the remote district of Bundibugyo. There are not many accommodation options within the national park except Uganda wildlife authority basic Bandas at Bumaga.
UWA Bandas and campsites
The UWA Bandas and Campsites are situated at Bumaga, around 3 kilometers from Sempaya-the trail head of various explorations in Semliki National park such as birding, nature walks and hikes to the popular Sempaya male and female hot springs. The Bandas offer comfortable accommodation without meals, which can be arranged on order. Alternatively, you can hire some of the catering equipments if you are interested in self catering while on your Safari in this National park.
Semuliki National park travel guide – Luxury Semliki Safari Lodge-in Toro-semuliki wildlife reserve 65kms to the park.
This wonderful luxury Lodge is found in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve, near Semliki National park. It was constructed out of locally sourced materials offering tourists with an authentic African rustic feeling while at the same time offering the most comfortable stay to more than 18 guests on a Safari in the Park. The accommodation in Semliki Safari lodge is inform of Canvas Tents (golden hued tents with shiny wooden floors with adjoining bathrooms with hot and cold showers, morning tea or coffee is served for you in bed (brought to your room) and flush toilets among others. Some of the facilities to enjoy include a well-stocked bar, and a restaurant that serves the most delicious meals, swimming pool for relaxation, a main Lodge with grass-thatched roof and a lounge among others. Most importantly, the Lodge rewards tourists with the astonishing views of the Blue Mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo and other riveting activities to partake while at the Lodge.
Ntoroko Game Lodge-at the shores of Lake Albert 85 kms to the park.
Ntoroko Game Lodge is a luxury Tented Camp situated on the unspoiled shores of Lake Albert and provides tourists with the breathtaking scenery of the wildlife species in the Park. This facility offers tourists with Double rooms, standard double rooms and single rooms. This Lodge is perfect for honeymooners or tourists looking to enjoy a safari in seclusion. Some of the facilities found in their rooms include Fans, comfortable en-suite bedrooms, private balconies overlooking the gardens and Lake Albert, Toiletries, Safes, heaters and hairdryers.
The Dry season is the best time to make a trip to Semuliki National Park. The two Dry seasons are from December to February and from June to August. During the Wet season months (March to May and September to November) the trails are flooded making it difficult to walk through the forest trail. You must note that semuliki forest is swampy.Contact Great Adventure Safaris about semuliki National Park travel guide and things to do in Semuliki.