Semuliki National ParkHot Springs, Bird Watching, Cultural and Nature Walks
Semuliki National Park, Tooro - Uganda
TOP THINGS TO DO IN SEMULIKI
Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semuliki valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and Bio-diverse forest; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.
The Semuliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semuliki River which forms the international boundary is miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is the home to numerous Central African Wildlife species, and the local population includes Batwa pygmy community that originated from the ituri. As result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.
While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25, 000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depth to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last14 million years ago. Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993.
Attractions in Semuliki
Birders who make it to Semuliki will be rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding, Sempaya and Ntandi provide excellent bird viewing including the White-crested Hornbill, Red billed Dwarf hornbill, piping hornbill, Yellow throated nicator, Great blue and Ross’s Turacos, The Shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and Forest walks are good for tracking water birds.
Game drives for Toro semuliki
Three tracks across the savannah grassland of Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve. Smaller forest and larger savannah Elephants are regularly seen, along with buffalos, waterbuck, crocodile, warthog and Uganda kob. With luck, you may even see pygmy hippopotami, leopards and elusive bushbabies.
Hiking and Nature walks
The 13km kirumia trail runs through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River. This 8 hour round trip starts at 8am and is perfect for birders.
The hour- long trail to the outer, “Male” spring leads through a parch of forest where Red tailed monkeys, Grey cheecked mangabeys and Black and white colobus monkey are common. A tree house en route provides an aerial view. A 30-minute hike through palm forest from the main road leads to the inner, “female” spring, dominated by boiling geyser. Eggs and matooke (green plantain) can be cooked in this boiling water and enjoyed by hungry hikers!
Cultural Encounters and Trails
The Batwa’s hunter- gatherer lifestyle means they have always been dependent on Semuliki forest for food, shelter, medicine and tools, though this is the beginning to change as a result of interaction with other local communities.
Tourism and Activities
When to visit Semuliki National Park?
Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season (December to March: It is hot and dry, April to June: It is relatively rainy, July to September: It is dry with occasional passing rain, where as October to November: there are short heavy rains) and it is usually advisable to use 4x4 vehicles while in the park, Note that seasons are changing in the world and very often no longer predictable as ever before.
Available tourist accommodation in and around Semuliki includes lodges notably Semuliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge and Camp and alternative budget accommodation in Bundibugyo and Fort Portal towns.
The major tourist activities in the park include game viewing by vehicles on dirt roads, hiking and Nature Walks in Semuliki, Birding, and Cultural Encountersm as well as visiting the Sempaya Hot Spings. Seek advice from our local safari experts on how best you can access the park as well as how to pay for any of the activities you wish to get involved in. Note that
How to get to Semuliki
Semuliki National Park is approximately 6 hours from Kampala by road following the Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal road, with an alternative route of Kampala-Mbarara-Kasese-Fort Portal route taking approximately 9 hours drive. The park is about 2 hours from Fort Portal. Regular scheduled flights by Aero Link take about 2 hours and fly into the park at Semuliki Airstrip from Entebbe airport. Charters can easily be arranged as well by Aero Link, Eagle Air, Kampala Aero Club, and Ndege Jju.
The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.
RECOMMENDED SAVANNA SAFARIS
Best time to visit Semuliki National Park
Semuliki national park is open to visitors and tourists pretty much all year round. The perfect time to visit however is September to March which is the dry season and catching sight of wildlife is much easier.