Semiliki National Park

Friday, 16 December 2011 07:23 administrator

Semuliki National park is located in the extreme west of Uganda, in Bundibugyo. It lies along the Uganda /Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border within the western arm of the East African Rift valley. It covers an area of 220 sq km and covers an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest. It forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene, and it is one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa most especially birds.

Semuliki National Park was gazetted in October 1993, and it is one of Uganda's newest National Parks. The Park occupies a flat to gently undulating landform ranging from 670 -760 metres above level. The park protects a large number of predominantly Central African species which cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa. These include some of the continent's most spectacular and sought-after birds such as; Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Lyre-tailed Honey guide Black-wattled Hornbill and the Nkulengu Rail.

From Kampala there are two major roads; Kampala-Fortportal via Mubende (4-5 hours drive) and Kampala-Fortportal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese (7-8 hours).

Safari activities
Scenic viewing Semuliki national park has got fantastic scenery made up of hot springs, tropical forests, Semuliki river meanders and many other ideal attractions. At 'Mungu Ni Mukubwa' while in the mountains, the road offers breathtaking scenic views of the meandering Semuliki River, fuming hot springs and the tropical rain forests extending up to Ituri forest in DRC. Two Hot springs situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swampland is rich in visible birds, insects and mammalian life. These two meters jet of hot water (130oC) and a pool (12 m diameter) of oozing boiling water (106oC) can boil food especially eggs in the natural boiler within only ten minutes.

Nature walks
Jungle life in Semuliki is breathtaking especially for birders, primate, butterfly and plant lovers. Jungle walks always starts from Sempaya Gate and takes about 2 hours ending to the Hot Springs of 10m diameter through the rainforest with Palm Trees and partly muddy ground. On the walk, tourists have a chance to see primates like Mangabeys and Blue Monkeys, mammals such as forest buffaloes, elephants, sitatungas, leopards, pygmy hippopotamus, as well as birds such as Hornbills, Honey guides and Palm nut Vultures. There are also 305 species of trees recorded, of which 125 species are restricted to this park alone.

Local community visits
Near the park, there are "Batwa”, a local pygmy Ituri ethnic group of people. They were the inhabitants of Semuliki Forest. Their livelihood basically depends on fruit gathering and hunting in the forest. Today there is a mixture and cultural exchange with other ethnic groups started. A community visit to the pygmy village near Sempaya Gate will enable you witness their lifestyles, traditions, dances, as well as an opportunity to buy souvenirs.

Bird watching
Given the rich biodiversity of the park in terms of birdlife, birding is another tourism activity that can be carried during the safari. The varying vegetation types offer birders the chance to see different birds which include forest birds, wetland birds, grassland birds as well as water birds. The area around the geothermal hot springs at Sempaya is not only very scenic but also offers some great birding most especially during nights.


Last Updated on Saturday, 17 December 2011 08:02