Semuliki National Park sits on the remote corner of Western Uganda and it is one of magnificent Uganda safari parks. Compared to other protected areas, this park is one of the least visited parks hence providing tourists with authentic wilderness experiences.
This conservancy area shelters the eastern extension of the Ituri Forest and makes up a section of continuum which extends across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Semuliki National Park is set at the base of the Rwenzori Mountains, Bundibugyo district and it shelters the only lowland tropical forest in East Africa. The park is endowed with forest birds and features an exceptional landscape, distinguishing it from the rest of Uganda safari parks.
Semuliki National Park was founded as a forest reserve in 1932 and in 1993, it became a national park. It extends up to 220sq.kms making it one of the smallest Uganda safari parks. Because of its small size, it easier to explore its biodiversity in the shortest period possible.
Tourist attractions in Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is a stunning Uganda safari park blessed with over 53 mammal species. These include chimpanzees, olive baboons, pottos, duikers, De Brazza’s monkeys, mona monkeys, red tailed monkeys, dwarf antelopes, blue monkeys, bush babies, grey cheeked monkeys, pygmy flying squirrel, bush pigs, hippos, African civets, leopards, elephants and buffaloes.
There are over 441 bird species confined within the Semuliki National Park making it one of the best Uganda safari parks for bird watching. They include 35 Guinea-Congo Forest biome and 12 bird species only endemic to East African region.
Some of the amazing birds to identify on Uganda birding safari in this protected area include the Nkulengu rail, Sassi’s olive greenbul, African dwarf kingfishers, Oberlander’s ground thrush, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue-headed crested flycatcher, long-tailed hawks, Lemon-bellied Crombec, yellow-throated Nicator, lyre-tailed Honeyguide, hornbills, Piping hornbills, Western bronze-naped pigeons, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Eastern-bearded Greenbuls, red-sided broadbill, Black-collared lovebirds, Red-chested owlets to mention but a few.
There exist also nocturnal birds such as the Ayres hawk eagles, black-shouldered nightjars, African wood owl, Nkulengu rail, buff spotted flufftail, crepuscular freckled nightjar, red thighed and the great sparrows.
Semuliki National Park features distinct floral species typically of Central African. It is dominated by the Congo basin forest whereas it also features the semi-deciduous vegetation, Uganda ironwood, and moist evergreen forest.
Hot springs make up Semuliki National Park’s famous attractions. The Sempaya hot springs are popular for their high temperature with boiling rate of about 100 degrees Celsius. You can even demonstrate with an egg or banana and within 10 minutes, it can be ready for consumption. The Sempaya hot springs comprise of the female (Nyasimbe) and male (Bintente).
Tour activities to do in Semuliki National Park
Game drives/game viewing
Game viewing is one of the most astonishing Uganda safari activities tourists can engage in while in Semuliki National Park. There exist 3 game trails/tracks set for game drives, each rewarding visitors with lots of wildlife sights in a 4×4 safari vehicle with pop-up roof. While on a game drive, you will be exposed to Uganda Kobs, warthogs, waterbucks, elephants, buffaloes, leopards (but on rare occasions), white tailed mongoose, birds.
When it comes to birding, Semuliki never disappoints! The exceptional birding spots include the Ntandi and Sempaya. These expose birders to the park’s bird diversity especially the Sassi’s olive greenbul, African dwarf kingfishers, Oberlander’s ground thrush, Maxwell’s black weaver, blue-headed crested flycatcher, long-tailed hawks, Lemon-bellied Crombec, yellow-throated Nicator, lyre-tailed Honeyguide, hornbills, Piping hornbills, Western bronze-naped pigeons, chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Eastern-bearded Greenbuls, red-sided broadbill, Black-collared lovebirds, Red-chested owlets to mention but a few.
If you are interested in chimpanzee tracking, Semuliki National Park still has you covered. Chimpanzees share 98 percent of their DNA with humans and not only will you have a close encounter with chimps but also other primates, birds and a lot more.
Guided nature walks
A nature walk is another best way to indulge yourself into this park’s wilderness. About 3 trails exist extending 40kms, each offering something unique to tourists. The Sempaya hot springs trail is probably one of the best and also takes you a short to cover about 8kms approximately 2 to 4 hours. The other trails include red monkey and Kirumia trails.
Where to stay in Semuliki National Park
Some of the best Uganda safari lodges near Semuliki National Park include Rwenzori Travelers, Semliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge, Semliki Guesthouse, Kirumia Guesthouse, Hotel Vanilla, Mountains of the Moon Hotel in Fort Portal city, Aramaga Lodge.
How to access Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is found in Bundibugyo district, western Uganda. It can easily be accessed by road or by air. By road, this park is 290kms from Kampala and you can drive via Mubende-Fort Portal city or take 465kms route starting from Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese.