Semuliki national park Uganda is famous for the largest population of Uganda Kobs as well as 34% of Uganda’s total bird population. This park is also popular for being the home of the Sempaya hot springs. The park is located in Bundibugyo District approximately 52km northwest of Fort portal on the far side of the northern tail of Rwenzori Mountain Range. The Semuliki river defines the border with Congo, and several Tributaries run through the park providing watering places and good spots to observe the animals
Semuliki national park was initially a forest reserve but was later upgraded to national park status in 1993. This was done to protect the forest as an integral part of the protected areas of the western rift valley
Semuliki national park has a diversity of small animals, birds, butterflies, and insects that are attracted to the forest vegetation. The park has a total of 63 mammal species inhabiting these forests. These mammals include forest primates such as the Chimpanzee, Olive baboon, blue monkey, vervet monkey, Galagos, and Pottos. Other mammals inhibiting Semuliki national park include the Forest Beecroft’s flying squirrel, Buffaloes, little collared fruit bat, Blue duiker, Pigmy squirrel, Water chevrotain, and many more.
Over 374 Butterfly and Moth species have also been identified in the park. The park also has 435 bird species and some of these birds cannot be found anywhere else on the continent, these include the Hornbills and the Lyre tailed honey guide as well as a few other birds.
Semuliki national park is moist and semi-deciduous because it is a tropical rainforest. There are approximately 336 diverse tree species with two trees that are considered to be endangered such as the Cordia millennia. The park consists of forest swamps, grassland, warm swamp, and savannah woodland which confirms the diversity in this park.
Game drives are regular activities done at Semuliki national park, The tourists take a drive across the savannah grasslands of Toro. During the game drive, the tourists will be able to see several Primates, Birds, and other small land mammals as well as a few antelopes.
The park also offers hiking and nature walks in the park. This activity is done around the Kirumia trail which is almost 13km long and passes through the forest to the Semliki River. On this adventure, you will see various tree species, small animals, and birds.
Another thrilling activity is visiting the Sempaya hot springs where the tourists go through a trail until the scenic hot springs. On this journey, the tourists will come across several primates such as the red-tailed monkeys.
Semuliki national park is the ideal destination for birders. This is because the park has several and a variety of birds in the forests. The tourists are taken to famous birding areas such as Sempaya where they will be able to view a variety of birds such as the white-crested Hornbill, Ross’s Turacos, and many other birds, an important birding area is River Kirumia. The world endangered species of the shoebill stork can be regularly seen near Lake Albert. However, forest walks are suitable for tracking aquatic birds.
Semuliki national park gives you the opportunity to encounter the different cultures in the community such as the Batwa where you learn about their lifestyle and how they are dependent on the Semliki forest.
The park is a 300km drive from Kampala which approximately a 5 hours journey by road.
While at Semuliki national park, you are guaranteed a comfortable stay at various lodges such as; Semuliki safari lodge, Tooro resort, Fort motel, Rwenzori Travellers inn, Mountains of the moon hotel, Ruwenzori view guest house, and National park bands and campsites.
In conclusion, Semuliki national park is the ideal park for birders and primate lovers who visit Uganda
Here are some of the recommended itineraries that tourists can choose when going on the East Africa safari.