SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

Semuliki National Park offers the best of birding tours in Uganda and East African region. It was first gazetted as a Game Reserve in 1926 making it one of the oldest protected areas. In 1932, Semuliki was designated a forest reserve and became a National Park in 1993.

Location

Semuliki lies in the far Western side of Uganda with its boundaries expanding in Bundibugyo District. It is lying near Uganda border with D.R. Congo and to the South-east, there is a scenic Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon, and to the North, Lake Albert. This park features a section of the vast Ituri Forest, containing diversity of Central African biome species.

Semuliki National Park covers a compact land area of 220 sq.km and it is home to the only tropical lowland forest, wetland and bamboo. The park has two scenic Rivers including the Semliki and Lamia River.

The amazing attractions in Semuliki

The Sempaya Hot Springs

The Sempaya hot springs are the main attractions that make Semuliki NP most popular. These hot springs comprise of 2 hot springs- female and male. They are powerful natural hot springs with boiling rate of 100 degrees celsius.

Wildlife species

Semuliki National Park protects an estimate of 53 species of mammals and 441 species of birds. The main wildlife species to look out on Semuliki safaris include the little collared fruits, sitatungas, flying squirrels, hippos, elephants, fire-footed rope squirrel, forest buffaloes, bush pigs, white-bellied duikers, dwarf antelopes, and bay duikers. The primates of Semuliki: red colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, bush babies, red tailed monkeys, vervet monkeys, DeBrazza’s monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

Bird species

 

67% of Semuliki N/Park’s bird species are forest birds. There are 441 bird species living within this park alone and they include the yellow-throated cuckoos, capuchin babblers, lyre-tailed honey guide, blue headed crested flycatchers, African piculet, purple breasted sunbirds, Congo serpent eagles, Ituri batis, long-tailed hawks, palm bulbul, yellow throated nicator, Nkulengu rail, orange weaver birds, shoe bill stork, blue billed malimbe, leaf love, orange cheeked waxbills, Ross’s turacos, piping hornbills, black wattled hornbills, and more.

River Semliki

For excellent aquatic life sightings, consider visiting the Semliki River a must-do on Uganda safari. This beautiful river shelters a significant hippos and crocodile population, as well as aquatic birds.

Tours & Activities to do at Semuliki NP, Uganda

Tour Sempaya hot spring

The Sempaya hot spring visit is a must-do on Uganda tours. This natural wonder is comprised of female (Nyasimbi) and male hot spring (Bintete) which measures 12 meters in diameter. These hot springs can be observed at a distance while they are powerfully bubbling.

Game drive/safari wildlife viewing

Safari game drives offer excellent animal sightings of mammals and birds. They include buffaloes, elephants, hippos, antelopes and birds. On a game viewing expedition, visitors can explore the three wildlife tracks. If you are interested in primate encounters, the park also guarantees incredible sightings of grey cheeked mangabeys, red colobus monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkeys, baboons, red-tailed monkeys and more.

Birding

Bird watching allows enthusiastic birders great sightings of forest and Albertine rift endemic birds. The park’s diverse birds to keep an eye on include the Gabon woodpeckers, black winged bull, Eastern bearded greenbul, bate’s nightjars, black collared love bird, yellow throated cuckoos, spotted lyre-tailed honey guide, grey ground thrush, African dwarf kingfishers, white spotted fluff tail, African piculet, brown-crowned eremomela, African wood owl, Northern bearded scrub robin, red thighed sparrow hawks, western bronze napped pigeon, and more.

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee encounters on Semuliki National Park are guaranteed. Visit chimps in the wild and enjoy up close with them for 1 hour and take photos. As you look for chimpanzees, there is a chance to keep an eye on other species of primates such as olive baboons, grey cheeked mangabeys, Dent’s Mona monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys. Some interesting birds should also be expected to be identified including the red sided broadbills, black faced rufous warblers, and long-tailed hawks.

Hiking

Semuliki National Park is comprised of 3 amazing hiking trails and each offers distinct experiences. The park’s trails include the 2 to 4 hours’ Sempaya trail, 11km Red monkey hiking and Kirumia River trail that requires at least eight hours to complete walking through it. Exploring the Kirumia River trail allows you to spot birds such as African piculet, long-tailed hawk, black faced rufous warblers and others.

When you should visit the park

Semuliki National Park offers great safaris all year long. But the best time to travel for memorable hiking or game viewing is during the dry season and this is during long or short dry spell. The long dry months of the year run from June, July, August and September, then December, January to February experience short dry seasons. Visits to this park are possible even during the wet or rainy season that is from March to May and October, to November.

Accommodation or lodging facilities to book on Semuliki N.P safaris

On a holiday tour in Semuliki National Park, there are budget, midrange and luxury lodges worth booking for overnight stay. The park’s lodges include Ntoroko Game Lodge, Kirimia Guesthouse, Nyati Game Lodge, Semuliki Safari Lodge, UWA campsites and bandas.

How to reach the park

Traveling by road or air to Semuliki National Park: By road, drive from Kampala through the Mubende to Fort Portal about 5 to 6 hours’ drive journey. The longest route is the Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese route. By air, you depart from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Semliki airstrip.