Semuliki National Park.
Semuliki national park is located in the Great Albertine Rift westwards of Fort Portal town in Bundibugyo district in Uganda. The park was gazetted in 1993 and covers 220 square km. It’s an extension of the huge Ituri Forest and formed a fraction of the forest range during the climatic disarray of the Pleistocene. It is one of the richest parks in both flora and fauna in Africa and a birders’ haven. The park borders Rwenzori Mountains in the south-east, DR Congo to the west and Lake Albert in the north.
What to do in Semuliki National Park
Visit the Sempaya Hot Springs
There is a short trail from the tourist office to the beautiful Sempaya hot springs. A nature walk by forest guides will lead you to the site surrounded by beautiful palm trees and other forest vegetation. Then enjoy a view of a two-meter spray of hot water at a temperature of more than 100°C. You can boil eggs and matooke in these boiling waters.
Along the trail leading to the hot springs are primates like red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, black & white colobus monkeys. Various bird species seen are like white crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, great blue turaco among others.
Visit Mungiro Waterfalls
Found just north of the hot-water springs. The waterfalls harbor various bird species like red-billed dwarf horn-bill and white-crested hornbill. Spot red-tailed monkeys along the way to the waterfalls. Enjoy either a day or night nature walks to the falls to spot a variety of monkeys and birds. Also look out for hippos and crocodiles on the river bank.
Game Drives in Semuliki
Three game tracks cross Toro – Semuliki wildlife reserve. Look out for some wild animals during the game drive you will spot forest elephants, Savannah elephants, Bushbabies, leopards, Buffaloes, plus some great hippos and Crocodiles. There are about eight primate species and over 300 types of butterflies. Furthermore, a night game drive in the park is very rewarding to spot nocturnal species like leopards, white-tailed mongoose, Pottos, and Galagos.
Sport Fishing :
Equipped with your fishing gears, you will go sport fishing along the Semuliki river.
Cultural Visits To Nearby Local Communities.
About four different ethnic groups are living around and inside this park, for example, Batuku pastoralists, Bakonjo in the valley, Bamba agriculturalists on the mountain slopes. The Batwa pygmies who are the least in numbers were traditional forest dwellers and hunters, and they originated from the Ituri Forest.
Birding in Semuliki national park.
Semuliki is a birders’ haven with some of Africa’s best forest bird species. The park has about 441 recorded bird, species with 66 percent of 216 the forest birds in Uganda include; Great blue turaco, White-crested Hornbill, and Fawn-breasted Waxbill among others. Sempaya, Kirumia River, and Ntandi provide an excellent viewing area for birders.
Hiking and nature walk in Semuliki national park.
There are three trails. Kirumia trail and red monkey track lead to the Semuliki river. Sempaya Nature Trail takes you to the Sempaya hot springs. All these trails are perfect for birders.
How to Get there.
Therefore there are two primary routes by road from Kampala to Fort Portal in a 4WD vehicle;
- Kampala to Fort portal via Mubende is 180km a 4-5hours drive.
- Kampala to Fort portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese is 465km takes 7-8hours. From Fort portal to Sempaya Gate is 59km taking about 2-3hours. From Sempaya Gate to Ntandi (park headquarters ) is 5 km.