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 that is surrounded with 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, you will also see different primates including; red-tailed monkeys, grey-checked mangabeys, black & white colobus monkeys and various bird species like white crested hornbill, red billed dwarf hornbill, great blue turaco among others.
Visit Mungiro Waterfalls
This is found just north of the hot-water springs. The waterfalls harbor various bird species like; red-billed dwarf horn-bill and white-crested horn bill. 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
There are 3 game tracks that cross Toro – Semuliki wildlife reserve. Look out for a number of wild animals during the game drive you will spot forest elephants, Savannah elephants, Bush babies, leopards, Buffaloes, plus some unusual 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.
There are about 4 different ethnic groups living around and inside this park for example Batuku pastoralists, Bakonjo living in the valley, Bamba agriculturalists on the mountain slopes and Batwa pygmies who are least in numbers and these where traditional forest dwellers and hunters. The batwa pygmies 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 excellent viewing area for birders.
Hiking and nature walks in Semuliki national park.
There are 3 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.
Therefore there are 2 major routes by road from Kampala to Fort Portal in a 4WD vehicle;
- Kampala to Fort portal via Mubende is 180km takes 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.