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Semuliki national park

The Semuliki National Park  is situated on the Rwenzori Mountains’ plain in western Uganda. It is East Africa’s sole real lowland tropical forest tract. It spans an area of 220km2 with altitude of 670m-760m above sea level. It is East Africa’s only genuine valleys tropical forest and consists of factors associated with Central Africa instead of Eastern Africa. The international border connecting Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is marked by the Semuliki River. The park is dominated by the Congo Basin’s easternmost stretch of the Ituri forest. Semuliki National Park is located off the main Uganda safari circuit and is consequently one of the less visited parks in Uganda.

The Semliki Wildlife Reserve is made up of tropical rainforest, grassland savannah, and flat plains. This is Uganda’s earliest reserve, and it is home to both central and eastern African species.

The Semuliki National Park and the Semliki Wildlife Reserve (previously named Toro-Semliki Game Reserve), situated on the isolated western side of the Rwenzori Mountains, work together to safeguard the ecosystems of much of the Semliki Valley.

Semuliki National Park spans 220 square kilometers and rises 670-760 meters above sea level. It was established as a Forest Reserve in 1932 and was elevated to a National Park in 1993. Its forest constitutes the eastern boundary of the DRC’s Great Ituri Forest and is thus East Africa’s sole real stretch of lowland tropical forest. The hot sulfur springs are still very important to the people that surround the park.

The park’s grassland neighbor, the Semliki Wildlife Reserve, was Uganda’s earliest nature reserve, established in 1926. The principal ecosystems are open acacia-combretum woodland and grassy savannah, with pockets of Borassus palm forest intermingled, in addition to considerable bands of riparian woodland along the main river channels and some vast swamps around Lake Albert.

On a bright day, vistas of the 2500m-high Congolese Blue mountains on the western horizon and the glacier peaks of the Rwenzoris to the southwest are visible from roughly 700m above sea level.

Semuliki has an amazing birdlife, with 441 species documented. Birds may dwell safely in the riverine environment and grassland. Semuliki National Park has 46 Guinea-Congo biome species that are uniquely present in East Africa. African Piculet, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed Malimbe, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Nkulengu Rail, Piping Hornbill, blue-billed malimbe, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, and Leaf-love are among the species to seek for.Semuliki national park

There are 53 animals, with 27 of them being big mammals. The park is home to 11 unique species, including the pygmy antelope and two flying squirrel species. It also supports the water chevrotain, also called the “fanged deer.”

Forest elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and crocodiles along the Semuliki River, as well as various primates – Chimpanzee, red-cheeked mangabey, Central African red colobus, and many reptiles and amphibians – live in the forest. The park is home to 11 unique creatures, including the pygmy flying squirrel, Beecroft’s flying squirrel, water chevrotain, target rat, small collared fruit bat, bay duiker, and forest buffalo, and mona monkey.Semuliki national park

Chimpanzee adventures (tracking and habituation)

Semuliki national parkChimpanzee tracking is nestled in the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. After being informed at the study site, you proceed to the Kijura observation point, where you will begin your expedition tracking the chimpanzees. The route might take between 4 and 6 hours to complete as you follow the chimpanzees’ trails. The route is fascinating, with various birds and elephants, buffalos, and lions spotted all along.

Chimpanzee habituation; Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve offers a full day of chimpanzee habituation. It is pre-booked at the Uganda Wildlife Authority, where you will acquire your permission and join the ranger guides and researchers. You may follow the researchers as they track chimpanzees from morning hours when they leave their nests to late evening when they return to sleep. The plan is for chimpanzees to become familiar with humans before joining the group that will be accessible for chimpanzee tracking.


Semuliki national parkDue to its position in the Albertine rift valley, low elevation forest, and central African species, the park’s major appeal is bird viewing. In addition, it is home to Central African bird species that are not seen elsewhere in East Africa. Semuliki National Park hosts 441 bird species, 46 of which are unique to the Guinea-Congo biome and found nowhere else in East Africa. Shoebill, dwarf honeyguide, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Nicator, Great blue and Ross’s turaco, purple breasted sunbird, orange weaver, white crested hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, African Piculet, Swamp Palm Bulbul, and others are among the species to watch for. The Shoebill is frequently seen when boat birding in Lake Albert. More birding spots in the park include Sempaya, Ntandi, the Kirumia route, and the Semuliki River.

Hikes and nature walks

Nature walks are led by a ranger guide in the forest. Within the park, there are primarily three pathways to explore:

The 11-kilometer-long Red Monkey Trail follows the park boundaries to the east and terminates at the Semliki River. There is a potential you will see the rare DeBrazza monke.

The Sempaya nature walk leads to the Sempaya hot springs. The stroll takes you through a forest where you are likely to see black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and grey-cheeked mangabeys. The walk to the male hot springs includes a tree house from which you can enjoy the numerous birds and magnificent scenery.


The Kirumia track, which is 13 kilometers long and winds through the forest, is ideal for birders.

Hot springs

The Semuliki hot springs are a big draw for many park visitors. They are used in ceremonies by the Bamba people to speak with their gods for blessings and protection. The path to the male (Bintente) and female (Nyasimbe) hot springs winds through the forest, where you may see red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and black-and-white colobus monkeys hopping from tree branches in search of food. The ‘female’ hot springs include a boiling fountain that is above 1000 degrees Celsius. Plantains and eggs are frequently cooked in boiling water and consumed while you resume your trekking expedition.

Cultural encounters

earlier the woodland was designated as a national park, the Batwa resided there. They currently reside on the park’s outskirts but frequent the forest in quest of therapeutic herbs. They offer demonstrations of how they lived in the forest, including harvesting food, hunting, and equipment for living and surviving in the wild. Enjoy the music and dancing performances, and don’t forget to buy the handcrafted items they produce.

Semliki is 6 hours from Kampala and 1.5 hours from Fort Portal. An airstrip is accessible for small aircraft flights if you stay at Semliki Safari Lodge.

Semliki may be visited at any time of year. While weather conditions change, the months of December through March are often hot and dry. From April through June, there is more steady rainfall. From June through September, the weather is mainly dry with occasional light rain, whereas October and November experience brief but heavy rains.

Kyaninga Lodge

Mountains of the moon Hotel

Rwenzori View Guest house

Semuliki safari lodge

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