Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semuliki valley on the remote,western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest Of the Congo basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and Bio-diverse forest;one of the few to survive the lastice age, 12-18,000 years ago.
The Semuliki valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semuliki River which forms the international boundary is miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is the home to numerous Central African Wildlife species, and the local population includes Batwa pygmy community that originated from the ituri. As result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.
While Semuliki species have been accumulating for over 25, 000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depth to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years ago.
Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993.
Activities in Semuliki National Park
Birders who make it to Semuliki will be rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding,Sempaya and Ntandi provide excellent bird viewing including the White-crested Hornbill, Red billed Dwarf hornbill, piping hornbill, Yellow throated nicator, Great blue and Ross’s Turacos, The Shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and Forest walks are good for tracking water birds.
Game drives for Toro semuliki;
Three tracks across the savannah grassland of Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve. Smaller forest and larger savannah Elephants are regularly seen, along with buffalos, waterbuck, crocodile, warthog and Uganda kob. With luck, you may even see pygmy hippopotami, leopards and elusive bushbabies.
Hiking and Nature walks;
The 13 km kirumia trail runs through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River. This 8 hour round trip starts at 8am and is perfect for birders.
The hour- long trail to the outer, “Male” spring leads through a parch of forest where Red tailed monkeys, Grey cheeked mangabeys and Black and white colobus monkey are common. A tree house en route provides an aerial view. A 30-minute hike through palm forest from the main road leads to the inner, “female” spring, dominated by boiling geyser. Eggs and matooke(green plantain) can be cooked in this boiling water and enjoyed by hungry hikers!
Cultural Encounters and Trails;
The Batwa’s hunter- gatherer lifestyle means they have always been dependent on Semuliki forest for food, shelter, medicine and tools, though this is the beginning to change as a result of interaction with other local communities.
Accessibility to Semuliki National Park;
There are two major roads from Kampala to Fort portal then followed by 59 km to Sempaya park gate.
Kampala- fortportal – Sempaya via Mityana and Mubende 5-6 hour drive 239 km
Kampala-fort portal Sempaya via Masaka- Mbarara- Bushenyi- Queen Elizabeth national park –Kasese- the fort portal this is the long one 465 km and for 8-9 hours. Semuliki National Park main gate at Sempaya is 59 km from Fort portal town.