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Semuliki National Park

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About Semuliki National Park
A True Birder's Haven

Semuliki National Park is a very humble park and the only lowland tropical forest remaining in East Africa located in Bwamba country, a rural area in Bundibugyo district. It stretches through Semuliki Valley and a portion of the Ituri forest connecting to the Zaire River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park is also surrounded by two of Uganda’s most famous physical features namely Mountain Rwenzori in the south East and Lake Albert in the northern side.

Semuliki National Park which began as a forest reserve in 1932 was later converted into a national park in 1993 it is now home to very many wildlife including 40 % of Uganda’s bird population with 441 species of birds and 66% of the forest birds found in Uganda making Semuliki national park the number one birding site in Uganda. It is also home to the rare shoe bill

Possible mammal sightings include different monkeys, chimpanzees, and baboons species like De Brazza’s monkey, Vervet monkey, olive baboons, guereza colobus, and night primates like patios and galagos.

Attractions

VISITING SEMPAYA HOT SPRINGS

The park, is famous for its two hot springs, with very exciting stories of their creation from the locals as compared to the scientific belief of formation, one of the hot springs is believed to be female and the other male.

The male spring locally called Bintene is believed to be 12 meters long in diameter and the female called Nyasimbi is a geyser that sends jetting water and steam into the air from deep down the earth’s crust.

The steam is visible even at a kilometer distance, the hot water can be used to boil eggs and Matooke. UWA has also created a bridge from which visitors can stand and enjoy the views of the hot springs.

BIRDING

Semuliki national park is the best birding site in Uganda with 40 % of Uganda’s bird population with 441 species of birds and 66% of forest birds and also has chances of sighting rare bird species from Congo –central Africa since Semuliki stretches to River Zaire.

Birding can also be done around the hot springs for instance Sempaya hot springs.

Possible bird sightings include Lemon –bellied Crombec, Gabon Woodpecker, Grant’s Bluebill, Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Forest Francolin, Chocolate backed, Goshawk, White-spotted Fluff tail, and Black-winged starling among others.

GAME DRIVE

Embark on a game drive through the savannah wilderness in your safari vehicle searching for the diversity of wildlife in Semuliki National Park of over 52 mammals including buffalo, elephants, and Uganda kobs among others. The game drive can be done both in the morning and evening and the duration is according to your preference.

CHIMPANZEE TRACKING

The chimpanzee trek for the habituated chimpanzees starts from the park headquarters where you are briefed about the chimpanzee trek guidelines, rules, and regulations by the ranger guides. Proceed on your trek down to the forest with your ranger who keeps informing you about the daily lifestyle and behavior of the chimpanzees like the fact that they stay in groups of about 35 – 40 individuals of all genders, they like cracking nuts from the roots of trees, they like chewing leaves, they like jumping from one tree to the other and the food they like most – fruits, young antelopes and goats. You also be to see the chimpanzees swing from the trees, prepare their nests to rest and overnight in, mating, nursing their babies among others.

CULTURAL VISITS AND EXPERIENCES

Four tribes have settled around at the edge of the park including the Batwa who are hunters and forest gatherers, Bakonjo and Bamba are farmers, and Batuku are cattle keepers.

Embark on a community walk through the local villages surrounding Semuliki National Park. Optional activities include visits to a traditional home, local orphanage or school, banana brewing demonstrations and even meeting traditional medicinal healers. This three to four-hour walk is easily tailored to your schedule and interests.

NATURE WALK AND FOREST WALK

To experience more of the forest’s vegetation and wildlife, UWA has created different trails in the forest like the walk through the 8km Sempaya nature trail, the 11km red monkey track, and the 13km Kirumia hiking trail. The 3- 4 hours walk offers sightings and sounds of the forest and encounters the native wildlife like the animal and plant species in the park.

You could need a walking stick to spread the shrub to create a clear path as you hike. In case you are interested in spending a night in nature, please come along with your camping facilities.

VISITING RIVER SEMULIKI

River Semuliki is 160 km long and it is home to crocodiles, hippos and a variety of bird species. Tourists in the accompaniment of a guide meander through forest and rift valleys along the river shores.

Photos

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