Initially, this protected was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 but later upgraded its status to a national park in 1993. If you are interested in birding, then Semuliki Valley National Park is a true birders haven. This park is situated within the Semuliki valley, western side of the Rwenzori mountain range with remote confinement of the Ituri forest of the Congo basin. Today, this beautiful forest park boasts of its ever increasing species which have thrived for about 25000 years and features the only track of lowland tropical forest in East Africa inhabiting over 441 bird species, exceptional hot springs, 53 mammal species, 11 unique antelopes and 2 flying squirrels a mention but a few.
What to see in Semuliki Valley National Park
This magnificent protected area features variety of attractions that are linked to central rather than eastern Africa. The Semuliki River itself is a miniature version of the Congo River while its forest cover refuges variety of Central African wildlife and the Batwa pygmies originated from the Ituri. It boasts of its over 441 bird species most of which are unique forest birds including the Sarsi’s olive greenbul, forest ground thrust, 9 hornbills plus shoebill stork among others. On the other hand, there are many mammal species including among others 9 duikers, hippos, elephants, leopards, chimpanzees, buffaloes, pygmy flying squirrel, Mona monkeys, bush babies and others. There are over 374 butterfly species and moths and others.
What to do in Semuliki Valley National Park
This park features variety of exciting activities for visitors to take part while on Uganda safari and among others include;
With over 441 bird species, the Semuliki valley national park is incredibly one of Uganda’s exceptional birding sites you need to explore while on birding safari this coming season. While on bird watching, you will have a chance to sight at birds like the white crested hornbill, red billed dwarf hornbill and many others.
A side from sighting bird species, there are very many savanna grassland wildlife dwellers that you can catch a glimpse at while on Uganda safari. They include among others elephants, waterbucks, warthogs, buffaloes, leopards and others.
Explore the hot springs
This park features one of the world’s powerful hot springs-the dual Sempaya hot spring that comprises of male and female that is worth exploring while on your safari. The female is called Nyasimbi and male-Bitende. This hot spring is known for its powerful boiling rate which reaches up to 100 degrees Celsius.
For nature lovers, you are never left out because this park has you covered up. You can embark on a nature walk via Kirunda trial which stretches for about 13 kilometers. The trail leads you to the center of the forest to the Semuliki River and it is equally significant site for birding. While on this amazing experience, you can also come across the Bambuti pygmies-one of the smallest tribes in Uganda compared to even the Batwa pygmies. As well, you can interact with the Batwa pygmies here and have a chance to explore more on their daily way of doing things, cultures, traditions and many others.
The other exciting activity includes sports fishing which is conducted around the river and interested visitors need to come with fishing gear for this thrilling water sport.
This park receives average rainfall amount 1250 mm with its highest peaks starting from March to May and Mid-September to mid-December. Its temperatures range from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Where to stay in Semuliki Valley National Park
The notable lodges for you to spend a night in Semuliki National Park include Ntoroko game lodge.
How to get to Semuliki Valley National Park
This park lies about 387 kilometers off Kampala capital city and covers an area of about 219 square kilometers. To get here, you have to set off via Kampala-Fort Portal-Mubende and this may take you about 4 to 6 hours’ drive. Alternatively, you can take the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese route and this may take you some good time but comes with incredible thing for instance a stopover at equator for photo taking. En-route, there are variety of touristic site for you to make stopovers that will make part of your experience. A road trip to this park requires you to have a 4wheel drive safari vehicle.