Semliki National park is located in Bundibugyo District, and covers 220 km sq. Its altitude range is 670m-760m above sea level. Semuliki National Park is an extension of the vast Ituri forest and forms part of the forest continuum situated in the extreme west of Uganda, along the Uganda/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border in the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. It is the only lowland tropical rain forest in East Africa and is one of the richest flora and fauna biodiversity areas in Africa it hosts some of Africa’s most spectacular and sought after birds such as horn bills and lyre tailed honey guide. It has 336 tree species recorded of which 24 are restricted to Semuliki National and 34% of Uganda’s (441) recorded bird species some not found elsewhere in East Africa. It is bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains, the DRC, the Semuliki Flats and Lake Albert. Rain falls year round and birding is good anytime.
Local People- The park has four ethnic groups living around it; the Bamba and Bakonjo are cultivators living in the valley and mountain slopes, the Batuku- pastoralists occupy the rift valley floor; the Batwa (pigmies)-hunter gatherers are an Ituri ethnic group.
Semuliki National Park is an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene; one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa. The trip has the most interesting and breathtaking sights. Experience the most thrilling meandering Bundibugyo road through the Rwenzori escarpments. At ‘Mungu Ni Mukubwa’ while in the mountains, the road offers scenic views of the meandering Semuliki River, fuming Hot springs and the tropical rain forest extending up to Ituri forest in DRC.
Highlights : Wildlife game drives,Bird Watching,Hotsprings,Cultural encounters,Nature Walks.
You will be able to see savannah grasslands of Toro, Semliki Wildlife reserve. Savannah Elephants are regularly seen along with waterbucks, crocodiles, warthogs, bush-babies and Uganda kob.
Three tracks cross the savannah grassland of Toro Semliki Wildlife Reserve. Smaller forest and larger savannah elephants are regularly seen, along with buffalo, waterbuck, crocodile, warthog and Uganda kob. you may even see pygmy hippopotami, leopards and elusive bushbabies.
Birders who make it to Semuliki are always rewarded with some of Africa’s best forest birding. Sempaya and Ntandi provide excellent viewing of the birds. The area around Kirumia River is another top birding spot. The shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and forest walks are good for tracking water birds.
Common species in this area are:- Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaubs’s Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin, Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bates’ Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed and Zenker’s Honeyguides, African Piculet, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Sassi’s Olive, Xavier’s, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded
Greenbuls, Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Forest and Grey Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negro finches, Grant’s Bluebill.
Sempaya Hot springs
Its amazing how the outer, “male” spring leads through a patch of forest where red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys and black-and-white colobus monkeys are common. The inner, “female” spring, dominated by a boiling geyser. Eggs and matooke (green plantain) which can be cooked in these boiling waters is enjoyed so much by hungry hikers. Hotsprings is a must see experience that leaves you appreciating the Pearl of Africa.
You will meet the exicting Batwa’s hunter-gatherer lifestyle. You will also find boma / cultural village, is currently being built so that the Batwa can demonstrate how they used to live in the forest .
The 13km KirumiaTrail that runs through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River is perfect for birders where they have a vaireity of species to choose from.
The 11km Red Monkey Track which follows the park’s eastern border is a stronghold of the rare deBrazza’s monkey to the Semliki River its very fun trailing through the park tracking these beautiful animals whiles discovering more thats yet to be discovered
Also the 8km Sempaya Nature Trail which enables you to view the hot springs and primates is an very fascinating experience.
Semliki Safari Lodge offers the only accomodation in the reserve in a luxury tented camp aimed at up market clients.
Kirimia Guesthouse located in Kirimia Village, 100 from the Kirimia trailhead and 10km from Sempaya towards Bundibugyo
Mountains of the Moon Hotel in Fortportal
Kyaninga Lodge located in Fortportal