Semuliki National Park – Uganda’s 2nd smallest Safari Park at Glance 2020
Semuliki National Park is situated in western Uganda, Bundibugyo district and was gazetted in 1993 to preserve the rich biodiversity in the area hence making it one of the most recently established Protected Areas in Uganda.
This National Park extends for an area of 220 square kilometers making it the second-smallest Park in Uganda, just larger than Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda.
Semuliki National Park is one of the remotest and rarely visited National Parks in Uganda yet it’s one of the richest areas with faunal and floral diversity in Uganda and beyond with a wide range of wildlife, birds, butterflies, and reptiles among others.
The Park lies within Albertine Rift on a flat to relatively gentle landscape along the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo border.
Sempaya hot springs are also stunning features within Semuliki National Park. These (male and female hot springs) boil up to 100 degrees and visited by tourists who wish to learn about their scientific and cultural formation.
Flora and Fauna of Semliki National Park
Semuliki Safari Park is popular for being one of the most ancient and biodiverse forests in the African Continent having survived the last ice age. The Park takes pride in its outstanding Ecosystem within the rich Albertine Rift valley.
Its location makes it one of the most endowed Protected Areas in the country and is surprisingly a home to numerous species of the Congo Basin Forests.
There are about 53 species of mammals in Semuliki National Park that include elephants, forest buffaloes, Mona monkeys, De Brazza’s monkeys, bushbabies, leopards, Hippos, pygmy scaly-tailed flying squirrels, bush babies, civets, black and white colobus monkeys, water chevrotains, chimpanzees and the grey-cheeked mangabeys among others.
There are also more than 441 species of birds in Semuliki National Park of which 66% are found in Uganda’s forests, 46 species of the Guinea-Congo Biome and 35 species only found in two places in the country and these include Blue-billed malimbe, Piping hornbills, Maxwell’s black weavers, Crested malimbe, yellow-throated Cuckoo, Great blue turaco, Nkulengu rail, red-billed dwarf hornbills, red-billed helmet-shrike, white-throated blue swallow, Ituri batis, black-winged starling, Orange-cheeked waxbill, Black dwarf hornbill, red-chested sunbirds, Ross turaco, yellow-throated Nicator, Congo serpent eagles, and red-rumped Tinkerbird among others.
Tourist activities in Semuliki National Park
Game drives in Semuliki National Park are conducted across various game tracks across the vast savannah plains. The morning, afternoon and evening game drives in this Park reward tourists with the views of the savannah elephants, white-tailed mongoose, leopards, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, buffaloes and warthogs.
Nature walks in Semliki National Park are mainly conducted through three hiking trails that include the 8-kilometer Sempaya Nature Trail lasting 2-4 hours and ideal for spotting primates as well as hot springs, the 11-kilometer Red Monkey Trail perfect for spotting the De Brazza’s monkeys and the 13-kilometer Kirumia Trail lasting 8 hours good for birding.
Birding – Bird Watching Tours
Bird watching in Semuliki National Park allows tourists to spot the forest, Guinea-Congo and savannah bird species that include the Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Great blue turaco, Nkulengu rail, red-billed dwarf hornbills, red-billed helmet-shrike, white-throated blue swallow, Ituri batis, black-winged starling, shoebill storks, Orange-cheeked waxbill, and many others. The best birding spots in the Park are Ntandi, Lake Albert and Sempaya areas.
Cultural tours in Semuliki National Park are centered on the lifestyle of the Batwa pygmies whose hunter-gatherer lives will blow your mind.
You will be amazed by how these isolated communities depended on the forest for shelter, food, traditional medicine before the forest was gazetted into a National Park.
Best time to visit Semuliki National Park
Semuliki Safari Park can be visited all year round but the dry season-June to September and December to February is the best for making a trip to Semliki National Park.
The rainy season-August to early December and March to May is avoided because roads tend to be muddy and impassable during these months hence limiting game viewing.
Accommodation facilities in Semliki National Park
Accommodation facilities within and around Semuliki National Park are Ntoroko Game Lodge, Kirumia Guesthouse, Bumuga Campsite, Hotel Vanilla, Semliki Safari Lodge and many others in the Towns of Bundibugyo and Fort Portal.
How to get to Semuliki National Park
Semliki National Park is about 378 kilometers from Kampala and can be accessed through Kampala-Mityana-Mubende-Bundibugyo road. Ntandi Park Headquarters is about 4 kilometers from the signposted ranger post.