Semuliki National Park is one of the oldest Uganda safari parks – it was first gazetted as a reserve in 1926. In 1993, it was upgraded as a National Park in Uganda and its borders stretch to occupy an area of 220sq. km.

Location

Located in Bwamba County, the Western part of Uganda, Semuliki National Park boasts of its natural splendor. The park lies on the remotest side of Bundibugyo district, 52kms off from Fort Portal city. Semuliki is suitably located, protecting the dense tropical lowland forest with some patches of bamboo forest, grassland, and wetlands. The Congo border and the park are marked by the Semuliki River. Several tributaries also flow through the park making them a source of water also ideal sites for watching lots of the park’s wildlife.

Attractions in Semuliki

 

Sempaya Hot Springs

The Sempaya Hot Springs are key highlights of Semuliki safaris. They consist of female and male hot springs. They are healing sites and powerful with a boiling rate of up to 100%.

Wildlife

Semuliki National Park Forest and other habitats support up to 53 species of mammals including buffaloes, scaly-tailed flying squirrels, leopards, elephants, leopards, civets, bush-babies, pygmy antelopes, fanged deer, and kobs. 8 (eight) primates are also believed to reside within the park including chimpanzees, blue monkeys, Central African red colobus monkeys, baboons, vervet, DeBrazza’s monkeys, Dent’s Mona monkeys, and red-tailed monkeys.

Birds

Semuliki is a top birding destination with nearly all Uganda bird species. A total of 441 species of birds range in the varied habitats of Semuliki National Park and the bird check-list here includes shoebill storks, yellow-throated cuckoo, blue-billed malimbe, red-rumped tinkerbird, Nkulengu rail, leaf love. Other birds include Africa piculet, piping hornbill, orange cheeked waxbill, white-crested hornbill, swamp palm bulbul, and more.

 

Safari activities to do while in Semuliki

 

Chimpanzee tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself into the jungles of Semuliki to see chimpanzees in the wild. Before you settle for a face-to-face encounter with chimpanzees, you will spend about 2-4 hours walking through the forest. All Semuliki chimpanzee treks are carried out with the lead of an experienced park guide.

Game drives

Semuliki is compact and the game driving experience here is a little distinct. You have high chances to see lions, elephants, and buffaloes while on a day game drive. Night game drives are however the best done in Semuliki National Park and you will be sighting species such as pottos, bush babies, leopards plus other nightjar birds.

Birding

Birding safaris in Semuliki allow avifaunal enthusiasts to look out for a huge bird population. Birds to come at your exposure on the birding tour here include lemon billed crombec, crested malimbe, yellow-throated nicator, red-rumped tinker bird, Nkulengu rail, maxwell’s black weaver, cuckoos, Ituri batis, red-billed dwarf hornbill, lyre-tailed honeyguide, Congo serpent eagle, ross’s turacos, great blue turacos, swamp palm bulbul, red-billed helmet shrike, etc. The ideal birding sites in Semuliki include Lake Albert and Kirumia River where shoebill storks plus other aquatic birdlife can be spotted.  

Hot springs safaris

A hot spring visit is a must-do while on Uganda safaris in Semuliki National Park. There are female and male hot springs – the world’s most powerful hot springs with a high boiling rate of 100 degrees Celsius. Bitende is the male sempaya hot spring and Nyasimbi is female.

Cultural visits

Semuliki is lying in the far western side of Uganda, an area inhabited by the Bambuti pygmies and these of Congo origin. Cultural interaction with Bambuti allows you to explore more about their cultures, traditions, history, and a lot more.

Guided nature walks

3 amazing trails exist in Semuliki offering remarkable nature walking/hiking experiences -they include Kirumia River which is 8 hours walk. This is 13 km long and runs from the middle of the park’s forest to the Semuliki River. It is an ideal spot to enjoy the sight of primates, birds such as black-faced rufous warblers, African piculet, lemon-bellied crombec, red-sided broadbill, and long-tailed hawk.

Sempaya trail- 2 to 4 hours walking trail. This leads visitors to the sempaya hot springs -exploring these 8kms is possible in the morning or afternoon.

Best time to visit

Visiting Semuliki National Park on Uganda safari is possible at any time of the year. It enjoys favorable conditions though the dry season is often the best -this is from June to September, December to February. The dry season or months come with low/no rains with clear skies.

Where to stay

Luxury places/accommodation to stay include Nyati Game Lodge, Semuliki Safari Lodge. Midrange options include Ntoroko Game Lodge and budget choices include UWA Bandas, Campsite & Cottages; Kirimia Guesthouse.

Getting to Semuliki NP – Uganda

Getting to Semuliki National Park to enjoy your Uganda safari is possible by road or air. By road starting from Fort Portal, it takes you about 2 hours to drive via Bundibugyo and from Kampala through the Mityana-Mubende route, about 6 hours’ drive.

By air: Flights to Semuliki are also available from Entebbe Airport and you land at Semuliki airstrip. From Semuliki airstrip, you can transfer in a 4x4 safari vehicle.

 

Semliki Safari Lodge 

Ntoroko Game Lodge