Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is located in a remote part of the Bundibugyo District called Bwamba County, Western Uganda. East Africa’s only lowland Tropical rainforest is found in the park which brings with it amazing plant and animal diversity, bird species in particular benefiting from this ecological hub of life.
The park lies on Uganda’s border with Democratic Republic of the Congo, within the Albertine rift, the western part of East Africa’s rift valley.
One of the park’s most significant features are two hot springs that reside in a hot mineral rich swamp.
Comparatively flat considering the fairly mountainous surroundings of Uganda as a whole, the park sit at an altitude of 100m. Overall, there is in excess of 60 mammal species and 440 bird species to be seen in the park.
There are 8 primate species which you can safari to see, including; red-tailed monkeys, Vervet monkeys and chimpanzees. Some of the more dominant mammal species are elephants, civets, bush babies, leopards, hippos and flying pygmy squirrels.
Regarding birds, you can see the lyre-tailed honeyguide, Western bronze-napped pigeon, piping hornbill, Xavier’s greenbul, yellow longbill, pale fronted antpecker, crested malimbe, forest ground thrush, capuchin babbler and chestnut-breasted negro finch, many of which are uniquely found in this park and are special delights for birding enthusiasts.
The forest of Semuliki National Park are a veritable hotbed for variation and life.
For those that want to know what some of the most intriguing species to find are, you can enjoy: Chimpanzee, tiger, pygmy antelope, flying squirrel, chevrotain, forest elephant and buffalo, chimpanzee, baboon,grey-cheeked mangabey, blue, red-tailed, de Brazza’s, vervet, and Dent’s mona monkeys, potto and bushbaby.
As for bird species, some of the most interesting species are: Nkulengu Rail, yellow-throated Nicator, leaflove, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, black Dwarf Hornbill, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, and that is far from the end of the list.
Activities and Culture
The Sempaya Hot Springs
Africa’s Rift Valley has bestowed Uganda with some of its most memorable geographical features – conical volcanoes, deep chasms and bubbling thermal springs.
Spewing an enormous steam cloud across Semuliki National Park’s emerald landscapes, the Sempaya Hot Springs are certainly one of the country’s most unusual scenic offerings.
Named by the locals as the “male” and “female” springs, these boiling pools are reached following a trek through a monkey-filled tropical forest.
Hungry after your walk? The spring are hot enough to boil and egg! You can try them yourself to prove that they are edible. If you don’t want an egg, enjoy matooke (green plantain) wrapped in leaves and boiled in the spring!
The chimps here are currently being habituated by the Indiana University.
The more habituated they are, the better a chance you have of seeing them on the trek.
You’ll want clothes with suitable protection against thick vegetation and nettles, a change of clothes to cope with the ever-looming threat of heavy rainfall, water and sufficient food supplies as the treks tend to be 4 hours or longer.
You may also find other primates like Central African red colobus, blue, red-tailed, de Brazza’s, vervet, and Dent’s Mona monkeys on the trek.
Two major roads lead from kampala tofort port town ,which is 60km from semuliki
Kampala –fort portal via mubende is 290kms(4-5hours)
Kampala –fort portal via mbarara and kasese is 465kms(7-8 hours)
Chartered flights can land at an airstrip on toro semuliki wildlife reserve