Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is a captivating national park located in western Uganda. It is nestled within the Albertine Rift Valley and is known for its unique and diverse ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, savannah grasslands, and hot springs. Semliki National Park is a hidden gem that offers a unique combination of biodiversity, hot springs, and cultural encounters. Its untouched landscapes, rare wildlife, and immersive forest experiences make it a remarkable destination for nature lovers and those seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures in Uganda.
Semliki National Park is situated in the western part of Uganda, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. It covers an area of approximately 220 square kilometres (85 square miles).
The park is renowned for its exceptional biodiversity, harbouring a wide range of plant and animal species. It is part of the larger Ituri Forest, which is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests. Semuliki National Park is home to over 400 bird species, including the rare and elusive shoebill stork, and a variety of primates, such as chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and red-tailed monkeys.
Hot Springs in Semuliki National Park
One of the unique attractions of Semuliki National Park is its hot springs. The Sempaya Hot Springs are the most famous, with two springs known as the “male” and “female” springs. Visitors can witness the boiling water and experience the therapeutic effects of the hot springs.
In addition to primates and birds, Semliki National Park is inhabited by various wildlife species, including elephants, buffaloes, bushbucks, waterbucks, duikers, and several reptiles and amphibians. The park also supports a diverse array of butterflies and insects.
Semuliki National Park is a paradise for bird watchers, with its rich avian diversity. In addition to the shoebill stork, bird enthusiasts can spot other species such as the African grey parrot, great blue turaco, yellow-throated cuckoo, and white-crested hornbill.
The park is home to the Batwa, an indigenous tribe known as the “Keepers of the Forest.” Visitors have the opportunity to engage with the Batwa community and learn about their traditional way of life, cultural practices, and forest survival skills.
Nature Walks and Hiking
Semliki National Park offers a variety of nature walks and hiking trails that allow visitors to explore its diverse ecosystems. Guided walks through the tropical rainforest provide opportunities to encounter various wildlife, learn about medicinal plants, and appreciate the stunning natural surroundings.
Accessibility to Semuliki National Park
The park is approximately 350 kilometres (217 miles) from Kampala, the capital city, and can be reached by road. The journey takes approximately 6-7 hours. The nearest town is Fort Portal, which serves as a gateway to the park.