Semuliki Valley National Park – All You need to Know
Semuliki Valley National Park forms part of Kibale Conservation Area and it was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932. In 1993, its status upgraded to a national park and currently, it features among a few most pristine safari destinations with hidden gem. This park is in western side of Uganda, Rwenzori mountain range with consists of confinement of the Ituri forest of the Congo basin.
It consists of the only track of lowland tropical forest in East Africa with over 441 bird species, powerful hot springs, 53 mammal species, 11 unique antelopes and 2 flying squirrels and others. Semuliki National Park covers an area of about 220 square kilometers making it one of the smallest parks in Uganda.
Attractions in Semuliki Valley National Park
Despite its small size, Semuliki National Park is a home to distinct tourist attractions that are linked to central rather than eastern Africa. The Semuliki River itself is a miniature version of the Congo River while its forest cover refuges variety of Central African wildlife and the Batwa pygmies originated from the Ituri.
Over 441 bird species are all confined within this park and they include among others the Sarsi’s olive greenbul, forest ground thrust, 9 hornbills plus shoebill stork. There are also about 53 mammal species in this park including the 9 duikers, pygmy flying squirrel, Mona monkeys, bush babies, hippos, elephants, leopards, chimpanzees, buffaloes to mention but a few. Besides, there are 374 butterfly species and moths; hot springs.
Activities to do Semuliki Valley National Park
Semuliki National Park is an ideal safari destination for you to embark on a game drive. A game drive in this park gets you a great opportunity to view the African elephants, waterbucks, warthogs, buffaloes, leopards, birds and many others.
Semuliki Valley National Park is an incredible bird watching destination with bird species to identify including the shoebill stork, white crested hornbill, red billed dwarf hornbill, orange weaver, blue headed crested flycatcher, Capuchin babbler and many others.
The hot springs
While on safari in Semuliki National Park do not miss to explore the hot springs-the dual Sempaya hot spring- the male and female. The female hot spring is called Nyasimbi and male-Bitende. This natural treasure is incredible on its own way especially being one of the powerful hot springs with boiling rate which reaches up to 100 degrees Celsius.
Guided nature walks at Semuliki National Park are best done via Kirunda trial which is approximately 13 kilometers. It takes visitors to the heart of the forest, Semuliki River with a chance to look out for several birds. You can as well pay a visit to Bambuti pygmies-one of the smallest tribes in Uganda compared to even the Batwa pygmies. Or interact with the Batwa pygmies who live around Semuliki National Park.
Best time to visit Semuliki Valley National Park
To enjoy your safari in Semuliki National Park, the dry and wet season are two incredible seasons to put into consideration. The dry season is ideal for primate adventures like chimpanzee tracking. It usually starts from June to September and December to February. For bird lovers, the wet or rainy season is perfect time and starts from March to May and October to November.
Lodges in Semuliki National Park
The key safari lodges in and around Semuliki National Park include Semliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge (Luxury), Kirimia Guesthouse/National park Bandas and campsites (Budget). Find more about accommodations in Semuliki here.
Getting to Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is 387 km off Kampala capital city and you reach here from Entebbe or Kampala-Fort Portal-Mubende about 4 to 6 hours’ drive. Or drive from Entebbe/Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese route with a chance to make a stopover at the Equator for relaxation, photography.
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