About Semuliki National Park
The park runs across the floor of semuliki valley on the remote western side of the Rwenzori and the Park is dominated by eastern most extension of great ituri forest of the Congo basin. And this is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio diverse forests one of the few to survive the last ice age 12-18000 years ago.
The semuliki valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. The thatched huts are shaded by West Africa oil palms the Semuliki River which forms the international boundary and is a miniature version of the Congo River and the forest is home to numerous central African wildlife species and the local population includes a batwa pygmy community that originated from the ituri.
The semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 2500years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from depths t demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley for 14million years and the semuliki forest reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993.
Accessibility to Semuliki National Park
There are two major roads from Kampala to fort portal with a 4wd vehicles are also recommended for both: Kampala –fort portal via mubende is about 180km, 4-5 hours drive making it a shorter route.
Kampala –fort portal via masaka, mbarara and kasese is longer at 465km 7-8hours the route offers the chance to stop at Lake Mburo national park, kyambura wildlife reserve, Rwenzori mountain national park or Queen Elizabeth.
The park’s sempaya gate is 59km from fort portal and the park head quarter is 6km further along the road. The journey is slow and bumpy 2-3 hours drive on a narrow road that winds over the northern Rwenzori.
Activities at Semiluki National Park
Sempaya and ntandi provide excellent viewing of the birds including the white-crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, piping hornbill, yellow-throated nicator, great blue and ross’s turacos. The shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and forest walks are good for tracking water birds.
Three tracks cross the savannah grassland of Toro semliki wildlife reserve and smaller forest and larger savannah elephants are regularly seen along with buffalo, waterbuck, crocodile, warthog and Uganda kob and with luck you may see pygmy hippopotami, leopards and bush babies.
Hiking and Nature Walks
The kirumia trail runs through the heart of the forest to the semuliki river and its 13 km and its 8 hours round trip and starts at 8am and is perfect for birders.
30 minute hike through palm forest from the main road leads to the inner female spring, dominated by a boiling geyser, foods like eggs and matooke can be cooked in these boiling waters and enjoyed by hungry hikers and the male trail to the tour to the outer male spring leads through a patch of forest where red tailed monkeys are common.
Cultural encounters and trails,
The Batwa’s hunter gatherer lifestyle means they have always been dependent on Semuliki forest food, shelter, medicine and tools though this is the beginning to change as a result interaction with other local communities.