Semliki National Park ( Semuliki )
Semliki National Park covers 220 km2, along the Congolese border following the Semliki River, within the Western arm of the Albertine Rift Valley, in the North of Rwenzori Mountains. The altitude is on the average 700 m above sea level. This park is now the number one birding destination in Uganda with over 441 bird species. It was gazetted in 1932 and established in 1993. This largely forested park represents the easternmost stretch of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin and contains numerous tree species associated with central rather than eastern Africa.
Thatch huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, while the local population includes a Batwa (Pygmy) community that originated from the Ituri forest, an ancient forest that has stood the taste of time. As a result, a visit to Semliki national park provides a taste of Central Africa within East Africa
Species in Semliki National Park
Semliki has around 336 tree species recorded, of which 24 are restricted to the Park (like Isolana Congolana and Ejacis Guinness) 441 bird species (at least 40 of them are found nowhere else in Uganda) 63 mammals, like elephants, leopards, buffaloes (nowhere else are found flying squirrels, pygmy antelope and six types of bats) 9 primates (chimpanzee, blue monkey, vervet monkeys, baboon) at least 374 species of butterflies.
Activities in Semliki National Park
Nature walk from the headquarter at Sempaya gate down to the river Semliki, enjoying bird watching, butterflies, flowers and trees. Moreover there are two “hot springs” (one male, one female), situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swamp land, where visitors see a jet of hot water and a pool of boiling water for edibles like an egg.
Accessibility to Semliki National Park
There are two major roads from Kampala to Fort Portal: Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is about 180 Km. (about 4-5 hrs drive) while Kampala – Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese is about 465 Km (7-8hrs). In both routes 2-wheel drive vehicles can be useful. While the Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is much shorter, the Kampala-Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese gives you opportunity to Visit Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
From Fort Portal, A 2-3 hours drive due to the nature of the road towards Bundibugyo will bring you to Sempaya Gate (52 Km). The Park headquarters at Ntandi is 5Km further from the gate along the same route. A vehicle with high clearance is recommended. Using public means you can take a taxi (minibus) or a bus to Fort Portal. From the Taxi Park, board one of the pick-up trucks for Bundibugyo and stop at Sempaya Gate, which is well sign posted. Return trip will be by the same means but a void being too late (not later than 4:00 pm).
Accommodation facilities in Semliki National Park
At this park accommodation can be found at the Semliki safari lodge (Luxury) or accommodate in the nearby towns like Fort portal or Bundibugyo town, camping is also another option for clients who want stay in the park.