Semuliki National Park (SNP)
Semuliki Reserve is the one of Uganda’s oldest wildlife reserves covering and one of Africa’s most biodiverse forests. It lies along the Uganda/Democratic Republic of Congo border within the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. It is one of Africa’s ancient, bio-diverse forests and an extension of the Ituri Forest of Congo Basin covering 220sq.km.
Formerly known as the Bwamba Forest, it is famed for its attractive vast scenery and a birders paradise. It is bounded to northwest by the Semuliki River to the Northeast by Bundibugyo extending to the southern shores of Lake Albert. To the Southeast by Rwenzori Mountains and to the West its bounded by Democratic Republic of Congo.
Semuliki National Park is Classified as a Moist Semi-Deciduous forest and the only tropical lowland forest in East Africa. It forms part of the Ituri forest where the jungle of the Democratic Republic of the Congo meets the plateau of Uganda. It is possible to see the rising rift valley escarpment, the Congolese Blue mountains to the west and the glacier-clad Rwenzori’s to the south-west on clear days.
There are 440 bird species recorded, 216 are forest birds, 50 species are found nowhere else in East Africa and 9 hornbill species have been recorded in the park as well. The park has got 9 primate species including the De Brazza’s monkey. 60 mammals have been recorded in the Semuliki National Park, 11 of which are endemic to the park and 300 butterfly species.
Things to do in Semliki National Park
The most popular attraction is the cluster of hot springs -8 km trail along the Sempaya Hot Springs both male 1-hour trail and female 30 mins trail surrounded by forest and palm trees.
Game drives / Wildlife Drives favored by 3 tracks along the Toro Semuliki Savannah Grasslands offers opportunities of viewing Elephants, Waterbucks, Uganda Kobs among others.
Boat trips on Lake Albert for a chance to view the rare shoebill stork.
Primate walks – chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus are all common.
Guided Nature walks along the 11 km Red Monkey Trail to Semliki River for 3 hours.
Birdwatching along the Kirumia River Trail, a 13km trail that takes about 8hours and is a True Birders’ Haven! 66% of Forest Bird Species of Uganda and 40% of Uganda’s’ Bird Species are found in Semuliki National Park.
Cultural Interactions. There are Four distinct ethnic groups near the park – Bwamba farmers along the base of the Rwenzori, the Bakonjo cultivators of the mountain slopes. The Batuku cattle keepers on the open plains and Batwa pygmies, traditionally hunter gathers, on the edge of the forest. Get to learn about the livelihood and interact with the Local Communities.