Semliki national park is situated in a remote corner of Southwestern Uganda. It is in the western side of Rwenzori and the park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo forest that spills over from the Democratic Republic Of Congo side across the Semliki River. The park is one of the oldest and bio-diverse forest in Africa that have survived the last ice age, 12-18000 years ago.
Over 440 species of birds have been recorded in Semliki National park and the common species are Grant’s Bluebill, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Red-eyed Puff-back, Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaub’s Duck, Chestnut- flanked Goshawk, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet,Bates’ Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Lemon-bellied Crombec among others.
Activities carried out in Semliki national park.
There are so many activities in Semliki national park including birding, game drives, chimpanzee trekking, hiking/nature walks, Sempaya Hot springs.
Sempaya Hot-springs: The Sempaya Hot springs are so amazing to adventure and consisting of two types the female hot springs is called Nyasimbi and is a boiling geyser which spurts out bubbling water and steam in to the air. People use this hot spring for boiling eggs as well as other foods. There is also the male hot spring known as Bitende which is about 12 meters in diameter.
Hiking/ nature walks: Hikes are done prepared according to the visitor’s choice and the kind of animals you want to see such as crocodiles hippos, birds as well as monkeys. The journey lasts depending on the trail followed, from one hour to a all day trek. During this hike, you will able to come across different wildlife and birds.
Birding in Semliki National park: there are a lot of different bird species In Semliki national park valley. Do not miss out birds like the Nkulengu Rail, Yellow throated Cucko, African Piculet, Yellow throated Nicator, Leaf love, Blue- Billed Bulbul, Chestnut- breasted Negrofinch, Orange-cheeked waxbill and Red-rumped Tinkerbird among others.
Game drives in Semliki : Different animals can be spotted during game drives in this park. 11 animals are found only in this park in Uganda and they include the pygmy antelopes, two different types of flying squirrels, and the fanged deer. The valley is a home to elephants and buffaloes as well as lions and leopards.
Bambuti pygmies: the Bambuti people are mysterious people who live in this forest for thousands of years. They are at times referred to as the Batwa pygmies but in actual sense these two tribes have totally different cultures and beliefs. Do not miss out this great experience of visiting the Bambuti pygmies who are related to the Basu Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are much smaller in number. They can legally grow marijuana and smoke it.
Semliki national park is along Fort Portal to Bundibugyo road, 52km from Fort portal. This journey requires a 4WD vehicle due to the dusty/ muddy roads. The journey is at times not easy because of the presence of potholes and stones on the road but you will definitely enjoy the scenic views during the travel.