Semiliki valley national park is situated in the extreme western part of Uganda; the forest extends from the Ituris forest of the Congo basin at the western arm of the great east African rift valley. The forest is one of the ancient tropical forests that survived the last ice age period. You will visit it on your Uganda safaris to Semuliki Valley National Park.
Semiliki forest is also the only low land semi deciduous forest in east Africa, the park was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1932 and upgraded as a national game park in 1993. The park covers an area of 220 kilometers squared. Semiliki National park the park is located in Bwamba County a remote area of Bundibugyo district in western Uganda. The national park was established in 1993 and its one of the Uganda’s newest national part, the park is a lowland tropical rain forest its rich in flora and fauna diversity this park is also managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
The park is located at the border with Democratic Republican of the Congo near the Rwenzori Mountains at the south east part of the park, Lake Albert is found at the north of the park. The park borders Lamia Rivers and Semuliki this area is a watering area for many animals. There are two hot springs one of them is called Mumbuga spring this resembles a geyser and forms about 0.5m high fountain.
The hot springs are the source of salt for many animals. The park is protected by Albertine Rift valley. visitors can engage themselves in game drives, bird watching this is across the savannah hiking, grassland this is through 13 kilometers trail, visit the Semuliki hot springs with enough water to cook eggs and plantia. Semiliki National Park is a distinct ecosystem found within the Albertine Rift.
Semuliki vegetation is a predominantly medium altitude moist evergreen to semi forest. The trees are evergreen in nature with swamp forest. The park has over 60 mammal species including leopards, hippos, buffaloes, hippos, water, bush babies, elephants and many more. The park has great socio-economic to human communities that live near the park .The products obtained from the forest include vegetables ,fruits, herbal medicines, bush meat and construction materials and many more.
The population has increased from 3.4% every year. The density in agricultural production has increased due to more roles played in the forest such as spiritual and cultural role within the local people. Semiliki national park is home to various wildlife, 27 of its mammal species are endemic to the area such as the pygmy antelope, queer water chevrotains, flying squirrels, buffalos, galago and many others. Semiliki also harbors various primates such as Dent Mona monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, olive baboons, De Brazzas monkey and the grey cheeked monkeys among the rest.
Semiliki valley national park boasts with about 441 species of birds of which 66% represent all the forest birds in the country, 46 Guinea- Congo Biome species that can’t be found else where in Uganda. Some of the examples of birds in Semiliki include; red billed dwarf, crested malimbe, orange cheeked waxbill, white crested hornbill, leaf love, Nkulenga rail, yellow throated cuckoo, African peculate, Capuchin babbler, blue headed crested flycatcher and many others.
The Semiliki hot springs are various famous within the park, there are two hot springs the male and the female hot springs. The male hot spring is known as Bintente measuring up to 8 meters high and the female spring Nyasimbi. The local people used to boil their food in this hot springs and they having interesting beliefs and myths about the existence of this hot springs. Semiliki valley national park is surrounded by different tribes like the Bakonjo who cultivate the Ruwenzori mountain slopes, Batuju cattle keepers, Bamba farmers and the Batwa the hunter gatherers living at the edge of the forest. These different groups can perform local traditional dances that makes your African safari memorable.
Hiking the hills in Semiliki valley national park can take about 2-4 hours providing spectacular views of the Ruwenzori Mountains and the neighboring Congo while encountering a lot of wildlife and bird species. Sport fishing can also be done at the Semiliki River, however tourists interested in his activity should endeavor to Carey their own fishing gears. Semiliki national park can be reached from Kampala via Masaka to fort portal in about 4-5 hours. The longer route via Kasese takes about 7-8 hours.