SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.

The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.

While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.

Murchison Game safaris

THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN SEMULIKI NP

Getting Here

here are two major roads from Kampala to Fort Portal, 4WD vehicles are recommended for both:

  • Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is about 180km, or a 4-5 hour drive, making it the shortest route.
  • Kampala-Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese is longer at 465km (7-8 hrs). This route offers the chance to stop along the way at Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park or Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Semuliki National Park’s Sempaya Gate is 59km from Fort Portal. The park headquarters at Ntandi is 6km further along the road. Historically, the journey was a slow and bumpy 2-3 hour drive on a narrow road that winds over the northern Rwenzori. The route is currently being widened and surfaced to make the journey shorter and more comfortable.

Semuliki National Park is an extension of the vast Ituri rain forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Found  in the Semliki Valley in the remote corner of the extreme west of Uganda in Bundibugyo District.

Named after the Semliki river that forms the Uganda border with DR Congo, it is 300 KM. And approximately 5 hours drive from Kampala via Fort Portal and Mubende.

Activities include primate, bird and scenery viewing and the famous Sempaya hot Springs. The Park has a wide range of mammals from the elephants and chimps to the Brazza’s monkey and pygmy antelopes.