Semuliki national park
Semuliki national park is found in bwamba county a remote area in Bundibugyo district in the western region of Uganda. The national park was a forest reserve in 1932 and it was established in October 1993 as a national park. It’s considered to be the only lowland tropical forest in East Africa with over 441 bird species and 53 mammals. During the wet season the low-lying park gets flooded.
Hippopotamuses are common along the semuliki river as well as crocodiles. There are 300 butterfly species plus 46 species of forest swallowtail and 235 moth species. 435 bird species which include 35 guinea-congo biome bird species, spot breasted ibi, haartlaubs duck, congo sepent eagle, chestnut flaned goshawk, red thighed sparrowhawk among others. Its also a habitant to 120 mammals which includes several primates such as baboons and chimpanzees plus elephants and antelopes. Attractions and activities within semuliki national park are amazing while on Uganda safaris and these include the following.
ATTRACTIONS IN SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK
Uganda is good at birding safaris destination and semuliki forest is exceptional and its taken as a birding haven. The national park has over 440 bird species which include 9 horn bill species and 66 percent Ugandan bird species and 131 guinea-congo forest biome species plus 50 species that aren’t found anywhere in EastAfrican. Birds within the national park include lyre-tailed honeyguide, long-tailed hawk, nkulengu rail, maxwell’s black weaver, yellow-throated nicator, yellow-throated cuckoo, African piculet, white-crested among others.
While on Uganda wildlife safaris, semuliki national park has some species that can be looked for. The national park has over 53 mammals and these include waterbucks, bushpigs, buffalos, warthogs, bushbabies, elephants, forest buffalos, leopards among others. Primates such as chimpanzee, black and red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, grey-checked mangabey and nocturnal primates include pottos and galagoes among others with such wildlife the safari becomes so amazing and makes the tourists to enjoy their tour in semuliki national park
Semuliki national park is known for having 2 hot springs that is the male and female hot spring. The hot springs are enclosed within the park by forest, palm trees and in a cloud steam and this makes it to be amazing to watch. Tourists are always interested with the local story about the coming and existence of the hot spring. The male hot spring known as bintente is 12 meters while the female hot spring called nyasimbi that spout up to 2 meters into the air from an opening with a low salt sculpture.
The Batwa people live near semuliki national park but originated from the ituri forest of congo basins. The Batwa are short but very special and social group of people. These have lived in semuliki for over 1000s years as fruit gatherers, hunters, leaves eaters and took shelter in holes of dead woods and huts. But as a way of conserving the park the Batwa were evicted and relocated to the nearby community of Ntandi. These offer various performances about their culture and customs through music, dance and drama.
TORO-SEMLIKI WILDLIFE RESERVE
The reserve lies 20 kilometers from the semuliki national park on the south tip of lake albert. It was gazette in 1932 and it’s the oldest wildlife reserve in uganda. It covers an area of 542square kilometers and ranges from 600 to 700meters in altitude. With the sheer rift valley escarpment that rises sharply from the eastern shore of lake albert, the Congolese blue mountains on the western horizon, the glacier peaks of Rwenzori mountains are all visible and with such it makes the safari an amazing one.
ACTIVITIES IN SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK
This is one of the amazing and attractive Uganda wildlife safaris activity that tourists will encounter within semuliki national park. Semuliki is a bird haven with over 440 bird species and the activity is done on foot using various trails and are very rewarding. These include nkulenge rail, long-tailed hawk, yellow-throated cuckoo, capuchin babbler, red-chested owlet, red-throated Aletha, African piculet, spot-breasted ibis, congo serpent eagle, western green tinker bird among others.
This is another interesting activity on uganda safari destination. The tourists walk on the lush forest trails within sheer atmosphere of tranquility and calm. Semuliki has 3 different trails that offer the most amazing walk and these include Kirumia trail; this is the most recommended trail for the birding safari in semuliki national park. It’s a 13km trail which passes through the north of the forest to the quayside of semuliki river, crossing kirumia river as well as passing a succession of forest-fringed attractive ox-bow lakes. Various bird species are seen while on this trail
Red monkey trail; this is a 11kilometer trail that comes after the parks eastern border and a strong hold of the rare de Brazza’s monkey. The trail is having the most population of the red-tailed monkeys and that’s why it was named so. Most of the mammals are seen such as duikers, elephants and buffaloes. Primates such as black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, mangabeys and chimpanzees
Sempaya hot spring trail; its an 8km trail that takes 2-4 hours to hike and it takes place twice in the day that is morning and afternoon. The trail offers the tourists amazing features such as hot springs, birds, butterflies, primates and views of the snowcapped Rwenzori mountains.
The game drives are commonly done within toro-semuliki reserve which is an open grassland and river forest. But game drives in semuliki national park aren’t rewarding as those in other national parks but it has wildlife such as buffaloes, uganda kob and elephants. The game drives have three tracks that can be used across the savannah grassland. Tourists can also get a chance to view leopards, giant forest hogs and warthogs.
The game drives within the national park are done in the morning, afternoon and night. Whereas during the night game drives tourists view nocturnal creatures such as owls, white-tailed mongoose, pennant winged and standard winged nightjars among others.
BATWA CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
Besides the Uganda wildlife safaris in Semuliki the tourists can have a visit the Batwa community and learn more about their lifestyles. These live at Ntandi on the Bundibugyo Road past the sempaya and the park headquarters. These were fruit gatherers, hunters, leaves eaters and no farming but lived within the forest and took shelter in the holes of dead woods and huts. Thus, the tourists will get a chance to interact with them and get to know more about their life style and later enjoy their performances.