CAN I DO NATURE WALKS IN SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK-UGANDA
Semliki National Park is located in the western part of Uganda. It is a national park that is worth exploring as you discover the hidden beauties in the “Pearl of Africa," Uganda”. Semliki National Park is one of Uganda’s smallest national parks, covering approximately 220 square kilometers and standing at an altitude of about 670 to 760 meters above sea level.
Semliki National Park is famous as a birder's haven given the fact that it hosts over 441 recorded bird species, with about 23 species being endemic to the park. Semliki National Park is Uganda’s ideal destination for bird-watching safaris and in East Africa at large.
Semliki National Park was first established as a forest reserve in 1932 and later upgraded to a national park in 1993. Semliki National Park cuts across the floor of Semliki Valley, situated on the western side of the Rwenzoris. The entire Semliki part of the valley is believed to have been lying at the bottom of a lake for many million years, which may be explained by the large areas of the park that flood in the rainy season.
Semuliki National Park is situated in an extension of the great Ituri Forest along the Congo Basin. Ituri Forest is one of Africa’s real ancient forest reserves and is internationally acknowledged due to its rich biodiversity. Ituri Forest is one of the few remaining forest reserves from the last ice age.
The main attractions of Semliki National Park are the hot springs that bubble up from the earth's crust, revealing the most powerful subterranean forces that have been forming the rift valley for approximately 14 million years. Semliki National Park offers two hot springs, including include SEMPAYA hot spring and Mumbuga hot spring- that are most visited by travelers exploring the park.
Semliki national park’s top attractions in Uganda.
Travelers planning to explore Semliki national park in Uganda should consider the following attractions
Sempaya Hot Springs:
Sempaya hot springs are the most look-in on hot springs in the Tooro Semliki national park. travelers can be able to visit both the female and male hot springs at Semliki national park. The female hot spring, which is locally referred to as “Nyasimbi” means “female ancestors”, Sempaya is the hottest hot spring of the two hot springs with waters splashing out of the huge rock at a high temperature of 103˚C. Sempaya hot springs splash water that has a distinct smell of rotten eggs which may be basically the Sulphur from the rocks when it mixes with water. Sempaya hot spring is just a five-minute walk from the trailhead that making it easier for many visitors to discover on foot.
Sempaya male hot spring is locally referred to as “Bintente.” The Sempaya male hot spring is situated just a 2-minute drive away from the female hot spring. The traveler then embarks on 30-minute hiking to view the male hot spring. The male hot spring is perched in a lush and swampy area. The male hot spring counts in just 12 meters in width and its main characteristic is by steam evaporating from the lake-like shape of a pool full of water. Travelers should look up close into the water, you may be able to see coins and bones that were thrown in by locals in form of offering sacrifices to their god so that he can answer their prayers. Just a walkable distance from the hot springs’ travelers will spot a small traditional hut which is treasured as a shrine where Semliki local people place money before offering their sacrifices. Sempaya hot springs are a pillar in promoting cultural role to the locals residing near the Semuliki national park.
Wildlife Species in Semliki national park.
Semuliki national park protects about 53 mammal species that can be spotted during the endless game drive in the national park. Semliki national park of wildlife species that can be spotted includes antelopes, forest elephants, forest buffaloes, potto, primate species such as the black and white colobus monkeys, bird species, butterfly species, school of hippos, and crocodiles along the banks of Semliki River.
Outside the park Semliki national park.
Visitors can participate in a drive to Tooro Semliki Wildlife Reserve which is situated just a few kilometers from Semuliki national park. The Toro Semliki wildlife reserve is an ideal destination for the chimpanzee trekking experience in Uganda. Tooro Semliki wildlife reserve chimpanzees are habituated which makes it easy for visitors to track them in their natural environment.
Top activities at Semuliki National Park in Uganda.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Semliki National park
Chimpanzee tracking experience in Tooro Semliki Wildlife Reserve is an exceptional tourism activity where travelers have to drive to Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve. chimpanzee trekking experience at Tooro Semliki Wildlife Reserve is affordable at costs of USD 30 per person being charged for both Foreign Residents and Non-Residents. East African Community pays UGX 20,000 per person per trek. The chimpanzee trekking costs cater for the guiding fee and nature walk within the Reserve but exclude park entry fees.
Guided Nature Walks in Semliki national park
Semliki national park offers travelers guided nature walks on two different wonderful trails which gives travelers an opportunity to view prime nature during their hike. One of the trails is the Kirumia trail where tourists can engage in hiking which covers over 13 kilometers long and allow travers to move on foot in the heart of Ituri forest and it ends at the Semliki River.
The Red monkey trail takes travelers for about an 11-kilometer-long trail where they can move up to the park’s eastern border and it also ends at Semliki River. Visitors interested in hiking the Red monkey trail are rewarded with viewing wonderful primate species such as the rare DeBrazza’s monkeys and the red-tailed monkeys.
Visitors who engage in guided nature walks around the Semuliki national park are always accompanied by a well-trained park ranger/guide that ensures every traveler’s safety. Hiking safaris in Semliki national park starts at 8 am exactly every day and can last between 4-9 hours depending on the traveler’s hiking pace.
Bird Watching in Semliki national park
Semuliki national park in Uganda is Uganda’s ideal destination for bird-watching safaris. Semliki national park offers a variety of bird species that bird lovers can spot in the park, Semliki national park bird species include white-crested Hornbill, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, the Yellow-throated Nicator, and the Great Blue and Ross’s Turaco among others. Bird watching in Semuliki national park is carried out in Sempaya, around Ntandi, and Kirumia River where bird species like the rare shoebill stock can be able sighted. Bird watching in Semliki national park costs USD 30 dollars per person for both Non- Foreign Residents and Foreign-Residents and UGX 10,000 for East African Citizens.
Community Cultural Tours
Semliki national park Community cultural adventures are usually carried out in neighboring Batwa and Bakonjo communities that are situated adjacent to the national park. Semliki national park offers four different ethnic groups residing near the national park which include the Bwamba farmers who are surviving along the foothills of Rwenzori mountains, the Bakonjo living on the slopes of the Ruwenzori mountains, the Batuku cattle keepers residing in the open savannah plains, and the Batwa pygmies who used to live in the forest.
Game Drives in Semliki national park
Semliki national park‘s game drive safaris can either be conducted in the morning, in the afternoon, or in the evening offering major viewed wildlife species such as duikers, forest elephants, Uganda Kob, antelope species, and forest buffaloes to mention but a few.
Accommodation around Semuliki National Park in Uganda.
Visitors planning their safari to Semliki national park can find accommodation in the following lodging facilities like Kirimia Guesthouse, campsite in Sempaya, UWA Bandas, and Semliki Safari Lodge. Accommodation facilities outside Semliki national park include Hotel Vanilla, Semliki Guesthouse, and Picfare Guesthouse.
How a traveler can get to Semuliki National Park in Uganda.
Semuliki national park is perched approximately 180 kilometers far from Kampala via Mubende and just about 465 kilometers via Masaka- Mbarara and Kasese routes. Semliki national park can reach via Fort Portal city which is just located approximately 59 kilometers from Semliki national park.
Alternatively, visitors can opt to travel to the park by air from either Entebbe International Airport or from Kajjansi Airfield. Flights to Semliki national park can take between 1 to 2 hours or more depending on the aircraft operating.
To summarize, Semuliki National Park is a coin worth visiting during your explorations in Uganda. Tourists can always combine a visit to Semliki national park with other tourism activities such as Kibale Forest National Park chimpanzee trekking experience, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park mountain Gorilla trekking experience, Hiking to Amabere Ga Nyina ‘Mwiru in Fort Portal, and tree climbing lions tracking in Queen Elizabeth national park.