The Semuliki National Park, Uganda.
Uganda is gifted with 10 National Parks and the Semuliki National Park is one of them. Stretching through the base of the Semuliki Valley west of the Rwenzori. The valley has many features not common to the East but Central Africa thus the forest has got a number of species mostly found in the Central part of Africa. Inside the forest lives a community of people; the Batwa who are pygmies that originally came from Ituri. Many that have visited here claim to have had a taste of Central Africa without ever having to leave the Pearl of Africa.
There are two routes that can take you to the Semuliki National Park; the shortest being 180 kilometers that takes you from the city center through to Fort Portal past Mubende and takes about 4 to 5 hours. The other route which is longer takes 7 to 8 hours and runs through Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese before making the final stop in Fort Portal. It is 465 kilometers but gives you the chance to visit other attractions like the Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and the Lake Mburo National Park along the way. When in Fort Portal, you will take on another 2 to 3 hour drive in the direction of Bundibugyo. The road is rough but it will lead you straight for the park headquarters in Ntandi which is also 5 kilometers after you get past the gate.
There are very many things to do on your arrival, the sights alone are incredible and will leave you desiring more. Here is a list of some of the things you should look out for should you happen to find yourself at the Semuliki National Park;
- The Sempaya Hot Springs.
This is the prime attraction the park has that is not only common to folk but all who have found an interest in the park. There are 2 kinds of hot springs here; the male and the female. Bintente, the male spring is 12 meters wide and is fixed in a marshy lush clearing while Nyasimbi the female is a spring that boils close to 103 degrees and jets out bubbly water over 2 meters high. When 2 kilometers away, you can tell the springs from the steamy cloud seen from a distance. A number of locals have made use of these springs by cooking their food from here.
- The Semuliki River.
Running 160 kilometers long, the Semuliki River spills excess water coming from the Mountain Rwenzori in to the Lake Albert then to the Nile River.
- The Toro – Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.
This is the oldest of Uganda’s reserves and here, the humid tropical forest comes into contact with the leveled plains and the Savannah that are characterized with the bottomless river valleys.
The Semuliki National Park is a haven for a numerous number of bird species that will leave any birder rewarded. There are close to 441 species of birds found in the park. Some of the birds you are sure to see when in the park include the Piping Hornbill, the Great Blue and Ross’s Turacos, the Red Billed Dwarf Hornbill, the Yellow Throated Nicator and the White Crested Hornbill.
- The Cultural Encounters.
The Batwa community whose lifestyle is basically hunting and gathering lives within the confines of the Semuliki Forest. These are entirely dependent on their surroundings for the basic needs of life like shelter, food, tools and medicine.
- The Nature walks and Hikes.
- The Game Drives.
The Semuliki National Park also has other animal species like hyenas, leopards, chimpanzees, the white mongoose and many more.