Semuliki National Park
The lower-lying and more remote Semuliki National Park, a Ugandan extension of the Congo’s Ituri Rainforest set at the base of the northern Rwenzori, is of special interest to ornithologists for some 40 Congolese bird species recorded nowhere else in the country. Nearby, the spectacular Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, which abuts Lake Albert, is one of the best localities for sightings of the enigmatic, swamp-dwelling shoebill.
220 sq km
In the west, about 50km from Fort Portal.
Semuliki National Park is an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene, this is one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa (Especially for birds).
Semuliki National Park is situated in the remote corner of extreme west of Uganda, in bundibugyo District. It lies on Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border within the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. The geographical coordinates are 0o 44'- 00 53' N - 290 57-30o 11'E. To the southeast are the Rwenzori Mountains, to the west is DRC and to the north Lake Albert.
Semuliki National Park (220 km2) gazetted in October 1993, is one of Uganda's newest National Parks. The Park occupies a flat to gently undulating landform ranging from 670 -760 metres above level. As all streams and rivers from the surrounding areas are flooded drain into the Park plus the poor drainage and topography, many areas are flooded during the rainy season. The average annual rainfall is 1250 mm with peaks from March to May and September and December. The temperature varies from 18o C - 30o C with relatively small daily variations.
Where to stay
There is a camp site being developed inside the Park at Bumaga, about 3 km. From Sempaya Gate. You will be able to spend a night in one of the two Executive bandas, hire a tent or come with your own tent for camping.
The canteen at the site is reasonably stocked with both African and European food and beverages but preparation of meals shall be on order. There is also provision for one to bring and prepare his/her own food at the site. Cooking utensils shall also be available for hire.
Another camp site to be run by a private organization is located in Sempaya adjacent to Sempaya Gate. There shall be small thatched shelters for cooking and eating. Cooking utensils will be for hire, but you must bring your own tent and food.
For luxurious accommodation, please contact the following:
Plot 3 Lugard Road,
P.O Box 244 Fort Portal,
Tel: +256-483-22967, 22450
Rwenzori View Guesthouse,
Plot 15 Lower Kizza Road,
P.O box 709 Fort Portal,
Plot 4 Kyebambe Road,
P.O Box 560 Fort Portal,
There are two major roads from Kampala to Fort Portal: Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is about 180 Km. (about 4-5 hrs drive) while Kampala -Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara, Kasese is about465 Km (7-8 hrs). In both routes 2-wheel drive vehicles can be useful. While the Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is much shorter, the Kampala-Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese gives you opportunity to Visit Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
From Fort Portal, A two to three hours drive on the rough road towards Bundibugyo will bring you to Sempaya Gate (52 Km). The Park headquarters at Ntandi is 5 Km further from the gate along the same route. A vehicle with high clearance is recommended.
Using public means you can take a taxi (mini bus) or a bus to Fort Portal. From the Taxi Park, board one of the pick-up trucks for Bundibugyo and stop at Sempaya Gate, which is well sign posted. Return trip will be by the same means but a void being too late (not later than 4.00 p.m.).
Alternatively while in Fort Portal contact Kabarole Tours on Plot 1 Molidina Street to organize for you an excursion to Semuliki Valley.
What to do
Fantastic scenery, Hotsprings, forest jungle walk, birding, primate viewing and river Semuliki meanders are some of the ideal attractions. Surely, you don't have to miss but get off the regular tourists' circuit and spend three to five days camping and hiking in the only real jungle in East Africa.
Did you know that a trip to Semuliki has the most marvel and breathtaking views? Come and experience the most thrilling meandering Bundibugyo road through the Rwenzori escarpments. At 'Mungu Ni Mukubwa' while in the mountains, the road offers scenic views of the meandering Semuliki River, fuming Hotsprings and the tropical rain forest extending up to Ituri forest in DRC. A stepping stone to Central Africa, unforgettable views.
Two Hotsprings situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swampland, rich in visible bird, insect and mammal life accessed by modern trail network. Come and see a two meters jet of hot water (130oC) and a pool (12 m diameter) of oozing boiling water (106oC). You can boil food especially eggs in the natural boiler within ten minutes and enjoy it.
Jungle life in Semuliki is breathtaking especially for birders, primate, butterfly and plant lovers. The jungle walk usually takes you up to River Semuliki meanders, the only one in East Africa with luck, you may see forest buffaloes and elephants, statungas, leopards, pigmy hippopotamus, crocodile primates and a wide range of forest and water birds. You can also come with fishing facilities for sport fishing along the river.