The 220km2 Semuliki Forest Reserve was crated in 1932 and upgraded into a national park in 1993. Semiliki Park is dominated by forest rather than grassland. It is classified as moist, semi-Deciduous forest and is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in Uganda.
The forest hosts rare Central African Species and is home to 53 mammals of which 27 are large mammals. Several are central Africa species found nowhere else in East Africa such as the forest buffalo which are smaller than their savannah relatives and the water chevrotain.

Semuliki is also the only place where the Okapi– the giraffe’s strange looking forest relative has been recorded outside its Ituri homeland.

Forest elephant is found in Semiliki as well as Hippos and crocodiles which are found in Semiliki River which is also home to rare and extraordinary animal; the water Chevrotain a small duiker- like animal that runs underwater along riverbeds to avoid danger.

What Makes Semuliki National Park a Unique Destination?

No matter how many places of natural scenery you  visit, none of them can compare to the outstanding beauty of Semuliki National Park that sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley in the remote western side of the Rwenzori National Park. The park is dominated by various features including birds, primates, wildlife,hotspring and eye catching views that make you ocupied all through.Exploring one of Africa’s most renowned ancient forest  in Africa and the only symbol for night game drives in uganda is one of the great safari experiences you can ever have on a Uganda safari tour.

Are you looking for ancient species for research, Semuliki is a place to find multiple species for over 2500 years with even evidence of their process.The first example is the Hot spring that bubbles up from the depth to demonstrate the powerful  subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.However,see bellow what makes Semuliki National park is unique .

Semiliki is remarkably rich in primates and 15 species live within 6 km of the hot springs. Diurnal (daytime) species are chimpanzees, Black and White Colobus, Central African.

If there are places in Uganda that are naturally endowed yet not frequently visited by tourists, one of such places is the Semliki National Park. As rare as it is, it is a place any nature lover would wish to go back to after the first visit due to its endless beauty and attractions.

This off-beaten track destination is situated within the remote corner of western Uganda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and stretches for approximately 220 square kilometers (84 square miles) protecting the eastern extension of the immense Ituri forest thus forming part of the forest continuum that extends across the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Congo River Basin. It was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1932 before being upgraded into a National Park in 1993. It is one of the continent’s most ancient and biodiversity rich forests to survive the last ice age (12-18,000 years ago) and currently considered the only true lowland tropical forest in East Africa sprawling across the floor of the Semliki valley on the remote western side of the Rwenzori.

Just like other parks in the country, Semliki National Park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and comprises of a distinct ecosystem within the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem with an altitude of 670-760 meters above sea level. The vegetation of Semliki National Park is dominated by medium altitude moist evergreen to semi-deciduous forests thus the dominant plant species are the Cynometra alexandri. Interestingly, majority of the plant and animal species within this site are found within the Congo Basin forests and most of them reach the eastern limit of their range in Semliki National Park.

When it comes to local communities, there are presently four different ethnic groups living around the Park and they include the famous Batwa pygmies who were originally hunter-gatherers but not live at the edge of the forest, the Bwamba farmers that occupy the base of the Rwenzori, Batuku-cattle keepers occupying the open plains and finally the Bakonzo that are generally cultivators on the mountain slopes.

Due to the numerous attractions within Semuliki National Park, several tourist activities can be enjoyed and these include chimpanzee tracking, nature walks/hiking, bird watching and cultural encounters.

Rare Natural Beauty

The  eco-system of Semuliki National Park says it all despite it being one out of most Uganda safari itineraries.Every thing in the beautiful forest is amazing and the knowledgeable guides make you become a fan of activities you never had interest in.During the magical nature walk, the colourful bird species make you love the forest more and its make the walk more meaningful than expected.The walking trails are clear and the park ranger guides are very informed  making your safari experience unforgettable.This wonderful park eco system has been preserved by the Uganda Wildlife Authority a government body that conserves nature and protects all habitats in Uganda national Parks and forest reserves.The park can be easily accessed by road from the city center of Kampala or any other town depending on your start point but the Tarmac road from fort-portal to Bundibugyo has made it more easy.

Semliki National Park is undoubtedly a biodiversity hotspot with over 60 species of mammals that call it home and some of them include antelopes such as over 9 species of duikers such as the bay duikers, white0bellied duikers, more than 8 species of primates including the Red-tailed monkeys, bush babies, Olive baboons, Grey0cheeked mangabeys, De Brazza’s Monkeys, Blue monkeys, Mona monkeys and chimpanzees among others. Other mammals include forest buffaloes, elephants, leopards, water chevrotains, pygmy flying squirrels, Hippos and many others.

While most people are always excited with the wildlife and bird species, the Semliki Hot springs will always catch your attention.  On a Uganda safari through Semuliki, you will undertake a one-hour walk to explore the male hot springs which also allow you to transverse the patch of forest where a number of primates such as grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys and the black and white colobus monkeys can also be sighted. The female hot spring is about 30-minutes hike through the Palm-filled forest from the main road and is dominated by a boiling geyser. This is also where you can boil eggs, potatoes and plantain within few minutes.

Birders Paradise

If you love birds and you planing to visit Uganda for a bird watching safari tour, Semuliki National Park is the top birders paradise in Uganda.The congo forest that extends to Uganda offers you variety including the Blue billed malimbes,crested malimbes, shoe bill stock that is best seen in morning hours .Truly Semuliki harbours a large number of predominantly Central African species which can not be found anywhere else in East Africa.

There are also over 450 species of birds than call this Park home hence making it a birding paradise offering shelter to the Chestnut-breasted Negrofinches, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Red-rumped tinker head, red-billed Dwarfs, Capuchin Babbler, white-bellied Kingfishers, Ituri batis, yellow-throated cuckoo, Dwarf Kingfishers, black-wattled hornbill, African-wood owls, blue-headed crested flycatcher, Red-Eyed Puff-back, Red-thighed sparrows, Ayres Hawk-eagles, Nkulengu rail, Lemon-bellied Crombec and Zenker’s honeyguides amo0ng others.

Night Game Drives

All game drives are great but the Night game drive in Semuliki National Park in company of an experienced driver guide is some thing you can never forget about your trip to Uganda.Several willdife can be spoted including the big cats and its done after dinner a time going to bed with great memories of attractive wildlife.If you know the animals you want to see, then semuliki is your place to be and all presented in guides is what you see.

Hotspring and Forest Walk

The beauty of Semuliki is beyond doubt and exploring the thick forest for thirty minutes and then a visit to the attractive hot springs is awesome.Though the park entrance is high $65 valid for 24 hours  but the tour activities are fantastic.The forest path are clear than what you can imagine. Take your time and go deep in the forest  to the boarder of Democratic Republic of Congo at river Semuliki and catch up with more incredible scenery and wildlife.


Did you know there are many primate species in Semuliki including wild chimpanzees,monkeys, mangabeys, bush babies, baboons and much more.So primate lovers make it a point to explore the forest in morning hours best time to spot wild chimps and other primates before they start moving around the forest in search for food. It’s a great experience if given a priority.

Accommodation in Semuliki National Park

There are few but comfortable accommodation facilities within the Park and some of them are Semliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge, Kirimia Guesthouse and the National Park Bandas and Campsites.

How to get to Semuliki National Park

This Park is found along the main Fortportal-Bundibugyo road, approximately 52 kilometers from Fortportal thus two major routes are used from Kampala. The shorter and commonest is Kampala-Mubende-Fortportal (180 kilometers lasting 4-5 hours) then proceed to the Park and the other route is Kampala to Fortportal via Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese (465 kilometers lasting 7-8 hours). Whichever route you choose you take, remember to use 4WD vehicles during the rainy seasons although a strong 2WD vehicle can also work.

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