Semuliki National Park in Uganda

Semuliki National park covers an area of 220km² with an altitude of 670-760m above sea level. Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and later upgraded to national park status in 1993. Semliki Forest Reserve is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.

Large areas of this low-lying park may flood during the wet season, a brief reminder of the time when the entire valley lay at the bottom of a lake for seven million years.

Four distinct ethnic groups live near the park – Bwamba farmers live along the base of the Rwenzori while the Bakonjo cultivate the mountain slopes. Batuku cattle keepers inhabit on the open plains and Batwa pygmies, traditionally hunter gathers, live on the edge of the forest.

Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.

The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.

While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.

Accommodation in Semliki National park is available at the 5 star (luxurious) Semliki safari lodge. There are also other budget camps. More accommodation options available in Fort Portal town, just 2hours drive on a good road. Among the accommodation options around Fort Portal include Mountains of the moon Hotel, Fort Motel, Rwenzori View Guest House and Kyaninga Lodge among others.

To visit Semuliki National park in Uganda from Rwanda, you can book a tour starting in Kigali and ending in Kampala, connecting to different National parks in Uganda such as Queen Elizabeth, Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls and Rwenzori National Parks among others. 12 days package is more appropriate but you can contact us for a tailor made tour package, combining Rwanda and Uganda. Email: info@rwandagorillasafaris.com