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.
Fantastic scenery, Hot springs, 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.
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, sitatungas, leopards, pigmies, hippopotamus, crocodiles, primates and a wide range of forest and water birds. You can also come with fishing facilities for sport fishing along the river.
There are four ethnic groups living around the park. The Bamba and Bakonjo are found in the valley and mountain slopes respectively and are both agriculturalists depending on cash crops like coffee, cocoa and food crops mainly bananas, rice and potatoes. The Batuku who occupy the rift valley floor, north of the park are pastoralists who depend entirely on cattle products which they trade in with their neighbors.
The Batwa (pygmies) are hunters and gatherers, and are an Ituri ethnic group who historically depended, and still depend on the Semuliki forest.