Semuliki National Park is located in Bwamba County, a remote part of the Bundibugyo District, in western Uganda. It was made a national park in October 1993 and is one of Uganda's newest national parks. It covers an area of 220sqkm and has two major roads that lead to the park, Kampala- Fort portal via Mubende is 180km (4-5hrs) which is the shortest route and the other one is Kampala- Fort portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese 456km (7-8hrs) longer but offers more stopovers along the way, you can stop at Lake Mburo NP, Kyanbura Wildlife reserve, Rwenzori Mountains NP and Queen Elizabeth Np.
Activities at the park
As you come down the escarpment of the Western Albertine Rift you will find the views most amazing, vast savannah grasslands, forests, bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon Birding is one of the activity that is so rewarding to birders who make it there as some of the African best forest birding destination. Sempaya and Ntandi harbor have excellent view of birds like the white crested hornbill, red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, piping Hornbill, yellow-throated Nicator, greater blue and Ross’s turaco.
Hot springs is a 30 minutes trail that goes through the palm forest to the inner spring dominated by boiling geyser where eggs and green plantain can be cooked. This trail leads through the forests where you can sight the red-tailed monkey, grey –cheeked mangabeys and black and white colcbus monkeys to the tree house that provides an aerial view.
Game Drives is done across the savannah grassland to Toro semuliki Wildlife Reserve where smaller and larger savannah elephants are seen along with buffaloes, waterbucks, crocodiles, warthogs and Uganda Kobs. With luck you may have a chance to see the pygmy hippopotami’s, leopards and bush babies.
While at semuliki you will stay at kyaninga lodge for (luxury) and semuliki guest house, Ruwenzori view guest house, Hotel Vanilla, Picfare guest house for (budget).
The Bambuti Pygmies live on both side of the Semliki River and are closely related to the Basu Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of the Congo rather than to Batwa Pygmies around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park.
Most safari companies refer to the Bambuti Pygmies as Batwa, but they are not and their culture and ways are different from each other. Both have lived in the forests for thousands of year.
The Bambuti Pygmies are much smaller in number than the Batwa People. Both were evicted from their ancient forests, though the Bambuti have limited hunting and gathering rights. They also can legally grow marijuana and smoke it in their. The Bambuti can be visited and today have their own guides, in the past, they had non-Bambuti guides who stole their money causing animosity between the Bambuti and Visitors, which has changed today.
The best Season to travel to semuliki national park is from December to February and from June to July