Semliki National Park

Semliki National Park covers 220 square kilometers of the valley floor that forms a link between the heights of East Africa  and was gazette  in October 1993 . Her land forms includes a flat land form with gently undulating park that ranges between 670-760 meters above sea level. Many areas flood up during the rainy season because all streams and rivers from the surrounding area drain through the park , coupled with the poor topology and drainage .

The average annual rainfall in semliki is 1250mm with March-May and September –December as the peak season .  Her temperatures range from 18 degrees centigrade to 30 degrees centigrade but these have relatively small daily variations.

Semliki national park is located in the extreme west of Uganda in Bundibugyo district . It is an eastern extension of the vast ituri forest, and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene period. It forms one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa particularly birds.it lies within the western arm of the East African Rift valley along the Uganda/congo (DRC) border.

Semliki National Park is bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains to the southeast , to the west is the Democratic Republic of Congo , to the north are  the semliki  flats and lake Albert further on , what an interesting view all round.

Activities  in the Park

Birdwatchers come for the central African species residing at their eastern limits  ,such as the congo serpent eagle. At least 130 of the 144 Guinea –Congo forest bird species have been recorded here and nearly 50 species are found nowhere else in East  Africa . Nine primate species call this Park  home ,including De Brazza’s monkey ,and many endemic mammal species such as Zneker’s flying mice.

Nature walks through a variety of Wildlife and Forest ,Sempaya  Hotsprings trail scenery viewing .situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swamp land are two hot springs , here you will see a two metre jet of hot water about 30 degrees centigrade and 12m diameter poolof oozing boiling water about 106 degrees centigrade .

SEMLIKI WILDLIFE RESERVE

Semliki Wildlife resrve is uganda’s oldest wildlife reserve and set in an area of outstanding scenery   in the albertine Rift valley. To the north is lake  Albert whilst to the east woodland climbs the steep Rift Valley wall.  On the western horizon are the Congolese Blue Mountains and in the south a   spur of hills climb up to the ice-capped peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains.

The majority of the reserve is an open acacia woodland and grassland whilst patches of gallery forest border the rivers.

Wildlife of SEMLIKI

The game populations in the reserve were at one time enormous but the poaching and hunting that occurred during the civik war and throughout the 1980’s saw the numbers plummet,  However  since the early 90’s the reserve has been protected and although the numbers do not yet equal those of the reserve’s heyday, they are increasing rapidly.

with reedbuck,waterbuck, bushbuck and buffallos .  elephants are also present and lions appear to be Uganda kobs are commonly seen along re-colonising the reserve from over the Congolese border , including the large –maned lions for which the reserve was once famous.

The gallery forest is home to a variety of primates including chimpanzees ,blackand white colobus and red-tailed monkeys. The shore of lake Albert and the swamps that surround it are home to the to a variety of common and rare water birds including shoebill stocks and colonies of red-throated bee-eaters.

No visitor should miss a boat trip on Lake Albert in the Semliki Wildlife Reserve  , for no where else in Uganda do you stand a chance of seeing the mighty shoebill stock .

Recovering slowly from years of War and pillage  ,the semliki Reserve now hosts significant number of wildlife species including Water bucks ,buffaloes ,Leopard  Elephants  and hyenas . A number of Lions have recently returned to the reserve.

GETTING TO SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK:

By road: one can use one of the two major roads from kampala to fort portal, the 300km kampala to fort portal via mubende is about 4-5 hours drive ,while the 510km kampala to fort portal via masaka , mabarara and kasese is about 7-8 hour drive . of  the two routes available for use , the kampala –fort portal via via masaka , mbarara and kasese . along the way you have the opportunity to see or visit Lake mburo National Park , kyambura wildlife reserve , Queen  Elizabeth National Park and Rwenzori National Park , please note that the kampala-fort portal via mubende is much shorter.

Once in fort portal , sempaya gate is 54kms , two hours drive through the winding murram road through the lower ranges of Rwenzori Mountains . At several places you can view the Rift valley floor where the semliki falts and Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve are located.

A 4WD vehicle is recommended for the entire journey.

Using public means: you can take a taxi /a 14 seater minibus or a bus from kampala to fort portal , from fort fortal  taxi park, jump on a pick up truck  or bus for bundibugyo and stop at sempaya gate.

LOCAL PEOPLE

Four ethnic groups live around semliki National Park .  the bamba and bakonjjo are found in the valley and mountain slopes respectively , and are majority  agriculturalists depending on cash crops such as rice and potatoes ,coffee, cocoa and food crops mainly bananas.

The batuku people occupy the rift valley floor, north of the park and are pastoralists who depend entirely on cattle products which they trade in with their neighbours  , both Ugandans and natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo .

The batwa /pygimies who are gatheres and hunters form a part of the ituri ethnic group  , who have since time imemorial depended on Semliki forest for survival , however their lifestyle is now changing due to daily interaction with other neighbouring local communities and the impact of tourism.

ACCOMODATIONS  AT SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK

This park has limited accommodation facilities  , however there are a number of accommodation facilities in fort portal and bundibugyo but basically excellent upmarket lodges.

The campsite at Bemuga  , about 3kms from Sempaya gate is open to visitors . meals  are not ready in advance , preparation is on order , you can also prepare own food at the site, cooking utensils are available for hire.

MAJESTIC   SAFARIS  can help you book any of the luxury, midrange and budget hotels in  Semliki National Park. whether you want a hotel or lodge we will be  more than delighted  to help you book accommodation in semliki National Park .we are in contact with most of the lodges in Semliki National Park . we provide standard rates to make sure you reserve a room with the best price possible .

When we recommend a lodging facility it is because many of our guests have given a very good report about it.