Semliki National Park is one of the 10 National Parks in Uganda spanning about 220 square kilometers in the remote Bundibugyo district, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Semliki National Park is set at the backdrop of magnificent features including the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains to the south-east as well as Lake Albert to the North. This remote and biodiversity hotspot was gazetted into a National Park in 1993 hence making it one of the recently established Parks in the country and is currently managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Attractions within Semliki National Park
There are two hot springs in the Park (the male and female hot springs), together known as popular Sempaya hot springs. Mumbuga hot springs resemble a geyser towering 0.5 meters high. The hot spring area is a haven for several shorebirds in addition to being a source of salt for wildlife.
Activities within Semliki National Park
Many tourists are probably not aware that chimpanzee trekking can be undertaken from Semliki National Park. The Chimpanzee communities here were habituated by researchers from Indiana University and trekking starts at 8:00 am lasting 1-3 hours. Other primates such as De Brazza’s monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, African red colobus monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys are likely to be encountered during trekking.
Both day and night game drives are the most popular activities in Semliki National Park and are conducted across the vast savannah plains. Common wildlife species encountered are the hippos, warthogs, leopards, savannah elephants, bush babies, buffaloes, white-tailed mongoose, and Uganda kobs.
The Bambuti pygmies with their hunter-gatherer way of life always interest tourists who visit the area.
Hiking is another interesting activity to undertake within Semliki National Park. This Park has several trails leading to beautiful attractions and one of them is the Kirumia Trail. Other hiking trails in this Park are the Sempaya Nature trail and the Red-monkey trail that reward trekkers with views of a number of attractions including the famous Sempaya hot springs, primate, and bird species among others.
Semliki National Park is one of Africa’s best forest birding destinations with commonly encountered species being the Shoebill storks, Piping hornbills, Great blue turaco, the Red-billed dwarf hornbills, Ross turaco, white-crested hornbills, and yellow-throated Nicator among others. Popular birding sites in this Park are around River Kirumia and areas around Lake Albert.
Where to stay within Semliki National Park
There are several accommodation facilities within and around Semliki National Park. The best luxury places to stay are Semliki Safari Lodge and Ntoroko Game Lodge. Kyaninga Lodge is not within but near the Park and offers one of the best accommodation options for luxury travelers.
The accommodation facilities within or around Semliki National Park to cater to midrange travelers include Mountains of the Moon Hotel.
For budget travelers, the must-book accommodation facilities are Hotel Vanilla, Kirimia Guesthouse, and the UWA Bandas and Campsites.
How to get there
Semliki National Park is situated within the remote district of Bundibugyo and can be reached through Kampala-Mityana-Mubende-Fort Portal-Bundibugyo and finally to Ntandi Park Headquarters.