What makes this park unique is the fact that it has the capability to offer you a central African experience without you actually leaving Uganda. It is located in the south-western region of Uganda. The park boasts of having thatched huts shaded by the West African oil palms, home to numerous Central African species and the Semiliki River. This park provides safariers the best forest experience because it is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. It is presumed that this river is a tiny version of the Congo River. It is comprised of savannah, grasslands, wetlands, and rivers that make this park a beauty.
The hot springs, river, reserve, tropical forest jungle and primates are not only full of scenic beauty but also vast wonders for exploration activities that will intrigue you. The most interesting advantage to this park is the fact that even without entering the park, a picturesque drive around brings you closer to the marvelous beauty of the park’s surroundings. The drive to Sempaya hot springs gives you the opportunity to look at the rift valley towards Congo, monkeys, and birds without incurring any park fees.
Semuliki national park is one of the best places for birding simply because of the diverse species of forest birds in. It consists of unique species that cannot be found anywhere in East Africa. The park is the most famous for its birding experience because of the 441 recorded species. Some of the rare species include Congo serpent, eagle, long-tailed hawk, Nkulengu rail, black wattled hornbills and many others. There are also about 300 butterfly species and over 53 mammals such as buffaloes, leopards, hippos, elephants, pygmy flying squirrel, water chevrotains and many others.
Even though not as popular as trekking in the other parks, chimpanzee trekking is one of the activities safariers can engage in while at this park. The fact that you get to join researchers and scientists in the habituation is a much more exhilarating experience than trekking. During trekking, you get to see other primates like the debrazza monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, central African monkey, black and white monkeys, the vervet monkeys and many others.
The most famous attraction at this park is the Sempaya hot springs that have attracted a large number of safariers from within and outside Uganda. The two alluring Bitende and Nyasimbi hot springs at Sempaya are known to be the most fascinating sights to behold. The springs have a boiling fountain which gushes out bubbling water and the steam about 2 meters in the air. The people living near these springs used to boil food in the pool. Safariers also get the chance to boil foods like eggs.
The park has these lovely reserves that are quite unique from the others in Uganda because of their resemblance to the central and West African scene. As you come down the escarpment of the western Albertine rift, you will find the views of the most amazing vast savannah grasslands, forest, bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains of the moon. Safariers get the opportunity to take guided nature walks where they get to see beautiful animals such as elephants, kobs, buffaloes, and chimpanzees. Boat rides on Lake Albert offer great opportunities to see the rare shoebill stork, shorebirds, hippos, and the rift valley escarpment sharp drop into the lake.
When you get to this park, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to visit the dazzling Semiliki river. The 160km river conveys an overflow from the Rwenzori Mountains to Lake Albert and the Nile. According to ancient geographers, the Nile flows from the snow-capped mountain in the heart of Africa. Sportfishing can be done and safariers can catch various fish and later have them prepared at their respective lodges. Safariers get to see it meander across the rift valley floor from the roadside viewpoints and hike through the forest to its bird-rich banks. The river is also a home to hippos and crocodiles.
Hiking is one of the very common activities that the safariers love to indulge in since they get to see all the scenic beauty and get an insight into the culture of the locals. Safariers love to visit the local people around the park because of their interesting way of life. The tribes that live in this park have got unique cultures that will add magic to your stay here. The Bamba farmers live along the base of the forest; Bakonjo cultivates the mountain slopes; the Bakutu cattle keepers inhabit the open plains on the north and the Batwa live on the edge of the forest. The local Batwa dancers put on a traditional performance for the safariers and you can also buy some handmade local crafts to take home for memories or as gifts to those back at home.