The Semuliki National Park is made up of the far-flung western side of the Rwenzori as the eastern most extension of the immense Ituri forest of the Congo basin prevails in the extreme west of Uganda to form the park. The forest forms a continuum along the Democratic Republic of Congo – Uganda border that is in the western arm of the East African rift valley. With its rich flora, fauna and bio-diversity, it is one of the few most ancient forests that survived the last ice age about 12 – 18,000 years ago.
Semuliki National Park has enchanting features from the wildlife, bird species, different animal species to the native people with a touch of several Central African features. Like the Semuliki River that is a miniature version of the Congo River. The flora is greatly dominated by the Cynometra alexandri tree species with a mixture of tree species with a more evergreen nature. Semuliki is also the only tract of true low land tropical forest in East Africa.
The natives near the park include the Bwamba farmers that occupy the base of the Rwenzori, the Bakonjo who cultivate the mountain slopes while the open plains are inhabited by the Batuku cattle keepers, the margin of the forest is occupied by the traditionally hunter gatherers, the Batwa pygmies.
The birds and wildlife are a must see in the park, with a diversity of about 441 recorded bird species 40% representing all bird species in the country while 66% represent the country’s forest bird species. The birds stretch up to the riverine habitat and the grasslands in the east of the Semuliki National Park.
There are also several endemic species that include 46 Guinea-Congo biome species that can’t be found elsewhere in East Africa while other 35 can only be found in 2 or 3 places in Uganda. The birds include; African piculet, crested Malimbe, Red-billed Dwarf hornbill, white crested hornbill, black dwarf hornbill, Orange-cheeked waxbill, leaf-love, Nkulenga rail, Yellow-throated cuckoo and a lot more.
Semuliki National Park is not only fascinating for its birds, but animals too. These include the 53 mammals of which about 27 are large mammals 11species being endemic to the park like the pygmy antelope and two flying squirrel species. It is also home to the fanged deer, a queer water chevrotain. The park has forest elephants and buffaloes that are smaller version of their savannah dwelling relatives.
Other animals include;
- Primates like chimpanzees
- Grey cheeked mangabey
- Black and white colubus
- De Brazza’s
- Dent mona monkeys
Activities done at the Semuliki national park include
- Hot springs viewing
- Cultural encounters where you are able to learn the culture and way of life of the locals
- Game drives through any of the three tracks that cross the savannah grassland of Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve
- Hiking and nature walks of about an 8 hours round trip that starts at 0800hrs through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki river via the 13km Kirumia trail