Uganda Semuliki National Park

Semliki National Park lies on Uganda’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo within the arm of the prominent Great Rift Valley. It is one of the less-visited parks in Uganda and it cuts across Semliki valley, western Rwenzori Mountain, and is unique park which is the only low land tropical forest in East Africa. Semliki National Park is located in the western region of Uganda in the remote part of Bundibugyo District, in Bwamba County and it was established as a national park in October 1993.

Semliki National Park hosts a large number of spectacular bird species that are not anywhere else. In record, 441 bird species and 53 mammals exist there, like Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Nkulengu Rail, Black-wattled Hornbill, and Lyre-tailed Honeyguide and mammals where many are shy, rare, and nocturnal. The obvious ones include Grey-cheeked managed, Gentle (blue) Monkeys, Olive Baboon, Red-tailed and Mona, vervet, and Gvereza. You are far more likely to spot the lively and agile squirrels such as Fire-footed Rope or Red-legged Sun Squirrel, Little collard fruit Bat and Target Rat. 30 species of butterflies have been identified, it is a three hours’ drive from Fort Portal to Semliki National Park birders who take Uganda safaris to Semliki National Park will be richly rewarded with some of the very best forest birding in Uganda.


A hot spring is a place where groundwater is heated by the energy created by the earth. These are areas where rising magma gets very close enough to the earth’s surface to produce great heat. Like the semliki hot Springs, the water from hot springs is said to have many beneficial properties, but semliki hot springs are also spectacular tourist attraction sites.

Semliki national park has two hot springs, the “male” hot spring called Bintente which measures 2 meters in diameter and it is in a lush swampy clearing. The “female” hot spring is called Nyasibi meaning “female Ancestor”, many people in sempaya do cook from the hot spring, and even tourists who go to the hot spring experience the cooking by also putting different food items like eggs, sweet potatoes, matooke, and many others in the spring to prove to themselves.


The Batwa people are the local cultural group in semuliki national park. Before the park was gazetted as a national park, Batwa used to depend on the forest for food, shelter, medicine, and tools due to their lifestyle of hunter-gathers. But the wildlife Authority has offered them another alternative source of income as they display their cultural history through music and dance performance at Ntandi. Furthermore, they also display handcraft for sale.


The Bambuti Pygmies live on the two sides of Semliki River and are closely related to the Basu Pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo rather than to Batwa Pygmies around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park.

Many of the safari companies refer to the Bambuti Pygmies as Batwa, but they are not the ones for them, their culture and ways of life are different from each other.   Although Both have lived in the forests for thousands of years.








The Bambuti Pygmies are smaller in number compared to the Batwa People. They have been evicted from their ancient forests, though the Bambuti has limited hunting and gathering rights.  They also can legally grow marijuana and smoke it in there.  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.


Semliki National Park has a variety of rare bird species, Tourists who like bird watching will really have an unforgettable experience of watching the spectacular bird species in semuliki national park. They include Nkulengu Rail, Black-wattled Hornbill, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed and Zenker’s Honeyguides, African Piculet, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristleb Xavier’s, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Forest and Grey Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and ill, and many.


Semliki offers hiking opportunities to tourists who want so as to see animals like hippos, crocodiles, birds, monkeys for example so the tourists need to put on boots long-sleeved shirts and blouses, light rain jackets packed lunch, and drinking water. The hike can take a few hours to even a whole day.









Trekking chimpanzees is also available in semuliki national park for tourists who would like to participate in it. In semuliki national park, it is the Indiana University habituating the chimpanzees and the chances of seeing them in a guided trek are less not like in Kibale where there are 1500 habituated chimpanzees









Semliki national park has about 53 recorded species of mammals in that 27of the are large animals and 11 are small animals, 5 species of large animals, and 7 species of small which are purported not to be recorded in other parks such as pygmy flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotain and target rat. A further ten mammals are known to occur in only a few places in East Africa. Pygmy antelopes, leopards, lions to mention. At one time semliki national park was claimed to have the largest lions in Africa. Reptiles and amphibians are also abundant


Semliki has good accommodation facilities for the tourists to rest and relax in.


  • Kirimia lodge


  • Semliki Safari Lodge
  • Ntoroko Game Lodge




220 km2
Tour Activities and Attractions:
Sempaya Hot Spring, Scenic Drive, Bird Watching, Red Monkey Trail, Kirimia River trail, Nocturnal Bird Watching, Cultural Trails, Hiking and Natural Walks
Accommodation Options:
Mpora Rural Family Guesthouse, Muramia Motel, Hotel Vanilla, Rwenzori Unique Eco- Tourism Camp, Kyaninga Lodge, Ruwenzori View Guesthouse, Eriba Guesthouse 22 Njara Road, Kirimia Guesthouse, Picfare Guest House, Semliki Guest House
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