Semuliki National Park | Semuliki Reserve
Semuliki Forest Reserve was gazzeted by the uganda government in in 1932 and upgraded to park status in 1993.
It is the sole tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa , hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.
Large areas of this low-lying park may flood during the wet season,a brief reminder of the time when the whole valley lay at rock bottom of a lake for seven million years.
Four distinct ethnic groups live arround the Semuliki national park and they are the Bwamba farmers liveing along the foot of Rwenzori Mountain (Mountain of the Moon) while the Bakonjo cultivate the Rwenzori mountain slopes. The Batuku cattle keepers inhabit on the open Grass plains and Batwa pygmies are mainly traditional hunter gathers survive on the forest.
Semuliki national park runs across the Semliki Valley in the remote and western side of the Mountains of the Moon ( Rwenzori Mountain). The Semliki National park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the Ituri Forest of the Democratic republic of Congo Basin which is one among Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests in the world; one among the few to survive the last glacial period , 12-18,000 years ago.
The Semuliki Valley contains numerous features related to central instead of eastern Africa. The grass Thatched huts are shaded by the West African palm oil trees ; the Semliki River (which forms the international Uganda boundary) may be a miniature version of the Congo , the forest is home to various Central African wildlife species birds ETC, and therefore the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central African Republic without having to go away Uganda.
While Semuliki’s National park species are over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older Geological processes. Hot springs intumesce from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that are shaping the valley during the last 14 million years.
Bird Watching in Semuliki National Park
Common species during this area are:- Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaubs’s Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Nkulengu Rail, Chocolate-backed, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Red-chested Owlet, Bates’ Nightjar,White-bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, Gabon Woodpecker, Red-sided Broadbill, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Long-tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin,Red-billed Dwarf, Piping and Black-wattled Hornbills, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted, Lyre-tailed and Zenker’s Honeyguides, African Piculet, Forest and gray Ground Thrushes, Lemon-bellied Crombec, White-throated Blue Swallow, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Sassi’s Olive, Xavier’s, Swamp, Simple and Eastern Bearded Greenbuls, Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Red-billed Helmet -Shrike, Red-eyed Puff-back, Black-winged Starling, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Ituri Batis,Crested and Red-bellied Malimbes, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negro finches, Grant’s Bluebill.
The area round the geothermal hot springs at Sempaya area arent only very scenic but also offers some great potentials of birding. The cliffs behind the ranger post at his Park are home to the crepuscular Freckled Nightjar one of the sought after birds by birders and these are often seen gliding round with Black-shouldered Nightjars. within the lush Semliki Reserve / rainforest you will listen for the bizarre dawn and dusk duetting of the elusive Nkulengu Rail.
Other nocturnal callers include African Wood Owl and Buff-spotted Flufftail a round the cleaning and thru other light gaps within the area, it’s possible to glimpse African Goshawk, Red-thighed and Great Sparrows, Ayres Hawk-Eagle and Cassin’s Spinetail.
From the ranger post when you head north (right) along the ” Boundary Trail ” . Crested guinea skulk within the undergrowth and therefore the hollow hooting of the White-spotted Flufftail is usually heard near forest creek during this area. Turn left where the trail forks and still the ” Female” Hot Springs with boiling predicament squirts and bubbles out of the bottom .
OTHER WILDLIFE in Semuliki National Park
53 species of mammal species have been recorded in the semliki national park, many of which are shy and are rare most of which are nocturnal by nature. Conspicuous species include De Brazza’s Monkeys are rare ,Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon and Guereza Colobus, Vervet, Red-tailed and Mona, Gentle (Blue) Monkeys, and Chimpanzees may seldom be heard than seen.
While nocturnal primates include Pottos and Galagos. you’re also lucky if you glimpse Elephant, Bush pig, water deer , Buffalo, Sitatunga, White-bellied Duiker or Dwarf Antelope, Beecroft’s Anomalure or Zenker’s flying phalanger . you’re much more likely to identify the lively and agile squirrels like Fire-footed Rope or Red-legged Sun Squirrel. Little collard megabat and Target Rat. 30 species of butterflies are identified, including 46 species of forest Swallowtails and Charaxes (75% of Uganda’s total) and a minimum of 235 species of moths are classified as restricted.
There are also over 305 tree Species Recorded in Semliki reserve, of which 125 can only be found here alone.
There is an lookout and boardwalk to look at the geothermal hot springs at Sempaya. Otherwise, there’s not much within the way of visitor facilities within the park and trail maintenance has been neglected for a couples of years; a machete ( ” panga” ) are often useful. Bring all of your supplies and camping equipment if you propose on spending time within the forest. There are three new but abandoned and unfurnished shelters at the starting site the Sempaya ranger post that would accommodate a couple of uncomplicated travellers.
Fresh beverage are often obtained from the creek 0.6 km from Sempaya towards Bundibugyo and a swim within the Mungilo Waterfall here is additionally highly recommended. it’s definitely advisable to boil or purify the water from the oxbow lakes and therefore the Kirumia River before consumption. Recommended campsites within the forest are at the primary lake and at the second Kirumia River crossing, and out of doors the forest at the Sempaya ranger post. Some local produce and drinks are often bought at Ntandi. Porters are often hired at the village of Kirumia at a charge of $ 2-3 per person.
Getting to Semuliki National Park
Semuliki national park lies along the most fort Portal to Bundibugyo road, 52 km from Fort Portal City. The road can become treacherous during the rainy season particularly after heavy rains, Going there requires a 4 WD . The ranger post at Sempaya is well signposted but the park headquarters are moved to the village of Ntandi, an extra 4.4 km along the road to Bundibugyo. the standard park fees apply. from Sempaya it’s 10.6 km to the village of Kirumia and begin of the Kirumia River trail into the forest. it’s possible to hitch a ride between Sempaya and Kirumia but you Must bear in mind that the majority of vehicles head towards Fort Portal within the mornings; traffic within the direction of Bundibugyo passes mainly within the late afternoon and evening.
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