Semuliki National Park


The Semuliki National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo preserves an extension of the Ituri forest. It is situated on the Rwenzori Mountains’ plain in western Uganda. It is East Africa’s sole real lowland tropical forest tract. It has a surface size of 220km2 and an elevation of 670m-760m above sea level. It is East Africa’s sole real lowland tropical forest and incorporates traits associated with Central Africa rather than Eastern Africa.

The international border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is marked by the Semuliki River. The park is dominated by the Congo Basin’s easternmost stretch of the Ituri forest. Semuliki National Park is one of Uganda’s least frequented parks since it is off the famed Uganda safari route.

Tooro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve is made up of tropical rainforest, grassland savannah, and flat plains. This is Uganda’s oldest reserve, and it is home to both central and eastern African species.

Wildlife in Semuliki National Park


Forest elephants, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles along the Semuliki River, as well as various primates – Chimpanzee, red-cheeked mangabey, Central African red colobus, and many reptiles and amphibians – live in the forest. The park is home to 11 unique creatures, including the pygmy flying squirrel, Beecroft’s flying squirrel, water chevrotain, target rat, small collared fruit bat, bay duiker, forest buffalo, and mona monkey.


Semuliki has an amazing birdlife, with 441 species documented. Birds may dwell safely in the riverine environment and grassland. Semuliki National Park has 46 Guinea-Congo biome species that are uniquely found in East Africa. African Piculet, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Blue-billed Malimbe, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Nkulengu Rail, Piping Hornbill, blue-billed malimbe, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, and Leaf-love are among the species to look out for.

Activities in Semuliki National Park

Chimpanzee Trekking

The primate trek takes place in the Toro – Semliki nature reserve. After being informed at the study site, you proceed to the Kijura observation point, where you will begin your expedition tracking the chimpanzees. The route might take between 4 and 6 hours to complete as you follow the chimps’ trails. The route is fascinating, with various birds and elephants, buffalos, and lions spotted along the way.

Chimpanzee Habituation

The Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve offers chimp habituation as a full-day experience. It is pre-booked at the Uganda Wildlife Authority, where you will acquire your permission and join the ranger guides and researchers. You may follow the researchers as they track chimps from early morning when they leave their nests to late evening when they return to nesting. The plan is for chimps to become acquainted with humans before joining the group that will be accessible for chimp tracking.

Bird watching

Because of its position in the Albertine rift valley, low land forest, and central African species, the park’s major appeal is bird viewing. In fact, it is home to Central African bird species that are not seen anywhere in East Africa. Semuliki National Park is home to 441 bird species, 46 of which are unique to the Guinea-Congo biome and found nowhere else in East Africa. Shoebill, dwarf honeyguide, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Yellow-throated Nicator, Great blue and Ross’s turaco, purple breasted sunbird, orange weaver, white crested hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, African Piculet, Swamp Palm Bulbul, and others are among the species to watch for. The Shoebill is frequently seen when boat birding in Lake Albert. More birding places in the park include Sempaya, Ntandi, the Kirumia route, and the Semuliki River.

Hot Springs

The Semuliki hot springs are a big draw for many park visitors. They are used in ceremonies by the Bamba people to speak with their gods for blessings and protection. The path to the male (Bintente) and female (Nyasimbe) hot springs winds through the forest, where you may see red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and black-and-white colobus monkeys hopping from tree branches in search of food. The ‘female’ hot springs include a boiling fountain that is above 1000 degrees Celsius. Plantains and eggs are frequently cooked in boiling water and consumed while you continue your trekking expedition.

Nature walks and Hiking

Nature walks are led by a ranger guide deep in the forest. Within the park, there are primarily three pathways to explore:

The 11-kilometer-long Red Monkey Trail follows the park boundaries to the east and terminates at the Semliki River. There is a chance you will see the uncommon DeBrazza monkey.

The Sempaya nature walk leads to the Sempaya hot springs. The stroll takes you through a forest where you are likely to see black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and grey-cheeked mangabeys. The walk to the male hot springs includes a tree house from which you can enjoy the numerous birds and magnificent scenery.

The Kirumia route, which is 13 kilometers long and terminates at the Semliki River, is ideal for birds.

Cultural experiences

Before the woodland was designated as a national park, the Batwa resided there. They currently reside on the park’s outskirts but frequent the forest in quest of therapeutic herbs. They offer demonstrations of how they lived in the forest, including harvesting food, hunting, and equipment for living and surviving in the wild. Enjoy the music and dancing performances, and don’t forget to buy the handcrafted items they produce.

Getting there

The park is accessible by Kampala – Fortportal and then Semuliki National Park. You may also fly from Entebbe to Semuliki Wildlife Reserve on a scheduled or chartered flight.