SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

Semuliki National Park connects Uganda to the steamy jungles of central Africa and harbours some intriguing wildlife. It’s most famous for its primordial hot springs, sites for traditional rituals for the local Bamaga people. – Lonely Planet

Semuliki National Park, is one of the newest national parks in Uganda, and it got its status as a national park in 1993. The park is bordered by the Rwenzori mountains to the southeast, on its west side is the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the north is is surrounded by Lake Albert. However it is located in the very western part of Uganda. 

This park is the only lowland tropical forest in Uganda and it has a spectacular scenic beauty enhanced by the presence of hot springs at Sempaya.

Mammals
The park has 63 mammal species. Eight species occur nowhere else in Eastern Africa such as, mona monkey, forest buffalo, bay duiker, beecroft’s flying squirrel, pygmy flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotain and target rat. Nine of which are primates such as chimpanzees, baboons, blue monkey and vervet monkeys. 

There are game drives in the park, where you can see the mammals, as well as Chimpanzee trekking tours, and hikes where you can observe the different primates.

Bird watching

Semuliki includes 435 bird species, which is almost 40% of Uganda’s total. Some of these cannot be found anywhere else, in entire East Africa, and they are considered the continent’s most spectacular and sought after birds. These include the hornbills and the lyre-tailed honeyguide.

 

Local people

Four ethnic people live in and around Semuliki National Park. The Bamba and Bakonjo people are found in the valley and mountain slopes. They are majorly agriculturalists and they depend on crops such as rice, potatoes coffee and bananas. 

The Batuku people live in the north end of the park, and they depend entirely on their cattle products, which they trade with their neighbours, both Ugandans and natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Pigmies was traditionally gathers and hunters, but their lifestyles has changed in the recent years due to interactions with neighbouring local communities and the impact of tourism. They can now be visited and they have their own guides, to show tourist around.

Sempaya Hot Springs

The Sempaya Hot Springs are Semuliki’s most famous attraction, The “male” spring, known as Bintente, measures 12m in diameter. The “female” spring Nyasimbi, meaning “the female ancestors”, is a boiling geyser which spurts bubbling water and steam up to two meters high and the steam cloud can be seen from as far as 2km away. Local people used to cook their food in these boiling pools.