Tourist activities are done in Semuliki National Park
Game drives in Semliki wildlife reserve
In Semuliki National Park, one of the most popular activities. To preserve the fauna of the valley, the open grassland and river woodland known as the Toro-Semuliki reserve was gazetted. The park had more poaching from the locals in comparison to any other savannah park in Uganda, which led to a dearth of mammals. Visitors can explore the reserve’s 53 different species of mammals on three game drive routes approved by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Elephants, buffaloes, Waterbucks, Warthogs, Uganda Kobs, Bush babies, Pygmy Hippos, leopards, and hyenas are among the animals discovered. Game viewing is best done in the early hours of the morning and late in the evenings, is when animals appear to be more active. Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is one of the best places in Uganda for night game drives because the forest is home to a wide variety of nocturnal predators.
Birding in Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is the ideal location for bird viewing due to being home to over 400 different bird species. Sempaya and Ntandi are popular spots for bird watching because they offer a clear view of the birds and have high concentrations of several bird species, including the White-crested Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Piping Hornbill, Yellow-throated Nicator, Great blue and Ross’s Turacos, Congo Serpent Eagle, Long-tailed hawk, Nkulenga Rail, Black-wattled Hornbill, Lyre-tailed honeyguide The Shoebill stork as well as other water bird species are visible along the Kirumia River and Lake Albert.
Visiting the hot springs
The park is well-known for its two hot springs. The local stories about their origins captivate visitors more than the scientific explanation. Nyasimbi is the female hot spring, and Bintente, the male hot spring, has a diameter of about 12 meters. A boiling spout spews several meters of vapor and bubbling water from more than a mile away. Eggs can be boiled in the water that blasts out in Semuliki National Park hot springs in 10 minutes. The hot springs were often used for cooking by forest residents, but park administration has put restrictions on this to make the region more accessible to tourists. On the en-route to the hot springs, visitors can observe several bird species and little primates climbing through and down the trees. The hot springs can be safely observed from a tower and boardwalk that the park officials have built. Local tribes frequently host ethnic dance performances to amuse tourists who have traveled to see the hot springs. A woodland stroll or a trip to the Mungiro Falls are further options for guests in addition to the hot springs, animals, and primates.
Hiking and nature walks in Semuliki National Park
Another thrilling activity in Semuliki National Park is nature-guided walks. You can visit different parts of the park, including savannah grassland and a section of Ituri woodland, on guided nature walks. Visitors can spot and experience many wild life sparely populated in the park which include African buffalo, leopard, hippopotamus, Mona monkey, water chevrotain, birds like white-bellied kingfisher, piping hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, black dwarf hornbill, white-crested hornbill, white-thighed hornbill, black-casqued wattled hornbill, red-rumped Tinkerbird, lyre-tailed honey guide. Following the Kirumia, Sempaya, and Red Monkey trails will take you on nature-guided treks to a variety of Semuliki National Park’s highlights.
Kirumia Trail; The 13 km trail crosses the Kirumia River twice, passes a series of stunning Ox-bow lakes, and travels through the northern part of the forest to the banks of the Semuliki River. The trail’s initial 4 kilometers go through secondary and riverside woodland, providing opportunities to view rare bird species such African piculet, Long-Tailed Hawk, Red-Sided Broadbill, Black-Faced Rufous Warbler, and Lemon Billed Crombec. The trek departs out from park headquarters in Ntandi at 8:00 am and takes 8 hours to finish it.
Red Monkey Trail;
This 11-kilometer Red Monkey Hiking Trail follows the park’s eastern border, which is home to the endangered De Brazza’s monkey. The name comes from the fact that it is more populated with Red-tailed monkeys. It begins at the Sempaya tourism site and extends into the forest, providing access to the Semuliki River and ending at the park headquarters. This trail is home to a variety of bush and woodland birds. A few animals, such as Duikers, Forest elephants, and Forest buffaloes, as well as primates such as Baboons, Red-tailed monkeys, Black and white colobus monkeys, and Mangabeys, can be seen on occasion. The Semuliki River also has hippos and crocodiles. This trail takes at least three hours to complete for either direction.
Sempaya Hot Springs Nature Trail; This 8-kilometer nature trail requires a 2 to4 hours to hike it either in the morning or afternoon , the trail allows you to observe the hot springs, birds, butterflies, primates, and viewpoints of the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains in the distance. It passes through a section of forest that is home to Red-tailed monkeys, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, and Black-and-white colobus monkeys. Forest hornbills, Blue-breasted kingfishers, Red-rumped and Yellow-throated tinkerbirds, Frasier’s ant thrush, and Honeyguide greenbul are among the more attractive birds observed here on a regular basis.
Chimpanzee trekking has not yet become fully operational, but the University of India is working hard to ensure that chimp habituation is achieved as soon as possible. Currently, chimp trekking is carried out on a minimal scale and in the most exhausting way possible, with the goal of simply chasing chimps. The trek takes at least four hours, Chimpanzee trekking is much more enjoyable especially in Semuliki National Park, where the chimps still fear humans and where you can witness the true colors of the forest chimp. Other primates such as Baboons and various monkey species can also be seen.
Cultural and traditional encounters
There are four indigenous tribes who reside in the vicinity around the national park. All of the four tribes that live on the park’s borders are open to visitors. The Batwa pygmies are hunters and jungle gatherers whereas the Bakonjo and Bamba farm crops (rice, matooke/bananas, potatoes and cocoa) on the foothills of the mountain Rwenzori. The Batuku are nomadic people who dwell in the park’s northern region. These tribes’ way of life, notably that of the Batwa, is changing as a result of tourism and industrialization. The Batwa have been moved from the woods of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to locations outside the national parks. With the aid of a Christian group called ADRA, some of the Batwa living in Semuliki National Park have been relocated to a region close to Ntandi, however these efforts have met with limited success because the relocated Batwa still yearn for their former way of life in the forest. With assistance from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, some Batwa demonstrate their cultural history to tourists through dance, storytelling, and other activities.
Best time to visit Semuliki National Park
All seasons are welcome at the Semuliki National Park. However, the greatest times to travel are from April to June and from July to September, which are the dry seasons. Since there’s less mud inside the park during the dry months, driving across it is smoother. It is challenging to go throughout the park during the rainy season that lasts from December through March and from October to November. As when the rains fill the rivers, some portions of the park become waterlogged.