Semuliki National Park is an ecologically distinct national park in southwest Uganda’s Bundibugyo district. This unique tourism attraction is one of Uganda’s newest national parks, having only recently been established. This 542-square-kilometer national park in Uganda stretches from Bundibugyo in the north east to the southern shores of Lake Albert in Ntoroko. It is located on the rift valley’s western arm. Semuliki Flats is bounded to the north by Semuliki National Park.

The vast Ituri forest of the Congo basin dominates, forming Semuliki National Park, which encompasses the remote western side of the Rwenzori mountainous region. The forest broadens in a continuous line along the Uganda-Democratic Republic of the Congo border, which is in the western arm of the East African rift valley. Due to the diverse flora, fauna, and biodiversity, it is one of the few most ancient woods that survived the previous ice age, which transpired between 12 and 18,000 years ago.

The park has remarkable features, from the native people to the animals, bird species, and other animal species, all with a trace of Central African characteristics, like with the Semuliki River, a scaled-down counterpart of the Congo River. The Cynometra alexandri tree species, along with a variety of other tree species with a more evergreen nature, greatly dominate the flora. Moreover, Semuliki is the only area in East Africa with true lowland tropical forest. Natives living close to the park include the Batwa Pygmies, formerly hunters and gatherers, the Bwamba farmers who live at the foot of the Rwenzori, the Bakonjo who farm the mountain slopes, and the Batuku livestock herders who live on the broad plains.

History of the park

In 1932, the national park was first established as a forest reserve, and in 1993 it was gazette as a national park. On the western side of the Rwenzori Mountains, the park extends across the Semliki Valley’s valley floor. As the entire valley is thought to have been at the bottom of a lake for seven million years, it may be comprehensible why a significant portion of the park floods during the wet seasons.

Location and how to get there

Semuliki National Park is found in western Uganda, inside the Bundibugyo District, approximately 355 kilometers from Kampala and a 5 to 6 hour drive away. It is located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Rwenzori Mountains are located to the park’s southeast, and Lake Albert lies to the park’s north.

The Semuliki National Park is accessible by both air and road. There are two routes that lead to the park by vehicle: first from Kampala to Mubende to Fort Portal, and then to Bundibugyo. Other route starts from Kampala City to Masaka, Mbarara, Kasese, Fort Portal, and lastly to Bundibugyo district. At Kajjansi airstrip or Entebbe International airport, visitors can board a chartered direct flight to Semuliki airstrip. These flights are operated by Aerolink Uganda Limited from Entebbe airport from Kajjansi airfield