Guide to Semuliki National Park

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Welcome to the Guide to Semuliki National Park guide showing you attractions, activities, gorilla trekking, gorilla permits, where to stay, what to wear and the best time to visit.

The guide to Semuliki national park will take you to the floor of the Rwenzori mountains in western Uganda.

In this guide to Semuliki park, we have detailed all the must-do activities to make your safari Worthwhile.

The Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is protected by the Semuliki national park as an extension.

This Semuliki park forms the exact tropical forest low land found in the East Africa region.

Semuliki park covers a distance of 220 square kilometres and 670 meters to 760 meters above sea level.

This is the list of visited national parks on a Ugandan safari itinerary. The park is composed of tropical savannah vegetation with interconnecting flat plains.

Semuliki park much as it’s not popular but offers you beautiful scenery of the snowcapped Rwenzori peaks, Semuliki river and wildlife. This guide to Semuliki National Park has you covered.

How to get to Semuliki National park

By Road

The park is located in western Uganda and is accessible through two routes by road.

The Kampala-Fort portal highway will take you 180 kilometres and approximately 3-4 hours and it’s the shortest route.

The Masaka- Mbarara-Kasese highway is approximately 465 Kilometers and a longer route to use since it’s 8-9 hours.

However, this route will take you to see two destinations in Uganda so long as you lengthen your stay.

This is Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth national park.

By Air

There are scheduled flights to Semuliki reserve from Entebbe International Airport through the Aero link.

Also, Bar Aviation a new entrant in the market also has started chartering flights from Kajjansi Airfield.

Why you should visit Semuliki?

Semuliki River

Semuliki river is an international boundary between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. On top of that, a drinking area for all wildlife in the park and riverine birdlife are only found in this park.


The Semuliki park has 53 different types of mammals, many reptiles and amphibians. The park has 11 endemic mammals only found in Semuliki; Pygmy Flying Squirrel, Water Chevrotain, Bay Duiker, Beecroft’s flying, Target Rat, Forest buffalos, Little Collared Fruit Bat and Mona Monkey.

Other wildlife found sideways of River Semuliki include; crocodiles, forest elephants, chimpanzees, red-checked mangabeys, red colobus monkey species from the Central African Republic.


The park has 441 (four hundred forty-one) recorded bird species and 46 species of the Guinea Congo biome bird.

These will offer you spectacular birdwatching views and exclusive views of the Guinea Congo Biome bird.

These birds range from riverine and grassland that are a good habitant or safe haven for birdlife.

Birds include; Piping Hornbill, Leaf love, African Piculet, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Blue-billed malimbe, Nkulengu and Maxwell’s Black Weaver.

Safari and Activities in Semuliki Park

Chimpanzee Trekking or Tracking

Chimpanzee tracking is one of the most common activities done in this park. If you miss a chimpanzee permit to track in Kibale or Kyambura this place, has you covered.

You will meet your guide at the research camp who will brief you and walk towards the Kijura observation point.

You will continue your journey tracking the chimps for about 6-8 hours.

Following chimpanzee trails as you sight different bird species until you find the chimps.

You will spend with them one hour then you will walk back to the starting point.

Chimpanzee Habituation Experience

The chimpanzee habituation experience is a whole day activity in the Semuliki wildlife reserve.

You need to pre-book the chimpanzee permit or activity with either your tour operator or from Uganda Wildlife Authority.

This activity involves joining researchers as they follow the chimpanzees in the early mornings.

You will sight chimpanzees leave their nest and learn how and why they leave in tall trees.

This will take you till evening hours as they again go back to bed or nests and how they prepare them.

This activity by researchers is mainly to habituate or familiarize the chimpanzee to humans.

The purpose is to ensure that once they are fully familiarized, they are introduced to the ones used for chimpanzee tracking.

Bird Watching

Bird watching is an interesting activity for the birders since the Semuliki habitant is home to endemic species.

The location in the Albertine rift valley attracts a number of birds species plus the low land forest.

This has provided this park with birdlife not found anywhere in East Africa.

You will sight about 441 bird species during your track and also get in a canoe for shoebill tracking.

The shoebill is a unique bird species tracked using canoes on swampy vegetation.

These are the trails you shouldn’t miss out on while birdwatching; Sempaya trail, Kirumia trail, Semuliki river and Ntandi trail.

Hot spring visit

The walk to the hot springs is a gem of its own from different wildlife sighting them on tree branches to viewing different birdlife.

You will visit 3 hot springs that are; the Bintente spring (Known as male spring) and Nyasimbe (Known as female spring).

The Nyasimbe (Known as female spring) have a boiling point of up to 100 degrees celsius.

Your guide will make an experiment of egg boiling or cooking plantain. If interested, you can consume as you continue with the tour.

The springs are historical to the natives of the area since they use them to communicate or reach out to their gods for blessings.

Nature and hiking walks

The walks are done following three (3) trails and in the company of the ranger guide deep in the forest for your safety.

The trails include; the Red Monkey trail, Sempaya trail and Kirumia trail.

The Sempaya trail

Is the most popular because of the many wildlife and birdlife you will enjoy on your way.

You will sight monkeys swinging from branch to branch; grey-cheeked mangabey, white and black colobus monkey and red-tailed monkeys.

The most popular activity on this trail is visiting the Sempaya hot spring.

You will visit both the female and male hot springs. The walk to the male handspring will provide views of different birdlife.

Red Monkey trail

Which gets its name from the many red-tailed monkeys found in these areas. It’s an 11 kilometres walk leading to the Semuliki river where you will sight wildlife drinking water.

Here you may sight a rare monkey species called DE Brazza monkey.

The Kirumia trail

This is a popular area for birders since it combines both riverine and forest birds. The walking distance on this nature walk is 13kms taking you about 2-3 hours long.

Community cultural experiences

Enjoy a visit to the local community where you will observe the local people.

As they entertain you with folk songs, dances and way of life.

Don’t forget to support the community by buying handicrafts.

Safari Lodges or Where to stay in Semulik National park

• Semuliki safari lodge
• Mountains of the Moon Hotel
• Riviera Inn
• Wooden Hotel
• Kyaninga Lodge
• Eriba Guesthouse
• Rujuna Guesthouse
• Ruwenzori View Guesthouse
• National Park Bandas and Campsite
• Rwenzori Travellers Inn
• Rwenzori View Guest house
• Tooro Resort
• Palace View Hotel
• Soka Hotel
• Palace Motel
• Picfare Guesthouse
• Semliki Guest House
• Exotic Lodge
• Fort Motel
• Kirimia Guesthouse
• Continental Hotel
• Youth Encouragement Services
• Kenneth Inn
• Hotel Vanilla

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