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Semuliki National Park

In the western part of Uganda, Bundibugyo district, in a remote county called Bwamba, lies Semuliki National Park, which has also been termed the Bird Watcher’s Haven. Gazetted in 1932 as Semuliki Forest Reserve, it was later upgraded to national park status because of the ever-increasing numbers of wildlife, especially bird species. Semuliki Forest is known as the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa.

shoebill stork in uganda - kwezi outdoors

The park is home to over 53 mammal species and 441 recorded but ever-increasing bird species. 216 of these are true forest birds, including the rare Oberländer’s ground thrush, lyre-tailed honeyguide, Sassi’s olive greenbul, and nine hornbill species. The mammals that thrive in the park include the African buffalo, leopard, hippopotamus, mona monkey, water chevrotain, bush babies, African civet, African elephant, and the Pygmy scaly-tailed flying squirrel Nine duiker species. In addition to this are over 460 butterfly species.  Treat yourself to these sights on safari game drives.

Wildlife aside, Semuliki National Park also harbors evidence of ancient earth-forming processes. Sempaya Hot Springs bubbling from the depths of the earth demonstrate the rift valley shaping earth forces that have been in play for the last 14 million years. A sight to see this one.

a national park ranger at a hotspring in semuliki - kwezi outdoors

Semuliki National Park is part of the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem.



The park is characterized by a variety of ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, grasslands, wetlands, and savannah. It is situated in the Ituri Forest, making it one of the most bio-diverse areas in Africa.

Ituri Forest:

Semuliki National Park is often referred to as the “Eastern African Congo Basin Forest,” and it is an extension of the Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. The park’s forests are considered ancient, dating back to the Pleistocene era.

Semuliki River:

The Semuliki River, which gives the park its name, flows through the area. It plays a crucial role in shaping the landscape and provides a water source for the diverse flora and fauna within the park.


Semuliki National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffaloes, chimpanzees, various monkey species, and a wide array of bird species. It is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 440 bird species recorded, including the rare and elusive Shoebill stork.

Chimpanzee Tracking:

The park offers opportunities for chimpanzee tracking in the dense forests. Guided treks provide visitors with a chance to observe these primates in their natural habitat. The park is also home to several other primate species.

Hot Springs:

One of the unique features of Semuliki National Park is the presence of hot springs. The Sempaya Hot Springs are a popular attraction, and there are two main springs – the male and female springs. Visitors can witness boiling water bubbling from the ground and enjoy the surrounding lush vegetation.

Cultural Encounters:

The park is adjacent to communities with diverse cultures. Cultural encounters can be arranged to learn about the traditions and daily life of the local people. The Batwa community, in particular, resides near the park and offers cultural experiences.

lush green landscapes in semuliki national park in Uganda - kwezi outdoors

Nature Walks and Hiking:

Guided nature walks and hiking trails provide opportunities for exploring the park’s diverse ecosystems. The trails lead through the forest, along the Semuliki River, and to the hot springs.

Biodiversity Conservation:

Semuliki National Park is recognized for its role in conserving biodiversity, and it is part of the larger Albertine Rift region, which is a biodiversity hotspot. Conservation efforts in the park focus on protecting the unique flora and fauna that thrive in this area.


Semuliki National Park is accessible by road from the town of Fort Portal, and it’s approximately a 6-7 hour drive from Kampala. The park can also be reached by air, with chartered flights to Semuliki Airstrip.

Sempaya Hotsprings Uganda
hot spring in semuliki national park uganda - kwezi outdoors
Shoebill in Uganda

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