The Semuliki Valley is a little corner of Congo poking into Uganda at an altitude of 670m to 760m a.s.l. The only tropical lowland rainforest in East Africa is continuation of the huge Ituri Forest in the DRC and forms a link between the heights of East Africa and the Vast, steaming jungles of central Africa. The views on the descent into the valley from Fort Portal are breathtaking. The National Park covers 220 sq-km of the valley floor and harbors some intriguing wildlife.

SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES

There are nine primate species, including De Brazza’s monkey, Olive Baboon, Red tailed monkeys, Vervet monkey, Blue (Gentle) monkey and Chimpanzees, and many mammals not found elsewhere in Uganda, such as Zenker’s Flying mice. Residents’ elephants, buffaloes, Bush pigs, Harvey’s Duiker, Bush buck and Giant forest Hog.

Semuliki Hot Spring

People come here to see the steamy sulphur hot springs, which, while not on the same scale as Rotorua (New Zealand) and Iceland, make for an impressive and unexpected sight nevertheless. The female hot spring is the more accessible of the two, and where women from Bumaga clan would make sacrifices to the gods before bathing naked in the natural springs. Its steamy, soupy atmosphere has a distinct prehistoric feel, and features a small burbling Geyser. Your guide will demonstrate the water’s temperatures by boiling an egg-available from the information office at a cost though with stench of sulphur it’s probably the last thing you feel like eating. The male spring a half an hour walk, is where the men carried out their sacrificial rituals and is accessed via a muddy forest trail with plenty of primates and bird life along the way. It leads to a verdant clearing of swamp where boardwalk passes through sweeping grass and squawking frogs to the hot spring located in a 12m pool.

Bird Watching

Birdwatchers come to Semuliki National Park for the central African species, such as Congo Serpent Eagle residing at their eastern limits. At least 133 of the 144 Guinea-Congo forest species have been recorded here and nearly 50 species are found nowhere else in east Africa. Key species here include Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaub’s Duck, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Red-thighed sparrow hawk, Long –tailed Hawk, Forest Francolin, Nkulengu Rail, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon , Black collared Lovebird, Yellow throated Cuckoo, Red chested Owlet, Bates Nightjar, Chocolate-backed, White bellied and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White crested, Black Dwarf, Red bellied Dwarf, Piping, Black-wattled Hornbills, Green tailed Bristalbill, Fire-crested or Brown Chested Alethes, White or Red tailed Ant Thrushes, Jameson’s wattle- eye, Grants Bluebill, White throated, Xavier’s and Red tailed Greenbuls, Grey headed sunbird and Crested Malimbe, Red eyed puff buck, Red bellied and Blue-billed Malimbes, Red –fronted Antpecker and Chestnut-breasted Nigrofinch.

Twa (Batwa) Village

Located  outside  the park in Bundumusoli , the Twa people were relocated here when the park was established and, with no other choice, have since adopted  agriculture , but they’re keeping hold of their traditions as best as possible . The park allows them to collect rattan, leaves, mushrooms, medicines and other forest products. Village visits are arranged at the Office of the King of Batwa in Ntandi, 5km past the Sempaya Gate; the Village is another 2km away and Tours include singing and dancing.