2 days Semuliki National Park Uganda safari/ Uganda birding safari tour

Semuliki National Park
Water bucks

2 days Semuliki National Park Safari takes you to Semuliki National Park; one of the best birding destinations in Uganda for bird lovers interested in Uganda birding safaris. Our Semuliki National Park safari will start and end in Kampala Uganda’s capital and largest city. The journey takes a drive of about 6-7 hours if you are coming from Kampala.

Uganda’s Semuliki National Park is located in a remote part of Bundibugyo District near Fort-portal in Western Uganda known as the Bwamba County. Semuliki National Park is the only park in Uganda with a tropical flat forest.

Semuliki National Park has over 435 bird species and they are mainly West Africa forest species. Semuliki National Park has over 63 mammals including elephants, leopards, buffaloes, flying squirrels, pygmy antelope and six types of bats, 9 primates; chimpanzee, blue monkey, Vervet monkeys, baboon and at least 374 species of butterflies. Hippos and crocodiles can also be seen along Semuliki River.

2 days Uganda safari to Semuliki National Park Safari Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Drive from Kampala to Semuliki National Park for your afternoon game drive in the park

Wake up very early in the morning and take breakfast at your hotel. After breakfast at your hotel in Kampala you will be picked up by our Uganda safari guide and depart by road to Semuliki National Park by 5am. You will enjoy the striking scenes of the Western Albertine rift valley as you drive to Bundibugyo town. Upon arrival, you will check into the park, have lunch and after do a simple afternoon game drive where you see some elephants, buffalo, leopard, antelopes, big cats among others. Hippos and crocodiles can also be seen along Semuliki River.

Day 2: Explore Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park
Sempaya hot springs

You and your guide will begin your day 2 with the most eye-catching item in Semuliki National Park and this is a tour to the Sempaya hot springs. These natural springs have a geyser shooting up from an 8 meters-wide hole at a very hot temperature. The hot springs are the largest of their kind in Uganda. You will do an egg boiling experiment in the water of the hot springs.

Along the same trail, you can recognize quite a number of bird species like blue breasted kingfisher, the 4-hornbill species; White Crested, Red Dwarf, Black Dwarf and Wattled Casqued that cannot be spotted anywhere else in Uganda and many more birds.

End of your 2 days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda

One day Semuliki National Park Uganda safari tour

Our 1 day Uganda birding safari takes you to “The true birders’ haven”; Semuliki National Park that lies within the western arm of the East African rift valley bordering river Semuliki and Lake Albert in the north, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, and Mountain Rwenzori in the south east.  This park covers an area of about 220 square kilometers in western Uganda; Bundibugyo district.

In order to do this one day birding safari Uganda, our client is required to spend a night in areas close to the park; in Fort portal or Kasese. Departing for Semuliki National Park  from Kampala via the Kampala-Mubende-Fort portal road, it is about 300km driving for about 5hours. While using the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kasese-Fort portal road which is about 510km taking a drive of about 8hours. Because of these long hours, it prompts you make a decision of spending a night in the areas around Semuliki National Park.

Uganda safari highlight for your One day Semuliki National Park Uganda safari tour

Depart from your lodge and head for your adventure safari in Semuliki National Park for birding, nature walk and Sempaya hot spring excursion.

Detailed itinerary for your One day Semuliki National Park Uganda safari tour

Enjoy this spectacular drive with views of Lake Albert and the legendary Mountain Rwenzori ranges on your way to Bundibugyo town.  Semuliki National Park has a great location within western Albertine Rift valley region and is situated at the eastern section of Ituri forest that connects Uganda with river Congo. Semuliki is a site for bird lovers with approximately 400 species of birds; mainly forest birds. There are approximately 300 species of trees have been recorded in the forest and more than 52 mammal species including 11 diurnal species in the park.

Upon arrival in the park, you will do a nature walk through the forest with a guide where you will be able to see variety of birds as well as animals with in the park. In addition to birds, you will encounter with primates such as the grey checked mangabey plus the red-tailed monkey. This activity will take around 4 hours.

From there you will visit the Sempaya hot springs. These natural springs and have a geyser shooting high from an 8-meter-wide hole at a very high temperature. Of all hot springs in Uganda, this is the largest in the whole of Uganda. On this very trail, you may identify a couple of bird types such as the blue breasted kingfisher and Frasier’s ant-thrush. You will also experience egg boiling in the hot springs; an activity you will never forget. After transfer back to your hotel

End of your One day Semuliki National Park Uganda safari tour

Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve/ Semuliki wildlife reserve- Uganda safaris

Toro Semuliki Wildlife Reserve, also recognized as Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is a conservation endangered area in western Uganda located in Ntoroko and Kabarole districts. The reserve covers an area of about 542km2 and was established in 1926.

Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is positioned on the rift valley base between Lake Albert, Rwenzori mountains and the Kijura escarpments. The rift valley escarpment grows sharply from the east shore of lake Albert, the 2500m high Congolese blue mountains on the western horizon and the mighty glacial peaks of the Rwenzori visible to the south west. Safari in Uganda to have a look at the stunning scenery in this wonderland.

Situated in the heart of the Albertine rift and bordering onto grand Lake Albert, Semuliki Wildlife Reserve has an extraordinary topography 700m. Uganda safaris to Lake Albert on a clear day setting is truly awesome since tourists enjoy fantastic highland views, the thick rainforest, and the steep green slopes at the foothills of Rwenzori. These are the main geographical and ecological unique features that soar the reserve.

The dominant vegetation type in Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is the open acacia combretum woodland and grassy savannah as well as some extensive swamps towards Lake Albert. Semuliki Wildlife Reserve is also crossed by a number of river systems, Wasa river flowing from Rwenzori Mountain to Lake Albert through the savanna woodland and Forest systems of the wildlife reserve, Mugiri river system and Nyaburogo. At the edge is river Musizi which forms part of the northern border.

Uganda safari attractions in Semuliki Wildlife Reserve.

Semuliki Wildlife Reserve contains several wildlife key species that tourists mostly enjoy while on their Uganda Wildlife Safari. These include the buffaloes, elephants, Uganda Kob, Water buck, warthog, Giant forest hog, hippos, and primates such as chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys, Vervet, red tailed and black and white colobus among others.

Birds found in Semuliki Wildlife Reserve include; the African open bill, Great white pelican, Abyssinian ground horn bill, African crake, Black caudal, piapiac, leaf love, Broad billed roller, Double toothed barbet, African pygmy goose, Black chinned quail finch, Blue breasted Bee eater and the list goes on.


The best time for a Uganda birding safari in Semuliki National Park

Situated in a remote corner, of southwestern Uganda, Semuliki National park protects the eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest. Semuliki has a large number of mainly central African Species that cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa. These include some of the continent most spectacular and sought-after birds such as Congo Serpent eagle, Long-tailed Hawk, Nkulengu rail, black-wattled horn bill, and Lyre-tailed honey guide. Although it lies a bumpy three hour’s drive from Fort portal, Birders on Uganda birding safaris who make it to Semuliki national park are privileges to be birding in the true birders haven.

The best time for a birding safari in Uganda in Semuliki National Park

Uganda has one of the best climates in Africa and in the whole world. Uganda is gifted with a tropical like climate where bird watching can be done all year round. However, the best time to visit Semuliki while on a Safari in Uganda is during a relatively dry season. This is because during the wet season, there may occur heavy rains leading to flooding of some areas of the park. During the wet season, the walks trails become slippery for visitors and the roads are slippery too and not suitable for a game drive. The rainy season occurs between the months March to May and then from September to December. The breeding season however, is during the month of June and this is when the birds are very colorful.

Dress code for a Uganda birding safari tour in Semuliki National Park Uganda

Since birding is done in forested and bushy places, wearing long-sleeved shirt and trousers is necessary so as to protect your body from scratches.

Visitors are advised to wear trekking shoes since you will have trek through bushy and slippery trails during the rainy season. In most cases the trails used need hiking shoes.

Tourists should carry a sweater and a rain coat since the temperatures in the forests are low or it might rain at any time.

Carrying a hat and sun glasses for protection from the scotching sun is important.

Bring a small bag where you can pack your bottled drinking water for it will help you during birding.

You will need birding binoculars and birding guide book for better identification of Uganda safari birds.



Semuliki Safari Lodge

Semuliki Safari Lodge is one of the artistic Uganda safari accommodations for tourists in Uganda. Semuliki safari lodge is situated in the Semuliki Valley Wildlife Reserve, formerly called the Toro Game Reserve, in the Western Rift Valley.

It was attractively built out of local traditional materials that gave it a gorgeous look without losing all important comfort. Tourists on Uganda safaris to Semuliki National Park and Uganda birding safaris in the Semuliki forest always use this lodge for accommodation.

The lodge offers a homely environment at the lodge with sofas piled high with soft cushions, loads of books to read and hospitable welcoming staff.

Room arrangement

Guests in Semuliki safari lodge stay in large canvas tents with permanent thatched roofs. Each tent contains an en-suite bathroom with running water, hot water, four-poster beds, mahogany floors, electric lighting and a private veranda offering stunning panoramic views.

Four tents enjoy views over the Savannah and the escarpment, while the other four tents enjoy views over the forest and the Rwenzori Mountains.

The restaurant

Food served at the lodge is freshly made, their fore very ideal for clients. From the bread baked daily, to the soups, the delicious dishes and desserts. While visitors at the lodge may choose to do nothing and relax by the pool which overlooks the mountains, or participate in a number of Uganda safari activities in and around Semuliki National park that are offered at the lodge.

How to get to Semuliki Safari Lodge

By road

Semuliki safari lodge is approximately 5 hour’s drive from Kampala. 3 hour’s drive from Queen Elizabeth National Park and 1-hour drive from Fort Portal town.

By air

It takes a duration of about 1-hour from Entebbe to the airstrip near to the lodge.

It is the only accommodation in over 500 square kilometers of wilderness, offering a truly private experience.

Special birds to look out for in Semuliki National Park- “The True Birder’s Haven”

Semuliki National Park is among Uganda’s wonderful protected areas situated in Western Uganda, along the Congo border following River Semuliki and the Western arm of the Albertine Rift Valley. It covers an area of 220 kilometers standing on an elevation of about 800 to 900 meters above sea level. It is credited for its amazing and rewarding Uganda birding adventure safaris in Uganda.  Semuliki National Park is mainly occupied by the Eastern parts of the Ituri forests from the Congo Basin.

A Uganda birding safari one of the most sought after and exciting rewarding adventure that tourists shouldn’t miss out while on a safari in Uganda. Semuliki National Park is one of the national parks where the largest population of bird life is inhabited. This offers higher chances for birders to sight numerous birds in this rich forest.

Are you are planning for any Uganda safari? make sure you include Semuliki National Park in your itinerary. It is one of the best spots for you to catch a glimpse of distinct bird species that repay endeavors with unforgettable encounters.

Birds with an extremely limited distribution in East Africa are reasonably likely to be seen by visitors spending a few days in Semuliki National Park. Species to look out for here include the Nkulengu Rail, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Congo serpent eagle, Black-casqued Wattled Horbill, Rufous sided broadbill, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Piping Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, White-crested Hornbill, African Piculet, White-throated Blue Swallow, Yellow-throated Nicator, Leaf-love, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Crested Malimbe, Red-bellied Malimbe, Blue-billed malimbe, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch.

What to carry on a Uganda birding safari in Semuliki National Park

Tourists need binoculars, cameras, birding clothes, bottled drinking water, comfortable walking shoes, note book and others.

Don’t miss writing a bird list like this on your adventurous Uganda birding safari!























Attractions in Semuliki National Park, Uganda

Safari Uganda to Semuliki National Park, dominated by the Ituri thick forest of the Congo basin. The Ituri forest is one of the ancient bio-diverse forest with a great ecosystem within the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem. As a result, the Ituri forest has a high diversity of plant and animal species and many micro-habitats.


Semuliki National Park has variety of Fauna; over 53 mammal species of which 11 mammals are endemic to the park. Uganda Wildlife safari game include; elephants, buffalos, chimpanzees, civets, hippos, grey cheeked manga bey, Mona monkeys, forest buffalo, bay duiker, Beecroft’s flying squirrel, pygmy flying squirrel, little collared fruit bat, water chevrotain, target rats, olive baboons, gentle blue monkeys, bush babies among the many.

Of the 1047 birds recorded in Uganda, Semuliki hosts over 435 bird species (43%) where over 40 species are Congolese and endemic to the park hence christening it the True birders Haven for those interested in Uganda birding safaris. Some of these birds include; the Albertine Rift Endemics such as the Dwarf Honey guide and Purple-breasted Sunbird can occasionally be sighted. Also, species with very limited ranges such as White-tailed Hornbill, Capuchin Babbler, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher and the orange weaver occur in the park. The park also has about 300 butterfly species. With all these wildlife species found in the forest, it makes it suitable for Uganda wildlife safaris. Sempaya Ntandi Road This 6 km section of public road runs along one of the loveliest tracts of forest in Uganda and provides good views of birds and monkeys high up in the forest canopy. Birding walks take place in Sempaya as well as night hikes deep into the forest.

Sempaya hot springs

The Sempaya hot springs in Semuliki National Park are more adventurous, exciting and most famous attraction in the park. The male hot spring, also known as Bintente, measures up to about 12m in diameter while the female hot spring; Nyasimbi, meaning the female ancestors, is a boiling geyser which sprays bubbling water. This female hot spring steam up to two meters high and the steam cloud can be seen from as far as 2km away. Local people used to cook their food in these boiling pools and the exciting bit of it is that the food gets ready for consumption.

Visitors are also given chance to experiment egg boiling after since food may take long. Boiling the eggs takes around 10mins for them to get ready. Those who wish to consume them. This is one of the most Africa adventure safaris you can ever take.

Semuliki River

The 160 km long Semuliki river, transports runoff from the Rwenzori Mountains to Lake Albert and the Nile. The muddy river is home to hippos and crocodiles, the Semuliki is a small version of the Congo River. Visitors can watch the river meander across the rift valley floor from roadside viewpoints and hike through the forest to its bird-rich banks.


Activities done in Semuliki National Park, Uganda

“The true birders’ haven”; Semuliki National Park, deceits within the western arm of the East African rift valley in Western Uganda. Semuliki National Park borders river Semuliki and Lake Albert in the north, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, and Mountain Rwenzori in the south east. Semuliki National Park covers an area of about 220 square kilometers in Bundibugyo district.

Are you interested in a Uganda birding safari?

Though small, Semuliki National Park has several activities you can do on your Uganda safari but the most exciting is a Uganda birding safari in the true birders haven. Birders that safari to Semuliki National Park Uganda will with assurance have a very exciting Uganda birding tour.

The Ituri forest of Semuliki Safari National Park, is home to several bird species. The forest has over 40% of Uganda’s bird species. Uganda birders together with Uganda Wildlife Authority and Nature Uganda have recorded over 441 bird species. A few include; the spot breasted ibis, red chested owlet, hartlatus’s duck, red billed and African dwarf kingfishers, African Paulet, Ituri batis, blue billed, white crested black dwarf and many more.

Are Uganda Wildlife safaris your interest?

Besides Uganda birding safaris, in Semuliki’s thick Ituri forest, lie several wild gems that cannot let you go away without enjoying a Uganda wildlife safari tour Therefore, Uganda safari game drives are done in the park with the help of rangers and guides to enable the visitors interested in Uganda wildlife safaris enjoy their stay in the park. Wild game animals easily viewed in the park while on a game drive include; elephants, buffalos, chimpanzees, civets, hippos, grey cheeked manga bey, Mona monkeys, olive baboons, gentle blue monkeys, bush babies and many others.

Flex a bit by taking a Nature walk in the green environment

A Nature walk in Semuliki National Park is simply amazing because it gets tourists breathe air of a pure Natural environment. It’s the only chance where you will have a look at the wild insects, several butterflies, lots of birds, and variety of plant species as well.

These nature walks are also beneficial to birders for it gives them chance to get close to the birds.  No worries of where you will pass, Semuliki National Parks has several trails used by tourists pass as they hike in the park for example the Kirimia trail that gives you a lot to see.

Besides sighting lots of birds, insects, butterflies and several plant species, Nature walks are also done to the Sempaya hot springs. These amazing hot springs that can boil at very high temperatures of up to 103 degrees Celsius; have a spurt shelling up 2 meters from a wide hole of about eight meters. The most exciting activity here is boiling eggs in the hot springs.

Cultural encounters

Cultural encounters in the Ituri forest of Semuliki National Park are purely wonderful. Interacting with the Batwa community people makes you love having a home in the forest. These Batwa people found in Semuliki National Park depend on Ituri forest for food, medicine and shelter as well. They have variety of cultural norms, beliefs, beautiful ancient way of dressing in back cloth and as well as interesting traditional dances that are nice to watch. Tourists interested in Uganda cultural safaris will have the best safari memories about culture if they made their way to Uganda’s indigenous tribes.

Why it is the True Birder’s Haven!

Semuliki National ParkThe True Birders’ Haven

Throughout times tourists have visited Uganda, they have always appreciated this exploratory small land for hosting a number of the world’s secrecies. Occupying an extensional percentage of the great Congo Basin forests, Uganda hosts the true birders’ haven; Semuliki National Park. Previously this hidden treasure was innocently detoured by great number of travelers, not until the Birders haven secret was unveiled by some travelers who took a Uganda safari to this treasure “Semuliki National Park”. Since then, it has remained a great destination for travelers on Uganda safaris and tours.

“The true birders’ haven”; Semuliki National Park lies along the Uganda Congo boarder in the Semuliki Valley. Semuliki National Park deceits within the western arm of the East African rift valley bordering river Semuliki and Lake Albert in the north, Democratic Republic of Congo in the west, and Mountain Rwenzori in the south east. Situated in western Uganda; Bundibugyo district Semuliki National Park covers an area of about 220 square kilometers.

This park was formed as Bwamba Forest Reserve in 1932 and was later named Semuliki National park in 1993 under the Uganda wildlife Authority. This makes it one of the newest parks in Uganda. Semuliki National Park is suitable for a Uganda birding safari tour, due to its variety of bird species. Semuliki National Park has over 441 recorded species hence christening it Uganda’s true birders’ haven. In the 441 recorded bird species, over 40 of these species are endemic to this park alone.

Besides the Uganda birding safaris, Semuliki National Park also has variety of wild game suitable for Uganda wildlife safaris. In the park, tourists encounter animals such as; Mona monkeys, bush babies, civets, hippos, leopards, forest buffaloes and some few elephants to mention but a few.

Semuliki National Park is also home to the famous Sempaya hot springs. Tourists find the Sempaya hot springs more adventurous and exciting. The Sempaya hot springs consists of the male Bitende hot springs and the Nyasimbi female hot springs. Their hot water boils up to over 103 degrees celicius. The hot springs are mostly used by the local people who believe they have healing powers for especially skin diseases. Visitors who make their way to these hot springs are given chance to experiment egg boiling. Boiling and getting the eggs ready for consumption takes around 10mins for them to get ready.

Semuliki National Park also defends the extension of Congo Ituri rain forest and this is where the wild game found in this park habit. The Ituri forest further has over 305 tree species recorded where by 125 of them are restricted to this park. Semuliki National Park as well habits over 30 species of butterflies and 235 species of moths. The Congo Ituri forest is very dense therefore viewing the wild game animals may be a bit hard.

Semuliki National Park as region also has 4 ethnic groups of people staying in the park region. These include the Bakonjo, Bamba, Batuku and the Batwa people. The Bakonjo and the Bamba people live along the mountain slopes and in the valley respectively. These people are mainly agriculturalists surviving on cash crops like cocoa, rice coffee and potatoes plus food crops majorly bananas.
The Batuku people are found on the floor of the rift valley just north of Semuliki National Park. The Batuku people are mainly pastoralists that entirely depend on products from cattle. Products got from cattle are used during trade with their neighbors both in Uganda and in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Finally, the Batwa pygmies that are famous for their hunting and gathering lifestyle. The Batwa Pygmies have for centuries depended on the Semuliki forest for their survival. It is among the richest places with flora plus fauna in particular birds across Africa. However, their lifestyle currently is changing because of the daily interaction with other nearest local communities as well as the influence of tourism.

Semuliki National Park is called the true birders haven because it has variety of bird species that any birder would wish to have on their Uganda birding safari list.


How to get to Semuliki National Park Uganda

There are two major roads that can be used by visitors to Semliki National Park.

Kampala – Mubende – Fort Portal, which is 300km and about 4-5 hours’ drive

Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Kasese – Fort Portal, which is about 510km and about 7-8 hours’ drive.


From Fort Portal, it is approximately 50km to the Sempaya gate, which is estimated to be 2 hours of drive on a dirt road. While the Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is much shorter, the Kampala-Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese presents an opportunity to visit Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

From Fort Portal, A two to three hours’ drive on the rough road towards Bundibugyo will bring you to Sempaya Gate (52 Km). The Park headquarters at Ntandi is 5 Km further from the gate along the same direction.


semuliki map


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