4 Days Uganda birding safari – Semuliki National Park

4 Days Uganda birding safari Semuliki National ParkOur 4 days Uganda safari takes you to the lowest lying Uganda’s National Parks; Semuliki National Parks. This park is an extension of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri rain forest that is peacefully set at the base of the northern part of the Rwenzori mountain. Semuliki National Park has 40 Congolese bird species recorded nowhere else in Uganda. The park is bordered by Lake Albert and is one of the best localities for sighting the Shoebill Stork in its swamp. Semuliki is home to quite a reasonable number of Uganda’s wildlife, the Bongo antelope, Spotted Hyena and the elusive giant forest hog, primates including Chimps, Black and white Colobus Monkeys, Blue, Black Faced Red Colobus, and Red-Tailed monkeys and Olive Baboons.

Highlight of the 4 Days Uganda birding safari Semuliki National Park

Day 1: Transfer from Kampala – Semuliki National Park

Day 2: Do chimpanzee Tracking and do a simple game drive in the park

Day 3: Explore Semuliki National Park

Day 4: Return to Kampala

Detailed Itinerary of the 4 Days Uganda birding safari Semuliki National Park

Day 1: Transfer from Kampala – Semuliki National Park

After breakfast at the hotel in the morning, you and your driver guide will set off using the Masaka road, have a stop over at the Equator where you will have a polar water experiment, take several photographs and have chance to stand in both hemispheres at once, have lunch in Mbarara and there after proceed to Semuliki National Park. Continue the with the journey through savannah grasslands seeing banana plantations and herds of Ankole cattle with their incredible long curving horns. Arrive at your accommodation in Semuliki National Park, check in and have some time to relax.

Day 2: Do chimpanzee Tracking and do a simple game drive in the park

4 Days Uganda birding safari Semuliki National ParkWake up to a delicious breakfast and head to the park headquarters for a chimp briefing and then later hit the forest with a park ranger in search for chimps. You will only be restricted to about one hour to watch the jumpy primates. The whole Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari the whole activity will take about 4 hours. Return to the lodge, have lunch and relax a bit.

Later in the afternoon, you will do an afternoon game drive in the park where you will view a Giraffe, Hartebeest, Buffalo and Elephant as well as many of the other mammals of the park.

Alternatively;

Since Semuliki is a birders haven, birders on Uganda safaris birding can take a nature walk for they will spot several bird species like the secretary Bird, Black Chested Snake Eagle, Tawny and Marshal Eagles Carmine and Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eaters, and many more.

Day 3: Explore Semuliki National Park

4 Days Uganda birding safari Semuliki National ParkAfter your delicious breakfast, set out and visit the Sempaya hot springs which are the most attention-grabbing attractions in Semuliki National Park. These springs have a geyser that shoots up from the 8 meters hole, and the water is at a high temperature. The most interesting part about the springs is that one can boil matooke and eggs in the springs and the can get ready for eating n a few minutes. In fact, this is the largest hot spring in Uganda.

Still along the trail where the hot springs are located you will be in line to see a number of birds such as the Blue breasted Kingfisher and various primates such as the red-tailed monkeys, and the grey cheeked mangabey. Later proceed, to Mungilo waterfall where you will have an opportunity of seeing a number of beautiful birds and it will be a great time for a birder. Return to lodge dine and rest.

Day 4: Return to Kampala

Head to Kampala, the drive back to Kampala and transfer to your hotel OR to the Airport for your flight back home

End of the 4 Uganda birding safari Semuliki National Park

 

3 Days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari

3 days Semuliki National Park
Sempaya hot springs

This 3 Days Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and wildlife will take you to Semuliki National park, a rewarding destination with incredible birds species and wildlife including chimpanzees. Semuliki National Park is located in the basin of the western Rift valley and dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin characterized by Riparian forests, rain forests to short and tall Savannah grassland. Semuliki National Park lies on an area of about 220 sq km, found Bwamba county in Western Uganda in Bundibugyo district just near Fort portal town. The park is home to about 52 species of mammals, 300 recorded tree species, 374 butterfly species, and over 400 bird species hence christening it the True birders haven.

Uganda safari highlights of the 3 Days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari

Day 1: Depart from Kampala to Semuliki National Park Uganda

Day 2: Explore the Park- Sempaya hot springs, Waterfall visit, Chimpanzee trekking

Day 3: Depart and return to Kampala

Detailed Itinerary of the 3 Days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari

Day 1 of the 3 Days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari: Travel to Semuliki- Night game drive

3 days Semuliki National Park
                          Monkey

Have an early breakfast at your hotel or at your area of stay and travel to Semuliki National Park for approximately 7 to 8 hours on the road from Kampala. Have lunch along the way and later reach the park check in at the lodge, freshen up and prepare for a night game drive through the park. Semuliki National Park is still much admired for its night game drives. During the drive, you will come across the nocturnal dwellers; white-tailed mongoose, slender mongoose, standard and pennant-winged night jars, leopards, cats, hyenas, and many others. Return to the hotel, dine and rest.

Day 2 of the 3 Days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari: Explore the Park- Sempaya hot springs, Waterfall visit, Chimpanzee trekking

3 days Semuliki National Park
                                 Birding

After your delicious breakfast, you will set out with your Uganda safari guide and visit the Sempaya hot springs is the largest hot spring in Uganda and the most attention-grabbing attractions in Semuliki. These springs have a geyser that shoots up from the 8 meters hole, and the water is at a high temperature. The most interesting part about the springs is that one can boil matooke and eggs in the springs and the can get ready for eating in just a few minutes.

On the same trail where the hot springs are found, there is a good spot for bird watchers on Uganda birding safaris. While on this trail, you will sight a good number of birds such as the Blue breasted Kingfisher as well as various primates such as the red-tailed monkeys, and the grey cheeked mangabey.

Later proceed, to Mungilo waterfall where you will have an opportunity of seeing more numbers of beautiful birds and it will be a great time for a birder. You will go for a Uganda chimpanzee trekking safari later in the afternoon after your lunch. Return to your hotel for diner and overnight.

Day 3 of the 3 Days Uganda safari in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari: Depart and return to Kampala

Have a tasty breakfast at the lodge, and start your journey to Kampala with a stopover in Fort portal for lunch. You will arrive in Kampala in the evening for your flight or to your hotel.

End of the 3 Days in Semuliki National Park Uganda birding and Wildlife safari

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.

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.

Fauna

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.

 

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.

semulikimap2

semuliki map

 

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