Semuliki National Park “The 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.