This national park covers 220 sq km of the valley floor that forms a link between the heights of East Africa and the vast, steaming jungles of central Africa. Situated in a remote corner of southwestern Uganda, Semuliki National Park protects an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest and forms part of a forest continuum that stretches across the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Zaire River. Being a relatively stable forest “refugium” during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene, this is one of the richest areas for forest birds in Africa.
The Semuliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semuliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.
While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.
Activities include cultural encounters with the Batwa’s on how they depend on Semuliki forest for food, shelter, medicine and tools, birding, the hot springs, game drives as well as hiking and nature walks.