Semuliki forest reserve was created in 1932 and later upgraded to Semuliki National Park in 1993.Semuliki National Park is situated in Bwamba county the remote part of Bundibugyo district in the corner of south western Uganda, it covers 220sq Kms of the valley floor connecting Uganda to the steamy jungles of central Africa and it harbors some intriguing wildlife through sighting is not easy because of the thick vegetation.
Semuliki National Park is most popular for the primordial hot springs “ Sempaya Hot Springs”, bird watchers come to see over 440 bird species where have the true forest birds ( lyre-tailed honey guide forest, ground thrush,sassi olive greenbul) and it also has unique birds which are few in East Africa but they can be spotted in Semuliki National Park like western bronze-napped pigeon, yellow-throated cuckoo, piping hornbill, red-sided broadbill, Xavier’s greenbul, yellow longbill, crested malimbe among others. Semuliki National Park is blessed with 9 primate species including De Brazza’s monkeys, red tailed monkey, vervet monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, olive baboon and the park’s dominant mammal species are forest buffalos, leopards, hippos, Mona monkeys, bush babies, civets, and elephants.
SEMPAYA HOT SPRINGS
The Sempaya hot springs is the outstanding attraction at Semuliki national park. Its starts from the Sempaya information center where your briefed by the guide and later led by the guide through the forest trails to the cluster of hot springs, trust me you will be amazingly surprised by the emerging waters from the hot springs, this water from the hot springs can make tea, here you get a chance to boil eggs at the springs.
RED MONKEY TRAIL
It’s a wilderness trail through the Eastern margin of the park to Semuliki River in search of the red monkeys because it gives a great exposure than the springs. This also can offer you an opportunity to see a variety of birds and wildlife like buffalo, elephants, and crocodiles in the river.
The scenic drive gives a closer feeling of nature as you seen a beautiful scenery of Semuliki National Park , you feel this either in the park or outside the park through watching the birds freely without even paying the park fee that is to say your outside the park.
KIRIMIA RIVER TRAIL
This trail runs North from kirimia on the main Bundibugyo road to the banks of Semuliki river, crossing the kirimia river twice as well as passing a succession of forest-fringed oxbow lakes, it’s almost *5km of the trail but while on this trail you will come across several monkey species like African piculet, long-tailed hawk, red sided broadbill, or you can even spot about 30 bird species associated to oxbow lakes environment and are likely not to be seen anywhere in the park.
To birders Semuliki National Park is an excellent place for bird watching because it’s blessed with over 440 bird species like white –crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, piping hornbill, yellow-throated nicator, great blue and Ross’s Turacco which can be watched either outside or inside the park. Water birds can also be tracked during forest walks.
Batwa trail is one of the cultural encounters at Semuliki National Park, these survived in Semuliki for food, shelter, and medication due to their forest life of hunter-gatherers. Despite them being driven away from the park for tourism purposes, the park has offered other measures of earning through allowing them to display their cultural history through craftwork, music and dance performed at ntandi thus getting income.