The Semuliki forest reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993.
The park runs across the floor of Semuliki valley on the remote western side of the Rwenzori and is dominated by the great Ituri Forest of the Congo basin on the east. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and biodiverse forests, one of the few to survive the last ice age 12-18000 years ago.
The Semuliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. The thatched huts are shaded by West Africa oil palms, the Semuliki River which forms the international boundary is a miniature version of the Congo River and the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species.
The local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri.
Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 2500 years but the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from its depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley for 14million years.
Accessibility can be by road or air.
Birding|: The park provides excellent viewing of the birds including the white-crested hornbill, red-billed dwarf hornbill, piping hornbill, yellow-throated nicator, great blue and ross’s turacos. The shoebill stork is regularly seen at close quarters on Lake Albert and forest walks are good for tracking water birds.
Game drive: Savannah elephants are regularly seen along with buffalo, waterbuck, crocodile, warthog, and Uganda Kob. You may also see pygmy hippopotami, leopards, and bush babies.
Hiking and nature walks, run through the heart of the forest to the Semuliki River for a round trip of 13km in 8 hours, starting at 8 am and perfect for birders.
Hot springs: A 30-minute hike through palm forest from the main road leads to the inner female spring dominated by a boiling geyser where foods like eggs and matooke can be cooked and enjoyed by hungry hikers. The trail to the male spring leads through a patch of forest where red-tailed monkeys are common.
Culture: The Batwa’s hunter-gatherer lifestyle means that they have depended on Semuliki forest food, shelter, medicine, and tools though this is beginning to change as a result of interaction with other local communities.