Birding Semuliki National Park
Semuliki National Park is one of the best Birding spots not just in Uganda but in Africa. This national Park is in the semuliki valley and it also covered by the Ituri forest which is a forest that extends from the Congo basin. The Ituri forest is among the most diverse forests in Africa. The park was gazzatted in 1993 October, and it’s tropical low vegetation Rainforest Park. It covers the size of about 219 square Km.
This park is located in the serene and low populated area which allows flora and fauna to flourish. It’s a must go place for bird watchers, butterfly enthusiasts and Primates. This park is on the boarder of Uganda and the Democratic republic of Congo. It neighbors with Lake Albert as well.
Semuliki national park is home to about 441 species of birds and about 216 of those are forest birds. Semuliki has over 65% of the total forest birds in Uganda and about 40% of the total bird species in the country. This park is also known for the Guinea Congo biome endemics with about 46 of them in this national park. 35 of these can only be spotted In only three other locations in Uganda.
There are also 5 Albertine Rift Endemics in Semuliki National Park. The other park with these endemics is Bwindi impenetrable national park. It is also home the endangered mountain gorillas.
Some bird species you expect to find in Semuliki national Park include; the Ross’ Turaco, on rare occasions the shoe bill stock, the red bellied and crested Malimbe, the red eyed puff back, the ituri batis, black winged starling, the white crested hornbill, Maxwell’s swallow, the long tailed Hawk, piping hornbill and the red bellied hornbill.
WHERE TO STAY IN SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK FOR BIRDING
Semuliki national park doesn’t have as many accommodation facilities as there is in other national park and that’s makes most tourists visiting this park to rely on accommodations in the cities of Fort Portal and Bundibugyo since they are all in less than an hour driving time. Here are some of the facilities you can look out for;
SEMULIKI SAFARI LODGE. This is a luxury tented lodge with all the luxury but serene beauty. Rooms have a private balcony and a flush toilet with shower that provides warm water. Each tent also has a private balcony.
NTOROKO GAME LODGE; This lodge is pure luxury but it’s also good for mid range travelers. Its located in Semuliki forest on the shores of lake Albert. Those that want to wake up to a beach and water noises should definitely book this lodge.
KIRIMIA GESTHOUSE. This facility is located on the way to Bundibugyo town. It’s not very far from the Sempaya hot springs. Its location gives you a change to interact with a lot of primates.
UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY BANDAS. This facility is managed by the park its self and it gives a chance to every traveler to experience the park and its beauty first hand. Its gives mostly a chance to budget travels to camp and enjoy the luxury of travel.
WHAT TO DO IN SEMULIKI NATIONL PARK AFTER BIRDING
THE CULTURAL TRAIL.
There are lots of groups of people that live around the park and have exciting life that is worth experiencing. There is the Notoroko fishing community that you shouldn’t miss on this trail. This community entirely depends on fishing for their livelihood and you may also get a chance to do some sport fishing if you organize this prior. The Batwa people and their hunting norms will also blow your mind.
VISITING THE SEMPAYA HOT SPRINGS.
This is probably one of the most famous feature in this park. The springs are divided into two, the male and female springs. The male springs are called Bitente by the locals while the female springs are called Nyansimbi.
This is the best trail for birding in this park and it’s about 13km. its length gives you some assurance to see as many birds as possible.
RED MONKEY TRAIL.
This trail goes around the semuliki National park boundary and ends at the semuliki river and its about 11km long