Sempaya hotsprings are Semuliki’s most famous attraction and consists of the male and female section.These bubble up from the depth of the Earth to demonstrate the powerful forces that shape the rift valley. The park is located in western Uganda in Bundibugyo district lying on the southern shores of Lake Albert. It covers an area of 220km sq km with an altitude of 670-760m above sea level and was created in 1932, then later upgraded into a National Park status in 1993.
The park is spread across the floor of Semuliki valley on the remote western side of Rwenzori and is part of the Central African Congo basin forest system of DRC being separated from the Ituri forest of DRC only by the Semuliki river.
The Semuliki river is a miniature version of Congo river and the forest in the park is home to numerous Central African Wildlife species. The park has numerous features associated with central Africa rather than East Africa.
The flora and fauna shows resembleness with the Congo basin forest with many species reaching the Eastern limit of their range in Semuliki forest. The forest is dominated by a single tree species ‘Cynometra alexandri’ mixed with tree species of a more evergreen nature.
It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa hosting more than 400 bird species 216 of which are true forest birds which include rare sassi’s, olive greenbul, forest ground thrush, nine species of hornbills etc. wildlife such as bush babies, endermic pygmy antelope, squirels and primates like mono monkeys, and various species of butterflies which can be spotted in the forest.
What activities to do?
- Hiking, nature walks and visiting the famous Sempaya hotsprings.
- Game viewing through the various game trails to spot wildlife and various primates in the park.
- Birding with the park having over 400 species of birds.
- Cultural visits to local people around the park including the Batwa that originated from the Ituri forest of Congo.
How to get there?
It can be accessed via Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal road which is the shortest and about 4-5hrs or via Kampala Mbarara-Kasese-Fort Portal road.
Regular flights can also be arranged from Entebbe or Kajjansi airstrip.