Semuliki National Park
beyond the Rwenzori, the forested Semuliki National Park
represents the eastern most track of the Congo’s great Ituri
The True Birders’ haven Occupying an isolated slice of Ugandan territory beyond the Rwenzori, the forested Semuliki National Park represents the
eastern most track of the Congo’s great Ituri Forest. This is an exceptionally exciting destination for birds and primate watchers. The 441 recorded
bird species include216 forest birds and 80 Central African species found
Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the
easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to
survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.
The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil
palms; the Semliki 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
Park at a Glance
Size: 220km² with an altitude of 670-760m above sea level
Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993. It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East
Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.