The Semuliki Valley lies in western-most Uganda at the base of the Albertine Rift and forms part of the great Ituri Forest that stretches into Central Africa – perhaps the densest jungle in East Africa.
Comprised of the Semuliki Wildlife Reserve and Semuliki National Park, it offers beautiful and unspoilt scenery, hot springs and fantastic bird watching; the only park in Uganda composed primarily of tropical lowland forest.
The Semuliki Valley is divided into two sectors by the northern Rwenzori foothills. To the northeast as far as Lake Albert is the Semuliki Wildlife Reserve. To the west lies the Semuliki National Park; its rich lowland jungle extending into the D.R.C.
The Central African rainforest is host to several species of bird, plant and mammal found no where else in Uganda, such as the pygmy antelope.
The Sempaya Hot Springs are two mineral-rich hot springs that send jets of boiling water (130oC) up to two meters high and are well worth a visit – see an egg boiled in the water in less than 10 minutes. Incidentally, the springs are a source of salt for many animals and attract large numbers of shorebirds.
Forest walks and bird watching are the most popular activities in Semuliki.
You should also consider the Sempaya Hot Springs and a visit to local Batwa (pygmy) communities.
It is possible to visit Semuliki all year round. But remember that it is a rainforest and conditions become more difficult in the wettest months (March - May).
Semuliki Wildlife Reserve offers vast and wild scenery and is Uganda’s oldest protected area.
It is essentially a grassy savannah and acacia woodland that stretches from the Rwenzori foothills to the marshy edges of Lake Albert and covers an area of 545 km2. Pre 1970s, the reserve held phenomenal quantities of wildlife and the largest lions in all Africa.
Nowadays, things are on the mend but still have a long way to go. The lions are making a come back and leopards are already well established. Uganda kob, reedbuck, buffalo, elephant and waterbuck are sighted with increasing frequency.
Approximately 400 bird species are present including the Abyssinian ground hornbill and leaflove. Shoebill storks are also regularly spotted from boat trips on Lake Albert, along with colonies of red-throated bee-eaters.