One of the most ancient but still surviving forests which is a home for Chimps, Wildlife and Birds of the vast Ituri Forest
The marvelously scenic Semliki Valley located at the bottom of the Albertine Rift to the west of Fort Portal, where it is bordered by the Rwenzori foothills to the south, Lake Albert to the south, and the Semliki River near the border with DRC. The northern Rwenzori foothills partitions Semliki valley into two geographically disrete and ecologically different sectors. Stretching northeast on mountains through to the boggy southern shores of, Lake Albert is the moist woodland and savanna of Semliki wildlife Reserve. The northwestern foot lopes, by contrast, give way to a track of steamy lowland jungle conserved within the Semliki National park, whose affinities with the closest rainforest are reflected by the existence of dozens of bird species and other creatures seen nowhere else in Uganda.
The most famous attraction in Semliki National park is the cluster of hot springs at Sempaya which can be got to as you move passed the short walking trail. Longer guided walks, using up the best part of a day, can also be arranged at Sempaya, as can overnight hikes deep into the forest. Roughly 5km from Sempaya, in the direction of Bundibugyo, the pygmy village at Ntandi is also famous with travelers, and afar less alarming experience than it was a few years back. Ntanda is also a spot for the park head quarters, giving almost all tourist information.
ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Sempaya Hot springs and eastern boundary
A short guided walk trail takes you from the road side tourist office to Sempaya Hot springs. Surrounded by forest and palm trees and almost covered in a cloud of steam, these springs are an ancient, evocative spot and well worth the diversion. The largest spring is a geyser which splashes up to 2m high from an opening in a low salt sculpture. The flowing out water has a temperature of over 100 degrees centigrade; therefore you have to give some distance from the geyser. The trail to the springs takes you through a patch of rain forest where red tailed monkey, grey-checked mangabeys and black-and-white colobus are common. Part of the most exciting birds frequently spotted a long this trails are eight forest hornbill, blue-breasted kingfisher, red rumped and yellow –throated tinker bird, Frasier’s ant thrush and honeyguide green bull. One more spring, which is a broad steaming pool as compared to a geyser, lies on the far side of the swampy clearing reached by a board walk. Rather than retracting your steps to Sempaya, you might inquire whether the Uganda wildlife Authority has at last re-opened an old trail that creates a nice loop passing through forest and a lovely track of swamp.
The water fall of Mungiro
This is situated near the hot springs and once you have viewed the hot springs you them have to move on to the north part of the main road north of Rwenzori forest reserve.
This site brings out an exceptional sight for red-billed dwarf horn bill, white-crested horn-bill and massive black-casqued wattled hornbill. A nature walk a near the eastern margin can also be thrilling through the red tailed monkey trail to the exposure to the far greater numbers of birds apart from the trail to the hot springs. The trail can be under taken as a day trip and an over night, one may carry a tent and food to camp near the bank of the River. A part from birds, a great number of Monkeys, hippos, buffalo, elephants and crocodiles a long the River.
The National Park is a home to many mammals such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopards, Bush babies. With luck you may see pigmy Hippopotamus and Crocodiles. Eight species of primates have also been recorded and over 300 species of butterflies have been seen.
Semliki National Park has part of the most beautiful views. The Bundibugyo road passed the Rwenzori escarpment give great scenic views. At mungu ni mkubwa, the road gives scenic views of the Semliki River and boiling hot springs.
There are chances for sport fishing near the river for visitors who travel with their fishing facilities.
Visiting the Local Communities
The park has approximately four ethnic groups of people staying a round the park and within the park. The Batuku pastoralists use the rift valley plane in the north of the park. The Bakonjo in the valley and Banba live on the mountain slopes their main activity being agriculture producing cash crops like cocoa and coffee. The smallest group is the pygmies (Batwa) who are traditionally famous for forest dwellers and hunters who came from Ituri. Tourism has had a big impact as far as the life the Batwa is concerned therefore migrating from the forest edge of at Ntandi. There usual life also changed to Cultivation as a consequence of tourist contribution to such diverse communities.
There are Camp sites at Bumaga with basic cottages located 2.5kmfrom Sempaya and Semliki safari lodge. The other alternative is sleeping in Fort Portal and Bundibujo