Semuliki National Park was established in 1993, and is Uganda’s newest park. It is the only park in Uganda made up primarily of tropical lowland forest, covering 220 km² (85 mi²). Located at the western end of Uganda, with an altitude between 670m (2,198 ft) and 760m (2,493 ft) above sea level, the park stretches across the Semliki Valley and is an eastern extension of the Ituri Forest—one of Africa’s oldest and most biodiverse forests—in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The surrounding areas of Semuliki National Park are home to four human populations: the Bamba and Bakonjo, found in the valley and slopes of the mountain; the Batuku, who live along the valley floor; and the Batwa, originally from Ituri. Semuliki National Park also has a diverse wildlife population. It is home to over 50 mammal species, including forest buffalo, elephants and leopards. There are nine species of diurnal forest primates, including the chimpanzee and olive baboon, as well as nocturnal primates. A large portion of the country’s total bird population—over 400 species—resides in the park, including the forest ground thrush and lyre-tailed honeyguide. The park contains species that are endemic to its makeup, including the pygmy antelope and flying squirrels. Nearly 400 species of butterflies have also been recorded.
The park offers activities such as hiking, nature walks, birding and visits to hot springs. Additionally, because the Batwa have historically relied on the forest for survival, visitors may encounter an indigenous community that continues to reside in their traditional homes located within the compounds of the park.
It is best to visit during the dry season, which is roughly: June through early September and December through March. The rainy season is from March through May and again from September through November. In general, the average annual temperatures are between 16 C (60 F) and 30 C (86 F). Temperatures tend to be slightly higher in the southern areas of the park. Various rivers and streams drain through the park, which is very flat overall, and as a result, the park tends to flood during the rainy season.