This page provides an overview of the park. A Snapshot; information you ought to know; the Semliki National Park Facts.
Semliki on the Map
Tucked away at the base of the mighty Rwenzori Ranges in the west, Semliki National Park is about 220 sq km in size with altitude ranges of between 670m and 760 metres above sea level.
It lies in the forested western section of the Rwenzori valley right at the border with the DR Congo. Semliki River meanders through the park dividing the two countries. It's about 50 km from Fortportal town. The prominent feature here is the great rift valley that provides the bed for the low laying grasslands.
The best times to visit would be down to the dry season. The northern part of the park receives much more rainfall than the south - about 1700mm which is highly likely in the months of March-May and late September-November which could stretch into December.
Average temperatures are between 14°C and 28°C - again the south being much more warmer because of terrain that drops into the hot rift valley floor and where the tropical forest opens up into the savannah grasslands.
Dry months to look out for; June-September and January-February.
The wet season can be quite intense here - you may find large sections of the lower valley flooded - careful! ... And that's perhaps just to remind us that several million years ago, this entire valley was at the bottom of a lake - at least the geographers and historians will sincerely tell you ...
The vegetation in the park is predominantly medium altitude moist evergreen savannah grassland to semi deciduous forest.
Bird lovers will have an impressive find here. there is quite a collection of birdlife in Semliki - Over 440 species recorded (40% of Uganda's total bird species) - and that's so far ... you could be part of making new discoveries. Keep your eyes peeled!
You will find species that are only found here in the world - I bet you on that - sure! like; the 40 or so Guinea-Congo biome species. Quite a collection I said - the common species to look out for include; Black-casqued Wattled Horbill, Leaf-love, the Black Dwarf Hornbill, Crested Malimbe, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch and lots more ...
Olive Baboons in Semliki - Photo by; Godfrey Mukalazi
Semliki has also got an abundance of game too - 53 mammals (27 of these are large mammals); Forest Elephants, buffalos, Hippos, the mighty Crocs (these are common along the Semliki river), primates - quite a collection in the forested areas; the chimpanzee, Dent’s mona monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey ... and more, including the nocturnal primates.
The species you will find here date way back to more than 25,000 years. The hot springs that bubble up from the bottom are evidence of an old process that continues to shape the terrain of this place. ... And lest you forget, this place sits in the mighty East African rift valley whose formation and shaping has been going on for more than 15 million years.
The natives of the Semliki jungle include the Batwa pygmy people. These originated from the Ituri sub-region of the Congo basin settling in the jungles of Semliki and Bwindi. Referred to as the 'keepers of the forest', their lives very much depend of the forest.
They are natural hunters that have for millennia lived in the forests and survived on hunting small game using arrows and nets and gathering plants and fruits for food. They have got such a long and rich interesting history that dates back about 50,000 years.
The other groups include the Bwamba and the Bakonjo who are farmers and live along the base of the Rwenzori ranges and the slopes ... and the Batuku who are cattle keepers utilise the open plain grass lands.
The deliberate move by the government of Uganda to gazette Semliki National Park and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, forever changed the lives of the Batwa people. They are faced with constant evictions and have been forced out of the forested areas to the outskirts. Hunting is regulated as are a lot of their other activities that were dependant on the forest.
Did you know that;
Semliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status (Semliki National Park) in 1993. It remains perhaps the only trace of a true low-land tropical forest in the region.
The species in this park are as old as more than 25,000 years - so they say! The geographers still say there is even evidence of much older landscape processes in this place.
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