Semuliki Valley National Park

Semuliki Valley National Park offers a unique blend of attractions for nature enthusiasts. This captivating park harbors a slice of the vast Congo Basin rainforest, creating a haven for diverse wildlife, including primates like chimpanzees and an astonishing array of bird species. Beyond the lush forests, the park's most iconic attraction is the Sempaya Hot Springs, where geothermal forces create a mesmerizing spectacle. Visitors can embark on nature walks to explore the rainforest's wonders, indulge in birdwatching, or take a cultural encounter with the local Batwa communities for a truly immersive experience.


Located on the border with DRC and south of Lake Albert, Semliki National Park is Uganda's first protected area. The valley lies below the Kijura Escarpment and the northern foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains, offering a remote and peaceful introduction to the habitats of Central Africa within the borders of Uganda.

The national park boasts the only true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, making it a prime destination for those looking to experience the best of Uganda's habitats without having to venture too far from the beaten path. With 441 recorded bird species, Semuliki National Park represents 40% of the species found in Uganda and 66% of the country's forest species, making it a birdwatcher's paradise.

Exploring the national park requires visitors to explore on foot, with guided trails leading through ancient forests, papyrus swamps, and hot springs. Beyond the park, Semliki Wildlife Reserve offers a contrasting landscape of open savanna grassland and riverine forest, with a gentle beauty and few visitors that only enhance its charm.

Home to a variety of wildlife, including Ugandan kob, colobus monkeys, and chimpanzees, Semliki has historically suffered from high levels of poaching, resulting in lower mammal numbers compared to other parks in Uganda. However, it serves as an excellent example of conservation in action. The reserve also boasts 425 recorded bird species, with boat safaris on Lake Albert offering one of the best ways to see the Shoebill stork in Uganda.

If you're interested in the challenges of African conservation and wish to enjoy wildlife sightings, Semliki is the perfect destination for you. Moreover, it's also an ideal place to unwind and relax, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and enjoy the peace and tranquility of this secluded part of Uganda.

Be inspired by a selection of our favorite Semuliki safari packages. From discovery game drives to family-friendly walks on the savannah – all completely flexible and arranged to your travel needs.


Exploring Semuliki Valley

Experiencing the remarkable forest habitat is an extraordinary opportunity for bird enthusiasts and individuals interested in visiting internationally significant atmospheric sites. 

With the assistance of a Uganda Wildlife Authority Guide, visitors can explore the three available trails. The longest trail is the 13km Kirumia Trail, which takes you through the forest and to the Semuliki River. This trail is perfect for birders as it passes through different habitats. Plan to spend 8 hours on this trail.

The Red Monkey trail is slightly shorter. It is 11km long and follows the park's eastern border to the Semliki River. This trail aims to give visitors a chance to spot the rare deBrazza's monkey, which is often seen in the area.

The Sempaya Nature Trail is the shortest trail, with a total length of 8km. It is perfect for visitors who want to explore the forest and see its primates. It takes visitors to the hot springs and lasts between 2 and 4 hours. The hike can take place either in the morning or afternoon.

Semuliki Hot Springs

If you are looking for a short but exciting forest trail, you should definitely visit Semuliki Hot Springs. These springs, namely the 'Male' and 'Female' springs, are a true manifestation of the geological forces that shaped the valley they are located in. Additionally, they have significant cultural value in the area.

To access the springs, you will have to take a brief walk on a boardwalk trail through the forest. You can learn more about the cultural significance and history of the springs from your guide. This excursion from Semliki Safari Lodge is perfect for a half-day trip.

Semliki Safari Game Drives

The Semliki Wildlife Reserve offers three game drive tracks, which can be explored either with the Uganda Wildlife Authority or Semliki Safari Lodge. These drives are available in the morning and late afternoon, with the option of night drives as well.

While on the drive, you can spot smaller forests and larger savannah elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, crocodiles, warthogs, and Uganda kobs. Keep an eye out for pygmy hippos, leopards, and noisy bushbabies too.

Primate Walk

Semliki's chimpanzee population is of particular scientific interest as it dwells in a drier habitat than those in Kibale, Budongo, or Kyambura. This leads them to search farther for food, and they have been observed walking on their hind legs for brief distances. Currently, the population is undergoing a long-term habituation project.

You can participate in a primate walk with the researchers to learn more about these intriguing creatures while exploring a stunning environment. However, don't expect to see the chimps, as they can move far and fast.

Nature Walk

Take a leisurely 3-hour stroll through various habitats ranging from savannah woodland to riverine forest in Semliki Nature Walks reserve without any particular end goal in mind. During the walk, you may encounter diverse wildlife, such as Ground Hornbills, Warthogs, Uganda Kobs, baboons, Black and White Colobus, and Vervet Monkeys. .

To spot the elusive Shoebill stork in Semuliki, go for the Lake Albert Shoebill boat safari. It is best seen around the borders of the papyrus beds, which mark where the Semliki River enters Lake Albert. 

Accommodation - Where to Stay

If you're planning a trip to this beautiful valley, you'll need a comfortable and convenient place to stay. Luckily, two exceptional lodges in Semuliki Valley offer a perfect blend of luxury and wilderness:

semuliki safari lodge - accommodation and where to stay

Semuliki Safari Lodge

Nestled in the gorgeous valley, Semuliki Safari Lodge is an exclusive and intimate retreat that offers a truly immersive safari experience. Its spacious and elegant cottages are surrounded by lush vegetation, providing the perfect hideaway for relaxation and privacy. You can enjoy various activities, including game drives, bird watching, and cultural tours, or simply unwind in the lodge's infinity pool or spa.

ntoroko game lodge semuliki

Ntoroko Game Lodge

Located on the banks of Lake Albert, Ntoroko Game Lodge is a stunning eco-lodge that blends seamlessly with its natural surroundings. The lodge's tented rooms offer breathtaking views of the lake and the Rwenzori Mountains, while its open-air restaurant serves delicious local cuisine. You can explore the area on foot, by boat, or on a game drive and discover the incredible wildlife that calls Semuliki Valley home.