National parks, Game parks tours | Uganda | Infinity pearls U ltd

KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

The park’s altitude ranges between 914m and 2,750m above sea level.

The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife.

The local communities around the park include pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.

Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.

Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.

During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing locatio

LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
Size: 370 km2

Altitude: 1,220m - 1,828m above sea level

Wetland habitats comprise 20% of the park's surface

The parks' precarious past has seen wildlife virtually eliminated several times: firstly in various attempts to rid the region of tsetse flies, then to make way for ranches, and finally as a result of subsistence poaching.

20% of the park's entrance fee is used to fund local community projects such as building clinics and schools.

Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. It is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.


MOUNT ELGON NATIONAL PARK
Mt. Elgon is an extinct volcano that first erupted more than 24 million years ago. With the largest surface area of any extinct volcano in the world (50 km by 80 km ), Mt. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Eastern Africa, with the second-highest peak in Uganda (Wagagi Peak – 4321 metres ). Mt. Elgon contains crater covering over 40 kms at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a series of rugged peaks.

BIRD WATCHING

The secondary forest and thick scrub along the Chebonet River near camp supports, African Goshawk, Chubb’s Cisticola, White-chinned Prinia, African Blue Fly-catchers, Chin-spot Batis, Mackinon’s Fiscal, Doherty’s and Luhder’s Bush-Shrikes and Baglafecht Weaver.

FLORA AND FAUNA

While ascending Mt. Elgon’s enchanting slopes, you will pass through dense montane forest and mixed bamboo belts teeming with birdlife. You will then enter the fascinating heath and moorland zones containing several interesting endemic plant species such as Giant lobelia and groundsels. Wildlife enthusiasts will be pleased to spot primates such as the Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue Monkey, and hundreds of fascinating bird species, including Golden Winged and Tacazze sunbirds, Ross’s and Hartlaubs Turacos, Black and White Casqued and Crowned Hornbills, the endangered Lammergeier and the Jackson’s Francolin which is found nowhere else in Uganda. If you are particularly observant you can also see buffalo, duiker, hyena or even the elusive leopard.

TOURISM ACTIVITIES

Visiting Mount Elgon National Park ( MENP ) presents an exciting setting for extended hikes. In addition to the interesting and unique flora and fauna, you can expect to experience magnificent waterfalls, enormous caves, scenic peaks and gorges, and hot springs which bubble up at 48’C. The best times to visit are during the drier seasons from June to August and December to March. However, even in the wetter months trekking is manageable. No technical climbing equipping or skills are required, and all major peaks are accessible to hikers.

TREKKING TRAILHEADS AND ROUTES

There are two main trailheads ( starting points ) which lead to the mountain’s peaks. Salsa Trail ( Buddukiro trailhead ) is the most easily accessible from Mbale and is the most direct route to the peaks. It passes through the Park’s largest area of bamboo forest. However it is also a steep and rugged climb of over 1600m on the first day. For a more gentle climb ( 660m first day ) you may choose to ascend via Pisa trail ( Kapkwata trailhead ). Along this route you can explore a vast Podocarpus forest, an excellent place for wildlife viewing.
The full trekking circuit to the peaks takes 4-5 days to complete. All visitors are encouraged to discuss options with an Information Clerk at the Male, Budadiri or Kapkwata Visitors’ Centres.

CAMPING

Five basic campsites are located at strategic points along the trekking circuit. Please respect Park regulations by camping only at designated campsites. No camping is allowed within the caldera. MENP camping is primitive, and all necessary camping equipment must be carried with you. Some items such as tents and sleeping bags can be hired through the Park office in Mbale. Make sure not to forget a warm jacket and rain gear, as extreme weather conditions will add to your Mt. Elgon adventure! Also please take a fuel-efficient camp stove if possible to avoid placing additional pressure on MENP firewood resources.

GUIDES PORTERS AND RANGER ESCORTS

Please support local community members and encourage continued conservation of MENP’s valuable resources by hiring local guides and porters. All certified guides have received training in natural/ cultural histories, emergency first aid and communication. Porters will assist you by carrying up to 18 kg of your gear as well as preparing meals, setting up/taking down your camp, and collecting your water. Fees are set at Ush 8,000 (guide) and Ush 7,000 (porter) per stage. The wages cover the guide or porter’s park visitation fee and the cost of sufficient food and supplies. Make sure to ask to see a guide’s license before hiring. For additional safety reasons, a Park ranger escort must be hired when visiting the calderas or ascending the peaks. You will meet your ranger escort at Sasa or Pizza patrol hut where you must present your park receipt before proceeding upwards.

DAY HIKES

The Forest Exploration Centre has three ” day ” trails ranging between 3 and 7 km. These trails offer an excellent opportunity to experience Mt. Elgon’s unique plants and wildlife in shorter time period. A fourth trail has recently been opened to reach the enormous Tutum Cave, 11 km from the centre. This trail also passes through a range of vegetation types and offers opportunities to see wildlife such as Black and White Colobus Monkeys and a variety of birds.

ACCOMMODATION

Simple accommodation facilities are available inside the Park at the Kapkwata Rest House and the Forest Exploration Centre at Kapkwai. Prior arrangements through the MENP Visitors’ office in Mbale are necessary as these facilities do not accommodate large numbers of visitors. Kitchen services are available, but visitors should bring their own food supplies or provide money to buy food on arrival . The Forest Exploration Centre also conducts a four-day environmental program for school groups of up to 30 students which allow children to experience a living forest ecosystem while learning the importance of conservation. It has dormitory – style rooms and bathing facilities with running water.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS OUTSIDE THE PARK

The magnificent Sipi Falls are located 66 km from Mbale, en-route to the Forest Exploration Centre and Kapkwata. Several trails in the area allow for intriguing day hikes through friendly local villages and beautiful farming country. Pleasant campsites and lodge facilities, including meal services and hot showers are available at Crow’s Nest located just before the Sipi trading centre. More expensive accommodation is available at the Sipi Falls Resort. Please enquire about guides to escort you on the gradual 1.5 hour walk to the Forest Exploration Centre. Seven rock-climbing routes are open at Nagudi rock, half-way between Mbale and Budadiri. The routes are bolted, but climbers must bring their own rock-climbing equipment. Each climber pays to the local Parish treasurer. More information and directions are available at the MENP Visitor’s Centre office in Mbale.

WHAT TO BRING

Tent, sleeping bag, warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy hiking shoes, flashlight, water bottle, rain gear, first aid kit, cooking equipment, sufficient food supplies.

MGAHINGA GORILLA NATIONAL PARK

Mgahinga gorilla national park is located in the south western part of Uganda in Kisoro district and it is the smallest National park of the 3 national parks in the Virunga conservation area the other two parks are Virunga National park in DRC and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and all form 434-sq.km of this conservation area. The park was established in 1991 and it is governed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority with a size of 33.7-sq. km and it lies between altitudes 2,227m and 4,127m. It covers 3 of the Virunga volcanoes which are Mt. Muhavura (4,127), Mt. Gahinga (3,474), and Mt. Sabinyo (3,645).

The name Mgahinga was derived from the Kinyarwanda word “Gahinga” that means “Pile of volcanic lava stone heaps where cultivation is carried out”. To add on “Sabinyo” means “the old man’s teeth” and “Muhavura” means “Guide”. Mgahinga National park was established majorly to protect the mountain gorillas and in this same park also endangered Golden monkeys have made it their habitat.

It is really a stunning place with the three volcanoes as earlier mentioned where by hiking to the top of them gives an unforgettable experience. The Gahinga has a beautiful swamp at the top, Muhavura has a crater lake and the Sabinyo gives you the best and amazing experience ever whereby climbing to its summit you set a foot in 3 countries; Uganda DRC and Rwanda. Also along the slopes there are great scenic views of vegetation.

Mgahinga National Park is has about 39 mammals of these including the Mountain gorillas, buffaloes and elephants, also endangered golden monkeys. Others include; giant forest hogs, bushbucks, leopards, spotted hyenas, black fronted duikers among others. It also has around 79 bird species.

While in the park there is only one group that is tracked which is the Nyakagezi gorilla group, years before this group of Gorillas could move from country to country until it has to make Mgahinga its home, now also permits for tracking gorillas in this park are now available in Uganda and you are advised to book in advance.

 

 

How to get to Mgahinga

The park is 510km away from Kampala the capital of Uganda and you can get there by Road or Air.

On road, it is approximately a 9-10hours drive from Kampala to Mgahinga, that is around 8 hours to Kabale town covering 434km and there are more 76km to Kisoro town, this route is tarmacked and a bit mountainous and steep.

There is also an alternative of using a route from Kabale town passing near the beautiful lake Bunyonyi and joining again Kabale-Kisoro tarmac. From Kisoro to the park it’s around 14km to Ntebeko the park main entrance.

The park can be accessed by air whereby you can make earlier bookings on flights that move from Entebbe International airport to Kisoro air field, using flights saves more time and it is less tiresome.

Things to do in Mgahinga

Gorilla tacking

This is the most breathtaking activity done in the park, and it is only Nyakagezi gorilla group that is tracked in this park. Gorilla tracking starts the morning where by the trackers start from Ntebeko to track these giants. There are guides and park rangers that are well informed about the gorillas and the park at large so the trackers are advised to be free with them and ask questions. Doing this activity needs when you are physically okay since its quite challenging such as moving in the forest, valleys and the steep slopes.

 

The length of tracking could be 2 hours, 4 hours or a day since it is dependent on the location of the mountain gorillas since in most cases they move to search of food. Make sure you have enough equipment such as light clothes, water proof cameras, packed lunch, enough drinking water, surgical masks for wearing while in the presence of Gorillas and any other thing just in case guides advise to have them.

This is an incredible activity, as you move through the forests you will hear the sound of birds in the tree, monkeys, and other animals, something memorable!

Note: the gorilla permit costs US$600 and it’s advisable you make your bookings in advance

 

Volcano/Mountain climbing

There is nothing as thrilling and adventurous as climbing the 3 volcanoes. You can climb each to the summit in one day, they include;

 

Mt. Muhavura means “The Guide”

This volcano is 4,127m high and can be climbed in 8 hours covering around 12km. as you climb this mountain you move majorly in the small shrubs, grasses and the rock ground, this will give you some of the best views in the country, because when you reach the top you are able to see the peaks of Mt. Rwenzori, Virunga volcanoes, Bwindi forest, L. Edward in Queen Elizabeth national park and other things. After the long hike travelers are advised to spend a night at the base camp, and you are advised to carry sleeping gears, water, tent and food with you before you start the hike.

 

Mt. Gahinga means “a pile of lava stones heaps around which cultivation is carried out”

Hiking this mountain takes around 6 hours, the hike is taken in the Bamboo forest as you reach the top, you will find a swamp, and the distance covered is about 8 km. As you will see the stone piles in some gardens since it’s from them that the name “Gahinga” was derived.

 

Mt. Sabinyo means “Old man’s teeth”

The hike takes around 8 hours, and hiking to the top is quiet challenging but it is a great and an adventurous experience you get while hiking the eroded Sabinyo and also sloping to the gorges and ravines. When you reach its top what you get is a remarkable experience whereby you are in 3 countries at ago; Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Birding

Mgahinga National park has different bird species around 79 species and birding can be carried out through the bamboo forest, in the gorge between Mts. Sabinyo and Gahinga, and in the montane forest where you can easily see the Rwenzori Turaco.

 

 

Hiking and Nature walks

This is done around the edges of the mountains and it is a very interesting activity where hikers do it around the wild vegetation, bamboo forests, the Rugezi swamp which gives them a chance to have beautiful scenic views of agricultural areas, surrounding lakes like Lake Mutanda and also forest birds.

 

Golden monkey tracking

This park happens to be a habitat for the endangered golden monkeys, these are amazing to watch with in the trees, and one should not miss out on this activity while on a safari in Mgahinga.

 

Cultural Encounters

Over the years, Mgahinga with it thickets has been a home to the indigenous group of the Batwa, whereby they stay, hunt, feed, and do all their other activities in the forests. So while visitors are in Mgahinga they can have a visit to the Batwa’s home steads to see how they live, dress, eat, dance among others, it’s a culture like no other.

 

Where to stay

There are various accommodation facilities ranging from Campsites, Budget, Midrange to Luxurious lodges and hotels, they include;

 

Clouds Mountain Gorilla lodge

This lodge is found in Kisoro and in the Sothern part of Bwindi Impenetrable, it lies on the Nteko Ridge, this lodge provides luxurious services. It has around 8 stone cottages with a very nice interior, fireplace, of which 6 are on double/twin occupancy and the other two are good for families. While at this lodge you can do all the activities in Mgahinga, you can access it by road as part of the safari or fly from Entebbe to Kisoro and transfer to the lodge.

 

 

 

 

Nkuringo safari lodge

This is located on the shores of Lake Mutanda and it is near Mgahinga National park, while at this lodge there are impressive views of the volcanoes. The accommodation facilities are very nice and affordable; lately the standards are really high. The rooms together with the tents are self contained. Other services offered are room services, laundry services among others.

 

Also there is a camping ground but camping can be done by only the individuals with private camping facilities. The meals are very delicious since it is cooked and stored in a fully equipped and clean kitchen. It’s the local stuff that prepares the meals especially breakfast and Lunch.

 

Traveler’s Nest Hotel

This is found just outside Kisoro in south western Uganda, it is among the oldest hotels in Uganda, it is a quiet place also offering spectacular views of the Virunga volcanoes; it has a fire place and nice comfortable rooms.

 

Mt. Mgahinga Rest Camp

It is located near Mgahinga national park, it is comprised of 9 grass thatched Bandas and 3 tents with private facilities most of the cottages face lake Mutanda and are en suited and have private balconies. Staying in this rest camp, gives you an opportunity for you of being in the 3 countries which include; Uganda, DRC and Rwanda. There is electricity and it’s generated from solar panels.

Being here you can do all the activities such as birding, gorilla tracking, mountain climbing, tracking golden monkeys among others.

 

Mount Mgahinga lodge

This lodge is located on the edges of the virunga volcanoes, and it provides a great ambiance together with great spectacular views. Rooms are just nice and the meals served at this lodge are a story to tell, they are delicious

MURCHISION FALLA NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls became one of Uganda’s first national parks in 1952

At Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the "Devil's Cauldron", creating a trademark rainbow

The northern section of the park contains savanna and borassus palms, acacia trees and riverine woodland. The south is dominated by woodland and forest patches

The 1951 film "The African Queen" starring Humphrey Bogart was filmed on Lake Albert and the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, it is Uganda's largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river's energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda's most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals.

QUEEN ELEZABETH NATIONAL PARK
Queen Elizabeth
spans the equator line; monuments on either side of the road mark the exact spot where it crosses latitude 00.

The park was founded in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

The park is home to over 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species.

The Katwe explosion craters mark the park's highest point at 1,350m above sea level, while the lowest point is at 910m, at Lake Edward.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is understandably Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savanna, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big gameten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds.

Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.

As well as its outstanding wildlife attractions, Queen Elizabeth National Park has a fascinating cultural history. There are many opportunities for visitors to meet the local communities and enjoy storytelling, dance, music and more. The gazetting of the park has ensured the conservation of its ecosystems, which in turn benefits the surrounding communities.

Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is truly a Medley of Wonders!

MOUNTAIN RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK

MOUNTAIN RWENZORI NATIONAL PARK

Mountain Rwenzori National Park is located within the “Mountains of the Moon”, as Mount Rwenzori is called. Mountain Rwenzori is situated in Western Uganda in the East African Rift Valley and straddles also to the Democratic Republic of Congo and its conservation area known as Virunga National Park. The mountain is the third highest in Africa rising up more than 16,700 feet above sea level and its highest peaks rise above the clouds and are permanently snow capped. The Rwenzori Mountain ranges are higher compared to the Alps and they have glaciers which are one of the sources of the longest river on earth, the River Nile. Margherita Peak is the highest peak on the ranges making it the 3rd highest peak in Africa together with its twin peak, Mount Stanley, which is within the park. The 4th and 5th highest peaks, Mount Speke and Mount Baker, are also within the park. The mountain ranges were first brought to the worlds notice in CE 150 by Alexandrian geographical researcher and photographer, Pletomy, when he described a stunning mountain which he christened “mountain of the moon.” Later in 1899, English explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, was as spell bound as Pletomy when he beheld the ranges and christened them the “Cloud Mountains.”

The Rwenzori national park, which is the conservation area for the mountain, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and covers almost 1000 sq. km and strides across the districts of Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibudyo. It includes most of the center and the eastern half of the mountain and is known for its beautiful plant life coupled with waterfalls, glaciers and a lot of other unique mountainous vegetation. The park has glaciers, snowfields, waterfalls and has been portrayed as one of the mainly attractive Alpine areas around the world.

How to get to the Mountain Rwenzori National Park.

The journey from Kampala to Kasese will take you about 5 hours and a half if you take the public means by bus. Most bus parks can be found in and around Kampala like Link Buses which takes that route. It could take you about that same time if you are travelling privately in your own car though a four wheel drive vehicle is advisable since western Uganda is mountainous. However you can take only about an hour and a half if you used a plane. Contact your tourism company to book a flight to Kasese. Your first stop will be Fort Portal from where you will travel south to Kasese. From Mubuku, it is 15 minutes in the north of Kasese; you can organize transport means after passing the Bugoye power plant to the gate. Porters, guides and other people to help you will be easily availed to you.

Accommodation in the Rwenzori.

Hotel Margherita:

Hotel Margherita is located at the foothills of the mountain some few kilometers from the town of Kasese. They offer commendable customer service and pride themselves in offering a full “Rwenzori experience”. You will enjoy quality accommodation which ranges from standard single and double rooms to executive and family suites which can take up to five people. They have a very relaxing ambience which includes a smooth green gardens with a breathtaking view of the Rwenzori ranges with all it beautiful alpine botany. The gardens are even equipped with children’s swigs and seesaws in the children’s play area. They also have a full stocked bar and restaurant that will serve you all your beverages and foods and if you still have energy to burn, you can spend the night at club rocky, their night club on the premises.

Rwenzori International Hotel:

Rwenzori International Hotel, 3km from the Kasese airstrip is located at the foot of the mountain ranges. It offers a range of accommodation from executive self-contained rooms to the single non-self-contained rooms and also has camping options with tents for those who prefer an outdoors affair. All rooms are furnished comfortably and equipped with a telephone and TV, mosquito nets and beddings provided on all the beds. Their restaurant also offers an assortment of affordable local cuisines. The bar is also stocked fully with a variation of beverages, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic.

Rwenzori International Hotel also offers its guests a health and fitness center with gym, steam bath, sauna and body massage. They also offer touring services to guests like hikes to the Rwenzori Ranges and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

They also have a grass badminton court, a concrete tennis court, a laundry service and parking on premises.

Katara Lodge:

Katara lodge is situated 16km from the Katunguru gate of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The lodge is very keen on environmental conservation that all the buildings in the lodge are built out of renewable material like wood and grass thatch. The swimming pool is of salt water so as to reduce reliance on chemicals and most of their electrical energy is solar powered. They provide accommodation in grass thatched cottages, built in wood, that were hand crafted and woven into the hillside by the local community and have a spell binding view of queen Elizabeth and the Rwenzori ranges, farm lands and beautiful bird species. The water is heated by solar thermal energy. They provide both regular and family cottages.

 

Equator Snow Lodge:

Located at the foothills of the mountain, the lodge is an up market lodging and is perfect if you prefer the finer things. Below the lodge is the roaring Mubuku River that will act as a soundtrack to your relaxing mind. It has beautiful décor embedded with artefacts from around the country. The cottages are built with round river rocks which makes them unique and rare world over. The cottages are self-contained and each has a fire place to keep you warm in those cold nights. Each cottage also has a balcony from which you can view the spellbinding horizon with the ranges before you. They also provide breakfast and lunch in the restaurant with a fully stocked bar.

Tropical Savannah Guest House:

Tropical savannah guest house is based along the Mbarara-Kasese road in Kasese town and is a good option for travelers going to Kasese on a budget. They offer free Wi-Fi and the rooms are equipped with the usual amenities like showers, bathrooms and flush toilets, flat TV screen with satellite channels, wardrobe, mosquito net, adequate ventilation and full length windows. They also have a fully stocked bar to quench your thirst with both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages plus a restaurants that serves a complimentary breakfast daily and local dishes at lunch. They also have laundry services, parking, tour services, and car hire services.

Things to do in Rwenzori Mountains National Park Uganda.

Mountain climbing:

Rwenzori Mountain is an underrated gem that is largely undiscovered by many. The scenery on the mountain has been called some of the most beautiful on the planet! Mountain Rwenzori is covered in different types of vegetation and climate which will leave you spell bound as you scale its heights. It will not be unlike climbing into heaven. On the foothills of the mountain is farmland with crops such as coffee which is a very important cash crop in the country. From there you will behold beautiful land terrain and plant life of sub montane vegetation in the Afro-montane zone covered by luxurious tropical evergreen forest with a high richness in color and species. When you finally reach the top, you will behold the majestic snowcapped peaks that will leave you breathless and teary eyed.

Bird watching:

Uganda as a nation is teeming with a richness in bird life and the ranges are no different. The Rwenzori Park is a dwelling to 217 species of birds and 17 of them can only be found in Rwenzori which justifies UNESCO labeling it a key Birding Area. At about 1800 meters, the variety will leave you captivated including the Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat, Rwenzori Batis, White-starred Robin, Montane Sooty Boubou, Slender-billed Starling, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Blue-headed Sunbird, Barbets, Golden-winged Sunbird, Greenbuls, IIladopsis, Apalises, Crimson wings and Flycatchers.

Hiking:

You can also enjoy day hikes through the forests at the foothills as you enjoy unique activities like fishing with your hands in streams akin to Hugh Glass in the revenant.

Cultural exchange:

You will have plenty of opportunities to witness the locals at the foothills of the mountain of the moon carrying out their cultural lifestyles and activities like cultural dances and if you are lucky, you might even get some lessons on drumming and dancing. You will also visit the Ruboni village where you will learn about the lifestyles of old of the forefathers of the mountains of the moon.

Lounging on the foothills:

After a tiring day of awe and wonder, you will be able to cool off in any of the scenic lodgings around the mountains of the moon, take a soothing shower and behold the beautiful scenery. At night you will be able to hang out in the starlit night sky around a bonfire as you listen to tales of the mountains of the moon.

SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

Semuliki National Park

 Uganda Cultural Safari Tour of the female Sempaya Hot Springs

Semuliki National Park Uganda is impeccable a Uganda safari spot located in the extreme west of Uganda in Bundibugyo district along geo-graphical coordinates 0o 44′- 00 53′ N – 290 57-30o 11’E. It is an eastern extension of the vast Ituri forest, and forms part of the forest continuum during the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene period. It forms one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa particularly birds.
It lies within the western arm of the East African Rift Valley along the Uganda/ Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border. Semuliki National Park is bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains to the southeast , to the west is the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the north are the Semuliki flats and Lake Albert further on. What an interesting view all round!!!
This 220 sq km Semuliki National Park Uganda , one of the newest national parks in Uganda was gazetted in October 1993. Her land form includes a flat land form with a gently undulating park that ranges between 670 -760 meters above sea level. Many areas in this park flood up during the rainy season because all streams and rivers from the surrounding area drain through the park, coupled with the poor topography and drainage.
The average annual rainfall in Semuliki is 1,250mm with March-May and September-December as the pick season. Her temperatures range from 18oc to 30oc but these have relatively small daily variations.

What to do:

Species Diversity in semuliki National Park Uganda

Semuliki National Park Uganda is a lowland tropical rain forest hence moist and semi-deciduous. The park has 336 tree species recorded, 24 of which are restricted to only Semuliki,/ to the eastern part of the range, only shared by one or two neighboring forests some of which are Nesogordonia kabingaensis, ejacis guineesis and Isolana congolana. Some tree species such as lovoa surymertonii and cordia millenii are considered to be endangered in Semuliki National Park.

Compared to other exceptional diversity for small mammals, birds and butterflies,among the fauna recorded in Semuliki include 435 bird species which is about 34% of Uganda’s total. Some of these cannot be found anywhere in East Africa and are the continent’s most spectacular and sought after birds; the horn bills and lyre tailed honey guide just to mention but a few.

Semuliki National Park Uganda is unique Uganda wildlife safari destination because it has 63 mammal species, 9 of which are diurnal forest primates such as chimpanzees, olive baboon , blue monkey, and vervet monkeys, while the nocturnal primates include galagos plus pottos . To add to her mammals species, Semuliki National Park has forest beecroft’s flying squirrel, buffaloes, little collared fruit bat, blue duiker, pigmy squirrel plus the water chevrotaain.
About 374 species of butterflies and months have been identified in semuliki 46 of which are forest swallowstails and charaxes and atleast 81 species of large moth, 12 of which are classified as restricted.

The forest’s location, but also to the varied habitats, forest swamp, grassland and an extensive system of hot springs, warm swamp and Savannah woodland accounts to her wide range of species.

Local People

Four ethnic groups live around Semuliki National Park. The Bamba and Bakonjo are found in the valley and mountain slopes respectively, and are majorly agriculturalists depending on cash crops such as rice and potatoes coffee, cocoa and food crops mainly bananas.
The Batuku people occupy the rift valley floor, north of the park and are pastoralists who depend entirely on cattle products which they trade in with their neighbors, both Ugandans and natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Batwa /pigmies who are gatherers and hunters form part of the Ituri ethnic group, who have since time immemorial depended on Semuliki forest for survival. However their lifestyle is now changing due to daily interaction with other neighboring local communities and the impact of tourism.

Tourist Activities

The Semuliki National Park jungle life is a breathtaking one especially for birding tour, primate, butterfly and plant lovers. Her nature walk stretches you up to the meandering river Semuliki, the only one of its kind in East Africa.
On this tour, a list of potential forest animals one may see include; leopards, buffaloes and elephants, sitatungas, various primates, crocodiles, and a variety of water and forest birds.

 

Sport fishing in Semuliki National Park Uganda ;

Interested visitors should carry thier fishing gadgets for sport fishing along the river. The Semuliki National Park safari has splendid and breathtaking views that have life time memories to offer. Come and experience the thrilling winding Bundibugyo road through the Rwenzori escarpments. Along the way in the mountains, you will enjoy scenic views of the meandering Semuliki river, fuming hot springs and the buttress tropical tree rain forest, that stretches to Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swamp land are two hot springs, Here you will see a two meter jet of hot water about 30oc and a 12m diameter pool of oozing boiling water about 106oc. To the surprise of many, you can boil food in the natural boiler (the boiling pool) within 10 minutes and eat it especially eggs. Why not have this trip and have this fascinating experiment a practical trial? You had better, you will live to remember it!!!
A trip to the nearby protected areas like Rwenzori Mountains National Park, Kibale National Park and Toro-Semliki wildlife Reserve can be arranged for a guest.

Getting to Semuliki National Park Uganda :

By road; One can use one of the two major roads from Kampala to Fortportal, the 300km Kampala to Fortportal via Mubende is about 4-5 hours drive, while the 510km Kampala to Fortportal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese is about 7-8 hours.
Of the two routes available for use ,the Kampala-Fortportal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese. Along the way you have an opportunity to see or Visit Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Rwenzori Mountains National Park. Please note that the Kampala-Fortportal via Mubende is much shorter.
Once in fort portal, Sempaya gate is 52kms two 2 hours drive through a winding muram road through the lower ranges of Rwenzori Mountains. At several places you can view the rift valley floor where the Semuliki flats and Toro-Semuliki Wildlife Reserve are located.
A 4WD vehicle is recommended for the entire journey.
Using public means, You can take a taxi/ a 14 sitter minibus or a bus from Kampala to Fort Portal. From Fort Portal Taxi Park, jump on one of the pick-up trucks or bus for Bundibugyo and stop at Sempaya gate.

Accommodation in emuliki National Park Uganda:

 

Semuliki National Park Uganda a destination has limited accommodation facilities, however there are a number of accommodation facilities in Fort Portal and Bundibugyo but basically excellent upmarket lodges .
The campsite at Bumuga, about 3kms from Sempaya gate is open to visitors.
Meals are not ready in advance, Preparation is on order. You can also prepare own food at the site. Cooking utensils are available for hire.

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