SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK (The True Birders’ Haven)
1. Situated across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori, Semuliki National Park was formerly known as Semuliki Forest Reserve before 1993. From its creation in 1932, this park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin.
2. Semuliki National Park is characterised by a forested area that covers 220 km2 of an isolated part of Uganda’s territory being Mount Rwenzori. Sitting on the broad floor of the Albertine Rift Valley, the park is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.
3. The exceptionally rich and varied biodiversity contained in Semuliki National Park is known as one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests. Recognised as one of the few that survived the last ice age between 12000 to18000 years ago, the Semliki Valley contains more features that link it with central rather than eastern Africa.
4. Birdwatchers enjoy the forest that boasts of 216 forest birds and 80 Central African Bird Species, a rarity to find in other East African forests. Some of the birds found there include the Black dwarf hornbill, the Shining blue kingfisher, Nkulengu rain, and the yellow-throated nicator among others.
5. Besides the birds, 15 primate species have been identified within 6 km of the primeval hot springs bubbling out of the rift valley. Powerful subterranean forces and processes are responsible for shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years, demonstrating their power by producing hot springs that bubble up from the depths of the earth.
Source and Photo credits: Uganda Wildlife Authority.