Semliki National park is one of the most endowed but neglected National park located on the western side of the Rwenzori Mountains in south-western Uganda, on the border of DRC. It extends over an area of 220 square kilometers/85 miles and was established in 1993. Semliki National Park can be equated to a “goldmine” for attractions because of its riveting attractions that include exceptional wildlife and extraordinary bird species.
Tourists who visit this park get enough of everything ranging from wildlife to bird species. Regardless of its remoteness, it is one of the most spectacular Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and is a home to over 450 bird species (45% of Uganda’s total bird species) including over 216 (66%) typical forest bird species in Uganda, 9 incredible hornbill species, 50 species of birds that not found anywhere else in East Africa but are exceptional to this park such as Congo serpent eagle and over 133 bird species out of the total 144 Guinea-Congo Forest bird species are found in Semliki National Park. With these interesting bird species, Semliki national park is a bird watcher’s Paradise and place to be for a memorable bird watching experience. This park is characterized by different vegetation types such as Riverines, grasslands and forests that offer shelter to several of these Avian/bird species.
Some of the interesting bird species you should look out for in Semliki National park include African piculet, Dwarf honeyguide, Grauer’s cuckoo-shrike, Blue-billed malimbe, Ross’s Turaco, Blue-billed malimbe, White-crested hornbill, Grant’s bluebill, Black-dwarf hornbill, yellow-throated nicator, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, piping hornbill, pale-fronted negrofinch, swamp palm bulbul, Red-eyed puffback chestnut-bellied helmetshrike, White thighed hornbill, Fire-crested Alethe, Long-tailed hawk, Great blue Turaco, Xavier greenbul, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Rufous-sided broadbill, Black-Dwarf hornbill, Green-tailed bristlebill, Black-Dwarf hornbill, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Capuchin babbler, Forbe’s plover, Zenker’s honeyguide, Red-bellied Malimbe, Long-tailed Hawk, Purple-breasted sunbird, Eastern-bearded Greenbuls, Gabon woodpecker, Crested Malimbe, Nkulengu rail, Northern bearded scrub robin, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Leaf-love, White-crested hornbill, Red-billed dwarf hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf hornbill, White-bellied kingfisher, Yellow-throated Nicator, Spot-breasted Ibis, Red rumped Tinkerbird, Capuchin Babbler, Gabon woodpecker, Yellow-throated cuckoo, Blue-billed malimbe, Long tailed hawk, White-tailed Hornbill , Dusky nightjar, Chestnut owlet, Bates nightjar, Sassi’s olive greenbul, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Grant’s bluebill, Red-bellied malimbe, Yellow-throated nicator, Black-throated coucal, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, Spotted honeyguide, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Crested Malimbe, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-thighed Sparrow hawk, White-throated Blue Swallow, Piping Hornbill, Eastern-bearded greenbul, fiery- breasted bush-shrike, Hartlaub’s duck, swamp palm bulbul, Orange-tufted sunbird and Maxwell’s black weaver.
Some of the Africa’s most sought after bird species like the Nkulengu Rail, Lyre-tailed Honey guide, Congo Serpent Eagle, Black-wattled Hornbill and Long-tailed Hawk are found in Semliki national Park.
Just like birding in other places in Uganda, tourists need to carry their cameras, binoculars and drinking water for a memorable bird watching experience. The best time for bird watching in this Park is during the rainy season (March to May and October to November) because it is a breeding season with many bird species easily sighted and also the perfect time to see the migratory bird species.
How to Reach Semliki National Park
This park is located in Bundibugyo district, and can be accessed through Kampala-Mubende-Fortportal (that is 300 kilometers/4-5 hours), then proceed for another 3 hours through a murram road to Bundibugyo then to the Ntandi park Headquarters through Sempaya gate. There are selected Uganda safaris that feature various activities in the Semulki National Park. Check out the different local tour operators offering guided safaris to this park.
In conclusion, Semliki is one of the Important Bird Areas in Uganda with over 450 bird species including 216 of Uganda’s forest species, 133 of the 144 Guinea-Congo Forest Species, and most of Africa’s sought after bird species. This makes Semliki National Park a perfect bird watcher’s paradise and your next destination for a wonderful bird watching safari.