For most bird lovers, Uganda means Semuliki National Park, and Semuliki National Park means encountering over 40% of Uganda’s bird species. Gazatted in 1994, it has 460 species recorded in a variety of habitats like an escarpment, gorge, lake, river system, mountain and savannah. Semuliki is one of the few places in Africa that outlived the ice age and one of the most scenically diverse.
The birds come so close sometimes that you can virtually catch their pictures without extra long lenses. shoebill stork, Red-throated bee-eater, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Leaf-love, Moustached grass-warbler, Red-necked falcon, African pygmy goose, Piapiac, Black coucal, Pennant-winged nightjar, Black-chinned quailfinch, Blue-breasted bee-eater, Double-toothed barbet and Broad-billed roller among others.
Semuliki’s Savannah is a photographer’s paradise where you enjoy bush walks as you search for Black and white colubus, red tailed monkey, L’hoest monkeys, vervets, red tailed, de brazza’s, dents and grey cheeked mangabey. Other mammal species found here include chimpanzees and forest elephants. Wildlife viewing here a given and the park’s vegetation is comparatively clear and conducive to easy sightings. One of the things that make this park one in a million is that it is uncrowded. There are no noisy tourists in sight to disturb your peace as you meditate. It feels like the African wilderness. If you roll down your windows during game drives, you will hear a sweet sound as wind sweeps over whistling acacias.
This is one of the most well conserved parks in Africa, don’t hesitate to partake in the broader range of activities on offer beyond bird watching. This includes sunset cruises, bush walks and chimp habituation in a gorge.
Chimp Habituation experience
You can’t miss the chimp habituation experience in the gorge here. It is a classic, pristine central African rainforest with towering indigenous trees. It allows excellent close encounters with this intriguing and sometimes volatile primate – our closest relative. Sightings of both babies and adults are virtually guaranteed. This day-long ‘nest-to-nest’ experience, allows you to stay with one of the troops from dawn to dusk, as you gain intimate insights into their human-like behaviour.
Best time to visit: All year round