Birding Excursions in Semliki National Park

Birding Excursions in Semliki National Park : Semliki National Park is situated in the extreme West of Uganda, in the Bundibugyo District. It lies along the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border within the Western arm of the East African Rift Valley. In the Southeast are the Rwenzori Mountains, to the West is the DRC and to the North are the Semliki flats and Lake Albert further on. Semliki National Park is an Eastern extension of the vast Ituri forest in DRC. It forms part of the forest continuum resulting from the climatic upheavals of the Pleistocene and therefore one of the richest areas for both flora and fauna in Africa. This park harbours a large number of predominantly Central African species that can not be found anywhere else in East Africa and these include some of the continent’s most spectacular and sought-after birds such as; the Long-tailed Hawk, Congo Serpent Eagle, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Black-wattled Hornbill, the Nkulengu Rail, just to mention but a few, making it a must visited destination for bird lovers.  There are also Some of the remarkable species you can encounter here include the African Grey Parrot, the Nkulengu Rail, and the White-crested Hornbill. The park’s varied habitats, ranging from open savannahs to riverine forests, provide the perfect backdrop for spotting these beautiful birds.

List of bird species spotted in Semliki National Park

Eurasian Oystercatcher, Long-tailed Hawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Grant’s Bluebill, Afep Pigeon, Blue-headed Coucal, Bates’s Nightjar, Swamp Nightjar, Cassin’ Spinetail, Sabine’s Spinetail, White-bellied Kingfisher, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Gabon Woodpecker, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-billed Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Common Stonechat, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, Oberlaender’s Ground-Thrush, Grey Ground-Thrush, Little Grey Greenbul, Toro Olive Greenbul, Mountain Greenbul, Yellow-throated Nicator, Western Nicator, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Black Saw-wing, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Long-tailed Hawk, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Blue Swallow, White-throated Blue Swallow, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Spotted Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Lowland Akalat, Red-throated Alethe, Fire-crested Alethe, Snowy-headed Robin-Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Red-eyed Puffback, White-tailed Robin-Chat, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin among others

Packing list for birding excursions in Semliki National Park

When preparing  for a birding excursions in Semliki National Park, there a lot of essentials you should consider to have the best birding experience in the park , such items includes; Binoculars to help you spot and identify birds, especially those perched high in the trees or across bodies of water, Camara for capturing the beauty of birds, field guide, lightweight clothing’s, long-sleeved shirts, sturdy walking shoes to help you navigate on the forest terrain, rain jacket, insect repellent, enough water and snacks, sunglasses among others.

Other activities to do in Semliki National Park

Visiting the Hot springs.

Visiting the Sempaya Hot Springs in Semliki National Park is a thrilling and remarkable experience. Semliki national park is home to Uganda’s most stunning hot springs known as Sempaya hot springs a natural phenomenon where hot water erupts from the earth’s crust, which as acted as the top tourists’ attractions and boosted a variety of people worldwide. The Uganda’s magnificent hot springs that can be visited by a number of tourists while they visit Uganda. Visitors while on a Uganda wildlife safari in the park gets n opportunity to explore the parks attractive hot springs and also gaining information about the history of the hot springs and sights the stunning attractions on the way.

Wildlife viewing

Semliki National Park is a home to over 56 mammal species, visitors on Uganda wildlife safari in the park with get an opportunity to view a variety of wildlife species such as elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, Uganda Kobs, warthogs White-bellied Duiker or Dwarf Antelope and several primates such as chimpanzees and baboon and on your lucky days you may also encounter with the Batwa known as the pygmies, hippos, leopards as well as the elusive bushbabies.

Primate tracking

Semliki National Park is a home to several primate’s species such as Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Vervet, Red-tailed monkeys, Olive Baboon and Guereza Colobus, De Brazza’s Monkeys are rare and the Chimpanzees may seldom be heard than seen. Nocturnal primates include Pottos and Galagos among others, with chimpanzees dominating a large forested area. chimpanzee tracking is the main activity conducted in the national park. Tracking these fascinating primates in the park involves walking on foot through the jungles of the forest in hunt for chimpanzee habituated families. Once these captivating primates are found you will get chance to observe these primates in their natural habitat.

Nature walks and hiking

Nature walks and hiking is another exciting activity done in Semliki National Park. Nature walks in the park offers an opportunity to visitors to explore the hidden treasures of the forest as it offers a way to connect with nature. Visitors get to explore the park on foot with guided nature walks and hiking trails. During the nature walks and hiking, you will get an opportunity to experience the rich biodiversity of Semliki national park including its tropical rainforest, savannah grassland and the hot springs as well as learning about the park’s flora, fauna and conservation efforts.

Cultural visit

Semliki National Park is also a home to indigenous communities known as the Batwa pygmies; these are the group of people who have lived in the forested areas for many years. Cultural encounters and village visits provide insights into the traditional lifestyles, customs, and beliefs of these local communities. Cultural tours offer the opportunity to visit Pygmy villages, participate in traditional activities, and gain insights into the indigenous knowledge of the forest and its resources

Birding Excursions in Semliki National Park

Best time for birding excursions in Semliki National Park

Bird watching in Semliki National Park can be done all year round though the best time is during the dry season in the months of March to May and September to November. During this period, there is less rainfall in the park therefore you will be able to view colourful and migratory bird species from November to April.


Visitors planning to go a Uganda birding safari in Semliki National Park shouldn’t worry about where to stay, the park has a number of safari accommodation facilities catering to all classes of visitors with well established furniture’s and comfortable environment such as Semliki safari lodge, Ntoroko game lodge, Kirimia Guesthouse, Hotel Vanilla, UWA Bandas and Camps, Nyati Game lodge, Aramaga Rift Valley Lodge, Fort Heights Homestay among others

Semliki National Park is not just a birding paradise but also a place dedicated to conservation and sustainability. By visiting the park, you actively contribute to the preservation of these unique ecosystems and their inhabitants. The revenue generated from tourism supports local communities, which, in turn, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the park’s natural heritage. It’s a win-win situation for both bird enthusiasts and the environment.

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