Semliki National Park is one of Africa’s most ancient and biodiverse forests, having survived the last ice age that ended approximately 11,700 years ago. Geological processes show the age of the forest with hot springs bubbling up from the depths, demonstrating the powerful subterranean forces that shaped the rift valley millions of years ago.

The park is located in the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of Rwenzori Mountains in western Uganda. The easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo River basin in DR Congo forms part of this national park.

The Semliki Valley also contains many features that are associated with central, rather than eastern Africa. The Semliki River is a miniature version of the Congo River, and the forest is also home to the many central African wildlife species, as well as the local population that includes the Batwa community that originate from the Ituri Forest.

The flora of the park is mainly filled by a single tree species, the Cynometraalexandri, mixed with other evergreen tree species and swamp species.

The fauna includes over 400 bird species of which 216 are true forest birds, like the Sassi’s olive greenbul and the forest ground thrush. The park is also home to over 53 mammals, with 11 of those being endemic species such as pygmy antelopes and two flying squirrel species. Other mammals include hippos, leopards, buffaloes, elephants, and the unique water chevrotain (mouse-deer) – also known as ‘fanged deer’.


The park gives visitors the most magical birding experiences, game drives, hiking and nature walks, visiting the female and male hot springs at Sempaya, cultural encounters and trails. 

The park can be visited at any time of the year.

How to get there

The park can be accessed through two routes. The longer route of Kampala-Fort portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese which is 465km (7-8hrs drive). This route offers a chance to stop at the Lake Mburo national park, Kyambura gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park, mountain Rwenzori and Kibale national park.

The other shortest route is Kampala-Fort portal via Mubende which is about 180km (4-5hrs drive).


The main accommodation facilities found in the park include Ntoroko Game Lodge, Semliki Safari Lodge and UWA Campsite &Bandas, Tooro resort, Kirimia Guest house and others.