Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993.

It is the only tract of true lowland tropical forest in East Africa, hosting 441 recorded bird species and 53 mammals.

Large areas of this low-lying park may flood during the wet season, a brief reminder of the time when the entire valley lay at the bottom of a lake for seven million years.

Four distinct ethnic groups live near the park – Bwamba farmers live along the base of the Rwenzori while the Bakonjo cultivate the mountain slopes. Batuku cattle keepers inhabit the open plains and Batwa, pygmies, traditionally hunter gathers, live on the edge of the forest.

Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The Park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.

The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.

While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.

This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

The neighboring towns of Buhoma and Nkuringo both have an impressive array of luxury lodges, rustic bandas, and budget campsites, as well as restaurants, craft stalls, and guiding services. Opportunities abound to discover the local Bakiga and Batwa Pygmy cultures through performances, workshops, and village walks.

Park Activities

What to do

Park Accommodation

where to stay

There are several accommodation options available in Sempaya Hot Springs, Ntandi Road, Semliki River or outside in Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve


Kirimia Guesthouse

  • Kirimia Village, 100 from the Kirimia trailhead and 10km from Sempaya towards Bundibugyo

National Park Bandas and Campsite

  • Halfway between Sempaya and Ntandi on the main Bundibugyo Road

Sempaya Rest Camp – Coming soon


Semliki Safari Lodge


Mountains of the Moon Hotel

Kyaninga Lodge

Ruwenzori View Guesthouse

Eriba Guesthouse

  • 22 Njara Road, Fort Portal
  • Tel: +256 712 446304

Tooro Resort

  • Tel: +256 382 275363
  • Mobile: +256 772 671508, +256 772 888900
  • Email:,
  • Website:

Rujuna Guesthouse

  • Tel: +256 483 425077
  • Mobile: +256 784 789246, +256 701 930608, +256 703 037371
  • Email:,

Riviera Inn

  • Tel +256 772 681817
  • 1km past the Mountains of the Moon Hotel, on the outskirts of Fort Portal

Fort Motel

  • Tel: +256 414 232657
  • Mobile: +256 772 367972, +256 772 731307, +256712 220259

Rwenzori Travellers Inn

Continental Hotel

  • Plot 3, Lugard Road, Fort Portal
  • Tel: +256 772 333440, +256 772 484842

Palace Motel

  • Plot 33, Muzosi Road, Fort Portal
  • Tel: +256 772 837226, +256 772 6776677
  • Email:

Palace View Hotel

  • See location on interactive map

Soka Hotel

  • Tel: +256 483 422238
  • Mobile: +256 772 472320

Wooden Hotel

  • 4 Kyebambe Road, Fort Portal
  • Mobile: +256 772 402770

Kenneth Inn

  • Rukidi Street, opposite Centenary Bank
  • Tel: +256 772 992076

Exotic Lodge

  • Next to Kabarole Tours Office, behind Don’s Plaza, Fort Portal. See interactive map.

Youth Encouragement Services


Hotel Vanilla

  • Bundibugyo

Picfare Guesthouse

  • Bundibugyo

Semliki Guest House

  • Bundibugyo