Semuliki National Park

Semuliki National Park

The 220 sq km National Park is Semuliki in the isolated Bundibugyo district, beyond the Rwenzori Mountains on the sole of the Semliki section of the Albertine Rift Valley. This mostly forested park represents the easternmost foothills of the great Ituri forest in the Congo Basin and is home to numerous species that are more central than East Africa assigned. Thatched huts stand in the shadow of West African oil palms, the Semliki River (which marks the border) is a miniature version of the Congo River and the local population including one dating from the Ituri Batwa (pygmies) is a community. As a result, a visit to Semuliki a taste of Central Africa, only a few hours drive away from the comforts of Kampala.

Semuliki is one of the most species-rich forests of Africa and particularly known for its diverse bird population. Biodiversity is enhanced by his advanced age, for he is one of the oldest forests in Africa at all. Due to the dry conditions during the last ice age to 12 - 8,000 years ago, most African forests declined or disappeared altogether. Only a few spots like Semuliki and Bwindi survived and gave the inhabitants of the forest refuge during the arid apocalypse until they finally come forth again, and were able to colonize a better, wetter world anew. Today, the valley Semuliki a greenhouse for plant growth, with temperatures rising up to sweltering 30 ° C, washed down by 1,250 mm of rain annually, mainly between March to May and September to December.

While Semulikis animal and plant life evolved for over 25,000 years, the park contains also evidence for even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from deep under Sempaya and illustrate the tremendous subterranean forces that have shaped the Rift Valley during the past 14 milllion years. The low-lying park extends to the sinking of the sole of the Rift Valley, mostly only 670 m above sea level. Large areas may flood during the rainy seasons, short memories of the time, as was the entire valley for 7 million years on the bottom of a lake.

The Semuliki Forest Reserve was created in 1932 when the forest villages have been evacuated as a measure to control sleeping sickness and yellow fever. The Forest Reserve was collected in 1993 in a national park status.

Flora und Fauna

Classified as a moist, semi-evergreen forest Semuliki is the only area with real lowland rain forest in East Africa. The center of the forest dominated by Cynometra (iron wood), but the edges are appealing variety, with around marshy floodplain forest along the Semliki River and a beautiful mixed forest to Sempaya.

Thrive as a spill-over effects of the Ituri forest in the Congo Basin in Semuliki 336 species of trees and live an extraordinary variety of mammals, birds and butterflies. This is the great age of the forest, its transitional position between Central and East Africa and the diversity of habitats, especially forest, swamp and savannah due.

The bird life is with 441 recorded species, or 40% of all 1007 birds occurring in Uganda, particularly spectacular. 216 species are forest dwellers - 66% of all native forest birds in the country. The list is extended by the river habitat and an area of grass land in the east of the park. There are numerous rarities. 46 species of the Guinea-Congo biome come from nowhere else in East Africa, while another 35 are to be seen only at 2-3 other places in Uganda. Five species are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley ecosystem.

The forest is home to 53 different mammals, of which 27 to the larger mammals, and about as big as Duiker, count. Some are Central African species that occur nowhere else in East Africa. Forest elephant and buffalo are smaller versions of their relatives inhabit the savannah. In the Semliki river hippos and crocodiles, the forest is remarkably rich in primates. There are chimp Guereza, Zanzibar red colobus and blue monkeys and white-tailed-nose guenon, Brazza monkey, Vervet Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Dent's Mona monkey and baboon. On nocturnal primates Potto and Senegal-Galago are mentioned.

Sempaya Hot Springs

The hot springs are at Sempaya Semulikis most famous attraction. The two main sources are located on a lush swampy clearing in the southeast corner of the forest. The external source is located just a few minutes walk from the park office Sempaya away. It is dominated by a geyser boiling (103 ° C), which sprays up to 2 m high. It rises from a white base precipitated minerals from the appearance of a puderzuckeüberzogenen cake. Water gushes into the pelvis, in which eggs are cooked. The more distant inner source is reached after a 30-minute hike through a beautiful palm grove, before crossing the swamp on a catwalk. This is a further source of steaming pool of about 10 m in diameter.

Source: Uganda Wildlife Authority