Every year, over 10,000 avid birders come to this 220 sqkms Reserve with great expectations. In the end, they leave with a broad smile following a rewarding otherworldly experience. Not only does it have more than 460 recorded species, it offers nature lovers excellent encounters with them throughout the year.
Found in the Western arm of the East African Valley, a complex rift system that was formed 22–25 million years ago, Semuliki is a convergence of extensive miles of well conserved habitats. These include moist semi deciduous forests, aquatic arenas like ox-bow lakes, iron wood-dominant woodland, open savannahs, mountain parks and patches of swamp forest.
This diversity attracts all sorts of bird species that can prosper at an elevation between 670-760 meters above sea level; forest birds, near endemics, montane birds, savannah birds and lake dwelling birds.
The reserve prides in having Africa’s most stunning and sought-after birds like Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Congo Serpent Eagle, Black-wattled Hornbill, Long-tailed Hawk and Nkulengu Rail. Semuliki is one of the places in Africa with easy sightings of African crake, Standard-winged nightjar, Double-toothed barbet, Green wood-hoopoe, Moustached warbler, Red-throated bee-eater, Broad-billed roller, Piapiac and Black-chinned quailfinch among others.
The difference between a game park and a reserve is that unlike in the former, in the latter you don’t have to stick to the roads. Semuliki is a reserve, so our driver guide will take you super close to the varied habitats that you don’t need a zoom lens to be able to see birds. That aside, you do not have to worry about multiple vehicles to spoil the fun as there is a limit to the number of cars that get in per day. Semuliki has regular sightings of 131 species associated with the Congolese rainforest and all the usual tropical birds like Great white pelican, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Malachite kingfisher and African openbill among others.
If you wish to see Uganda’s most sought bird, the shoebill stork, we shall organize for you an ideal early morning boat cruise in Lake Albert.
Best time to visit
Migratory birds are best seen from November to April.