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Batwa pygmies in Semuliki national park

Batwa pygmies in Semuliki national park It used to be home to these short people in Uganda located in the western part of Uganda in Bundibugyo

Batwa pygmies in Semuliki national park

Batwa pygmies in Semuliki national park: Semuliki national park is one of the national parks in the country that used to be home to the Batwa pygmies in Uganda. Semuliki national park is located in the western part of Uganda in Bundibugyo district covering a total area of 220 sq. km. The small-sized national park used to be home to the Batwa pygmies who used to live alongside park animals.

Batwa pygmies lived in Semuliki national park for their whole life not until 1993 when the government decided to gazette the area as a national park. The Batwa were evicted from the Semuliki forest to go and settle in the nearby areas. This was done by Uganda Wildlife Authority to give the wildlife freedom and also protect other attractions within the park.

When the Batwa pygmies left the forest, they settled in the areas close to the national park and today tourists can find them in two villages. Ntandi village and Boma village are where tourists can find the Batwa pygmies in Semuliki national park. Some have tried to keep their culture while others have done intermarriages with other people.

A cultural tour to Ntandi or Boma village will take you to the homes of the Batwa pygmies. A guide from within the community is the one that takes you to different homes of the Batwa where you interact with the locals and he or she acts as a translator.

Visiting the Batwa gets you involved in different activities that take place within the community. Tourists can cook and have lunch or dinner with the Batwa if they want to taste African foods. There can be a visit to the traditional healers where tourists get to know how different herbs are used as local medicine.

Visiting the old men of the community will give a chance to know the stories of long ago. These elders tell stories of how they used to live in the jungle alongside animals. They will tell the different foods they used to eat, herbs they used, and how they hunted different animals for meat. At the end of the visit there are always traditional dancers who entertain tourists through dance and drama.

How much does it cost to see the Batwa pygmies of Semuliki national park?

For any tourists to visit the Batwa pygmies of Semuliki national park, they are required to pay a certain amount of money. This money is given to the communities of the Batwa to invest in their small businesses and also improve their way of living. To see the batwa pygmies, it’s $10 for foreign and non-foreign residents and citizens of East African member states pay UGX10,000.

Other things to see in Semuliki national park

Bird species in semuliki

Over 435 bird species are living in Semuliki national park and tourists can see most of them on a birding exercise. It’s said that 23 of these bird species are endemic to the Albertine region and are not seen anywhere in the country. Apart from the Batwa pygmies, tourists will be able to see several bird species if they use good birding guides.

Bird species in semuliki national park include shoe bill stork, Ross’s Turaco, Blue-billed malimbe, White-crested hornbill, Black-dwarf hornbill, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, White thighed hornbill, Orange Cheeked waxbill, Spot-breasted Ibis, Yellow-throated cuckoo, Long tailed hawk, White-tailed Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Rufous-sided broadbill, White-throated Blue Swallow, Northern bearded scrub robin, and Crested Malimbe.

Other Bird species in semuliki park are Black-Dwarf hornbill, Black-Dwarf hornbill, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Capuchin babbler, Forbe’s plover, Leaf-love, Zenker’s honeyguide, Red-bellied Malimbe, Long-tailed Hawk, Sassi’s olive greenbul, Purple-breasted sunbird, Nkulengu rail, Northern bearded scrub robin, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Yellow-throated nicator, Red-thighed Sparrow hawk, and Orange-cheeked Waxbill.


Semuliki national park is a famous destination when it comes to butterflies for it has the highest number in the whole country. The national park has 448 butterfly species which tourists can see when they walk around the park. Butterfly watching in Semuliki national park will give tourists an opportunity to see more than half of the recorded species if they give the activity time.

Butterflies to see in Semuliki national ark include Peneleos Acraea, hill bush brown, common mother of pearl, choroclanis virescens, euphaedra hollandi, euphaedra edwardsii, cymothoe confusa, andriasa contraria, violet banded palla, common glider, veined swordtail, savanna pathfinder, euphaedra eberti, euphaedra alacris, forest glade nymph, soldier commodore, becker’s creamy yellow glider, and euphaedra rattrayi.

Chirinda bush brown, rhipidarctia crameri, common palm forester, euriphene saphirina, zebra pyrale, common nephele, cadarena pudoraria, coffee berry moth, boisduval’s tree nymph, toothed stately bush brown, marcipalina umbrosa, neuroxena ansorgei, variegated pearl, amata marina, haritalodes polycymalis, marcipalina conjuncta, orange streak Acraea, sarothroceras banaka, and chiasmia fulvisparsa to mention but a few.

Hot springs

Inside Semuliki national park tourists find two host springs one called the female and the other called the male. Tourists can visit any they want or even both of them but the female hot spring is the most loved one with a geyser that gushes out water up to 2 meters in the air. At the female hot spring, the water is too hot over 100 degrees Celsius and it can even boil eggs. The male hot spring is just a pool of hot water but not as hot as the one in the female hot spring.

Best time to visit Semuliki national park

Tourists can visit Semuliki national park at any time of the year however there is the dry season which is the best time to visit Semuliki park. The dry season happens from June to September and December to February and it’s characterized by little rainfall and plenty of sunshine which favors most of the activities in the park. During the dry season, the vegetation is short with good views of wildlife and the roads leading to the park are passable.

Tourists, especially budget travelers can visit Semuliki national park in the rainy season when the lodges are giving out discounts. The rainy season occurs from March to May and October to November when the park is receiving plenty of rainfall. A few tourists visit the park because the rain makes the walking trails muddy and slippery and the vegetation grows too tall giving unclear views of animals.

Getting to Semuliki to visit the Batwa pygmies

Tourists can access Semuliki national park to visit the Batwa pygmies using road transport. Road transport is the most used mode transport type by tourists who visit Semuliki national park because it’s affordable. From Kampala, tourists go through Mityana, Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Fort Portal, and finally Bundibugyo where the park is located. Tourists who use road transport to get to Semuliki national park always get great views of different attractions along the way.

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