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Combined wildlife safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest

Combined wildlife safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest located in the western part of Uganda in Bundibugyo and Fort Portal respectively

Combined wildlife safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest

Combined wildlife safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest: Both Semuliki national park and Kibale forest national park are located in the western part of Uganda in Bundibugyo and Fort Portal respectively. These two national parks were gazetted by the government of Uganda and are being managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The government agency has played a big role in protecting these national parks together with their attractions that bring people from different parts of the country.

Both Semuliki national park and Kibale forest national park are great safari destinations. This is because they have different attractions meaning that a tourist who visits both national parks does get an opportunity to see multiple attractions some of which can never be seen if one visits a single park.

The park is famous for hot springs and butterflies while Kibale forest national park is famous for its chimpanzees. A combined safari in Semuliki and Kibale forest national park is for tourists who have enough time on the safari and those who can afford visiting both the national parks. Below are the top activities tourists can do on a combined safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest national park.

Combined wildlife safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest

Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park

Kibale forest national park has the highest number of chimpanzees in the whole of Uganda so tourists on a combined safari in Semuliki and Kibale can do chimpanzee trekking in Kibale. Yes, there are chimpanzees in Semuliki national park but there are so many of them in Kibale forest national park.

Chimpanzee trekking is best done in Kibale national park because their tourists have more than 95% chance of seeing chimpanzees. Chimpanzee trekking in Semuliki national park starts at 7 a.m. and all trekkers must be having chimpanzee trekking permits. The activity starts with a briefing from the park rangers who teach the rules and regulations of the activity. Groups not exceeding 8 people are led by armed ranger guides in the jungle who protect the tourists and also help in looking for chimpanzees.

Searching for chimpanzees in Kibale forest national park takes 3 to 5 hours and even more but when the tourists locate them, they are given 1 hour to be around them and this helps them to know about their habits, watch them do daily activities, and take photos/videos among others. After spending time with the chimpanzees, tourists are brought back to the starting points where they connect with the drivers.

Bird watching

This is an activity bird lovers can do in either Semuliki national park or Kibale forest national park. Semuliki national park hosts 435 bird species and kibale forest national park 372 with 4 not recorded anywhere in the country. Birders can try bird watching in all national parks if they have time and this will increase the number of birds to see.

Some of the birds to see in Kibale forest national park include Green breasted pitta, collared appalis, African pitta, great blue turaco, crowned eagle, blue-headed sunbird, blue-headed bee-eater, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, white-naped pigeon, Rwenzori apalis, purple breasted sunbird, hairy breasted barbet, papyrus canary, chocolate backed kingfisher, African shrike flycatcher, Narina trogon, African pipit, African firefinch, shy flycatcher, chestnut wattle eye, speckled mousebird, and swallow-tailed bee-eater.

Some of the bird species to see in this park are the Shoebill stork, Grant’s bluebill, Black-dwarf hornbill, yellow-throated nicator, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, White thighed hornbill, Great blue Turaco, Xavier greenbul, Forbe’s plover, Long-tailed Hawk, Crested Malimbe, Red-billed Dwarf hornbill, Spot-breasted Ibis, Yellow-throated cuckoo, White-tailed Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, and Red-thighed Sparrow hawk among others.

Cultural tours

In Semuliki national park tourists who love culture visit Ntandi village and Boma village while in Kibale forest national park cultural tours are done in Bigodi village. In Semuliki national park tourists meet the batwa who at once lived in the forest of the park. Today they live around the park where tourists can meet and interact with them.

A visit to the Batwa is led by a local guide from the community who knows well about the area. Upon arrival, the tourists are welcomed by traditional dancers who entertain guests through dance and drama. The local guide then takes tourists around the community where they visit different homes and interact with the local people. Elders tell stories of long ago and the people tell how they live their day to day life.

In Kibale national park, tourists visit the Bigodi community where they visit different homes. Tourists can visit a home of coffee, a traditional healer, or the home of banana juice makers. A local guide takes you to these homes where you see how coffee is made, how banana juice is made, and when one visits the traditional healers, they will learn how different plants are used as local medicine.

Visiting the hot springs

Hot springs on this safari are found in Semuliki and they are two in number. The female hot spring that has a geyser that gashes out water about 2 meters in the air and then the male hot spring has a pool of hot water but not as hot as that in the female hot springs. A short walk with the guides will take you to these hot springs where you will be able to take videos and photos while they tell stories of how they were scientifically formed.

Getting to Semuliki national park and Kibale forest

Tourists can get to Semuliki and Kibale forest national park using road transport or air transport. Road transport is the most common mode of transport where tourists from Kampala/Entebbe go through Mityana, Mubende, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, and Fort Portal where kibale national park is located. Those visiting Semuliki first continue to Bundibugyo national park where the Semuliki is found.

Luxury travelers or those who hate to travel long distances can use air transport to get to Semuliki national park and Kibale forest national park. Kasese Airstrip is the closest to this national park but again tourists will have to use road transport to get to any of the parks. Aerolink Uganda and Bar Aviation Uganda are some of the airline companies that have flights to Semuliki and Kibale forest national park from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airstrip.

The best time to have a combined safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest

Tourists can have a safari in Semuliki national park and Kibale forest at any time of the year however some months are better than others. The dry season from June to September and December to February is the best time to have this safari because these months have little or no rainfall and plenty of sunshine. The walking trails in both parks are dry and easier to go through and the vegetation is short with good views of attractions in the park.

Tourists can still have a safari in Semuliki and Kibale during the rainy season from March to May and October to November. This season is good for budget travelers because the lodges give discounts but tourists should come knowing that there is plenty of rainfall in the park that makes the walking trails muddy and slippery and the vegetation is too thick with unclear views of wildlife.

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