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Flying safaris to Semuliki national park

Flying safaris to Semuliki national park one of the newly gazetted parks in Uganda situated in Bundibugyo district on the borders of DR Congo

Flying safaris to Semuliki national park

Flying safaris to Semuliki national park: Semuliki national park is one of the newly gazetted national parks in Uganda situated in Bundibugyo district on the borders of DR Congo. The national park was gazetted in 1993 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority to protect the vegetation and the different attractions that were inside there. Today, Semuliki national park protects 435 bird species, 448 butterfly species, 53 mammals, and 9 primates.

Semuliki national park is one of the most visited national parks in western Uganda because of its attractions. Apart from the wildlife, the national park hosts 2 hot springs, and being a former home of the Batwa pygmies tourists can find them around the park boundaries. Tourists can always visit Semuliki national park for different activities any time of the year for the park is always open.

Semuliki national park can be accessed by road transport or air transport in a single day. Some tourists don’t like to travel for long distances but prefer to fly by air. Tourists should know that there are no airstrips in Semuliki national park but there are ones near the park. Kasese airstrip is the closest to Semuliki national park which tourists can use on their flying safari.

Flying safaris to Semuliki national park

Kasese airstrip is the closest airstrip to Semuliki national park which tourists can use. Different airline companies transfer tourists from Entebbe International Airport and Kajjansi Airstrip to Kasese Airstrip. This helps tourists to reduce on the time of travel and also save them from the bumpy roads of Uganda.

To have a flying safari to Semuliki national park, you must talk with your tour operator in advance of 3 to 4 months or even more. This helps the local tour operator to book with the airline company early enough. Flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip take 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach Kasese airstrip.

From Kasese airstrip, tourists always use road transport to connect to Semuliki national park which is located not so far away. To drive to Semuliki national park from Kasese, tourists go through Fort Portal and then Bundibudyo where the park is located taking about 2 hours. Flying safaris are used by tourists who want to travel in a luxury style and those who want to reach the park in a faster way.

Things to do on a flying safari in Semuliki national park

Bird watching

Semuliki national park is a good birding destination with over 435 bird species that have been so far recorded. Bird watching is one of the popular activities done here since the park is one of the best birding destinations in western Uganda. 23 of the 435 bird species are said to be endemic to the Albertine region meaning people who visit the park get a chance to see some of them.

With a good birding guide and your birding equipment, you will be able to see birds of Semuliki national park like Congo serpent eagle, Great blue Turaco, Northern bearded scrub robin, shoe bill stork, Grauer’s cuckoo-shrike, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, yellow-throated nicator, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Black-dwarf hornbill, black-chinned quailfinch, pale-fronted negrofinch, Fire-crested Alethe, African pygmy goose, Xavier greenbul, great white pelican, Long-tailed hawk, and swamp palm bulbul.

Other birds to see on a flying safari in Semuliki national park include Orange Cheeked waxbill, Blue-billed malimbe, Rufous-sided broadbill, Green-tailed bristlebill, Black-Dwarf hornbill, Gabon woodpecker, Red-billed dwarf hornbill, White-bellied kingfisher, Ross’s Turaco, White-crested hornbill, Purple-breasted sunbird, Long-tailed Hawk, Yellow-throated Nicator, Yellow-throated cuckoo, and Spot-breasted Ibis to mention but a few.

Butterfly watching

Semuliki national park is not only famous for hot springs and birds but also for its highest population of butterflies. The national park has a recorded number of 448 butterfly species making it the national park with the highest number of butterflies in the country. Butterfly watching is one of the activities that can be done within Semuliki on a flying safaris.

Tourists can look for butterflies with a well-trained guide and a butterfly guide around the park to see these beautiful creatures. Butterflies to look out for in Semuliki include andriasa contraria, bicyclus, bicyclus alboplagus, becker’s creamy yellow glider, mylantria xanthospila, euphaedra eberti, cymothoe Cyclades, boisduval’s tree nymph, common glider, forest glade nymph, spiny bollworm, and sarothroceras banaka.

Other butterflies are small black bush brown, soldier commodore, choroclanis virescens, euphaedra rattrayi, veined swordtail, belenois solilucis, blue monarch, cymothoe ochreata, common blue banded forester, little pansy, polyptychus carteri, mulberry hawkmoth, common mother of pearl, widespread forester, common glassy Acraea, cucumber moth, euphaedra edwardsii, and biston abruptaria to mention but a few.

Chimpanzee trekking

On your safaris to Semuliki national park, instead of moving to Kibale forest national park for chimpanzee trekking you can do it within the park. Semuliki has chimpanzees that have been habituated for trekking and are used to human presence around them. Chimpanzee trekking will allow you to get close to chimpanzees in their natural habitat where you will be able to take photos and record videos.

Chimpanzee trekking needs one to purchase a chimpanzee permit and they must be aged 12 years and above. The activity starts at the park headquarters with a briefing where trekkers are taught the rules of the activity. Armed ranger guides lead trekkers in the jungle and look for chimpanzees until they locate them. During the search, the tourists are able to see different wildlife in the park.

Community tours

On flying safaris to Semuliki national park, tourists who have free time can take a visit to the Batwa communities. The Batwa of Semuliki national park live in areas like Ntandi and Boma where they relocated after being evicted from the jungle. Tourists can meet the Batwa to learn about their life in the jungle and today, see their way of living, and in the end get entertained by traditional dancers.

When to have a flying safari to Semuliki national park?

Luxury travelers can have a flying safari to Semuliki national park at any time of the year however some months are better than others. The dry season months have been proven to be the best time of the year to visit Semuliki national park on a flying safari. June to September and December to February have little or no rainfall and plenty of shine which favors flights and most of the activities in the park.

Tourists who get time in the rainy season can also have a flying safari in Semuliki national park because the park is always open. The rainy season happens from March to May and October to November and tourists should know that it’s a rainy season within the park. Heavy rainfall and little sunshine are received which means that the park is muddy and slippery and the vegetation is tall with unclear views of animals.

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