Semliki is the only park in Uganda composed primarily of tropical lowland forest. The forest is very dense and quite flat, creating a startling contrast to the rugged Rwenzori Mountains nearby.
The Semliki River attracts many animals and the park is home to 8 species of primates, 400 birds, 300 butterfly species, Elephant, buffalo, leopard, civet, bush baby and flying squirrels.
Thatch huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, while the local population includes a Batwa (Pygmy) community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, a visit to Semliki provides a taste of Central Africa just a couple of hours from the comforts of Fort Portal.
There are 336 tree species recorded, of which 24 are restricted to the Park (like Isolana Congolana and Ejacis Guinness); 435 bird species (at least 40 of them are found nowhere else in Uganda); 63 mammals, like elephants, leopards, buffaloes (nowhere else are found flying squirrels, pygmy antelope and six types of bats); 9 primates (chimpanzee, blue monkey, vervet monkeys, baboon); at least 374 species of butterflies.
Natural walk from the headquarter at Sempaya gate down to the river Semliki, enjoying bird watching, butterflies, flowers and trees. Moreover there are two “hot springs” (one male, one female), situated in a tract of hot mineral encrusted swamp land, where visitors see a jet of hot water and a pool of boiling water for edibles like an egg.
There are two major roads from Kampala to Fort Portal: Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is about 180 Km. (about 4-5 hrs drive) while Kampala -Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese is about465 Km (7-8 hrs). In both routes 2-wheel drive vehicles can be useful. While the Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is much shorter, the Kampala-Fort Portal via Masaka, Mbarara and Kasese gives you opportunity to Visit Lake Mburo National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
From Fort Portal, A two to three hours drive on the rough road towards Bundibugyo will bring you to Sempaya Gate (52 Km). The Park headquarters at Ntandi is 5 Km further from the gate along the same route. A vehicle with high clearance is recommended.
Using public means you can take a taxi (mini bus) or a bus to Fort Portal. From the Taxi Park, board one of the pick-up trucks for Bundibugyo and stop at Sempaya Gate, which is well sign posted. Return trip will be by the same means but a void being too late (not later than 4.00 p.m.).