Tour to Semiliki National park inside the African Rift Valley
August 21, 2010
Another long day drive on very bad roads, traveling from Kibale forest to the next destination of our Uganda safari tour: Queen Elizabeth National park. Along the way, we stop in Semiliki (or Semuliki) park, in the middle of the great African Rift Valley, interesting for hot springs and a rainforest hosting many primates, frogs and snakes. Semiliki is one of the youngest national parks in Uganda.
Continuing our safari in Uganda to the south, we cross the city of Fort Portal, where people carry an incredible weight over just small bikes. The destination of today is Queen Elizabeth national park, south of the equator, with a stop in the young Semiliki (or Semuliki) national park. The road is again very bumpy and dusty for most of the day.
The road going from Fort Portal to Semiliki national park goes along a picturesque canyon. The road is very bad, however chinese and japanese companies are rebuilding it.
Once again, we get a magnificent view onto african Rift Valley (also called Great Rift Valley), the big tectonic fault created by the separation of the arabian plate from the african plate. The river seen in the picture marks the state border line between Uganda and Congo.
We meet another Rainbow lizard ( Agama agama
), a colorful lizard widely diffused in Uganda.
We get to the basement of the Great Rift Valley, where the earth crust's thickness is much smaller if compared to the rest of Africa. Here there are hot water springs where the water's temperature is around the boiling point.
Hot water springs in the Great Rift Valley.
From the roof of Semiliki national park's briefing bungalow, a snake, identified by our national park guide as a Green Mamba, comes down while eating another reptile (the tail of the prey is visible out of the snake's mouth, although the gray color gets confused with concrete's color). This snake is very poisonous, as it may kill even a giraffe or a lion.
We hike in the rainforest along a trail maintained by the national park authorities. The vegetation is made of many palm trees and other typical trees.
We see a small squirrel over a palm tree.
Once out from the rainforest, we cross a wide swamp walking over suspended catwalk.
This water hole can be a deadly trap because it's more than 6 meters deep and after falling inside is almost impossible to come out.
We reach another hot springs area within Semuliki national park.
As the water is close to the boiling point, it's best to not get too close to the pool.
Once back in the forest, we see these flowers coming out directly from the ground. They are used by locals as a remedy for ear infections.
We meet a Blue Monkey ( Cercopithecus mitis
) and then a Grey-Cheeked Mangabey ( Lophocebus albigena
), two nice monkeys feeding on the fruits displayed on the picture to the left.
After a two hours tour of Semiliki National Park, we continue southward to Queen Elizabeth where, just before the sunset, we cross the equator line, entering the southern hemisphere.