Murchison Falls national park lies in the northern end of the Western/ Albertine rift valley and is Uganda’s largest National park covering an area of 3800 sq. kmWhere the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into the vast palm dotted savannah, this was first gazette as a game reserve in 1926 and is the largest conservation area and oldest hosting 76 mammal species and 451 bird species.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile River which plunges 45m over the remnantrift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison falls, which the name of the whole entire park originated from, the Centre piece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of the rapid. The mighty cascade drains the last of the rivers energy transforming it into a broad placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley flow into Lake Albert. At Murchison falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron” Creating trade mark rainbow, This stretch of the River provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles.
Regular visitors to the River banks include Elephants, giraffes, buffalos, and waterbucks; while Hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents there.
Activities in Murchison falls National Park
Budongoforest: This is a surrounding part of Murchison Falls conservation area which is forested and encompasses Kaniyo pabidi and Rabongo forests, it provides visitors sightings of many primates and birds on foot through Nature walks. Here the attraction is to track the Habituated communities of Chimpanzees and due to its uniqueness of having some rare birds, its regarded to be a good spot in search of Puvles illadopsis, Nahans fracolins, crested francolins, Narinas trogon and many more.
Both the Game drives and the Launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah, forest birds water birds, and Albertine rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill best sighted in dry season January – March.
A game drive around the Buligi game tracks on the northern bank is the fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of game animals in the Nile valley such as Elephants giraffes, buffalos, Uganda Kob, waterbuck, Hartebeest, Oribi, Warthogs, jackals, hyenas, mangoose, Pastas monkey and many more. Your guide will have a good idea where the lions are hiding and you may even spot a leopard at dusk.
The launch trip upstream from Paraa presents an astonishing display of wild life and culminates with the memorablefrontal view of the falls. Recommended for birders is a morning cruise downstream on the Nile to the Albert Delta. Alternatively, a tranquil sundowner cruise offers the classic view of an equatorial sun set reflected on the River.
The banks of the Nile below Murchison falls provide exiting Challenges to anglers,living with in strong currents and highly oxygenated water is the Nile perch. There is the chance to land on a massive catch-record is 108kgs.
Energetic dancers from Mubako perform around lodge campfires, making for a magical African experience at dusk. Boomu Women’s group offers accommodation, a craft shop and a village tours revealing the realities of life in this rural community.
Accessibility to the park
A number of routes can be used to reach the Nile at Paraa, the heart of Murchison falls conservation area. The river is crossed here using a vehicle ferry which runs at roughly hourly intervals throughout the day. There are 4 entrance gates namely;
Southern entrance gate of Kichumbanyobo from Masindi that is roughly 5hr drive from Kampala
And along the way to Masindi is the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, a home to the only wild Rhinos in Uganda. You can track them on foot and support this important initiative to reintroduce Rhinos to protected areas, visit www.rhinofund.org for more information.
A longer but more scenic alternative runs for135km from Masindi to the parks Bugungu gate, This route includes the passage through Budongo forest or turning at Biso through Hoima town and center for Bunyoro Kingdom, the chances here are to seememorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across Lake Albert towards the mountains of the Congo.
Northern Entrance gate
Murchison falls can also be accessed from Chobe, Wankwar, MUbako and Tangi gates north of the Nilefrom the Kampala Pakwach road which crosses the Nile at Karuma falls Bridge in the north eastern corner of the park which is approximately 260km from Kampala.