Murchison Falls National park
Murchison falls national park is the largest and the oldest national park in Uganda. The park was first gazetted in 1926 as a game reserve. It was gazetted in 1952, it covers a total land area of 3,840 square kilometers. The popularity of the park is based on the world’s powerful waterfall that is Murchison falls that is found inside the park. This is the point where the world’s longest river is squeezed to through 8meters wide gorge and plunges with thunderous roar in the “devil’s Cauldron”
In 1951 one of the famous African movies called “the African queen” starring Humprey Bogart was filmed at the park. The park is bisected making it two parts the Northern part and the Southern part. The Victoria Nile plunges 45 metres over the remnant rift valley wall. It is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. Other parts of the conservation area include Karuma falls reserve, Bugungu wildlife reserve and others. It was renamed by Ugandan late president Idi Amin as Kabalega national park. After his death the park gained back its name as Murchison Falls national park.
Location of Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park lies at the Northern part of the Albertine Rift Valley. The park sweeps across the Buyoro escarpment tumbling into the vast, palm dotted savannah area. It takes 3 to 4 hours to drive from the capital Kampala covering a distance of 305 kilometers. The park can easily be accessed even by public means with a good highway connecting central Uganda and Northern pass through the park.
Animals and birds at Murchison falls
The Murchison falls, African big game, birds and Chimpanzees are the key attractions at the park. The Northern part of the park is dominated by savannah woodland and riverine forest. In the Southern part its dominated by the rain forests which inhabits primates and other forest species. The park hosts over 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds Some of the animals at the park include: Hippos, lions, leopards, Elephants, giraffes, oribi, Uganda Kob, Antelopes, giraffes and many others. Bird species include: Black-headed lapwing, Giant heron, Giant kingfisher, Shoebill stork, Black-bellied bustard, Abyssinian ground Hornbill, Gray crowned crane and many others
Boat / Launch Trip in Murchison falls
The boat cruise upstream from Paraa presents the guests with an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with a memorable frontal view of the falls. The boat cruise can also be done to the southern part along the Nile-Lake Albert Delta. The Albertine Delta is a good destination for the birders. This is the only place in Murchison where you can see Shoebill stork, kits also a good point for the sunset views.
The Paraa launch trip is done both in the morning and in the afternoon, the morning trip starts at 9am lasting for three hours. The afternoon launch trip starts at 2pm also lasting for 3 hours, the two hours for going and 1 hour of return. The boat cruise covers a distance of 17 kilometers from the starting part to the bottom of the falls. There is also spot fishing available near the bottom of the falls which can be done by the tourists with an extra fee paid for spot fishing.
Murchison falls national park is the oldest and largest national park in Uganda, its regarded as a birding paradise. The diversified ecosystem at the park has created a good fertile ground for the different bird species found at the park. The park hosts both water birds, Forester woodland birds and open savannah grassland birds. There are over 451 bird species that are easily seen at Murchison falls national park. Bird species include: Black-headed lapwing, Giant heron, Giant kingfisher, Shoebill stork, Black-bellied bustard, Abyssinian ground Hornbill, Gray crowned crane, African Skimmer and many others.
Like any other African wildlife safari, Game viewing is akey activity that is done at the park. Game viewing at Murchison national park is much rewarding especially during early morning game drives when nature is active. The game drives are done in the Northern part of the park which is dominated by the open savanna grassland. You will view animals in every close range at their natural habitats. Uganda safari to Murchison falls is the only safari where guests can see all the African big five after stopping at Ziwa for Rhinos. Some of the animals that can be seen include: Giraffes, Warthogs, Elephants, Baboons, Patas Monkey, Hippos, Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Buffaloes, oribi, and many more.
Chimpanzee tracking in Murchison falls is one of the activities which is remarkable. Not much famous but memorable. The tracking is done in Kaniyo Pabidi forest which is found inside Budongo forest in Murchison falls Conservation Area. The chimpanzee tracking starts early in the morning with the walk taking 2 to 5 hours depending on the movement of the Chimpanzees. You will also see other primates in the forest like Black and white colobus monkeys, Red tailed monkeys and many others.