MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
The World’s Greatest Waterfall
Murchison falls National Park lies at the Northern end of the Albertine Rift valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savannah, first gazetted as a game reserve in 1926. It is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and over 450 birds.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant Rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the rivers energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. At Murchison falls, the Nile squeezes through 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devils Cauldron” creating a trademark rainbow.
This stretch of the River provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents
The park can be accessed by road with a number of routes that can be used to reach the Nile at Paraa at the heart of Murchison falls conservation area. The river here is crossed using a ferry which runs at hourly intervals throughout the day.
Two southern gates lead to the park which include; the one which passes through Masindi to Bugungu gate via Budongo forest and a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across lake Edward Albert towards the mountains in the Congo, And from Kampala to Masindi via Kampala Masindi highway with a chance on the way to track the Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary leading to Paraa, the heart of Murchison Falls National park.
The park can also be accessed from the northern part through Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from Kampala-Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma falls Bridge in the north eastern corner of the park. These Gates are convenient to visitors travelling from/to Gulu town and Kidepo National Park.
BY AIR TRANSPORT: Pakuba airfield from north Paraa, can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrrip near Kampala. Other Airfields in the park include: Chobe and Bugungu near Murchison Falls in the south.
ACTIVITIES IN THE PARK
BIRDING: Both game drives and launch trips offer an opportunity to come across distinct birdlife including savannah forest birds, water birds and the Albert Rift endemics. Shoebill is the main birding attraction in this park as it’s a resident in the park.
GAME DRIVES: Game drives are commonly done in the northern part of the park, around the Buligi tracks is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animals in the Nile valley. The guide will have a good idea where the Lions are hiding and you may even spot Leopard at dusk.
HIKING AND NATURE WALKS: The vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding Conservation area can be explored on foot. Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests provide sightings of many primates including the Chimps and birds, while around the NileDelta, 2-4 hour guided swamp walks offer possible shoebill sightings. Hiking the top of the falls is another fascinating activity as you need to prepare your body and brains; it is exciting seeing the strongest water falls.
LAUNCH TRIPS / BOAT CRUISES: The launch trip upstream from Paraa presents astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with the memorable frontal view of the Falls. Recommended for birders is the morning cruise downstream to the Nile- Lake Albert Delta. Alternatively, a tranquil sundowner cruise offers the classic view of an equatorial sunset reflected on the river.
SPORT FISHING: The banks of Nile below Murchison falls provide exiting challenges to Anglers, living within strong currents and highly oxygenated water for the Nile perch. There is the chance to land a massive catch- the record is 108kg!
CULTURAL ENCOUNTERS: Energetic dancers from Mubako perform around the Lodge Campfire, making for a magical African experience at dusk. Boomu Women’s group offers accommodation, a craft shop and village tours, revealing the realities of life in this rural community.