Murchison Falls National park
Murchison Falls National park.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park measuring approximately 3,893 square kilometers and managed by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. It is in north-western Uganda, spreading inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria Nile, up to the Karuma Falls. The park straddles the Ugandan districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi. The driving distance from Masindi, the nearest large town, to the Kibanda area of the national park is about 72 kilometers. This area is about 283 kilometers, by road, north-west of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 115 kilometers.
Murchison Falls Conservation Area and the adjacent Bugondo Forest Reserve have 76 species of mammals as well as Uganda’s largest population of Nile crocodiles with four members of the big five, the lion, the leopards, the elephants, and the Buffaloes. Other species include bush bucks, Uganda kob, water bucks and warthogs, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, hyenas. 450 bird species are present ranging from easy variety of water birds, including the rare shoe-billed stork, dwarf kingfisher, Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco.
Whether you visit by a boat cruise on the Victoria Nile or a safari tour, you don’t want to miss Murchison Falls in northwest Uganda. Here, you can witness enormous waters bursting through a narrow gorge before crashing in powerful, roaring cascades.
While you are visiting this breathtaking sight, you may also want to explore the surrounding protected area that makes up Murchison Falls Conservative Area to spot some of Africa’s icons such as African lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes, buffalo and more.
Activities in Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls National Park is a top safari destination with a growing number of travelers coming into Uganda for wildlife tours. Travelers to Murchison falls National Park has a variety of activities to do depending on their travel interests and time. With no doubt, the park is Uganda’s most visited tour destination for most if not all travelers to the pearl of Africa and below are popular activities to do in Murchison falls National Park
Murchison Falls is the world’s most powerful waterfall. The most magnificent view of the water falls is on the top of where the sight and sound of the Nile roaring through a wide. The site which can be reached either by car and a 30 minutes climb or leaving the Paraa launch boat cruise. There is another fall in the distance and that is Uhuru Falls which means in English – Freedom Falls and the hike has become a favorite with visitors to the park.
The park is also composed of woodland, wetland, Savannah as well as the tropical forest that is well known to be a habitat for different bird species and mammals. Among the mammals, many can be spotted including the lions, hippopotamuses, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthog, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, Jackson’s-hartebeest and elephants. Game drives take place early in the morning and a tourist is able to see plenty of game. At Nyamsika Cliffs is where one can enjoy a picnic, the view and gaze at elephants and other wildlife on the green grassy hillsides and river below. Game drives are exquisite when accompanied by a tour guide. The best time for game drive is during the dry season.
The Launch trip begins at Paraa landing area at the point where river Nile enters into Lake Albert and takes you to the bottom of the falls. While on the cruise you will sight hippos, water bucks, crocodiles, buffaloes and elephants. You will also see water birds such as cormorants, Fish eagles, ducks, Kingfishers, bee-eaters and the shoe bill. Cruise takes you for 17Km from the bottom of the falls at Paraa for 3hours. Cruise from Paraa to River Delta is 28km and takes about 4-5hours. Fishing is available in the river above and below the fall. Do bring your own fishing equipment if you’re interested in finishing. Examples of fish available in the river to catch are Nile perch, tiger fish and more
Bird Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are, Spotted Mourning Thrush, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, Blue-napped Mouse bird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver Black-headed Gonolek, Green-winged Ptyilia, and Black-headed Batis, this is the best site for the localized White-rumped Seed-eater. Common Nocturnal Species in the area include Verreaux’s owls, Night jars such as long tailed and Pennat-winged night jar which usually is watched between the months of March – September. Also available is the amazing standard-winged night jar, other bird species include, African Skimmer, White African fish eagle, long-toed plover, Gray Crowned crane, Goliath Heron
Tourists get to explore the wild on foot while in Murchison Falls Conservation area. There is a trail at Paraa winds throughout low hills, gullies and forest around the river. Nature walks happen at top of the falls, KaniyoPabidi and Rabongo Forest. With a tour guide, one can explore primates like the Red tailed monkeys, Black & white colored monkeys, Chimpanzees, birds, trees and medicinal plants. Kanio Pabidi is a serene area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature Mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the Chocolate backed Kingfisher, the White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvell’s Illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! Kaniyo Pabidi is on the Masindi – Paraa road, 8 kms from Kichumbanyobo gate.