Murchison Falls National Park is one of the biggest National parks in Uganda which lies north western Uganda at the Albertine Rift Valley. The park was first gazetted as agame reserve in 1926. The park is sometimesreferred to as Kabalega National park and its now managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Murchison Falls National Park is located in Nwoya and Buliisa Districts.Murchison falls National Park is bisected by Victoria Nile from East to West for a distance of approximately 115 kilometres, The park gets its name from the Murchison falls Water falls where the Nile Squeeze through a narrow gorge.
The park is Uganda’s largest National Park which measures about 3840 square kilometres together with Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserve. The vegetation of the park is savannah, riverine forest and wood land.
Murchison Falls National Park is mostly known for its wildlife like giraffe, leopards, elephants, lions, Uganda kob and many others.Nocturnal species common in this area are; Spotted and Verreaux’s Owls, and a plethora of spectacular Nightjars, such as Long-tailed and Pennat-winged Nightjar, The mind-blowing Standard-winged Nightjar. Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are; Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, Blue-napped Mousebird, Spotted Mourning Thrush, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, and Green-winged Ptyilia, this is probably the best site for the localised White-rumped Seed-eater.
Murchison Falls Conservation Area offers the opportunity to explore the wild on foot. A trail at Paraa winds through riverine forest, low hills and gullies. Birds, animals and plants can be closely observed. Nature walks are offered at Rabongo Forest, Top of the Falls and Kaniyo Pabidi.
Accommodation ranges from campsites, lodges, hotels and guesthouse. Some of these are built on top of the falls. There are good facilities that are eco-friendly. Budget accommodation is also available for the budget tourists and places may include Red Chilli Rest Camp and Kaniyo Pabidi Camp. Tourists that love up market accommodation includeParaa safari lodges, Murchison river lodge, Sambiya river lodge and Nile safari camp. In Masindi, there are also luxury accommodations like Masindi Hotel and Court view hotels that have excellent services.
There are a number of routes that can be used to reach Murchison Falls National Park. From Kampala to Masindi town it can only take 4hours which is about 305km. Then the main route from Masindi can connect you to kichumbanyobo gate to pass through kaniyo Pabidi forest to Paraa which is about 85km.
Also one can use Kampala-Pakwach Road which is about 260km via chobe, Mubako, Tangi and Wankwar gates north of the Nile. These gates are convenient for visitor travelling to or from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.
ACITIVITIES IN MURCHISION FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Game Drives in Murchison Falls
A game drive around the Buligi game tracks is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animals in the Nile Valley. You may be in position to see lions and leopards.
Birding in Murchison Falls
Both the game drives and the launch trips give a chance for one to see distinct birdlife which include savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill which is best sighted in the dry season of January-March.
Launch Trips in Murchison Falls
The launch trip which starts from Paraa presents an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with the memorable view of the Falls. A morning cruise downstream to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta is recommended for birders. Also a tranquil sundowner cruise offers the classic view of an equatorial sunset reflected on the river.
Cultural Encounters in Murchison Falls
Dancers from Mubako perform around lodge campfires and make a magical African experience at dusk. And Boomu Women’s Group gives accommodation, a craft shop and village tours seeing the realities of life in this rural community.
Hiking and Nature Walks in Murchison Falls
The vast landscapes and good scenery of Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding Conservation Area can be clearly viewed on foot. Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forests provide sightings of many primates and birds, while around the Nile Delta, 2-4 hour guided swamp walks offer possible Shoebill sightings.
Fishing is permitted in Murchison Falls though you have to first make bookings. Those who wish to fish have to come with the requirements. There are higher chances of landing on aumassive catch.