Murchison Falls is Uganda’s largest national park and one of its very best; the wildlife is in abundant supply, the energetic Murchison waterfalls, where the Victoria Nile clatters through the rocks and inclines gaudily towards Lake Albert and this is an amazing unforgettable experience and sight. And a trip along the Nile should not be missed, not least in order to see the powerful Murchison Falls up close and this magical. Murchison Falls National Park has the unique discrepancy of having a river that flows through it and it’s just not any river but the historical and eminent River Nile. You cross the Nile through a safe Ferry, this is one of Africa’s natural spectacles the Murchison Falls is also the world’s most and powerful waterfall. The park has a very beautiful and rich history; Murchison Falls National Park was named by one of the British Explorers Sir Samuel Baker in the year 1864 after Sir Roderick Murchison who was by then the president of Britain’s Royal Geographical Society. Idi Amin Dada was a regular visitor to Murchison Falls and changed the name to Kabalega falls but then after his downfall, it reverted back to Murchison Falls. Hence the name Murchison Falls National Park.
Murchison falls befitted a movie star when the movie “African Queen” was filmed here with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart starring. Winston Churchill also visited the falls in 1907 and he was motivated by the journey that triggered him to write about it in his book “My African Journey “which was published in 1908. The British were not the only people who developed an interest to visit the Murchison falls but also other continents; American Conservation President Theodore Roosevelt also shot his ways through this park, killing everything in sight in 1909. And then Ernest Hemingway crashed here while he was flying over Murchison Falls as his plane hit a telegraph wire. The Murchison Falls National Park since then has been visited by both Royalty and commoner, in the year 2018, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and the rapper Sean Paul have all visited Murchison Falls National Park. So for over years and decades, Murchison Falls National Park has proved and made a name of its self to be among the must-visit destinations while on your Ugandan safari as well as African safari and it will and remains that way until date.
The park is Uganda’s largest wildlife reserve with a total area of approximately 3,840 square Kilometers in its size. Murchison Falls National Park is a must-see and visit. The park is located at the northern end of the Vast Albertine Western Rift Valley, where you find the mighty River Nile River. While on your journey to or from the park, you tumble down the Bunyoro escarpment onto the savannah plains, then continues its journey peacefully to south, north to the Mediterranean Sea. Murchison Falls is a place where one can enjoy their short Ugandan wildlife safari. It gives visitors a variety of things to do and see while on their safari, unlike other parks.
Murchison Falls National Park is endowed with a variety of breathtaking attractions, the park is blessed with about 76 mammal species with four members of the big five families and these include, the lion, leopard, Elephant, and buffaloes, and the most interesting thing is that you can see another member on your way to Murchison Falls National Park in Nakasongola district in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where Rhinos are now kept for safety purposes since they endangered so you can have your full list of your African big five complete during your Ugandan safari. Other species include Bushbucks, Uganda Kobs, warthogs, waterbucks, bush pigs, giraffes, hyenas, Jackson’s hartebeests, and so many more wildlife. Along the Nile shores within the waters, you will see the water infested with many schools of hippos and crocodiles among other daily resident creatures. Murchison falls also has several primates like Baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, black-faced vervet, red-tailed monkeys.
Murchison falls National Park, also being Uganda’s largest National Park it is home to over 500 bird species including the rare shoebill stork, the park is also home to the 23 Albertine rift Valley endemics due to its location in the western arm of the East African Rift Valley. So during your Murchison falls birding safari it gives chance you a chance to see all these bird species and many more other birds. The most interesting thing or most beautiful highlight of your Ugandan safari to Murchison Falls National Park is visiting the top of the falls, ‘Murchison Falls” a point along the Nile, within the park where the Nile forces its way through a narrow gorge about 8 meters wide. So a launch cruise upstream is very interesting and it offers magnificent views of the falls and several wildlife species found along the shores.
What to do while on your Murchison falls safari(activities)
The park has got plenty to offer in terms of activities that will spice up your safari. Here are some of the activities that you should not miss out on your safari to Murchison falls and while in the park and these are Game drives, boat cruise, bird watching, and nature walks, each of these activities is worth doing while on your safari and they are all paid for separately. And some other activities one can engage in include hiking to the top of the falls where you will have a clear view of the magnificent waterfall, most visitors are interested in hiking where they take a stroll from the bottom of the falls and ascend upwards to the top of the falls. This a thrilling experience as one feels so refreshed by the flashing waters that send off a cooling wave of water droplets and in most cases, these droplets form a beautiful rainbow which is really mesmerizing. and then for those that love primates Budongo Forest offers chimpanzee tracking activity in Budongo Forest where visitors will engage with primates.
Murchison Falls is the main attraction in the national park and the main reason why the national park took over the name Murchison Falls National Park. The Nile river falls into a gorge which is approximately 8meters wide at the point of the falls and later it falls about 45meters high and that creates a big splashing fog creating the magnificent Murchison falls, and this is an amazing experience to most visitors and anyone who is in love with nature as most of the tourist fall in love with this and they are seen taking a launch cruise at the forefront of the falls to catch the amazing scenery. And others prefer to take a hike to the top of the falls to just catch a glimpse of the falls from above and also feel the splashing water droplets give them a touch of freshness.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is a private and non-profit conservation project for the endangered rhinos in Uganda. The sanctuary proudly harbors a unique animal species called the white rhinos and it is the only place you can find the rhinos in Uganda after them being dwindling from Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park during the massive war in the year 1970s and together with the rampant poaching in the 90s. Many tourists that travel to Murchison falls National Park also opt not to miss a visit to the sanctuary as it holds a unique feature the white Rhinos.
Wildlife species are the most abundant in the park and are the main attractions that bring along a number of travelers from all over the world. During your Murchison falls safari you will be delighted to spot a variety of species of wildlife like lions, hyenas, buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, elephants, hippos, Uganda Kobs, bushbucks, waterbucks, warthogs, bush pigs, etc. As you continue to tour the national park, your sight will be caught by the different beautiful colors of the many kinds of bird species there like the Abyssinian birds, illadopsis pulveli, yellow-footed flycatcher, swamp flycatcher, pitta reinchenowi, parmoptilla woodhouse, shoebill, and so many more birds. The park is rich with bird species of over 500.
The forest is part of the Murchison falls national park conservation area(MFCA). Budongo forest is the one and only natural forest that has been in existence for centuries in Uganda. Budongo forest is a famous destination for chimpanzee safaris and nature walk safaris in Uganda. The fame of the forest is especially attributed to the fact that it continues to be the only naturally grown forest in Uganda over the years and it is a home for the endangered primate species, the chimpanzees. Budongo forest is under the watch care of the national forest’s Association (NFA). The works and programs of conservation in Budongo area are also partly shared by budongo conservation field station(BCFS) a non-government organization that works hand in hand with Makerere University to carry on the conservation projects of budongo forest also known as the conservation reserve.
Kaniyo padidi forest is a significant area in Murchison falls national park as well as in the tourism sector in Uganda, the forest is well known for its birdlife which supports birding watching safaris in Murchison falls national park. The forest can be found in the northeast of the major natural forest in Uganda. Budongo forest is managed by the Jane Goodall Institute of research. Its located just 8km from Kichumbanyobo gate of Murchison falls national park, which is about a 30minutes drive from Masindi town, Kaniyo pabidi forest is situated in an area of about 112km from Masindi town.
Kabongo forest of Murchison falls gives you the best camping safari experience in the safest forest sites, guarded well. You can enjoy the thrilling nightfall with the sound of the forest dwellers which creates the most epic night in the wild. The melodies from the night birds plus the soothing fresh air in the forest and the sweet music from the trees in the forest added to the deeming light rays dropping through the spaces in the broad tall tree canopies and much more, make the most memorable safari camping in Rabongo forest.
When it comes to accommodation, you should not worry because Murchison Falls National Park might have the best accommodation facilities in terms of lodges in the whole country. The park provides a wide range of accommodations from safari/Uganda tours ranging from budget lodges, mid-range lodges, and luxurious lodges. You might be interested in any of these depending on your budget plan. Those tourists who opt for luxurious lodges and fancy tours can opt for lodges like Chobe Safari lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Paara Safari lodge, and Bakers Lodge. Then for Mid-range someone can opt for lodges like Murchison River Lodge, Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Kabalega Wilderness Lodge, etc. And for the Budget Lodges, you can choose Yebo safari camp, budongo Eco lodge, Boomu Women’s Group Bandas, Parkside safari lodge and so many more lodges of either of the above.
Getting to Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls national park is located in the northern region of Uganda. The park is located northwest of Kampala the capital city of Uganda. The park spreads its boundaries to districts like Masindi, Buyisa, Kiryandongo, and nwoya and its spans in the land to form the shores of Lake Albert and over the Bunyoro escarpment and also around Karuma falls wildlife reserve. Getting to Murchison Falls national park is easy and affordable as one can decide to travel by bus and spend about 3 hours from Kampala. Other travelers can decide to fly from Entebbe to the international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Chobe airstrip which is the quickest means of transport to the park.
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