Murchison Falls National Park is located in Masindi District in western Uganda and in Amuru District in northern Uganda. The park is situated approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. The coordinates of the park are:02 15N, 31 48E (Latitude:2.2500; Longitude:31.8000).
This park lies at the Northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the bulky Bunyoro escarpment merges into the vast plains of Acholiland. This waterfall was named in 1864 by the explorer Samuel Baker who considered it ‘the most important object through the entire course of the river.
HOW TO GET THERE?
By road Murchison Falls is approximately 5hrs drive from Kampala (305km) and this is via Paraa which is 85km from Masindi town by the direct route. Or by air, charter flights can land at airstrips north of the Nile at Pakuba and south at Bugungu.
The park is dominated by savanna, woodland, river/wetland and tropical forest habitats which provide home to the large African wild animals including:
Elephants, water and cape buffalo, lion, leopard. Hippopotamus, giraffes, crocodile, antelopes, Uganda kob, hartebeest, oribi.
The Nile River, within the park, is host to a variety of water-birds, including the rare shoe-bill stork and this park boasts of 450bird species.
Murchison is Uganda’s only National Park which has all “big five”. Buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopards are best to be seen in the northern part (above the Nile). Rhinos were sadly extinguished but are now being bred again in the rhino sanctuary south of the park; 40 to 50 rhinos are planned to be released into the wild in approx. 30 years (by 2040).
There is plenty of Game on the Buligi the park’s game viewing lovely grassland between Albert and Queen’s tracks north of the River Nile. Wild animals here include Giraffes, elephants and other game on the grassy hillsides.
Nature Walks: The Park offers an opportunity to explore the wild on foot to closely observe a variety of birds, Animals and plants.Such a nature is best at Rabongo forest, on top of the falls and Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo forest.
Top of the falls
The trail goes to the top of the falls to the water’s edge. You have an opportunity to hike to the top of the falls from the boat landing and to get close to narrow gorge through which the river explodes into the falls or you can reach there by a vehicle or even have a half hour climb.
Forest walk and chimpanzee tracking
Trials through Kaniyo Pabidi forest inside Kichumbanyobo gate,and here you will have an opportunity to track chimpanzees and other great primates under neath the pearl of African’s remaining mahogany and iron wood trees , which is the most famous activity in the park. You will have a chance to view forest birds, like the the white-thigh horn bill, chocolate-backed kingfisher, and puvel’s illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa.
Fishing is restricted to designated sites and places therefore early booking is required,this is done in rivers above and below the falls and some boats may be hired . Nile Perch and tiger-fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers and personal equipments for fishing are required.
The launch trip takes you from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls on a 17 km and upstream which takes about 3 hours where you are able to view the falls and river side wildlife. Including water bucks, elephants, buffaloes, and a variety of birds like bee-eaters, herons, cormorants, ducks, fish eagles kingfishers and sometimes the rare shoe bill.
There is Nile safari camp, Paraa safari lodge for luxury and mid-range with Masindi hotel, Red chilli rest camp and Court view hotel.