Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls national park located in the north of Uganda about six hours away from Kampala the capital, is the oldest and largest biodiversity in Uganda. It’s conservation and protection dates back in 1926 but its exploration took place as early as the 19th century when various British explorers visited it, for instance; John Speke and James grant in 1862 and later Sir Samuel Baker and his wife Florence baker in 1863-4. And it is sir Samuel Baker who named it “Murchison falls national park” after the President of the Royal Geographical society, Roderick Murchison.

Murchison falls national park is famously known as a big game destination bolstering famous wild animals like lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, hyenas, warthogs, hippos, elands and so many more. More to that, it is regarded as a big five (lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopard) if a stopover at ZZiwa rhino sanctuary which is near the park is made. Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary is the only place in Uganda with the rhinos in their natural settings.

What cannot be forgotten about Murchison falls national park is River Nile that dissects through the park area and it is also one of the main reasons as to why the park is infectiously attractive to tourists. The Nile the longest river in the world creates an amazing powerful fall in Murchison falls which is a picturesque spot of nature. A hike at the top of this falls is a very remarkable experience, while at the top of the falls, you witness, a very strong water fall force its way through a narrow path to plunge into a basin forming some sort of fountain. Murchison falls national park is too one of the best birding destinations in Uganda, it is one of the rare areas where visitors  sight  the elusive shoebill stork.

A self drive safari to Murchison falls national park is monumental. The visitor gets to encounter unique wildlife species that he/she has never seen before elsewhere and also experience the Nile the longest river in the world.

Activities to Do at Murchison Falls National park

Game Drive

Murchison falls national park is one of the best game viewing places in Uganda. it has over 76 mammals species to encounter in its vast vegetation expanses. The common mammals to see on a game drive in the park include:  the tuskers, buffaloes, giraffes, lions, elands, warthogs, reedbucks, hyenas, leopards, bush pigs, hartebeest and so forth. The northern sector of the park has the highest breeding areas of the animals, for example Buligi track which is adjacent to Albert Nile and in the west of Paraa, Te’Bito Track in the areas of pendero and Chobe track. In the southern sector of the park, there is sambiya. The game drives are commonly done in the early morning and in the evening and take about four hours. A visitor can either take on one game drive track or more depending on the time got on the safari trip. There is also a night game drive and this is done strictly under the watch of the park rangers.  To have a great game viewing experience at the park, travelers are advised to hire a park guide at 20$. park guides have vast information about the areas and the breeding places of animals and henceforth giving tourists an in-depth and action packed game viewing experience.

Boat ride Experience

Murchison falls is dominated by two water bodies, namely the Nile the longest river in the world and Lake Albert, the second largest fresh water lake in Uganda though the boat ride experiences are majorly carried out at River Nile which dissects the park into two parts. On the Nile, there are two boat ride experience conducted by the park management, notably the Upstream experience and the down stream one.

The Up stream boat ride leads to the front of the Murchison falls with a scintillating view of the waterfall plunging into the Nile basin. The Aquatic living species to see while on the cruise include;  nile crocodiles, hippos, waterbucks, numerous bird species and other common game like the elephants and buffaloes at the shore catching a drink.

The downstream water experience goes to the Victoria Nile delta near Lake Albert. This water lane is endowed with so much wildlife living  in the waters and also off the banks. Visitors encounter water species like the hippos, crocodiles, bird species like king fishers, flamingos, egrets, shrikes, flycatchers, geese, plovers and many more. This is such a remarkable water experience! An experience full of excitement and adventure.  The boat cruises operate in the morning start from 9am and afternoon at 2pm and take about 3 hours each session. The boat cruise experience are arranged by two entities, namely the Uganda wildlife Authority and Paraa safari Lodge. A traveler can either book with one of them when wishing to take up a boat ride experience at Murchison Falls National Park.

Hike at The Top of the Falls:

A climb at river cliff which is popularly known as top of the falls is one of the major highlights in Murchison falls national park.  At  the top of the falls, you  witness River Nile-arguably the longest river in the world forcing its way through a narrow gorge to plummet into the Nile Basin. This is a very beautiful occurrence to watch as the waterfall is so cascading and powerful. The top of the falls is also great site for photography and videography.

Zziwa Rhino Tracking

En route to the Murchison falls using the Main highway leading to Northern Uganda, there is  Zziwa rhino sanctuary in Nakasongola. It is the place  to watch the only wild rhinos in Uganda. Tourists observe these fat and chabby animals move around the field as they graze. Additionally, the sanctuary guides relay stories of how these rhinos were introduced in the conservation area.  There are about 30 rhinos in the sanctuary now and this is such a remarkable achievement as the place started out with only five.

Budongo Chimpanzee Tracking Experience

Murchison Fallls National park is such a large biodiversity area and one of its conservation parts is the  Budongo forest.  The Bundongo forest is a renown natural habitat for chimpanzees trekking. However, Budongo chimpanzee trekking is not as intensive as the Kibale one since Budongo is a small forest. Therefore, Travelers don’t labor so much to track down the chimpanzees which some nature enthusiasts would label as less adventurous.

The chimpanzees are agile and aerial animals henceforth; visitors have to very attentive in  observation to fully enjoy interacting with them. The chimpanzees are very intelligent and playful animals that will wow you right from the word go to the end.

Birding

With over 300 species of birds in its savannah plains, thick forests, swamp grasslands and on its waters, Murchison falls national park is truly a bird haven. Any area in the park, you can easily spot four-ten different species of birds but the most notable areas for birding are the river waters and its swampy area on the banks, Bundongo forest and Kaniyo pabidi forest. the birds to see include; Shoebill, African fish eagle, great blue turaco, red-throated bee eater and white-thighed hornbill to mention but a few.

 

Sport Fishing

Fishing is one of the most interesting expeditions at Murchison falls national park. It is done at lake Albert and the Nile basin. Fishes like cat fish, silverfish, tilapia and Nile perch are hooked in the waters.  The good news is that Fishing can be done by both experienced and first time fishers though patience has to be exercised to have  a chance of catching a fish on your expedition.

Accessibility of the Park

Murchison Falls National park is about 315 Kilometers North of Kampala, the capital of Uganda and the starting point of most of the self drive safaris. It only takes six hours to drive from Kampala using Bombo-Luwero-Nakasongola and branch off to Masindi. Some travelers opt to use drive further to Karuma  and enter the park through the gate in Chobe.  While coming from Fortportal or Kibale forest national park, the park is accessed by the newly constructed Kagadi- Hoima- Masindi Highway. This takes about 5 hours driving.

When to Visit Murchison Falls national park

The park is open throughout the year. Visitors can come any month or time they wish to tour the park, be it; dry or wet season. The two seasons have their own merits and demerits. For instance, in the dry season which is most preferred by travelers, come with passable roads, clear and bright days to visibly see the animals. Its demerits are the hotness which wears out travelers while engaging in park activities, the animals are also scare because of the dry pastures. The wet season comes with goodies like health animals, less crowed game viewing session, eye catching greenery around the park and discount accommodation rates. Its demerits are muddy and slippery roads and thick bushes making it so hard to see the animals. Therefore, the choice is left to the tourist to choose the best time to visit Murchison Falls national park.