Murchison falls national park is Uganda’s largest covering 3840sqkm and part of the oldest Murchison falls conservation area including the Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves, it became one of the first national parks in Uganda in 1952. Murchison falls national park is located in the northwestern part of Uganda, it lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, with a savanna, riverine forest and woodland vegetation which inhabits lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees and many other species. The park is also crossed by the Victoria Nile exploding through a narrow gap between the rift valley cliffs flowing down into a broad, calm stream that flows to Lake Albert. This river inhabits hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, waterbucks, buffalos and birds.
ACCESS TO THE PARK
The park is situated approximately 350 kms north west of kampala and its either accessed by road or air transport.
By using road transport from kampala, Murchison falls national park can be accessed using the Kampala-Pakwach road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls in the north-eastern corner of the park. Various routes can be used to reach the different attraction sites like the nile at paraa can be reached from Masindi town through the Kichumbanyobo Gate. The park can be entered through Bugungu or Mubako gate and also be reached on the north side of the Nile via the Chobe, Wankwar and Tangi gates, which are mostly used by visitors travelling to/from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.
By air, Murchison falls National park has access to Pakuba Airfield, 19km from North Paraa, Chobe to the east and Bugungu to the south of Paraa and they can be reached from central using aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield.
The Murchison falls national park borders the northern end of Lake Albert at the Nile Delta. It embraces a combination of grasslands, savanna, riverine forest and woodlands, and open water covering approximately 39000 ha at an attitude of more than 600m. The Murchison falls national park is rich in different species with a total of over 140 mammals, 450 birds, 45 reptiles, 700 plant species, this makes the conservation area relatively biodiverse in the region of the Albertine rift.
During the day, the temperature is hot and its around 25-32 degrees Celsius. The night is cool, with a temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius. The Rainfall is low, though when it starts, it rains heavy.
ACTIVITIES TO DO ON MURCHISION FALLS NATIONAL PARK SAFARI IN UGANDA
The Paraa is the heart of Murchison falls national park is located on the banks of the Nile, it was named by the locals meaning ‘home of the hippo’ in Luo language. Paraa’s significance derives largely from the vehicle ferry that shuttles between the Masindi road on the southern bank and the Pakwach road and the Buligi game tracks on the north. It is also the starting point for boat trips to the Falls and the delta.
PRIMATE WALK (CHIMPANZEE TRACKING)
Murchison falls national park is gifted with Rabongo forest, Budongo forest and Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, making the park known for chimpanzee trekking and other primates like white and black Columbus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons among others. Chimpanzee trekking is suitable from October to January and done in the morning and afternoons. This should be done in a group which can be tracked with experienced forest guides.
Murchison falls national park offers the opportunity to explorer the wild on foot, these are offered at Rabongo and kaniyo pabidi forests, and on top of the falls. During the walking various species of mammals, butterflies, plants mostly trees and birds are quietly and closely observed.
BIRDING IN Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park has various birding spots that bring out the beauty and pleasure of over 450 bird species to bird watchers. Some of these birds are common and rare due to different climatic seasons. This park has the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest paramount for bird watching due to the presence of various bird’s species like the giant kingfisher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Nightjars. Birding activities are also along the banks of the river flowing to lake albert, its suitable when done in the morning and best for easy sightings of water birds, like silver birds, weavers, shoebill among others. This can be done while watching other inhabitants. The best time for bird watching is from January to March when tourists are not so many.
THE NILE & MURCHISON FALLS
Here are various activities done on the Nile and Murchison falls, they’re more fun and relieving, they include
The boat cruise upriver from Paraa to see the Murchison Falls exploding through the cliffs at the head of Fajao valley. The return trip down the stream on the banks has wildlife like hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalo, among others making the trip more blissful. Boats also cruise along the river from Paraa to lake Albert, during the course, different waterbirds mostly the shoebill stork are viewed. The dry season is best to experience this blissful moment especially from December to February and July to September.
The Top of the Falls is an astonishing viewpoint to see, hear, and feel the Nile thunder through the narrow valley. The site can be reached by vehicle but it is more worthwhile to climb up.
The river below Murchison Falls is good for sport fishing, it inhabits different fish species like Nile perch and tiger fish which give challenge to tourists who enjoy fishing. It’s advisable to bring your own fishing equipment but they can also be hired from different providers.
ACCOMMODATION IN Murchison falls national park
There are so many accommodation facilities located within and Masindi town near the Murchison falls national park ranging from the budget facilities to the midrange facilities to the most luxury facilities. These facilities offer different types of accommodation including tree houses, modern bandas, luxury tents, campsite and students’ dormitory with more than 40 beds at North Paraa operated by UWA. Charming lodges within the park offer unforgettable memories of beautiful sceneries and tender services.