Murchison Falls National ParkAncient
Known to be one of the Uganda’s largest conservation areas, Murchison falls National Park was first gazatted as a game reserve in 1926 because of the rich numbers of wildlife in this conservation area.The park is located in northern Uganda and derives its name from the most powerful waterfall in the world- Murchison falls. This was named after a President of the Royal Geographical Society Sir Roderick Murchison. It is size approximately 3,893km2 and takes an average 6 hours to drive from the capital Kampala.
Unlike other parks public transport to the park is not readily available and one has to use private means to access the park. You can choose to use a tour operator or hire a car from Kampala. The park lies on 615m-1187m above sea level and therefore the temperatures in the park are always high due to the low altitude; expect temperatures averaging 30 degrees centigrade. Accommodation within the park is available depending on one’s budget, though you have to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Top attractions at Murchison Falls National Park
In terms of numbers and density per square kilo meter of wild life, Murchison falls ranks highest of all the national parks in Uganda. The best time to do the game drives is around 6am in the morning; here you will have a chance to see some of the nocturnal animals like Hyenas going back to their dens. You will be amazed by the touring Rothschild Giraffes, big herds of Elephants, Buffaloes and the ever present Uganda Kobs. The Jackson Heartbeats and Oribi are also in plenty. Because of the big herds of herbivores, there are quite a number of predators in this Park; such as the Lions, the Leopards, Jackals and Hyenas.
There several game tracks in this vast park and one will certainly enjoy the cool breeze as they traverse the Park. On top of having large numbers of wild life, Murchison falls Park has a beautiful grassland savannah landscape dotted with palm trees which stretches for kilometers and one would certainly feel the wilderness of this park. During the game drives you can leave your foot print in the park by having a fruit break at the Hippo pool where you can view schools of hippos in the Nile River.
Boat cruise to the top of the falls
The boat cruise to the top of the falls is one not to be missed by any one. The cruise starts at Paraa landing site, at this point the water is calm as you ride up stream. The trip takes an average of 3 hours and the boats normally leave the landing site at around 2pm in the afternoon. The best time to do the cruise is in the afternoon because of the many herds of animals coming to the river to drink and also take a dip in the cool water. Therefore expect to see large herds of Buffaloes, Elephants, Hippos, water bucks, crocodiles.
You will most definitely see lots of bird along the banks of the river; these may include fish eagles, king fishers, bee eaters, herons, ducks etc. Alternatively, you can decide to have a fishing expedition on the Nile – there are mainly two types of fish; Tilapia and Nile perch, though there are other types of fish ie mad fish, cat fish and lung fish. Fishing may require special permission from the park authorities and this is done to prevent illegal fishing on the Nile.
The Mighty River Nile and Murchison falls
The Nile is the longest in the world having its source in the Eastern part of Uganda. Known to be the most powerful waterfall in the world, this is because of the large volumes of water produced by the Victoria Nile. As you walk towards the River you will be welcomed by a thunderous rower of water and when you finally get there you will be amazed by how this water squeezes through a narrow gorge of about 4meters and falling off 42 meters below. This creates a cloud of water and on a Sunny day you can’t miss the rain bow.
To get to the top of the falls one can either drive there, or take a boat ride to the bottom of the falls and hike to the top of the falls.
The park is rich with different species of birds, these may include; herons, ground horn bills, bee eaters, fish eagles, weaver birds just to mention a few. This park also has the rare shoe bill stock. If you have enough time in the park then you will certainly see it.
Most of the birds can be seen along the banks of River Nile, so if you are a bird lover it would be advisable to hire an exclusive boat for you to enjoy your birding expedition.
Chimpanzee tracking / Nature walks in Budongo forest
Budongo forest is the largest natural forest in Uganda; approximately 825km2 and is part of Murchison falls national park. The forest has a rich biodiversity of around twenty four mammal species, nine primate species and over 350 bird species. Chimpanzee tracking is the main attraction in the forest and you can decide to have nature walks as there is still plenty to see apart from the chimpanzees. In order to avoid disappointments, the chimpanzee permits should be booked ahead of your safari. Accommodation is available depending on your budget.
Rhino tracking at Ziwa sanctuary
There is nothing more exciting than tracking the Rhinos on foot. One can have a view of the white Rhinos at close range under the guidance of the park rangers. Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is to home 22 white Rhinos. It is only here where you can view Rhinos in the wild with a fenced off sanctuary protected by rangers. The sanctuary is very popular with tourists heading northern to Murchison falls national park. The park has other activities of choice to spend more time. These include rhino trekking, canoe ride, birding, night walk and nature walks.So visiting the rhino sanctuary is always the start of bigger things to see at Murchison falls National park.