Murchison falls national park Uganda
Murchison falls national park Uganda: Located in the North Western part of Uganda, Murchison falls National Park also sits along the districts of Nwoya, Masindi, Kiryandongo and Buliisa. It is 283 km, a maximum of 176 mi by road from Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. The nearest major town is Masindi town, it is 72km drive to the Game Park from the town. The road has been tarmacked through Budongo forest to the Game Park. Murchison Falls National Game Park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the national park extends towards the shores of Lake Albert, the victoria Nile until the Karuma Falls. Murchison falls national park is made up of two wildlife reserves covering over 784 sqkms. The wildlife reserves include; Karuma wildlife reserve and Bugungu wildlife reserve and they form the Murchison Falls protected area.
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda today, it sits on over 3,893 sqkms and is divided by the Victoria Nile from the east to west for over 11kms. The fast running waters of the nile form a thunderous waterfall that was formed through a tight gorge which is 23ft open before falling over 141ft down, the water runs through forming a white substance floating on top of the calm water flowing. The Karuma falls lying on the Gulu- Masindi highway will harbor the 600 Megawatt Karuma Power Station which will be the largest power station in Uganda after it’s completion.
HISTORY OF MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Murchison falls National formerly known as Kabalega Falls in the earlier days, was first visited by John Speke and James Grant as they explored the area. Later Murchison Falls National Park was again well recognized by Samuel and Florence Baker who baptized it Murchison Falls National Park. It was renamed in the year 1863. Murchison Falls was named so after Roderick Murchison who was a geologist and President of Royal Geographical Society then. Murchison Falls was not a safe place because it was highly infested with tse-tse flies, this caused a number of settlers with in the area to move and prevent several infections. This was in the year between 1907 and 1952.
In 1910, the Bunyoro Game Reserve was formed to the south of the River Nile. That area around fits into the part of the Murchison Falls Nnational Park. After a long time, the boundaries were prolonged north of the river and in the year 1952, the British administration established the National Parks Act of Uganda. The area described above became Murchison Falls National Park.
WHAT TO SEE AT MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Murchison falls National Park is action packed with activities that give you a super adventure to remember. The national park has a number of attractions that range from Game safaris to boat cruise along the Nile towards the fall. Earlier days, the main attractions for the park were the river Nile and the fall unlike todays where there are day and night game drives, boat cruise along the Nile, Nature walks and birding. The following are the attractions one expects to experience while at the Murchison Falls National Park.
This is the main reason for a visit to the national park for its many years of its existence. The falls can be viewed from the top after a 45minutes hike or they can be viewed from a distance while on a boat cruise on the Nile. One can also drive to the top of the falls. The roaring sound is accompanied with a rainbow that cuts across the gorge.
The waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge only 7 meters (23 ft) wide before descending 43 metres (141 ft).
A boat cruise on the Nile is another spectacular activity one cannot miss on a visit to Murchison falls national park. The cruise starts from Paraa to the bottom of the falls, it is approximately 17kms cruise.. This boat trip is scheduled from 0900hr and 1400hr every day. It starts with a briefing from a well trained and experienced guide who takes every one onboard a brief background of the falls, they also give guidelines on the precaution measures while on the cruise. The cruise takes about 4-5 hours to and from.
Along the banks of the River Nile are Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, water bucks and a variety of birds like herons, cormorants, ducks, bee-eaters, fish eagles, kingfishers and at times the rare shoe bill. Between 4 to 5 hours. As you approach the falls, one can see a cream floating on the waters of the Nile, the speed of the water too increases as you get closer to the falls.
Murchison falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda, it gives you a wide coverage of the game. The game drives at the national park are always done in the morning and evening as well depending on one’s schedule. The morning game drive starts very early in the morning (06:00 am), accompanied with breakfast, you will have chance to rise with the sun. The evening game drives usually bless you with a magnificent sun set view in the park.
The game drives are best done at the Northern bank where there are a large assembly of wildlife in the Savannah plains unlike the Southern bank which has a lesser number of antelope herds and other few animals.
The animals that can be sighted at Murchison falls national park include;Lions, Leopards,Elephants, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Bushbucks, Jacksons Hartebeests, Oribi, waterbucks, warthogs. hyenas, Baboons, Patas monkeys, Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys and Black-and-white Colobus monkeys and Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees can be seen at a close range at the Budongo forest.
The game drives are done on different tracks , they include; Albert, Victoria and Buligi tracks. The Buligi is a 7km track in the north of Paraa and most commonly used. Nyamsika gorge is home to a big number of water animals which come to get water and Nyamsika cliffs, the area is populated with many buffaloes, lions as well as different birds like the Egyptian plover and the bee-eaters.
Sport fishing in Murchison falls National Park is quite rewarding for the enthusiastic fisher. The chances of getting a large Nile Perch “mputa” or Cat-fish “semutundu ” is very high for participants. Other fish include Tiger fish, Electric cat-fish, Tilapia, “Ngara” (Genus Alestes).
The record largest Nile Perch was 113 Kgs was found at the water gauge opposite the crocodile pool, and the largest cat-fish was 45 Kgs which was found near the Nyamusika Cliffs
The nature walks at Murchison falls national Game Park are usually done in the following places; Rabongo Forest, Top of the falls and Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo Forest. These nature walks are under a guidance of a well trained and experienced guide. While enjoying the nature walks, one easily can spot animals and birds.
Murchison falls is among Uganda’s best birding locations in Uganda. It has over 451 bird species. The bird species are divided in groups as below; Albertan rift endemic birds, water birds, and savannah birds. There are very many birds in the park of which some are rare, common, and odd such as the Gray crowned crane(Uganda’s National bird), Giant Kingfisher, Giant Heron, Shoebill stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Nightjars, Marabou stork, Black headed lapwing, Back-bellied Bustard among others. Birds in Murchison can be best spotted while on a game drive, nature walks through the savannah grasslands and on the boat cruise along the Nile and on Lake Albert Delta. Birds like the blue napped mouse birds, silver birds, weavers among others can be spotted near Paraa and Red chilli in through the dry thorn-shrubs. Nocturnal birds like the nightjars can be seen along the Paraa road and while on the boat on the Nile. While on the boat still very many birds such as the shoebill, Gray crowned cranes, Goliath herons, black headed lapwings among others can be spotted.
How to access Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls National Park can be accessed via different routes depending from where you drive from. With several gates that lead you to the park, either from the southern gate of Paraa or the northern gate at Murchison falls national park. These gates can be accessed by private and public means under registered tour operators. Also one can access the Park by use of chartered flights like aero link Uganda, eagle airlines and many others from Entebbe international Airport, the park has Pakuba airfield, chobe airfield plus Bugungu airfield. By road it is 305km from Entebbe and from Kampala city it is 283km to the park. The journey to the park is adventurous from the start to the end of it. A Drive to the Rhino sanctuary at Ziwa can be an extra adventure you cannot miss out on a trip to Murchison falls national park. One can have a break at the Kabalega dinners as you proceed to Murchison falls national park.
The park has different gets that can be accessed through depending on where you will stay, they include; Nothern gate, Chobe gate,Wankar gate, Tangi gate, Southern gate, Kichumbanyobo gate,bugungu gate.
Accomodation at murchison falls
Murchison falls national park is surrounded with many hotels and lodges stretching from east,west,south and north. They include; Chobe safari lodge, Para safari lodge, Heritage, red chili, Pakuba, sambiya river lodge, nile safari lodge, Murchison river lodge and many more. There are lodges inside and outside the national park. They are easily accessible. Most range from mid-range, Luxury and budget.