The Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is Uganda’s largest park. In fact, it became a park in 1952.
The spectacular Murchison falls gave the park its name. This is where the river Nile forcefully flows 45 meters down. The river gushes through a small space and falls on the rocks below. The river then continues its journey to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile divides Murchison national park into two parts-north and south. The northern side of the park has most animals. Since it is mainly grassland, it attracts a lot of the grazers. And of course the predators as a result.
This consists of savanna and borassus palms, riverine woodland and acacia trees. Some forest patches also make part of the park’s vegetation. However the southern side of the park is mainly woodland and has fewer animals. In the dry season, the Jacaranda trees along the road have pretty purple flowers.
Well known visitors to the park include; Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and British royals.
The Game drives and Boat trips
Game drives are carried out across the Nile, on the northern side of the park. Tracks that can easily be explored include the Buligi track, where Leopards are commonly seen.
The Queen and Commonwealth tracks are famous for spotting lions. Ordinarily, herds of giraffes and buffaloes are common along the Victoria and Albert tracks.
The boat trips along the river Nile start from Paraa. They sail up and downstream.
The most popular boat trips go upstream to the bottom of the Murchison falls. These normally take place in the afternoon when most animals come to the river for a drink. However, the boat trips can be arranged any time of day if you can make up the numbers and payments.
The boat tour along the river is the perfect opportunity to photograph birds and animals of the park.
The other boat trips go down the river to the Nile delta. It is mostly preferred by birdwatchers. This boat trip is a great platform to see the rare swamp and water birds of the park. This is especially so for the Shoe-bill and Papyrus Gonolek.
Murchison falls national park is one of the richest biodiversity area of Uganda. The 76 animal species in the park include Elephants, buffaloes, lions, giraffes, leopard, Hippos, water bucks, crocodiles, hartebeests, Uganda kobs. The tiny oribi antelopes that look like Dik-diks also live in the park.
The primates include the chimpanzees, patas monkey, Black and white colobus and the Olive Baboon.
There are 451 bird species including the rare shoebill, Banded Martin, Red throated Bee-eater, Wooly-necked stork, Goliath Heron and more.
Size of the park: 3840 sq.km
Location of the park: North western Uganda
By road from Entebbe to Kampala through Masindi then Paraa, the park is 350 kms. However, this needs at least 6 hours to drive.
There is an airstrip north of Paraa Lodge and south of Pakuba Lodge on the northern side of the park. It is therefore possible to fly from Entebbe to the park. The flight time is about one hour.
Tourism activities when visiting the park
There are several activities in the park. These include game drives, boat cruises on the river Nile, nature walks and bird watching. Chimpanzee tracking is in Budongo. while cultural performances can be organised from the nearby Mubaku village.
Lodges in Murchison falls national park
The Accommodations in the park range from low to luxury budget. For example Paraa Lodge, Baker’s, Kabalega Wilderness are of high budget, But Pakuba and Murchison river lodges are medium range. Red Chilli on the other hand is of low budget.