Murchison Falls National Park
ABOUT MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine rift valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted Savannah. First gazetted as a Game Reserve in 1926, it is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison falls the center piece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. the mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid streams that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into lake Albert. At Murchison falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devils cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow.The rushing waters of the river Nile being forced through a narrow gorge has fascinated the world for centuries.
This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles, regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, Giraffes and Buffaloes, while Hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic Birds are permanent residents.
EXPECTATIONS AT MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK.
On the way to Murchison falls National Park make a stop at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary, gaze in wonder at the majestic herds of Giraffe as you drive through the park, enjoy seeing families of elephant especially on a launch trip up to the falls, when they come and drink from the river side and gaze in awe at huge Nile crocodiles basking with their jaws open along the banks.
Murchison Falls National Park Birding
Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct bird life, including Savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine rift endemics. the park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.
Murchison Falls National Park Game Drive
A game drive around the Buligi game tracks on the northern bank with a trained ranger guide is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animals in the Nile valley. your guide will have a good idea about where the lions are hiding and you may even spot a leopard at dusk.
Murchison Falls National Park Hiking and Nature Walks.
The vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding conservation area can be explored on foot. Trails through Kaniyo, Pabidi and Rabongo forests provide sightings of many primates and birds, while around the Nile delta, 2-4hours guided swamp walks offer possible shoebill sightings.
Murchison Falls National Park Launch Trips
The launch trip upstream from paraa presents an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with the memorable frontal view of the falls. recommended for birders is a morning cruise downstream to the Nile-lake Albert delta. alternatively, a tranquil sun-downer cruise offers the classic view of an equatorial sunset reflected on the river.
Murchison Falls National Park Sport Fishing
The banks of the Nile below Murchison falls provide exciting challenges to anglers, living with in strong currents and highly oxygenated water is the Nile perch. there is the chance to land a massive catch. the record is 108 kgs
Murchison Falls National Park Cultural Encounters
Energetic dancers from Mubako perform around lodge campfires, making for a magical African experience at dusk. Boomu women’s group offers accommodation, a craft shop and village tours, revealing the realities of life in this rural community.
The area is traversed by the river Victoria Nile, which connects Lake Kyoga with Lake Albert. The park is named after the marvelous falls on the river, which encounters a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley Escarpment, and then it is transformed into a froth of thunderous white water, with no comparison to any other site in East Africa.The vegetation is characterized by Savannah, riverine forest and woodland.
Murchison Falls National Park Recorded Species.
There are 76 mammal species, the big five and others respectively including giraffes, elephants, lions, buffaloes, giraffes, leopards, spotted hyenas, Uganda kobs, bushbuck, waterbuck, warthogs, oribi and jackal. The list of birds counts 450 species.
HOW TO GET THERE.
A number of routes can be used to reach the Park at the heart of the Murchison Falls conservation area. The river is crossed here using a vehicle ferry which runs at roughly hourly intervals throughout the day.
The most commonly used route is Kampala via Masindi town and Kichumbanyobo Gate which is about 300km long and takes an average of 4.5 hours. This route is currently considered the shortest and most convenient with 175km of it being tarmac and 125km of fine murram. This route takes you through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest famous for the chimpanzee tracking before encountering the rift valley escarpment that offers a spectacular view of the National Park landscape. The alternative route is via Biso and Bulisa which enables the visitors to enter the park through the Bugungu Gate. Although a bit longer than the Kichumbanyobo Gate corridor, this access route leads through Budongo Forest ,down the rift valley escarpment with a fascinating view over Lake Albert onto the Blue Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and over the wide open spaces of the massive national park.
The adventurous route also leads the visitors through the chimpanzee packed forest before descending to the rift valley escarpment where one can explore the remains of the historical Butiaba Port as well as Wanseko a popular spot south of the Nile delta.
Once in the conservation area, the Nile river crossing at Paraa in the heart of the park is approximately 5hrs drive from Kampala (305km). Paraa is 85km from Masindi town by the direct route. A longer (135km) alternative route passes through Budongo forest and provides scenic views across Lake Albert from the rift valley escarpment above Butiaba. Paraa can also be approached from the north, via Chobe Gate near Karuma Falls and Tangi Gate near Pakwach (25km to Paraa), and Wankwar Gate near Purongo.
A vehicle ferry crosses the Nile at Paraa operating hourly between 07.00AM and 07.00PM with the exception of 01.00PM.
Murchison Falls National Park Southern Entrance Gates
Two southerly approaches to Paraa lead out Masindi town, which is a 4 hour drive (305km) from Kampala. Along the way to Masindi is the Ziwa rhino sanctuary, home to the only wild Rhinos in Uganda. you can track them on foot and support this important initiative to reintroduce rhinos to protected areas.
This route happens to be longer but more scenic alternative it runs for 135km from Masindi to the park’s Budongo gate, the route includes a passage through Budongo forest and a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across lake Albert towards the Congo mountains.
Murchison Falls National Park Northern Entrance Gate
Murchison Falls National Park can also be entered via the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from the Kampala-Pakwach road which crosses the Nile at Karuma falls bridge in the northeastern corner of the park 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitors traveling to/from Gulu town and Kidepo valley National Park.
Murchison falls national park flying safari is possible through Pakuba airfield, 19km from North Paraa, can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. Other airfields in the park include: Chobe to the east and Bugungu near Murchison falls to the South.
Murchison falls national park provides a wide variety of accommodation facilities like the Paraa safari lodge, Chobe safari lodge, Nile safari lodge (Luxury), Budongo Eco lodge, Sambiya River lodge, Murchison River lodge, Fort Murchison lodge (Mid-range) and Red chill rest camp (Budget accommodation).
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