Murchison falls national park is situated in the northwestern part of Uganda and derives it’s from the famous tremendous waterfalls known as Murchison falls found bisecting the park on the Nile river bordering the magnificent Albertine rift valley and it boasts as Uganda’s largest national park. Murchison falls national park covers an area of 3,893 kilometers squared made of savannah grasslands, acacia woodlands, wetlands, and Riverine forests. It was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1926 and established as a park in 1952.
The park is part of Murchison conservation area which covers Rubango forest, Budongo forest, and Kaniyo Pabidi forest areas. It’s one of the most beautiful places you can visit while on safari to Uganda, you can also stop over at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongola to trek Rhinos.
Murchison falls national park is surrounded with different tribes, one of the most interesting is the Mubako village with thatched African huts they always perform at several campsites in the lodges and also sell some very beautiful handmade crafts you can purchase at a cheaper price.
The Murchison Falls (Devil’s Cauldron)
Murchison falls also known as Kabalega falls are a tapestry at the course of the mighty river Nile which is also the world’s longest river and the falls boast as the world’s strongest waterfalls, the Nile river flows all the way from Lake Victoria in central Uganda where the source is found to the Northern part of the country cascading down at the rift valley escarpment at Murchison falls national park flowing into the stunning lake Albert. The water of the Nile force through narrow rocks of 7 meters wide gushing down to 45 meters down the valley, the views are so breathtaking in that it should not be missed while at Murchison falls national park.
Murchison falls national park is a birder’s paradise boasting with 451 species of birds recorded 23 of which are endemic to the Albertine region, you can spot water birds, raptors and if you’re lucky you will see the elusive rare shoebill stork.
Some of the birds you will see in Murchison falls are; Senegal Thick-knee, shoebill, Abyssinian ground hornbill, African quail finch, African jacana, blue-headed coucal, Denham’s bustard, black-headed gonolek, goliath heron, black-billed barbet, black-headed lapwing, giant kingfisher, eastern grey plantain eater, silver bird, Swamp flycatcher, malachite kingfisher, speckle fronted weaver, squacco heron, Piapac and palm nut vulture to mention a few.
Murchison falls national park is home to 76 species of mammals, while at Murchison falls there high chances of seeing four of the big five. Some of the animals to see at Murchison falls national park are lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, warthogs, waterbucks, reedbucks, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeests, hippos, Ugandan Kobs, hyenas, Oribi and so much more.
Wildlife at Murchison falls national park can be watched all year round but the best time is in the dry season when animals concentrate on water catchment areas. The best time for birding at Murchison falls national park is from November to April when migratory birds are also available. Wildlife can also be better viewed on hot air balloon safari very early in the morning giving greater opportunities of seeing nocturnal like hyenas and hippos coming back from the hunt, this always ends with a yummy breakfast in the bush.
Launch Trips to the bottom of the falls
Boat cruising is one of the common activities done at Murchison falls national park, the best time for taking a launch cruise is in the afternoon time when animals are streamlined at the river banks of the Nile quenching thirst with lots of water birds chattering in the air. The lunchtime boat cruise takes tourists below the waterfalls and the sight is so striking as you approach the roaring waterfalls. Hikes can also be taken to the top of the waterfalls after disembarking from the boat, the hike to the top takes about 45 minutes providing stunning views of every step.
Anglers should never miss the chance of fishing at the worlds longest river. The common fish caught is the Nile perch and tigerfish, the heaviest catch recorded was 108kg. Fishing at Murchison falls is done in designated areas you should always obtain z permit before engaging in the activity and you also advised to bring your own fishing gear.
Chimpanzee trekking at Murchison falls can be done at Budongo forest, the forest is home to 24 species of mammals 9 of which are primates, 130 moth species, 465 tree species and 290 species of butterflies. Chimpanzee trekking can be best done from October to January when the chimpanzees move a lot covering larger areas as the fruits as scarce.
Nature Guided Walks
Nature guided walks can be taken at Murchison falls national park trails with a ranger guide at Kaniyo Pabidi forests and Rubango forests, while on nature walks in the forest tourists can spot forests birds like Puvell’s llladopsis, chocolate backedKingfisherr, Ituri batis, yellow-footed flycatcher and white-thighed hornbill among the rest. Tourists can also take walks to the Nile delta around the swamp to look out for the shoebill.
While at Murchison falls national park, tourists can choose various hotels to sleep in depending on their budget, there are luxurious hotels, mid-range hotels and camping option some of the hotels at Murchison falls are; Pakuba safari lodge, Chobe safari lodge, Paara safari lodge, Sambiya river lodge, Shoebill campsite, Twiga safari lodge, and Budongo eco-lodge to mention a few.
Murchison falls national park can be visited all year round though some moths are better than other months, the best season for wildlife watching is during the dry season from June to September and December to February. The best season for birding is from November to April. Murchison falls national park can be reached within a five hours road drive from Kampala the capital of Uganda, the park can also be accessed by flight from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield.