Murchison Falls National Park sometimes referred to as kabalega national park is one of the largest wildlife protective areas located in the northwestern region of Uganda, the park lies in the Murchison conservation area together with Bugungu and karuma wildlife reserves. Murchison falls national park covering an area of 3,893 square kilometers stretches in the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi. Masindi city is the nearest city to the park, the park is approximately 283 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. It is known to have all the big Animals since it is close to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which harbors Rhinos in Uganda.
Murchison falls national park lieing in the at the northern end of Albertine rift valley a spot where sweeping escarpments of Bunyoro tumbles into vast palm-dotted savannah is bisected by Victoria Nile river which creates a magnificent Murchison falls as it squeezes through the rocks. Murchison falls national park is home to many wildlife varieties such as 76 species of mammals such as lions, leopards, African bush elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Oribis, Uganda kob, hartebeests, antelopes, herds of African buffalo, spotted hyena, side stripped jackal, defassa waterbuck and many more. The park also harbors primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys which are harbored in Rabongo forest.
Murchison falls National Park is also home to many bird species both water and forest birds approximately 460 species which are found in the deep forests and along Victoria Nile. Such birds include shoebills, Goliath Heron, Grey-crowned Crane, Saddle-billed Stork, and long-toed Plover whilst African Skimmer and African Fish Eagle patrol, Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Nightjars, Marabou stork, Black-headed Lapwing, Back-bellied Bustard and many more.
Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park is a unique tourist destination of many wonders and mysteries such as
Murchison falls: Murchison falls is the greatest trademark of Murchison falls national park creating a permanent rain bow around the falls, the great falls were created as a result of Victoria Nile compressing through the hard rocks in a narrow gorge thus creating springing misty droplets with a continuous roar.
River Nile: The majestic river the Nile is one the most significant and loved features in Murchison falls national park, in the river creates two banks that is south and north banks. These banks are good for boat rides where you get to see many mammals, birds and water animals, many safari activities are carried out on this river such as water rafting, sport fishing and many more.
Rabongo forest: Rabongo forest is one of the evergreen vegetation covers in Murchison falls national park, the breath taking forest covering 4 square kilometers portion of the park is crossed by Wairingo River, the forest is suitable for camping around the river and nature walks as it is a home for much wildlife such as mammals such as elephant and birds such as chocolate-backed kingfisher, white-thighed hornbill.
Nile Lake Albert delta: Nile-lake Albert delta is a wide, calm water stretch where tranquil Victoria Nile flows down into Lake Albert, the delta is a birding paradise harboring many bird species such as herons, great egrets, African fish eagles and many more which makes this area suitable for bird viewing.
Buligi game tracks: The game tracks are Murchison falls national park’s popular safari destination stretching between Victoria and Albert Niles, these games track of 120 to 170 kilometers length pass through the beautiful savannah grassland, woodland, acacia, and riverine vegetation and from these tracks you get a chance most of the park’s wildlife.
Karuma falls: The magnificent Karuma falls is located in Chobe region northeastern region of Murchison falls national park, these falls are formed when Victoria Nile River squeezes through a series of hard rocks forming a fall with white foam-like appearance. These falls create a magnificent scenic view which is an amusement to tourists.
Paraa section: Paraa section named after a native Luo word meaning home of hippos is the where game drives, launch trips, and nature walks take place, this section is one of the most fascinating areas in Murchison falls national park, this section is where all routes leading to Murchison fall national park converge. The northern and southern banks are connected by a passenger ferry, hotels and safari lodges, in this section, there is also a museum, gift shop in the northern bank.
Kaniyo pabidi forest: Kaniyo pabidi forest is situated in the south region of Murchison conservation area, the forest is one of the prominent ecological systems in the area as it is home to a habituated chimpanzee group and it is a place where chimpanzee tracking takes place in Murchison falls national park. Apart from chimpanzee, the forest is also home to many wildlife such as mammals that is Elephants, buffalos, lions and leopards, primates such as black-and-white colobus and blue monkeys and olive baboons and also birds such as chocolate-backed kingfisher, white-thighed hornbill, and Puvel’s illadopsis. This forest is a good camping location with a designated camping site.
Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls national park offers marvelous safari activities that give tourists memorable experiences.
Game driving: Murchison falls national park is ranked as one the top national parks i9n Uganda offering the best game drives experiences, these game drives take place in the savannah covered flat landscape of the park which gives tourists a better view of animals. While on game drives led by a skilled guide you get to encounter a lot of wildlife either drinking water on Victoria Nile stream or feeding on the vegetation, these animals include lions, hippopotamuses, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthog, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, Jackson’s-hartebeest, elephants and many more. The park offers both day and night game drives, they both give you a great opportunity of spotting animals but night game drive is more mesmerizing as you spot nocturnal animals.
Bird watching: Murchison falls National Park is a bird paradise harboring different types of birds in various locations, in the park you can spot water birds at the banks of Victoria Nile, forest birds in the forests of rabongo and kaniyo pabidi forest. Birds that can be spotted include Spotted Mourning Thrush, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Silver Bird, Bluff-bellied Warbler, localized White-rumped Seed-eater, Blue-napped Mousebird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Black-headed Gonolek, Green-winged Ptyilia, and Black-headed Batis and many more.
Nature walks: Nature walks is the best way to discover all the mysteries and wonders of the national park, guided nature walks in the park are carried out in designated trails taking the tourist through Parra section, kaniyo pabidi forest, rabongo forest where you get to encounter beautiful vegetation types and many animals like chimpanzees, Red tailed monkeys, Black & white colored monkeys, elephants and many more. Nature walks also leads to the magnificent Murchison falls.
Hiking to the top of the falls: Hiking to the top of the falls is one of the most exciting safari activity loved by tourists, a trail to the great falls can take you approximately thirty to forty minutes depending on your fitness. It is very rewarding as you get to enjoy the unique sight of water jetting from the rocks, the roaring sounds made by the speedy flowing water, the scenic sounds and water animals like hippos playing in the river
Boat cruise/launch trips: Boat cruises are the best to tour the aquatic life of Murchison falls national park, boat cruises start at paraa landing area where it enters the waters of Lake Albert heading to the bottom of the falls. On boat cruises a trip of 4 – 5 hours covering 28 kilometers from Parra to river delta you get to enjoy clear waters, fresh air and many wildlife such as hippopotamus, crocodiles and many water birds. Launch trips to the bottom of falls take 3 hours covering 17 kilometers to the bottom of the falls.
Fishing sports: Fishing sports take place in the Victoria Nile River where different fish types are caught such as Nile perch, tiger fish this activity is one of the best ways to bond as tourists after safaris like game drives and boat cruises.
Picnics: Picnic in Murchison falls national park are widely carried out at Nyamsika cliffs and from the point you get to see herds of elephants and other wildlife.
Murchison falls National Park is accessed using many gates including kichumbanyobo gate, tangi gate, and Bungugu gate, a tourist from different parts of the world can be reached on a Kampala via Masindi route. You can also use a ferry between the southern and northern banks of the river Nile, paraa is 4 hours on the tarmac. By air, you can a chartered air flight at pakuba which is 19 kilometers and Bugungu which is 13 kilometers from paraa.
Accommodation Facilities for the park
Accommodation in Murchison falls national park can be got from Murchison river lodge, red chill rest camp, Sambiya River lodge, baker lodge, Chobe safari lodge, Fort Murchison safari lodge, Nile safari lodge.