Murchison Falls National Park
“The fall of water was snow-white, which had a superb effect and contrasted with the dark cliffs that walled the river, while the graceful palms of the tropics and the wild plantains perfected the view. This was the greatest waterfall of the Nile, and in honor of the President of the Royal Geographical Society, I named it the Murchison Falls, as the most important object throughout the entire course of the river” – Samuel Baker
Murchison Falls also known as Kabarega Falls is 300 kilometers from Kampala and approximately six hours of road travel but only one hour five minutes by air. The Jewel of the Nile’ is the largest and oldest protected area in Uganda covering 5,072 km². The park embraces the Bugungu, Karuma Wildlife Reserves, Budongo and Rabongo Forest. It is an all inclusive national park with plenty of wildlife, bird species and the surging waterfalls.
The unforgettable feature in the park is the Victoria Nile, the world’s longest river which explodes violently through a narrow six meter gorge in the Rift Valley escarpment down a drop of about 40 meters creating one of the world’s most breath-taking waterfalls then calms down into a gentile flow westward into Lake Albert. This view makes time stand still.
The best way to experience the cocktail of activities is a boat cruise on Victoria Nile to the base of the falls with a lookout for the gigantic nile crocodiles that sunbathe on the rocks and their pink-eared conterparts the hippos that laze in the water.
Buffaloes wade nonchalantly through the prolific floating water hyacinth fringing the bank and huge herds of elephants cool themselves in shallow creeks and graze silently on the lush grasses. A visit to the bat caves which house thousands of Egyptian Fruit Bats crowns the day. Best viewing of the bats is at sunset when these flying mammals set out in search of the insects that make up their diet.
Murchison Falls lies at an altitude of 619 metres to 1292 metres and receives annual average rainfall of 1,085 millimeters.
The park has over 76 mammal species and 450 bird species. These include hippos, crocodiles, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthogs, cape buffalo, Uganda kob, hartebeest, elephants, defassa waterbuck, oribi, chimpanzees, black &white colobus monkeys, olive baboons and vervet monkeys. Other relatively seen species include: Lion, jackal, cheetah and leopard.
The park is also home a wide variety of water birds such as the rare shoebill stork.
Activities and attractions include:
- Game drives
- Nature walks
- Launch cruise to the bottom of the falls
- Bird watching
- Chimp tracking
- Forest walks
- Sport fishing
- White water rafting