Murchison falls national park is found in the north western region of Uganda with an area cover of 3840 square kilometers. The park was created in 1952 and it’s the largest national park in Uganda. The national park is made up of various vegetation types such as savannah grasslands, woodland, riverine forests, swamps that are home to wildlife species as well as animals such as the big four mammals, primates and over 450 bird species.
ATTRACTIONS IN MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
The falls are identified by the war between the water and rock. The waters pass through the narrow gorge as they spray misty droplets along their way at a radius of 50m. from the bakers point in the southern side, tourists can as well view the Nile pouring into the small uhuru falls which was formed in 1962 after the bursting of the banks.
A boat ride on the Nile is the most rewarding experience for those that love nature. The northern bank has a variety of mammals, birds as well as reptiles. Guided nature walks on the north and south banks is a breathtaking activity. Sport fishing is also carried out on the Nile River.
NILE-LAKE ALBERT DELTA
The Nile-lake Albert delta is a broad, calm stretch of water where the Victoria Nile flows into lake albert and is best for bird watchers. The papyrus-lined banks have a number of birds such as the goliath herons, great egrets as well as the African fish eagles but the most sought specie is the rare shoebill.
BULIGI GAME TRACKS
The track stretches in between the Victoria Nile and the albert Niles which are the parks most famous Uganda safari destination. The tracks are 120-170km in length and pass through the open savannah grassland, woodland, acacia and the riverine vegetation. The game drives can be spotted at the buligi track mostly in the morning and evenings.
The word paraa is a Luo word meaning home of hippos and it’s a junction where all park roads are accessed thus the north and south banks connect by a passenger ferry. At paraa there is a museum and a gift shop that are located on the north bank and its where the game drives, nature walks, launch trips take place.
The falls are located in the northeastern side of Murchison falls in Chobe region and is best for sport fishing. The falls are made up of a series of natural rock formations that cause the waters to ripple and offer a white foam appearance.
KANIYO PABIDI FOREST
The forest is found in the south of the Murchison falls conservation area and is a habitat to the habituated chimpanzee group. The forest is as well a habitat to the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys as well as olive baboons. Other wildlife species include buffalos, lions, leopards and elephants. Birds within the forest include chocolate-baked kingfisher, white-thighed hornbill and puvel’s illadopsis which is found only in the forest and nowhere else.
The Rabongo forest is surrounded by the savanna and is taken as a birder’s paradise due to its endangered species. The forest gives the tourists an opportunity to spot animals, birds as well as plants and trees. The forest offers camp as well as picnics by the wairingo river.
The budongo forest is located in the southwest of the national park next to the Murchison falls. The forest is blessed with a bio diverse of 24 mammal species, 360 bird species, 289 butterflies as well as 465 plants. All the tree species are displayed on the royal mile an amazing stretch that is best for bird watching. The forest is famous for having primates such as 800 chimpanzees.
ACTIVITIES IN MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
These are activities that are carried out in the park in a 4WD safari vehicles and are classified into 3 groups and these include morning game drives, afternoon game drives as well as night game drives.
Morning game drives; these are carried out in the morning and they are more rewarding where tourists get an opportunity to spot animals when active. Tourists tend to look out for animals such as waterbucks, warthogs, elephants, buffalos, giraffes, uganda kob, bushbucks, oribi among others as they are grazing on the savannah plains. The big 5 such as lions, leopards are spotted as they are hunting fir a morning hunt s well as bird species.
Afternoon game drives; these are carried out after lunch but these aren’t more rewarding as animals are hiding due to the hot sun thus making them to be spotted difficult.
Night game drives; these are done after dinner and tourists are escorted by a park ranger. Tourists are given an opportunity to spot the nocturnal animals such as lions, civet, genets, bush babies, night jar, leopards, porcupines, among others.
While at Murchison falls, there are 2 boat cruises that is the upstream to the bottom of the falls and the boat cruise downstream to the Victoria Nile delta that stretch to the lake albert shores. The boat cruise to the bottom of the falls has 2 sessions that is the morning that starts at 9am and the afternoon starts at 2pm which take 2 to 3 hours. While the Nile delta boat cruise is as well done in sessions and each takes 4 to 5 hours. All boat cruises begin from paraa jetty landing side. While on a boat cruise tourists spot animals such as buffalos, herds of hippos, elephants, warthogs as they drink water and bird species such as open billed stork, goliath heron, grey headed kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, giant kingfisher, blue headed coucal among others.
The national park boosts with more than 450 bird species which include migratory birds, Albertine rift endemic birds, savannah birds and water birds. These are spotted while on nature walks, boat cruises, and game drives. Birds such as yellow-fronted tinkerbird, pied kingfisher, weaver birds, silver bird, martial eagle among others
The chimpanzee trekking takes place in budongo forest which is known to be the biggest mahogany forest in east Africa. The trekking starts with a briefing at the park headquarters about the rules, regulations and expectations. After the tourists are divided into 6 people and are allocated a chimpanzee family to trek and it takes 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on the location of the chimpanzees. When the chimpanzees are found the tourist spend with them an hour learning their behaviors, habits, watching them play, feed and breastfeed among others
While on nature walks tourists explore the park on foot with a guide. The nature walks are carried out in kaniyo pabidi and Rabongo forest where tourist is close to nature. Animals such as red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys as well as bird species.