Murchison Falls National Park
Explore the African continent by visiting the top attractive destinations including Uganda, the Pearl of Africa. The country is located in the Eastern sub region of the African continent bordering several countries like Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo. Stretching over an area of approximately 241,038 square kilometers, Uganda is known for encompassing the world’s top tourist destinations including the third highest African mountain, Mount Rwenzori after Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, a portion of the world’s largest fresh water body lake, Victoria, the source of the world’s longest river, Nile and also half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable national park. Apart from these and other unmentioned unique attractions, Uganda is a home to the world’s most powerful waterfalls, Murchison which are protected by Murchison falls national park.
Managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Murchison falls national park is a national park in Uganda situated in the northern western region spreading inland from the lake shores of Albert around the Victoria Nile up to Karuma Falls. With an area of approximately 3,893 square kilometers, the park is the largest and oldest national park in Uganda with the adjacent of Bugungu wildlife reserve (748 square kilometers) and Karuma wildlife reserve (720 square kilometers). Straddling the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo and Masindi, Murchison falls national park encompasses several attractions including the world’s most powerful waterfalls, the four of the big 5 African animals, abundant bird species, beautiful vegetation, Victoria Nile and many others.
History of the park
Formerly known as Kabalega falls national park, John Speke and James Grant were the first Europeans to visit and explore the national park in 1862. Later in 1863 – 64, it was thoroughly explored by Samuel and Florence Baker. Baker then named the falls – Murchison falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison, then the president of Royal Geographical Society.
What to see while at the park
The Mighty Murchison falls
This is the main attraction in the park due to the fact that the park was named after these falls. The waterfalls are located on River Nile and the waters battle with the packed rocks while forcefully squeezing through the narrow 7 meters gap into the 50 meters radius water pool. During the falls, the powerful waters forma loud roar as they spray to the pool.
Standing as the world’s longest river, is among the best attractions in Murchison falls national park. With its source in Jinja district the river- River Nile flows through Murchison falls national park. It is known for attracting a large population of hippos, crocodiles and the species of water birds along its sand banks. Explore the river to the fullest by taking part in launch trip to the bottom of the mighty waterfalls and view a number of animals and birds.
Buligi Game area
This is an area in the park with open savannah grasslands, woodlands, and acacia. The area is the best place in the park to view the wildlife while having a game drive. The game drives are done in the morning and afternoon times. Buligi game area is positioned between the Victoria Nile and Albert Nile.
Hosting over 450 bird species, Murchison falls national park is one of the best destinations for birders. The park consists of a variety of water birds which surround the banks of River Nile. Among these birds in the park include; rare shoebill stork, goliath heron, the elegant grey crowned cranes, swamp flycatcher, red throated bee- eater, African jacana, Abyssinian ground hornbill and others.
Comprising of over 76 mammal species, Murchison Falls National park is truly the best destination for game viewing in Uganda and East Africa at large. These animals can be seen during a game drive through the open savannah and woodlands of the park. Among the animals in the park include elephants, Cape buffalo, hippos, hartebeest, warthogs, giraffes and others.
Murchison Falls National Park is home to a variety of primate species with over 800 chimpanzees. Other primates include black and white colobus monkey, red tailed monkeys and olive baboons. During a nature walk, these primates can be seen in Budongo forest and Kaniyo Pabidi.
Having a safari to Murchison falls national park and don’t explore the home of hippos- Paraa is not a tour. Paraa area is located on the banks of River Nile. Enjoy a number of activities while at this area like game drives, birding, nature walks and boat trips.
Budongo Forest is located in the southwestern part of Murchison Falls National park. It has a high diversity of animals, birds, butterflies and primates. Among the animals in the forest include elephants, warthogs, olive baboons, chimpanzees and others. The forest also includes a variety of tree species which are over 210 species.
Cultural encounters in Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls National Park is situated in an area of diverse cultural groups including the Acholis who dominate its North Eastern area, Banyoro in the south and the Alur in the north western part. All the tribes around the area have different cultural values and norms thus giving you an opportunity of learning different stuffs from each tribe.
The Mubako communities are located near the park plains and live in grass thatched huts. These people normally perform at different lodges around campfires in the eve.
The Boomu women’s group is also another local group located at Murchison falls national park. The group was formed by the village women so as to improve their standards of living. The Boomu women’s groups also own a camp that offers budget accommodation to travellers, they perform cultural traditions like dances and dances, and they also make variety of African locally made crafts like baskets, mats, and others.
Also, the Alur tribe is among the amazing cultural tribe around the park that entertain the tourists with thrilling performances using their locally made equipment like the guitar that is made of cowhide and twine.
Best time to visit Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park can be visited all year round, but December through to February is considered the best time to visit the park. June to September is another great window to visit. This is because throughout these months, there’s little rainfall, which means the tracks leading you to wildlife during your game drives remain dry and accessible.
The dry season attracts animals to water sources, thus making it easier for one to spot them while out on game drives.