Murchison falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Abertine rift valley, where the bulky Bunyoro escarpment merges in the vast plains of Acholi land. As one of the Uganda’s oldest conservation areas, it was initially gazzetted as a game reserve in 1926 to protect a savannah that Winston Churchill described in 1907 as ‘Kew Garden and the zoo combined on unlimited scale’. And covers a total of 3480km.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile which races downs 80km of white water rapids before plunging 40m over the remnant rift valley wall at Murchison falls, the center piece of the park. The falls drains the last river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor for 55km to Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most memorable wildlife spectacles on a Uganda Safari.
The park host around 96 mammal species including four of the five Big game herds of elephants and buffaloes, powerful African lions, and other species. The Uganda kobs, giraffes are only found in Murchison and Kidepo valley National Park, bushbucks, warthogs, etc. The hippopotamus and Nile crocodiles are all time residents.
Primate species also include the olive baboons which you can sight along you’re your to Paraa, Chimpanzees in the Budongo forest, and various species of monkey species.
It’s also houses about 351 birds including the largest heron in the world being the shoebill, Uganda’s bird the crowned crane, kingfishers, swamp catchers, weaver birds and so much more making the park a good birding destination.
How to get there?
By road the Nile River crossing at Paraa in the centre of the park is approximately 5hr drive from Kampala (305km). Paraa is 85km from Masindi town by the direct route. A longer (335km) alternative route passes through Budongo forest and enjoys spectacular views across Lake Albert from the Rift valley escarpment above Buitaba. Parra can also be approached from the north, via Chobe gate near Karuma falls and tangi gate near Pakwach (25km to Paraa), and Wankwar gate near Purongo.
What Activities to do?
- Regular launch trips to the base of the falls offer fine game viewing and bird watching.
- Boat trips to the Lake Albert delta provide the best chance in Africa of sighting the shoebills and wildlife viewing
- Game drives in the northern section gives sighting of a wide spectacle of wildlife
- Chimpanzee tracking in the Budongo forests