Murchison falls national park lies at the northern end of Albertine rift valley where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into a large palm-dotted savannah.
First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, it is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, squeezing through a gap only 7-8meters wide and creating the dramatic Murchison falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids.
The Murchison falls is the World’s most powerful waterfall.
The stretch of the river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes, and buffaloes, while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
Accessibility to the park can be by road through the southern entrance gates approaches to Paraa out of Masindi town which is approximately 5hours drive (305km) from Kampala.
Along the way is the Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary, home to the wild Rhinos in Uganda. You can track them on foot and support this important initiative to reintroduce Rhinos to protected areas.
A longer but more scenic alternative runs for 135km from Masindi to the park’s Bugungu gate. The route includes passage through Budongo forest and a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across Lake Albert towards the blue mountains of the Congo.
Northern entrance gates include Chobe, wankwar, mubako and tangi, north of the Nile. These are reached from Kampala-Pakwach road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls. These gates are convenient for visitors traveling to or from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley national park.
Air travel is possible to form Entebbe, Kajansi Airfield near Kampala, or any other Airfield to Pakuba, Chobe and Bugungu Airfields.
Activities in the Murchison falls national park
Birding both on the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife including the savannah forest birds, water birds, Albertine rift endemics, and the Shoebills.
Games drives in the park will reveal a wide range of animals including Giraffe, Elephant, Buffalo, Antelopes, Simba (King of the jungle) to mention but a few. You may even spot a leopard at dusk.
Hiking and nature walks will show you vast landscapes and the varied scenery of Murchison falls national park and the surrounding conservation area. Trails through Kaniyo- Pabidi, Rubongo, and Budongo forests provide sightings of many primates and birds. Guided swamp walks offer possible shoebill sightings.
Launch trips/Boat cruises on the Nile present an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates into a memorable frontal view of the falls. Also recommended for birders is a morning cruise downstream to the Nile-lake Albert delta.
Sportfishing on the banks of the Nile below Murchison falls provides exciting challenges to anglers. Living within strong currents and highly oxygenated water is the Nile perch.
Cultural encounters with energetic traditional entertainers performing around lodge campfires will make for a magical African experience at dusk. Boomu women’s group offers accommodation, a craft shop and village tours, revealing the realities of this rural community.