Murchison Falls National Park is the largest protected conservation area in Uganda, 5.025 km, including Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu wildlife reserve, Karuma wildlife Reserve and, in the south, Budongo Forest. The altitude ranges from 619 m at the delta on Lake Albert and 1.292 m at Rabongo hill. The area is traversed by River Nile, which connects Lake Kyoga with Lake Albert. The Park is named after the marvelous falls on the river, which encounters a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley Escarpment and transformed into a froth of thunderous white water, by far the most magical site in comparison in East Africa.
The vegetation is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Murchison Falls National Park became one of Uganda’s first National Parks in 1952. At Murchison Falls, the Nile squeezes through an 8 m wide gorge and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow
Species of Murchison Falls National Park
There are 76 mammal species and about 450 bird species in Murchison Falls National Park. When you visit this Park, you will be able to see 4 of the big five if you are lucky i.e., The African elephant, The African leopard, The African lion, The African cape buffalo and on your way or from Murchison Falls, you will be able to stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track the endangered Rhinos.
Activities Murchison Falls National Park
The famous launch trip from Paraa along the Victoria Nile up to the Murchison Falls (17 km) is an awesome activity that will give you great opportunities for aquatic wildlife viewing and taking lots of pictures. Hike to the top of the falls enables us to see Murchison Falls and Uhuru falls in all their glory with the most scenic views to capture beautiful memories.
Accessibility to the National Park
Murchison Falls Conservation Area with the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu Wildlife Reserves can be accessed through different routes by road to reach Paraa Park headquarters. It can also be reached by air using the daily flights from Entebbe International Airport or chartered aircraft from Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba airfield, 19 km Northwest of Paraa and south at Bugungu, 13 km from the park headquarters.
Main route to Murchison Falls National Park
The most commonly used route is Kampala via Masindi town and Kichumbanyobo Gate which is about 300 km long and takes an average of 4-5 hours. This route is currently considered the shortest and most convenient with 175 km of it being tarmac and 125 km of fine murram. This route takes you through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest famous for chimpanzee tracking before encountering the Rift Valley escarpment that offers a spectacular view of the national park landscape.
Although, the alternative route is via Biiso and Buliisa which enables the visitors to enter the park through the Bugungu Gate. Although a bit longer than the Kichumbanyobo Gate corridor, this access route leads one through Budongo Forest, down the Rift Valley escarpment with a fascinating view of Lake Albert onto the Blue Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and over the wide-open spaces of the massive National Park.
Other route option to the National Park
However, this adventurous route also leads the visitors through the Chimpanzee packed forest before descending to the rift valley escarpment where one can explore the remains of the historical Butiaba Port as well as Wanseko a popular spot south of the Nile delta. Once in the conservation area, the Nile River crossing at Paraa in the heart of the park is approximately 5hrs. drive from Kampala (305 km).
Paraa is 85 km from Masindi town by the direct route. A longer (135 km) alternative route passes through Budongo forest and provides scenic views across Lake Albert from the rift valley escarpment above Butiaba. Paraa can also be approached from the north, via Chobe Gate near Karuma Falls and Tangi Gate near Pakwach (25 km to Paraa), and Wankwar Gate near Purongo. A vehicle ferry crosses the Nile at Paraa operating hourly between 07:00 and 19:00 with the exception of 13:00.
Accommodation facilities in the National Park
Murchison Falls does provide a wide variety of accommodation facilities like the Paraa safari lodge, Chobe safari lodge, Nile safari lodge (Luxury accommodation), Budongo Eco lodge, Sambiya River lodge, Murchison River lodge, Fort Murchison lodge (Mid-range accommodation) and redchilli rest camp (Budget accommodation).