Murchison falls national park is a safari jewel in Uganda due to its different game views as well as the stunning Murchison falls from which the parks name derived. The park shelters a number of wildlife animals like four of the big 5 that is Leopards, buffaloes, elephants and lions which are among the 76 mammal species that are found in the park. The park used to have rhinos but in 1983 they were no more due to poaching and guerrilla wars which rocked Uganda in the late 1970’s as well as the early 1980’s however they were later introduced and can be tracked in Ziwa Rhino sanctuary which is just meters off the route to Murchison falls national park.
Due to Uganda’s name the pearl of Africa, this park managed to reserve other wildlife animals such as Hippos, oribis, giraffes, antelopes, hartebeest and many others. Budongo forest in Murchison falls national park also protects primates like chimpanzee, monkeys and many others. The park still is home to a number of bird species such as the legendary shoebill, yellow footed fly-catcher, white thighed hornbill, herons, kingfisher and many others.
The park is bisected by the great River Nile running from the east to the west to the park that fixes its self in a 7meter gorge plunging from 45m rift valley wall to form the world’s most powerful waterfall which is the centerpiece of the park before continuing its journey to the Mediterranean Sea. The park is characterized by eternal war between water and the rock where it also derives its name from.
Murchison Falls National Park provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles due the diverse of ecosystems from forest ecosystem in the Southern bank, savanna ecosystem in the northern bank, aquatic ecosystem due to the Nile River, and other rivers in the park both seasonal and permanent and also the fertile swamps in the park despite the fact of being the largest national park in Uganda. Top attractions in the park include the top of the falls which is one of the most spectacular things that happen on the Nile River, Budongo Forest reserve which is a tropical forest south of Murchison falls National Park and has attractions like Chimpanzees, 366 bird species, and other primates and also the sprawling wildlife in the park.
Activities in Murchison Falls National park include
Boat Trips on the Victoria Nile
The launch trips or boat cruises from Paraa upstream on the Nile to the bottom of the falls will give you a display of astonishing wildlife like the Nile Crocodile, hippos, buffalos, waterbuck, and a variety of bird species like the Long-tailed cormorant, African Fish Eagle and Pied Kingfishers among others as wells as the memorable view of the falls from its front where you will see, hear and feel the Nile river explode through the 8m gorge. Then the downstream cruise to the Nile Albert Delta gives an opportunity to sight the legendary shoebill and a variety of wildlife.
All launch trips start at 9am and 2pm daily and they take 3 hours however you can also opt for a sundowner boat cruise at 5.30 pm that will offer you the best view of the African sunset reflection on the Nile.
The park gives a chance to choose from the morning game drives, evening and night game drives. Driving along the tracks in the northern bank of park with your experienced guide can be a fantastic way to observe and photograph wildlife as you marvel at towers of giraffes, elephant families lead by matriarch, warthogs, and buffalos with Red billed ox peckers and pia piacs on their backs, kobs, oribis, and the hartebeests, lions and leopards. The night game drives after your dinner that will give you a chance to see predators hunt at night.
Hiking and nature walks
After the afternoon or morning launch cruise to the bottom of falls you can hike to the top the falls that will take you 45 minutes through the woods for a spectacular aerial view of the falls and the Uhuru falls. Nothing will beat his experience of watching the white waters spraying your body, listen to the roar and the shakes of the rocks. Also the landscapes of the park can be explored on foot through the trails like in Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests for primates and birds and the chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest.
Murchison Falls national park diverse ecosystem gives a distinct bird life as it will offer a variety of species from water birds, forest species, savanna species and the Albertine endemics that can be sighted while on game drives, nature walks or hiking and launch cruises. The park hosts over 450 bird species and the park’s main bird is the shoebill that is sighted downstream near the Nile Albert delta. Other bird species include the Egyptian goose, Egyptian plover, cuckoos, woodpeckers, bee eaters, king fishers and warblers among others.
There is a record of the massive catch that was 108kg the banks of the Nile River provide a chance to anglers and harbor the Nile perch, tilapia, and mudfish among others. Sportfishing permit costs 50 $ a day in the park and carried out below the falls.
Hot air balloons
Fly up to 1000 FT high and enjoy the unique experience of watching wildlife from above that is only available at Murchison Falls National park. In the morning or afternoon with a bush breakfast or without it, will still not be a disappointment. The balloons accommodate a group of 7-8 passenger and has options of Sunrise or post sunrise hot air balloon safari without bush breakfast, Sunset hot air balloon safari and short rides for large groups and students.
Winston Churchill described the Murchison plains as Kew Garden and the zoo on an unlimited scale and once you visit it you will be bound to agree.
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