MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

Uganda's largest protected area covering an area of 3,893 square kilometres

Murchison Falls National Park formerly known as Kabalega National Park a name it inherited from one of the former kings of Bunyoro Kingdom is Uganda’s largest protected area covering an area of 3,893 square kilometres. Wildlife in Murchison Falls is under threat due to the discovery of Oil in the Albertine lift valley since government has place priority on oil exploration and extraction instead of conserving and protecting wildlife. Located in Northern Uganda, Murchison Falls was first gazetted in 1926 as a game reserve and later graduating to Uganda’s first National Park in 1952. It protects so many wildlife and is home to approximately 76 species of mammals and about 451 species of birds including the rare shoebill stock that can be spotted in the delta region.

Brief Insights

Murchison Falls National Park is popular for its game drives in the northern sector known as Paraa where you get a chance of spotting the big five. The high light of activities in this National Park is the 2 hour boat cruise to the bottom of the falls where River Nile squizes itself into a narrow gorge. For kin birder, Mruchison falls National park id one of the places where yuo can spot the rare shoebill stork and bird the royal miles as well. There is chimp trekking in Budongo Forest which has the highest number of chimps in Uganda.

Boat Cruise to the bottom of the falls – Nile River, Murchison Falls NP

This is a three hour cruise from park headquarters to the head of Fajao Gorge at the base of Murchison Falls. The park’s most popular attraction since the 1950s, here is where the force of the mighty Nile River narrows to flow through a seven meter gap, cascading down a forty meter cliff to the vast gorge below. The power of the falls and the scenic views from their base are breath taking. Large resident populations of hippos float in the water along the way, groups of crocodiles bask on the shore, and herds of elephant, buffalos and other antelope can be seen moving along the riverbanks searching for food. The river offers a spectacular opportunity for bird watchers, with a wide range of water birds and vibrant bee eaters nesting in the cliffs along the river’s banks.

 

Water Falls and Sundowners Cruise

You can enjoy a sun downer cruise from park headquarters to the head of Fajao Gorge at the base of Murchison Falls. The park’s most popular attraction since the 1950s, here is where the force of the mighty Nile River narrows to flow through a seven meter gap, cascading down a forty meter cliff to the vast gorge below. The power of the falls and the scenic views from their base are breath taking. Large resident populations of hippos float in the water along the way, groups of crocodiles bask on the shore, and herds of elephant, buffalos and other antelope can be seen moving along the riverbanks searching for food. The river offers a spectacular opportunity for bird watchers, with a wide range of water birds and vibrant bee eaters nesting in the cliffs along the river’s banks. Drift along the Nile while the sun sets with a cold beverage and light snacks.

 

Delta Cruise – Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park

You can take a half day boat trip into the Victoria Nile Delta, a 20 km cruise downstream from the park’s headquarters. Home to a wide variety of wetland and papyrus endemic bird species, including the elusive shoebill stork, this three to five hour cruise offers a unique opportunity to spot rarely found birds and animals such as hippo, elephants and large crocodiles. Travelling through the center of Murchison Falls National Park, guests can experience the constantly changing scenery of the Nile River as it winds its way to Lake Albert.

 

Chimpanzee Habituation – Budongo Forest Reserve

Following breakfast at the lodge, set out into Budongo Forest Reserve to join your team and begin your chimpanzee habituation experience. This semi deciduous rain forest, which lies within Murchison Falls National Park, boasts the largest mahogany forest in East Africa. You will assist Budongo’s trackers in their daily habituation research and activities including “de-nesting” the chimps, following them through the forest, and recording their behaviors and movements throughout the day. Finish the day off at sundown when the chimpanzees retire to their new nests for the night. This lifetime experience will allow you within metres of these amusing and very social apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Chimpanzees, our closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5000 remaining in Uganda. You will also have the opportunity to observe the many other animal species living in Budongo’s diverse habitat including black and white colobus monkeys, baboons and hundreds of native bird species. Please note: tracking chimpanzees may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile during the day. Also, chimpanzees are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Rhino Tracking – Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

You can visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for a close up encounter with the only rhinos in Uganda. Following their extinction in 1983, local wildlife authorities and international conservationists worked hard to bring the rhino back to Uganda. In 2001 the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre received funding to bring two white rhinos from Kenya to the rescue facility as a start to this challenging process. In 2005, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary welcomed its first four rhinos from Kenya. Through an extremely successful breeding program, Ziwa’s rhino population has since grown to over ten southern white rhinos with two babies born within just the past two years. The success of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary will ultimately lead to a comprehensive reintroduction program allowing rhinos to once again roam wild in Uganda.