Murchison falls National Park is ugandas largest national park spanning about 3,893 square kilometres. The park Is located in northern part of Albertine Rift Valley and covers the Ugandan districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi. The park was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1926 making it ugandas oldest national park,visited by John Speke and James Grant as the first European explorers in 1862. The area reserved includes Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This is where the wide Nile of about 43meter blows through a narrow gorge 8meters wide and flows down to become a placid river with beautiful banks thronged with hippos and Nile wild crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is generally open savannah, riverine forest and woodland. The park comprises of 76 mammmal species and is well known for having Ugandas larget population of wild crocodiles,other wildlife found within the park includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, many bird species to include the dwarf king fisher, shoe-billed stork , Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco
Murchison falls national park is approximately 305 km from kampala, Ugandas capital city and there are alternative routes that can e used to access the park. The park is easily accessible by and the possible routes from Kampala include the following;
The first route approaches to Paraa lead out of Masindi town, which is a 4 hour drive (305km) from Kampala,the route to the park is one of the most exciting since along the way to Masindi is the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary ,home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda which in addition to the adventure to come is a great warm up. The main route from Masindi enters the Conservation Area through Kichumbanyobo Gate to pass through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest to Paraa (85km).
On the other hand,a longer but more scenic alternative runs for 135km from Masindi to the park’s Bugungu gate, The exciting bearable part of it, is that ,the route includes a passage through Budongo Forest descending the rift valley escarpment with magnificent views across Lake Albert towards the mountains of the Congo
Secondly the Park can also be accessed via the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. This route sets off from Kampala-Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls Bridge in the northeastern corner of the park, 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitor travelling to and from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.
Lastly, Murchison falls National Park can aswell e accesed by through air Pakuba Airfield, 19km from North Paraa, a flight straight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. Other airfields in the park include: Chobe to the east, and Bugungu south of the Park
Game drives in murchison falls
In Murchison Falls National Park game drives are one of the most exciting avctivities within the several designated game drive areas. The main areas are the Delta where you are able to see the Lions as they draw closer to the banks to drink water, the Buligi Peninsula(another section) and the southern sector famoulsy known as the heart of Murchison.
Heart of Murchison
While much of the southern part of MFNP is covered by bush and forest, a delightful tract of savanna Grassland rolls down to the river from the Rabongo road in the very centre of the park. There are setup Vehicle tracks for game drive adventure to clearly view the substantial herds of Uganda kob, which in hand has attracted are number of lions due to the increased number of prey (Uganda kob). The ‘Heart of Murchison’ lies 20km east of the Masindi-Paraa road
This is the park’s prime game viewing area, a triangle of savannah grassland bounded by the Victoria Nile flowing into Lake Albert, and the Albert Nile draining out if it. Expect to see the big five, antelopes and giraffe. Keep your hopes really high for lions and leopards
Nile-Lake Albert Delta
This beautiful wide, calm stretch of water, where the Victoria Nile flows into Lake Albert, is a key spot for bird watching. The stretch is lined with papyrus at its banks with a variety of birdlife species. These include; Goliath Herons, Great Egrets, and African Fish Eagles and rare Shoebill.
Paraai is a traditional name meaning ‘home of the hippo, ’ just like the name this section of the park is highly populated with hippos and is also known as the park’s tourism hub. It is a junction point for all the park’s access roads as the northern and southern banks are linked by a passenger ferry, and several accommodations are located nearby. It is at this same point that a museum and gift is found on the north bank. Most game drives launch trips and nature walks commence here.
The thrilling Karuma Falls are located in Chobe, in the northeastern sector of the park. These roaring waterfalls on the Victoria Nile consist of a series of very old natural rock formations which cause the waters to ripple over them to give them a white, foamy appearance. It is an ideal area for sport fishing.
Hot air balloons in Murchison Falls National Park
Enjoy the unique experience of game viewing from above by flying in a hot air balloon. This adventure from above in Uganda can only be found in Murchison Falls National Park. Enjoy a Sunrise/Post sunrise hot air balloon safari with/without bush breakfast Sunset, hot air balloon safari Short rides for large groups and students at the park.
Social Impact Tourism In Murchison Falls
Murchison falls national park being a conserved area for wildlife never the less has a remote community of Mubako is located beside the sprawling savannah of Murchison Falls National Park. The traditional village is a cluster of locally thatched huts around a clearing, where villagers gather to escape the midday sun under the shade of a large tree.
The Mubako community offers a small craft shop sells carved wooden sculptures and hand woven items made by community members. At dusk, the local cultural groups perform vibrant songs and dances around the campfires of local lodges, accompanied by the beautiful sound of the adungu,instrument made of cowhide and twine, the sweet harmonies of the various-sized adungus played at the memorable view Nile sunset are magical.
We as Twist African Safaris prepare our itineraries to embrace environmental conservation and positive social and cultural impact. We know that a brief encounter cannot yield a comprehensive understanding of the places and people visited, but still believe that our programs bring about a mutually enlightening journey for the host and visitors alike. The Mubako people have a few economic opportunities in region and the climate makes farming hard, but with the money generated through tourism, the community can buy produce from local markets, pay school fees and support a nursery for 90 children. For more information on this Social Impact programs visit here.
Boomu Women´s Group
The Boomu Women´s Group was formed, with the aim of reducing poverty and malnutrition, and providing an income for the members to be able to pay their children´s school fees. What began as a craft group has evolved into a wonderful community tourism project. We at Twist Africa always encourage our visitors to take a walk through this locally innovative community filled with exciting activities like basket weaving, pottery and so many other crafting. As appreciation for the visit, the locals always invite you for free lessons on basket weaving pottery and if the visit is long enough, you could be part of preparation of a local meal to be enjoyed later on in the day.