Murchison falls national Park
This national park is 3840km and is one of Uganda’s first national parks in 1952. The park lies at the Northern end of the Albertine rift valley. It was first gazette as a game reserve in 1926 and its one of Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area with 76 mammal species and 451 bird species. This national park is divided by Victoria Nile which goes 45m over the relic rift valley wall, creating the vivid Murchison falls, which is the main highlight of the park. The main animal species found here include; elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, Nile crocodiles and well as aquatic birds.
Activities in Murchison falls national park
The Murchison falls
This is one of the main attraction of the park from which is named after Murchison falls national park. The best splendid view of the waterfall is on the top of where the sight and sound of the Nile roars through a wide gorge. The falls can be reached either by a vehicle or a boat cruise and it takes only 30 minutes. You can hike to the top of the falls and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area.
The game drives
This national park is composed of wetlands, woodland, savannah and the tropical rain forest common for birds and mammals. The many animals found here include; lions, hippos, Rothschild’s giraffe, cape buffaloes, Uganda kob, elephants, Jackson’s hartebeest as well as warthogs. These game drives take place early in the morning to see variety of game. Just at Nyamsika cliffs, you are able to see elephants and other wildlife on the green grassy hillsides and river below. The games can as well be done in the afternoon and you are always accompanied an armed ranger and a tour guide. The best time for game viewing is during the dry season.
Boat cruise on the Nile.
This boat cruise starts at Paraa landing area at the point where the river Nile enters into Lake Albert and this takes you to the bottom of the falls. You are see many animal species including; crocodiles, waterbucks, buffaloes, hippos, elephants. The water birds include; ducks, fish eagles, cormorants, bee eaters and the shoebill. The boat cruises between 9 am and 2pm daily though there are exceptional schedules that can be arranged with in the park management. The cruise takes place for 17km from the bottom of the falls at Paraa for 3 hours. The boat cruise from Paara to River Delta is 28km and takes 4-5 hours. Fishing is available in the River however; carry your own fishing equipments.
The bird species that are commonly seen at Paara area include; Vitelline Masked weaver, silver bird, bluff bellied warbler, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver black headed Gonolex, spotted mourning Thrush, green winged ptyilia as well as the localsed white rumped seed eater. The most common nocturnal species include; Verreaux’x owls, Nightjars like the long tailed and pennant winged nightjar mostly seen between the months of March – September. There are many other bird species include; African skimmer, gray crowned crane, white African fish eagle, the long toed plover as well as goliath heron and many more.
The tourists get to explore the national park on foot while in Murchison falls conservation area.The trail at Paraa goes through out low hills, forests and the gullies around the river. The nature walks take place at the top of the falls, KaniyoPabidi and Rabongo forest. Rabongo forest eco-tourismcenter is situated in an island of tropical river forest in the south east of the conservation area. You can explore primates like the red tailed monkeys, black & white colored monkeys, chimpanzees, trees, birds and medical plants.
The Kaniyopabidi is a serene area of natural forest with in Budongo forest reserve, where you can walk under mature Mahogany and iron wood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You are to see many forest birds, including the white thighed hornbill, chocolate backed kingfisher, puvell’slladopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! The Kaniyopabidi is along Masindi – paara road, just 8kms Kichumbanyobo gate.
Cultural encounters in Murchison Falls
There are very energetic dancers from Mubako performing around the lodge campfires, the Bomu women’s group offers accommodation, a craft shop and village tour showing the reality of life in this rural community. The community is located next to the widespread savannah of Murchison falls national park. The village is a bunch of traditional thatched huts around a clearing, where the villagers come together to flee the midday sun under the shade of a large tree. There are also the Mubako small craft shops that sell carved wooden sculptures and hand woven items that are made by community members.
At sun set, the local cultural group performs great songs and dances around the campfires of local lodges, assisted by the beautiful sound of the Adungu. Coming from this region, this instrument is made of cowhide and twine, and the harmonies of the many sized adungusagainst the back drop of sunset are so magic. The money generated from the visits, helps the community people with day to day expenditures.
The Boomu Women’s Group.
The group was formed in 1999 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. It started as a craft group and evolved into a magnificent community tourism project, with traditional accommodation, a restaurant, guided tours and a well tended garden. This tour shows the features of everyday rural life as well as the hardships that face the community. Your guide shows you many crops as well as taking you to visit the black smith. The story tellers share the tales about customs and the local way of life, and a visit to the nursery school.
Sport fishing in Murchison falls national park is so rewarding for the avid angler. There are many opportunities to land a large Nile perch and many other fish species like the Tilapia, electric cat fish, as well as Tiger fish. The experience UWA guides are present to lead you to the best fishing spots. A fishing permit is needed and currently it’s at $50 per day or $150 for four days. The Park entrance fees are paid separately.
The Hot Air balloons
Get to enjoy a very unique experience in a hot air balloon with one of the following options that are available at Murchison falls national park. You are taken near Paraa Lodge, Here you are able to watch the last minute preparations of pumping air into the balloon before you could fly high during the morning sun rise then be given a brief on safety precautions, regulations and rules as you get ready to jump abroad the balloon.
When you are up, you are able to have a great view of the savannah below you teaming with all types of wildlife. Most of this happens above the tree tops to be able to see many of the wildlife species. After, you are given certificates that show your participation in the activity. Later, you are served with a special bush breakfast and a bottle of champagne. The afternoon air balloon flight starts at 4pm. It costs $380 per person.
ARON WISHLEY Founder & Director
NIMA SEDAN Chief Executive Officer
JOHN FALMI Head Manager