In 1952, the long time existing Murchison Falls Conservation Area was declared National Park. It is, today, the largest National Park in Uganda since it also includes wildlife sancturaries Bugungu and Karuma. Water is an important element of the park, such as wild vegetation: river Victoria Nile (better known as White Nile) flows through its territory and part of the park overlooks Lake Albert. If you go safari into this area, you will admire equatorial environments, but also tropical forests and alpine (1200 mt a.s.l.) landscapes. A great variety of views and a greater variety of animals make this park unique. But of course the most important monument, here, is the falls from which it takes the name. They are along the bed of river Victoria Nile. Come and find them out.
During the last 40 years of the 19th century British explorers came often to this part of Africa in order to look for new wonders and new lands. In 1862 John Speke and James Grant were the first white men to walk along the bed of river Victoria Nile, till the point where it jumped the rock forming the falls. But only two years later – as Samuel and Florence Baker completed their research and route – the falls had this name.
Roderick Murchison was then the president of the Geographical Society and a geologist of great skill, too. In his honor, the Bakers baptized the falls that today give the name to the whole Park. The Murchison Falls are formed by a 43 metres jump river Victoria (White) Nile makes on its way from Lake Victoria – from which it comes – to Lake Albert. Between the two lakes the mountains create a narrow gorge – 7 metres only – forcing the river to fall down at high speed. The beauty of these water falls is the main attraction for tourists who come to visit the National Park. All around them there is the charm of the two lakes and of the life along their shores.
Wildlife at Murchison Falls National Park
Your safari at Murchison Falls National Park will allow you to visit wonderful landscapes and to meet both typical and rare animals of the place. The local fauna has recently been saved from crazy poachers hunting and you are lucky to admire lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants, hippos and chimpanzees. But you can also see buffaloes, antilopes and crocodile into their perfect habitat. Rhinoceros had almost completely disappeared by 1983, and only recently they were reintroduced.
The most beautiful among local wild birds can be admired in the park, especially in the restricted area of Bugungu Reserve (Black-billed barbets, the Eastern grey Plantain-eater, the Speckle-breasted woodpecker, the Yellow-throated greenbul, the Black-billed wood dove for example). Baboons and monkeys live mainly in the nearby Karuma Reserve. The river and lake allow you to also admire some particular birds and insects living very close to the water, for a safari that will have no equals.
How to get there
Murchison Falls National Park is not so far from the most important Ugandese cities. It is 220 km west of Kampala, so by bus or by car it only takes 3 to 5 hours to get there. You can land at Entebbe airport and then find a regional bus – from Kampala – that will take you to the Park’s reference city, Masindi. In Masindi you can both rent a car or book a guided safari, because the best way to move inside the park is by car. If you rent a car on your own, make sure you also hire a local guide to accompany you to the Park.