Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is located in Masindi District in western Uganda approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park. It measures approximately 3,840 square kilometres (1,480 sq mi). Also in the park, adjacent to the Masindi-Gulu Highway, are the Karuma Falls.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 115 kilometres (71 mi). Murchison Falls National park is the location of the famous Murchison Falls, where the waters of the majestic Nile River squeeze through a narrow gorge, only 7 metres (23 ft) wide, before plunging 43 metres (141 ft) below.
It is named for the Murchison Falls waterfall, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
In Murchison there are four of the “big five”. Buffalos, elephants, lions, leopards are best to be seen in the northern part (above the Nile). Due to excessive hunting and poaching, Rhinos became extinct by 1983, but were re-introduced into Uganda in 2005 by Rhino Fund Uganda. White rhinos are now being bred again in the 7000ha Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is located 70 km south of the park; their mission is to reintroduce small herds of rhinos (around five at a time), whilst retaining a nucleus breeding herd in the sanctuary.
Boat trips operate from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls and take around 3 hours. These enable you to see hippos, crocodiles and magnificent bird life close up.
There are also nature walks to the top of the falls and at Kaniyo Pabidi, where you can trek chimpanzees.
Kampala to Paraa takes around 5 hours and a 4WD vehicle is recommended.
The 1951 film “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart was filmed on Lake Albert and the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park
Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals