Murchison Falls National Park
Stretching a massive 3,840km2, this is Uganda’s largest National Park! A park dissected into two by the world’s longest river, River Nile, en-route its resting place; the Mediterranean Sea. Murchison, named after Sir Roderick Murchison (1851-1853) the president of the Royal Geographic Society, is a conservation area where visitors find one of the most pristine wilderness and untamed savannas.
Due to the plentiful of picturesque opportunities which abound in her, it doesn’t come as a surprise that scenes from several award winning movies where shot here. Remember the movie African queen? While the Northern side of the park is largely an open Savannah, the South is a tropical forest. This avails an opportunity for finding out what differentiates forest species like buffaloes and elephants from their Savannah counterparts.
Though game drives are an easy way to see the parks wildlife, a nature will unveil to you its sights and sounds that are off the beaten track. Regardless of which of the two options you settle for, you can’t miss out on a boat cruise destined to the spot where the entire Nile squeezes its self into a meter wide cleft to plunges over a 45metre remnant rift valley wall. The result of this dramatic violence is a frothy outburst that runs over an 80 Km stretch of rapids. On your way downstream, you will see an array of wildlife at the riverbanks. Such include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes, hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds.
Every year, at least 10 internationally celebrated powerhouse figures visit this park. Among them includes former Sir Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister(1907),Ernest Hemingway, US President Theodore Roosevelt(1909),HRM Queen Elizabeth II and her husband George VI(1959).
Do you love sports fishing? Among the many species to catch in this park which lies at the Northern end of the Albertine rift include the biggest Nile Perches in the country, some of which can weigh as much as 80kg. Others include the electric eel, Tiger Fish and Catfish. The annual Murchison Falls Invitational Fishing Tournament which takes place every June is one of a must attend.
Flora and Fauna
Standing at an altitude of more than 600metres, Murchison is a mix of grasslands, wooded Savannah, tropical forests, wetlands, and open waters. These accommodate 109 species of mammals including; hippopotamus, antelope, giraffes, hartebeest, oribi and Uganda kob, 145 tree species and over 476 bird species. If you haven’t registered much luck in encountering the shoebill, Uganda’s most sought after bird species, don’t hesitate to take a guided boat cruise along the swampy edges of River Nile. The best time to see Migratory birds is November to April.
Note that the Chimpanzees and monkeys can be tracked in neighboring Budongo Forest Reserve, that is a bonus!