What to see on your way to Murchison Falls National Park

What to see on your way to Murchison Falls National Park

February 23, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

What to see on your way to Murchison Falls National Park? The park covers an area of approximately 3,840 sq km, located northwest of Uganda’s capital city Kampala, and encompasses the eastern shores of Lake Albert. It is Uganda’s largest national park with splendid rolling savannah grasslands, riverine and tropical rain forests, savannah grass and woodlands, and undulating landscapes, all rich mosaics of habitats for wildlife, several bird species, and primates among others for anyone visiting Africa to enjoy.

Murchison Falls National Park has spectacular rapids that slide through a 7-meter-high gorge with a drop of 43 to 45 meters, hence being the strongest waterfall in the world.  Visitors in the park will always participate in various adventurous activities for recreation and relaxation such as unique game drives, bird watching, boat rides, chimpanzee trekking, sport fishing, and nature walks, making Murchison Falls Park a true Uganda tourist hub.

 What also makes the park interesting and memorable for travelers are the numerous unique animal species found along the route to the park such as serval cats, warthogs, antelopes like Uganda  Kobs, Waterbucks, and oribis, primates like chimpanzees, Olive Baboons, and big animals such as buffaloes, elephants, Jackson’s hartebeest and many others.

Top-four attractions on the way to Murchison Falls National Park – Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Previously Uganda had faced a very serious problem whereby, her Rhinos had reached extinction due to serious poaching and this forced Uganda’s Wildlife Authority to come up with serious measures on how to revive the lost glory of these endangered Rhino species. Its long-term goal was to build a sustainable endangered Rhino population and reinstate back the Rhinos to their original protected natural setting. In 1983 it was first established as a private exotic cattle farm under the operation of Captain Roy for over two decades. Later a memorandum of understanding was reached between the Roy family and Rhino Funds Executive Director, Yvonne Verkakik.

A decision was made following the agreement to relocate 7000 heads of cattle to establish a new Rhino life environment. Eventually, in 2005 Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was established as a nonprofit conservation project for mainly endangered animal species to reinstate the southern white rhino species in the country. Therefore, on your way to Murchison Falls National Park, don’t miss a wonderful experience at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Uganda where spectacular and endangered white rhinos are monitored and critically observed in their wilderness with tourists in company of the rangers. It’s located in Nakasongola district, along Kampala Gulu highway near Karuma Falls on your way to Murchison Falls National Park.

The sanctuary is home to over 34 white rhinos ready for Rhino tracking as well as other activities such as boating, bird-watching, and nature walks with other small animals like Reedbucks, Oribi, Warthogs, Sitatunga, Bushbuck and Kobs among others.

In addition, from the capital Kampala, before reaching the magical Murchison Falls National Park, be sure to make a stopover at Masindi town to stock up on snacks, which you can find in supermarkets, shops, hotels, and restaurants that offer local and foreign cuisine, especially foreign ones. Refreshments can also be served to quench your thirst.

Top-four attractions on the way to Murchison Falls National Park – Karuma Falls.

Apart from the immense tourist attractions on the way to Murchison Falls National Park, visitors are guaranteed huge tourist attractions including the impressive and unforgettable waterfalls known as Karuma Falls on the Victoria Nile.

Karuma Falls is located on the eastern border of Murchison Falls National Park, northwest of Uganda along the Victoria Nile. The adorable scenic and cascading- rolling waterfalls are one-of-a-kind in Uganda and Africa in Particular ranks Uganda as one of the best tourist destinations. The Magnificent Falls have fast-flowing waters that flow in series over uniquely shaped rocks that are believed naturally networked at the base of the Victoria Nile. The term Karuma according to the natives of this area is a name commonly used and given culturally among the Luo people.  The origin of this name is traced way back, from the Luo meaning “the great spirit”. As a result, it was the spirit that placed and aligned the hard rocky stones onto which the waters hit consistently to form the Karuma Falls. John Speak, on his quest to discover the source of the Nile, Speke passed by the falls and was amazed hence becoming a landmark.

Top-four attractions on the way to Murchison Falls National Park – Budongo Forest.

Budongo Forest Reserve is Uganda’s moist, semi-deciduous natural tropical rainforest located atop the Albertine rift covering an area of over 435 sq km. The dense forest characterized by dense canopies, thickets, and woodlands is a famous destination for chimpanzee trekking, with over 360 bird species, plant species such as white barked senna, 130 moths, 292 butterflies, 20 species of amphibians, and 24 mammals out of which 9 are primates such as Red-tailed Monkeys, the always anxious Olive Baboons, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Grey- Cheeked Mangabeys,  Blue Monkeys and others.- the forest is divided into 3 major sections where tourist activities take place, namely the Kaniyo Pabid area popular for the chimps and Puvel’s Illadpsis, the Royal Mile where birding is breathe taking and the Busingiro eco-tourism site. Budongo is predominantly filled with swan-forest mixed trees, with a bountiful amount of jungle fruits on which the primates feed. Though Chimpanzees are the main source of attraction, occasionally down the savannah grassland you can spot some elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, antelopes, waterbucks, bushbucks, duikers, and many others. Additionally, Budongo forest is considered the largest mahogany tree forest in East Africa. Also, the forest is characterized by different tree species such as mahogany trees, celtis, Chlorophora excelsia iron-wood trees, and others that support tree swinging movements (Brachiation) for the primates.

Top-four attractions on the way to Murchison Falls Park-impressive landscapes.

Enroute to Murchison Falls National Park, it offers a variety of landscapes ranging from panoramic views of open savannah plains to rainforests, swamps, and incredible wildlife. The park is also rich in diverse cultures and offers breathtaking views of the beautiful and mesmerizing waterfalls along the Victoria Nile. The Victoria Nile flows from east to west through the park and passes through a narrow 7-meter-wide rocky cliff above a 43-meter-high waterfall, creating the mighty Murchison Falls. the Butiaba escarpment as you get into the Bugungu Wildlife reserve has a million views of the Albert Lake which lies low as you descend to Murchison Falls National Park.

Accessing Murchison Falls National Park.

Most tourists in Uganda usually use Entebbe International Airport for their flights. Flights from Entebbe to Murchison Falls National Park can be operated by charter or scheduled aircraft. Kajjansi Airfield on the outskirts of Kampala is another alternative to Pakuba airstrip.

The drive to the park headquarters takes approximately 4 to 6 hours (305km). The park can be reached south of Masindi towards Kichumbanyobo (85 kilometers) to the park. Another route, although slightly longer is Bugungu gate (135kilometers), which leads to the park. If you come from the north you can use: Tangi, Chobe, Wankwar, and others.

In addition to guests arriving by land, the park has 2 airfields but Pakuba airstrip is the most convenient to reach Murchison Falls National Park though Bugungu is also operational.

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most visited parks in Uganda, a destination with wonderful tourist attractions that are breathtaking and unforgettable throughout the entire safari, especially along the way to the mighty Murchison Falls Park headquarters. This experience is equally the same as other National parks such as the magical Bwindi impenetrable forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale National Park, Kidepo National Park, and many others.