Murchison Falls National Park is one of the only ten national parks that the Pearl of Africa (Uganda) has. It is located on the shores of Lake Albert, in northwestern parts of Uganda – Masindi. The Park receives a very big number of tourists taking safaris in Uganda each year but most of them could even leave the Park without knowing some vital facts about it. Therefore, below are five strange and unique things/facts that you should know before even visiting the Murchison Falls National Park:
Uganda’s oldest and largest national park
Many tourists have been visiting the Murchison Falls National Park for years and years but not knowing that this is the largest and oldest national park in Uganda. Being gazetted in first as a game reserve in 1926 and then elevated to a national park status in 1952 makes it the oldest in Uganda, well as covering a total area of approximately 3,893 km2 makes it Uganda’s largest too. The Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves are also combined to the Murchison Falls National Park hence resulting to its enormous vastness. The Park straddles through four different Ugandan districts; Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi, of which Masindi is the nearest large town to the Park.
Murchison Falls National Park may be the largest in Uganda but its very existence is determined by the Murchison falls – the largest waterfall in Uganda. The Murchison falls (Kabalega falls) is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world and it is a major and unique attraction in the Murchison Falls National Park, and it is where the Park derives its name from. The falls bisect the Park and tourists here are able to visit the top of the falls’ viewpoint to watch and feel the high pressure of the falls. Disembarking the Murchison Falls from the launch trip to climb up to the top of the falls through Fajao Gorge is very exciting and rewarding as you will view a variety of water birds and aquatic animals such as Hippos, and Crocodiles together with the other regular visitors at the shores, including; buffaloes and elephants, among others. There are many fascinating activities that can be done on the Murchison falls such as; sport fishing, boat cruises, bird watching, and excellent game viewing.
The Only Ugandan National Park Where You Are Able to View Africa’s Big Five
Uganda is such a very beautiful country gifted with a variety of wildlife species protected in its ten national parks and game reserves/sanctuaries. Unfortunately there is no a specific national park in Uganda where one can view all the popular Africa’s big five at once. The Africa’s big five are; African Lions, African Leopards, African Elephants, Cape Buffaloes, and the Rhinos. Most of the Africa’s travelers are very interested in seeing and experiencing these big five which are very present in Uganda but not resided in one particular park. However for the visitors to Murchison Falls National Park, they are capable of viewing these big five at once because the Park resides four of the five species but on your route to the Park, is a sanctuary for the other missing species in the Park. The four species resided in the Park are; Lions, Leopards, Elephants and the Cape buffaloes but you can first break at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (only home for wild rhinos in Uganda) to first view the rhinos before heading to the Park for the remaining four species or you can even view the rhinos after your safari in the Park.
Abundance of Wildlife
For any Uganda’s traveler who is interested in viewing an abundance of wildlife should not think much about where to go because Murchison Falls National Park is not only the best spot but also a fantastic one. Most of the available wildlife species in the Park exist in a monumental population and tourists are guaranteed with stunning game viewing. The most notable and popular wildlife species in the Park include; Lions, Elephants, Nile Crocodiles, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Cape Buffaloes, Hippos, Leopards, Waterbucks, Uganda Kob, Bushbucks, Oribis, and over 450 bird species including the shoebills, and chimpanzee tracking in the Budongo forest of the Park.
Hot Air Balloon Safaris
In Uganda, it is still in Murchison Falls National Park, only, where a tourist will enjoy the hot-air balloon safaris which are also very popular in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park. The balloon safaris also were present in Uganda’s remarkable Queen Elizabeth National Park but due to various reasons, the safaris have been suspended for a while and can only be experienced in Murchison Falls National Park. The balloon safaris in the Park offers; aerial scenic views of the entire Park, Lake Albert and Victoria Nile views, the bush breakfast experience in the wild, the off-road animals hidden somewhere, and many others. The pilots flying these balloons are very professional and experienced who have gone through the Ugandan and Egyptian Aviation Authorities for certification before they are accepted to operate them, therefore you should be very brave and comfortable whenever you are in the balloon safaris. Only 8 individuals are permitted to fly up in a balloon and the activity is eligible to individuals above 6 years old. The other amazing activities in the Park include; boat cruises, bird watching, game driving and game viewing, and community walks.