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Murchisons Falls National Park

Location and Habitat
Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most spectacular in Uganda, and indeed in the whole of Africa. This is the largest game park in the country (3,840 sq.km.) and has the most intense concentration of animals along the river.

Here is the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, where the River Nile hurls itself in appalling convulsions through a narrow crevice and then plunges 40 metres in one breathtaking leap. Before the Murchison Falls themselves, in the eastern sector of the Park, are the Karuma Falls where the Nile cascades over 23 kilometres of rapids in a breathtaking sight.

This is some of the most exciting white water in Africa. A launch trip up stream to the falls is one of the great experiences in Africa. Elephant, hartebeest, giraffe, buffalo, crocodiles and countless antelope and birds (including the rare Shoebill stork) can be admired at the water's edge as the launch glides along.

The Murchison Falls National Park, with its variety of vegetation ranging from riparian forests and swamp lands to broad Savannah, provides the opportunity of seeing many of the animals found in Uganda. In the southern section of the park is the beautiful Rabongo Forest, home to several families of chimpanzees and other primates. Make sure you have plenty of film for your camera, although they are difficult to spot in the thick canopy above.

This is the biggest National Park in Uganda with an area of 3840km2. The River Nile divides the park into the north and south sectors and forms falls where it flows over the western rift valley escarpment. Here, the river is forced through a 3 meters gap in the rocks and cascades into a boiling pot 30 meters below. A boat cruise upstream to the falls provides an unforgettable experience. The falls can also be viewed from the top which gives a completely different impression.

Location & Access

By road, it is a 3 hour drive from Kampala to Masindi, 217 km on tarmac and 40 km on high grade murram, then an additional 2 hours (97 km) from Masindi to the Falls on murram. A 4 wheel drive vehicle is advisable as the Masindi-Paraa road is rough. The Park can be reached by air charter services. There are airstrips at Paraa and Rabongo which can accommodate light aircrafts of up to six seats capacity.


Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Leopard, Warthog, Lion, Giraffe Aardvark, Chimpanzee, Pangolin, Civet, Buffalo, Hyena, Crocodile, Oribi, Patas monkey, Uganda kob, baboon. Fish in the Nile include Nile perch, Tilapia and Tiger fish. 450 species of bird including Pel's fishing owl, pennant winged nightjar, red-throated bee eater and the magnificent shoebill stork. In the southern sector of the park, there is Rabongo Forest, a home of chimpanzees.


At the top of Murchison Falls, the Victoria Nile explodes through a 6 -metre gap, causing the very rock to shake - quite literally. This phenomenon is said to be the most powerful natural flow of water anywhere on Earth. Can you imagine the strength and size of the Nile Perch which can withstand such a force which exists at the foot of this perpetual avalanche of water! Charles Norman described the first such perch, spotted soon after their arrival by his companion, who: "...let out a strangled squawk and I found myself staring at the hog-sized back of a huge fish protruding above the water at the rock's edge - a 100kg fish with scales the size of tennis balls.

"Swimming next to it was a smaller one, a 'midget' of a mere 40kg or so. Slowly these two moved along the rock, obviously feeding, and then sank out of sight almost at our feet. My knees turned to water and my whole body began to shake..." This adventure turned into what the prodigiously experienced Charles Norman describes as "...the most exciting morning's fishing that I have ever known. " Having landed some magnificent specimens, he concludes by pointing out that the most memorable strike of the day was one that ...just for a second felt rock solid before my double line came flying back to me. "

He adds that only tiger fish can sever nylon line in this way and that, since his bait was such a large bream, the tiger must have been a very big one. His parting thought reads: "There are tiger fish in the lower Nile and Lake Albert, 30km downstream, but are they Goliaths! Incredibly, nobody knows, there simply hasn't been any sport fishing in Uganda for the past 35 years, and the inhabitants of its many waterways remain a mystery." Anyone angling for a solution to that mystery!


There is a camp site at the top of the Falls which can be used by those with their own camping gear. Contact UNP for reservations and current rates. The riverside Nile Safari Camp must be one of the most romantic lodges in the world. Accommodation is in beautifully designed waterside log cabins each with its own internal tent, terrace, bathroom and outside shower. There is an al fresco restaurant and small gift shop. Watching a stunning sunset from the friendly bar is a must. In an elevated position on the north side of the river, guests at the Sarova Paraa Lodge benefit from simply massive views.

This historic lodge which, before its restoration, was host to many dignitaries is now central to Paraa reclaiming its former glory. The site, service and ambience, which so impressed Britain's Queen Mother, is being recreated to great effect for the enjoyment of modern tourists. Each room has full facilities and a remarkable view. There is an impressive restaurant, swimming pool and bar. The Sambiya River Lodge presents a unique African experience. A traditionally designed thatched hotel is surrounded by thatched bungalows, all in a very special setting. The atmosphere is relaxing, warm and friendly and the lodge provides a restaurant, bar and gift shop. All rooms are complete with full private facilities Others nearby are: The Masindi Hotel at Masindi Rabongo Forest Cottages Camp Sites at the top of the Falls


Unforgettable launch trips on the Nile up to the Falls with abundant game viewing along the way; Game drives in the Park; Forest walks in the Rabongo Forest and Fishing at the foot of the falls.


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