Murchison falls national park is found in the northern end of the Albertine rift valley, where the Bunyoro escarpments flips into the vast, palm dotted savannah. it was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1962 and its Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area having 76 mammal species and 451 bird species. This national park is also divided by the Victoria Nile which passes 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, and creating Murchison falls. The stretch of River Nile also provides one of Uganda’s most wonderful wildlife spectacles. The usual visitors to the riverbanks are the giraffes, elephants, buffalos, hippos, Nile Crocodiles, as well as the aquatic birds.
This conservation Area is also one of the oldest and the largest protected area in Uganda, it comprises of Murchison falls national park, Bugungu wildlife refuge and Karuma wildlife refuge. And currently this national park is 3,893 sq km , bugungu is 501 sq. km and Karuma is 687 sq km. It also has Budongo forest which edges the parts of both the wildlife reserves and also covers an area of 591 sq.km. These are all managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and Budongo forest is managed by National Forestry Association.
In 932, the Budongo Forest reserve was established and this became the first commercial logging concession in Uganda, and up to now it’s the most intensively studied working forest in the world. The boundaries of the forest also continued to expand over the next many years and now it covers an area of 825 sq km. in 1952, the British established the National park Act of Uganda. By this time the animals had increased and there was need for up grading, which became Murchison FALLS National park which was one of the first two national parks along with Queen Elizabeth National park.
This park is home to a mixture of grasslands, the wooded savannah, tropical forests, wetlands, as well as the open water that covers 39,000 ha at an altitude of over 600m. This national park has got 109 mammal species including; the antelopes, giraffes, hippos, oribis, hartebeest, Uganda kob, there are also over 145 tree species and 476 bird species. This ark is also one of the best places in Africa to see the shoebill stork. Also the boat tour along the Victoria Nile is the greatest start for many water associated birds. With over 53 raptor species recorded, the park checklist contains more than 450 species and the migratory birds are also present in April and November.
This national park has got the big five including the Rhinos, buffalos, elephants, lions, hyenas as well as the Uganda kobs. The zebras are rarely seen here. The Victoria Nile has got crocodiles as well as hippos. The chimpanzees can be tracked in Budongo forest reserve, you can also enjoy the giraffes and the patas monkeys that can be seen in the grassy plains.
The tourists can come to this park anytime of the year although the conditions are a bit hard during the rainy season and it’s also advisable to use a 4×4 vehicle while going to Murchison falls national park. The accommodation facilities found in the park include; Paara safari lodge, Chobe safari Lodge, Nile safari Lodge, Pakuba safari Lodge, Budongo Eco Lodge, sambiya River Lodge, red chilli rest camp, Baker’s lodge and many more.
The main tourist activities with in the park also include; game viewing around the delta, chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest, boat cruises, along the Nile to the bottom of the falls, bird watching , nature walks and many more.