Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley. The park was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1926. It is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area hosting close to 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall creating the mighty Murchison Falls, which is the centerpiece of the park. The falls come as the final spot of the many rapids of the Nile River. After the falls, the river continues quietly into Lake Albert.
This stretch of the river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Animals that visit the riverbanks include lions, elephants, giraffes and buffaloes among others; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.
Special features Of Murchison Falls National Park include;
These are created as the Nile plunges over the rift valley wall forcing its way through a gap in the rocks of only 7 meters wide and creating a big thunderous roar of the water. On a bright and sunny day, the falls and the sun rays create an amazing rainbow.
The park is home to 76 species of animals including four of the “Big Five”. There are herds of elephants,
buffalos, antelopes, and giraffes. Other species viewed regularly along the game tracks include Jackson’s hartebeest, Bushbucks, Uganda kob, Waterbucks, and Warthogs. Resident crocodiles and hippos as well as other visiting wildlife are found along the river.
Olive baboons are common along the roadsides. Blue and red-tailed monkeys and black-and-white colobus can be found in the forested sectors. The savanna-dwelling patas monkey is only found here and in Kidepo Valley National Park. Around 800 chimpanzees live in the Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo Forests.
The varied habitats of Uganda’s largest park make it home to a variety of birds with 451 species recorded. The list includes the Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s national bird.
Also seen along the banks of the Nile are the Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Squacco Heron, African Jacana, Sandpipers, Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Piapiac, Silverbird, Weaver Birds, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver, and African Quail-Finch among others.