Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Different people have different dreams, some love playing games, enjoying wilderness’ silence, making fun and meeting new people, watching both static and ever-moving water with wonders like water falls, taking pictures, tracking wild animals, to mention but a few. Think of all these and many more and then guess what it means finding them in the same place; Murchison falls national park is the place!

Being Uganda’s oldest national park, Murchison Falls National Park is a destination for hundreds of visitors of all classes and from all the corners of the world. It is a place for researchers, birding, primate trekking, photography, honey moon, hot air balloon experience and game viewing. It is a place where moments are turned into memories.

Uganda is a small land-locked East African country in the neighborhood of Kenya (in the East), Republic of Rwanda and Tanzania (south), South Sudan (North) and Democratic Republic of Congo (west).  She was declared “the Pearl Of Africa” by Winston Churchill in appreciation of her people’s hospitality in addition to her beauty brought by good climate, a number of lakes like Albert, Victoria, Kyoga, Katwe, Edward, etc. plus rivers like the Nile.

In addition to the above, there is a total of 10 famous national parks which include Queen Elizabeth N/Park, Murchison Falls N/Park, Lake Mburo N/Park and so much more.

Where is Murchison Falls NP?

Murchison falls is located in northwestern Uganda covering areas of Lake Victoria and Karuma falls. The park is made up of two sections namely; Karuma wildlife reserve and Bugungu wildlife reserve covering 720sqkm and 748sqkm respectively. This makes it the largest national park in Uganda. It is 305km from the capital of Kampala. It also consists of Budongo forest reserve famous for giant mahogany trees and human-like chimpanzees. It covers districts of Masindi, Nwoya, Kiryandongo and Buliisa and the park is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) having been declared a national park since 1925.

Background of the park.

The park traces its origin way back in the year 1907 to 1912, a period when sleeping sickness disease spread by tsetse flies made the then residents of the area evacuate. This resulted into creation and designation of Bunyoro Game reserve in 1910. This reserve covered southern region of the park and later expanded North of the Nile in Gulu district. It was renamed Bunyoro-Gulu game reserve.

After the area became clear by the year 1932, very people stayed in the area. This resulted into formation of Budongo forest reserve. James Grant and John Speke visited the park in 1862. These were later followed by Sir. Samuel and Florence Baker, who explored the park from 1863 to 1864. Murchison falls were named after Roderick, the then Royal Geographical society President. In 1928, the boarders were extended as far as Nwoya district.

In the year 2005, Murchison falls NP was made a conservation area for lions and later giraffes were introduced in the park (over 250). Currently the park is a home to 76 mammal species and over 451 bird species plus a multitude of other biodiversity.

Wildlife.

Murchison falls National Park is home to a multitude of flora, fauna and birds. Some of the animals found here include but not limited to the following; four of Africa’s big five i.e. lions, elephants, leopards and cape Buffalos, antelope species like; Uganda kobs, Oribis, Jackson hartebeests and waterbucks. Whereas all these animals are easily visible in the northern sector, cats can be spotted by luck.

A number of activities can be done in the park irrespective of how much time you have. These include; bird watching, hot air balloon safari, camping, honeymoon, top of the falls nature walk and boat cruise to the Nile base.

Chimpanzee trekking is made possible at Budongo forest as long as you adhere to the rules and regulations that govern the activity.

Entry fees.

Murchison falls national park’s entry fees depend on your age group and country / region of origin. Adult foreign non-residents pay 40$, foreign residents pay 30$ and 20,000UGX for East African community. Foreign non-resident children pay 20$, foreign resident children pay 10$ and 5000 UGX for East African community citizens.

These are the annual park entry fees; 350$ for foreign residents and 150,000 UGX for East African community citizens, foreign resident couples pay 500$ whereas East African resident couples pay 200,000 UGX. A foreign resident family pays 700$ while 30,000 UGX is paid by families within the East African Community.

Annual corporate pass for foreign residents goes for 1,500$ while that of East African residents goes for 2500,000 UGX.

Safari guides and a taxi driver go for 100,000 UGX and 100,000 UGX respectively.  You need to know that a tour company driver is free of charge and annual fees are only accepted by those who qualify after meeting some requirements. Aircraft landing fee depends on the type of aircraft but ranges between 10$ for small microlights and 100$ for helicopters, while Ugandan registered costs only 20,000 UGX.

Best moments to visit Murchison Falls N/Park.

The best time to visit Murchison falls N/Park is a time of little or no rain, which is June to October and December to February. This is when the environment is more conducive compared to other periods; however, the park is always open for visiting any time of the year.

Where to stay while at the park?

Murchison falls National Park is a home away from home. This is because of its outstanding accommodation properties comprising of budget bandas, luxury tents, campsites, dormitories, lodges and hotels.

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