Uganda’s largest national park and one of its very best; animals here are in plentiful supply and the raging Murchison Falls a sight to behold. Sir Samuel Baker named Murchison Falls in honour of a president of the Royal Geographical Society, and the park was subsequently named after the falls. The Victoria Nile River flows through the park on its way to Lake Albert.
During the 1960s, Murchison (3893 sq km; 5081 sq km with the adjoining Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves) was one of Africa’s most famous parks; as many as 12 launches filled with eager tourists would buzz up the river to the falls each day. The park also had some of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa, including as many as 15,000 elephants. Unfortunately, poachers and troops wiped out practically all wildlife, except the more numerous (or less sought-after) herd species. While its rhino population was entirely killed off and remains absent from the park, other wildlife is recovering fast and you can find good numbers of elephants, Rothschild giraffes, lion, Ugandan kob (antelopes), waterbuck, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles these days. Sitatunga, leopard and spotted hyenas might also be seen. Birdlife consists of some 460 species, including quite a few shoebill stork.
Despite this new beginning, don’t come to Murchison expecting a scene from the Serengeti. Still, we’ve never heard of anybody going away disappointed in their visit. And, even if there were no animals, the awesome power of Murchison Falls would make this park worth visiting.
For more information on the park, pick up a copy of Murchison Falls Conservation Area Guidebook (2002) by Shaun Mann at the park office.
Excellent wildlife watching from boat or car; Rothschild giraffe; lion; sheer power and fury of Murchison Falls; chimpanzee tracking in Budongo Forest Reserve.