The park which was created in 1952 from the Bunyoro and Gulu game reserves covers 3,860 sq km. It is bisected by the Victoria Nile for 100km as it is serenely flows form Karuma falls to the Albert Nile. It is part of even larger Murchison area (5072 sq km) which includes the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves. It’s home to several animals.

According to a 1969 census the park supported 26,500 buffalo, 14,000 hippo, 16,000 Jackson hartebeest, 30,000 Uganda kob, 11,000 warthog as well as big amounts of Rothschild’s giraffe and both black and white rhinoceros although these species are now extinct and have just been re-introduced .On the way to Murchison Falls, elephant, crocodiles, lions, Hippos, Hartebeest, Buffalo, Rothschild giraffe, Oribi and Monitor lizards may be seen.

Murchison falls conservation Area comprises of Murchison falls National Park, Bugungu as well as Karuma falls wildlife reserve. This is exactly where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and passes down to become a placid river whose banks are filled with hippos, as well as crocodiles, buffaloes, as well as waterbucks. The vegetation here is characterized by savannah, riverine forests, as well as woodland. The wildlife also includes lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes, Oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many species.

Getting There

The park can be accessed by means of road transport; it will take you about 5 hours from Kampala and about 305 km. Paara only covers a distance of 8 km from Masindi town by the shortest route. The direct route will also cover an area of 135km and the alternative might be to take on the Budongo Forest route that will give you good views that overlook Lake Albert from the direct position of the rift valley escarpment over Butiaba.

You can as well access Paraa from the north through Chobe Gate, Karuma falls along with Tangi, this gate is so close to Pakwach and covers an area of about 25km to Paara in addition to Wankwar Gate close to Purongo. The visitors with vehicles or public means will go through the Nile at Paara. It has a fixed time from 07: 00 and 19:00. Apart from using road transport, this national park can be accessed by air. Pakuba is the main landing site for the charter flights and this takes about 19km from Paara and Bugungu that covers an area of 13km from Paara.

Places of Interest

Paara is a local word from local Luo language that means the place of hippos and this is the most famous attractions in the park as it supports the very largest concentration of wildlife in the park. More so, this national park has got not only wild animals but also birds, buffaloes, lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, crocodiles and many more.

Budongo forest is one of the biggest Mahogany forests that is found in East Africa and its habitant for many chimpanzees throughout Uganda. The major tourist sites in the forest are the Kaniyo Pabidi Eco tourism site, Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism site, Busingiro Ecotourism site. All these are dominated by Mahogany and Iron wood trees.

Karuma falls; these are roaring waterfalls found on the beautiful Victoria Nile and are among the most beautiful and leading tourist attractions in Uganda. It’s locally called the Karuma falls, which is a name derived from a notion that Karuma is a great spirit positioned the stones that break the waters of the river.

Kaniyo Pabidi forest covers an area of about 8 km in the heart of Kichumbanyobo gate. It gives all the visitors the chance of tracking the chimps and many other primates that are discovered in mahogany trees. It’s a habitant for many bird species like the white Thighed hornbill, alongside the yellow footed flycatcher. Some of the tourists like Uganda safaris nature walks and Rabongo forests that offers the best.

Murchison Falls

The waterfalls are located in the park which is actually named after these eye catching falls. The park is located in northern region of the Albertine Rift valley. It was recognized as one of the best National parks in Uganda. This game reserve was established to shelter the savannah grassland that was pointed out by Winston Churchill in 1907. Many of the visitors often come from many destinations to track the gorillas in this very country.

Buligi Area

There is also the Buligi area which is the park’s superior savannah game viewing aspect, its located between the Victoria Albert Niles with great views towards the western rift valley beyond Lake Albert in DRC. There is a drive from Paraa that passes the delta point taking 3 to 4 hours. The Morning and late afternoon are the best times for sight game drives. The park is filled with woodland, wetland, savannah as well as tropical forest, it has over 450 different bird species and the animals include; giraffes, warthogs, Cape buffalo, kobs, antelopes and many more.

Things to See

When this national park was started in 1952 , the game department inspired, the main tourist attractions of this park that was the unique Murchison falls and the Nile River with its streaming hippo and serried ranges of crocodiles along the sand banks and the large numbers of different species getting down to bathe and drink.

The park is also referred to as the Kabarega falls which is a waterfall that is found on the course of the great Nile. It breaks the stunning Victoria Nile which flows across Uganda’s northern region from the vast Lake Victoria to the deep of Lake Kyoga and proceeds to the northern tip of Lake Albert with in the western arm of the great East African Rift. Right on the high point of Murchison falls, the waters of the Nile force their way through a small slit in the rocks, which is just 7 meters wide. The views here are so breathtaking! It also continues its westward into the stunning Lake Albert.

Things to Do

Birding

Along the river bird life is spectacular. Red-throated bee-eaters nest in their hundreds in a river cliff near Paraa. While a plethora of water birds are found in and along the channel.
Most prized sightings are those of the strange looking Shoebill or Whale- headed Stork which frequents marshy areas. This maybe from the Paraa Lounge but at Victoria Nile’s Papyrus delta where the river enters Lake Albert opportunities are best.

Game Viewing

Best game viewing is at the north of the Nile in Buligi Area which is beautiful grassland found between Albert and Victoria Niles. Also north of the river near Tangi is a river valley used by wildlife as a corridor to reach the Nile. Although game is scarcier in the bushier habitats south of the river, forest species like chimpanzee can be found in Kanyinyo Pabidi.

Boat Trips

Currently the highlight of a visit to Murchison is the boat cruise up the stream to see the falls and riverbank wildlife. This boat trip starts at 9:00 and 14:00 every day. This round trip takes 3 hours. The other boat trip goes downstream from Paraa down to the papyrus delta at the point where the river enters into Lake Albert. The 4 – 5 hour return adventure also gives a good chance of discovering the shoebill stork as well as different varieties of birds and wildlife.

There is also the Nile below the falls that gives very exciting challenges to the anglers mixed with a chance to land a huge Nile Perch.

Fishing is forbidden to designated sites and places are limited so advance booking is required. There are a number of boats that can be hired for sport fishing by booking. You need to carry your fishing equipment. The most beautiful view of the waterfall is on the top of where the sight & sound of the Nile crashes through a wide chasm that makes a memorable assault on the senses that can be reached either by car or 30 minutes climb leaving the Paraa launch.

 

 

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