National Parks

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) is a national park> in Uganda and managed by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. It is in north-western Uganda, spreading inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria Nile, up to the Karuma Falls.
Together with the adjacent 748 square kilometres (289 sq mi) Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the 720 square kilometres (280 sq mi) Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA).

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the largest parks in Uganda split into two parts by the famous River Nile. As you enter the park, a view of Budongo forest, rugged terrain of the western Rift valley and; the top of Murchison falls where water cascades through a narrow gorge 45M deep forming a continuous uproar with visible rainbow through the day.

Murchison Falls has received many notable foreign visitors. In 1907, Winston Churchill hiked, boated and bicycled up the Nile corridor to the Falls. He was followed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 during a hunting safari that cost, by today's prices, a phenomenal US$1.8m!

murchison falls

In 1951, the Falls provided a backdrop for Humphrey Bogart in John Hustons famous movie, The African Queen which was filmed on location along the Murchison Nile and on Lake Albert. British royals have also visited Murchison, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1930 and the Queen Mother in 1959.

The least happy celebrity visitor was Ernest Hemingway in 1954 who literally dropped in. His intention was simply to overfly the waterfall but his plane clipped an old telegraph wire strung across the gorge and cart wheeled into the river line forest. Hemingway and his wife were rescued and taken to Butiaba where their rescue plane crashed on takeoff.

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile which first races down 80km of white-water rapids before plunging 40m over the remnant rift valley wall at Murchison Falls, the center piece of the park. This waterfall was named in 1864 by the explorer Samuel Baker who considered it the most important object through the entire course of the river. The Falls drains the last of the rivers energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor for 55km to Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Ugandas most memorable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors include elephant, giraffe and buffalo while hippopotamus and Nile crocodile are permanent residents.

The park covers 3,893km2 and is Ugandas largest protected area. Today it is part of the even larger Murchison Falls Protected Area (5,072km2) which includes the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves.

The Albert Nile corridor is Ugandas lowest area (612m at Delta Point) and temperatures can be hot with a mean maximum of 29OC. The hottest times are mid December to mid February and June-July, tempered by rainy seasons in April and November.

Location

The park straddles the Ugandan districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi. The driving distance from Masindi, the nearest large town, to the Kibanda area of the national park is about 72 kilometres (45 mi). This area is about 283 kilometres (176 mi), by road, north-west of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda. The coordinates of the park near the Kibanda area are 02°11'15.0"N, 31°46'53.0"E (Latitude:2.187499; Longitude:31.781400).

Overview


Murchison Falls
MFNP is Uganda's largest national park. It measures approximately 3,893 square kilometres (1,503 sq mi).The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 115 kilometres (71 mi).
The park is the location of the Murchison Falls, where the waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge only 7 metres (23 ft) wide before plunging 43 metres (141 ft).
Also in the park, adjacent to the Masindi-Gulu Highway, are the Karuma Falls, the location of the 600 megawattKaruma Power Station, which will be Uganda's largest power station when it comes online circa 2018.

Wildlife

MFCA and the adjacent Bugondo Forest Reserve have 76 species of mammals as well as Uganda's largest population of crocodiles. 450 bird species are present ranging from easy variety of waterbirds, including the rare shoe-billed stork, Bugondo's 59 "restricted range" species, dwarf kingfisher, Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco.

 

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