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Looking forward to visiting the Pearl of Africa? Here are ten reasons why you should visit Murchison Falls National Park. PHOTO/UWA

Here are the top ten reasons why you should visit Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda if you’re planning to visit the ‘Pearl of Africa’.

Uganda’s largest and most fascinating game park is Murchison Falls National Park. It is located in the country’s west region and is bounded by the East African Rift and Lake Albert. 

The Victoria Nile winds its way through the park and drains into Lake Albert, forming a delta. 

Along the way, the river slams into Murchison Falls, generating the world’s biggest natural water force.

Murchison Falls National Park is home to a wealth of animals in addition to a range of gorgeous landscapes. Numerous huge creatures like lions, elephants, giraffes, and leopards can be spotted. 

Additionally, the park is home to notable birds such as the grey-crowned crane and shoebill. The park is extremely accommodating to tourists, and visitors may enjoy wildlife drives, boat safaris, and a waterfall trek.

You need to experience Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda if you want to see the ‘Pearl of Africa’. Here are the top ten reasons you should visit the Park.

Murchison Falls is awe-inspiring

Murchison Falls National Park’s star attraction is located in the park’s heart: Murchison falls, a waterfall along the river Nile

The comparatively wide and swift-flowing Victoria Nile is forced to constrict and squeeze through a narrow, seven-metre breach on the edge of an escarpment — roughly in the middle of Murchison Falls National Park. 

This drives the water to rush over the cliff, resulting in a ferocious white-water cascade. While the drop is only 43 metres (141 feet), the force and intensity of the falls, along with the deep jungle setting, create a jaw-dropping spectacle.

The scenery is diverse and lovely

Murchison Falls National Park is divided in half by the Victoria Nile, producing a northern and southern division.

The northern part is notable for its tall grasses (with Borassus palms intermingled), acacia trees, and riverine woods. The southern part is covered in extensive tropical forest and forested savannah. 

There is a large wetland in the west, where the Victoria Nile empties into Lake Albert.

Throughout the park, the vistas are breathtaking and occasionally startling. It’s an excellent location for landscape photographers to hone their skills. 

Murchison Falls, with its twin waterfalls, is, of course, the park’s most famous sight. 

However, the riverbanks and the Victoria Nile delta are also worth noting, as both are teeming with waterbirds, waders, and other species.

Murchison Falls National Park contains hundreds of plant species. Acacia, sycamore fig, Borassus palm, mahogany, sausage, dombeya, and several others. Strangler figs are also found in the park’s forested areas.

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Only a few parks offer boat safaris; you can experience one on the Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. PHOTO/UWA

The game spotting abilities are exceptional.

According to a 2015 survey, Murchison Falls National Park is home to at least 109 animal species. Many of these are huge creatures, such as lions, leopards, antelopes, and elephants, which are safari favourites. 

The presence of the Victoria Nile within the park contributes significantly to the area’s abundance of wildlife – wallowers and other thirsty animals congregate around the river and its wetlands. 

You can expect to encounter hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and other spectacular species when you head to the water.

Hippos, giraffes, Cape buffaloes, elephants, crocodiles, and numerous antelopes, including Uganda kobs, are the most often spotted wildlife in the park.

Hundreds of Patas monkeys can be spotted

The patas monkey is an Old World monkey that is found in West, Central, and Eastern Africa’s savannah. It is also known as the wadi monkey and hussar monkey. Unlike the majority of monkeys, patas monkeys live on the ground.

The orange fur on its head, back, and flanks distinguishes it from other monkey types. Its belly and legs are predominantly pale in colour. They thrive in the park’s open savannah region. 

And if you see one, you’re likely to see several, as they are sociable creatures that reside in vast flocks.

Some lions can climb trees

You may not have considered this previously, but the majority of lions do not climb trees. They prefer to sleep, socialise, and clean themselves on the grass and rocks. 

However, lion populations in certain areas of Uganda and northern Tanzania are well-known for their tree-climbing abilities. 

It’s very amazing to witness a lion, comparable to a leopard, reclining in a tree or standing and scanning the area from this advantageous vantage position.

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the few remaining locations where lions like climbing and hanging out in trees.

They like trees with spread branches, such as sycamore figs and acacias, since these trees have long, simple branches that are nice to lay on.

The park is home to rare Rothschild’s giraffes

Murchison Falls National Park is also known for its population of rare and endangered Rothschild’s giraffes. 

The Rothschild’s giraffe, a subspecies of the northern giraffe, has been reduced to approximately 1,500 individuals and is found only in Uganda and a small section of southern Kenya.

One of Rothschild’s giraffe’s distinctive characteristics is its ossicones, which are the skin-covered bony protuberances on its skull. It has five ossicones, the most of any giraffe. 

The two parietal ossicones on the top of the head are the highest, and they are present in all giraffe species. 

However, Rothschild’s giraffes have a smaller one behind each ear and a larger one in the centre of the forehead.

A large population of Uganda kobs resides here

Uganda safaris are incomplete without encountering the Ugandan kob. One explanation for this is its restricted range: it is found only in Uganda and small sections of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

It is also Uganda’s most famous antelope, appearing on the country’s coat of arms.

Ugandan kobs are frequently confused with impalas. And, yes, the two species do resemble one another. However, impalas and kobs do not belong to the same genus. 

The Ugandan kob is classified as a ‘Kobus’, but the impala is the sole representative of the genus Aepyceros.

Ugandan kobs inhabit both open and forested savannah, as well as grassland. Murchison Falls National Park is home to a sizable population of Ugandan Kobs, so you should see several of these beautiful creatures while on a safari there. 

When you do come across them, you’ll be able to distinguish males from females because only the former have horns.

There are 450 bird species, with the shoebill being one among them

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Murchison Falls National Park is home to 450 types of birds, including the shoebill. PHOTO/UWA

Shoebills (other names include whale heads, whale-headed storks, and shoe-billed storks) are huge, unique, and unsightly birds. 

In simple terms, that iconically huge beak appears gigantic. However, they are fascinating birds (perhaps partly for that reason).

Shoebills prefer to congregate in marshes, where they hunt their prey. They are superb hunters, pursuing species just slightly smaller than themselves, such as to monitor eels, lizards, and even newborn crocodiles.

The greatest spot to see shoebills in Murchison Falls National Park is along the Victoria Nile between Nile Safari Lodge and the river delta at Lake Albert.

You can participate in a boat safari

Boat safaris are a unique experience that only a few parks can offer. You may experience a boat safari on the Victoria Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. 

This enables you to observe and appreciate the park’s various creatures and features.

The safari boat excursion begins 15 kilometres downstream from Murchison Falls in Paraa, which in Luo means ‘the place of hippos.’ The most popular choice is an upriver trip through Fajao Gorge. 

The densely forested walls grow up to encircle the river and block out the rest of the world. You have the sensation of entering a far and mysterious universe of primal rhythms and cycles. 

Finally, you’re rewarded with the sound of pounding water and a view of the magnificent Murchison Falls.

The park offers both group and private boat safari experiences. You may also choose to take a fishing boat cruise. The boats have roofs, which is advantageous for sun protection. 

There are a variety of cruise departure times available, including morning and afternoon. Those who are interested might choose a sundowners cruise and view the safari while sipping a glass of wine!

You can hike to the top of the waterfall

You can hike from the river up to the Top of the Falls Viewpoint on the river’s south bank, provided the conditions are favourable.

This is a strenuous trek, but it is rewarded with an unmatched view, a thunderous soundtrack, and a refreshing shower.

We also recommend visiting Lake Mburo National ParkQueen Elizabeth National Park and Semuliki National Park on our Uganda tour guide for a complete experience.