Impressive for power rather than size, the Murchison Falls are a spectacular sight. However, there is much more to the park than a frothing river. There is a diversity of habitats both riverine and on grassy plains and savannah woodlands. Altitudes vary from 1,650-4,240 feet above sea level (500-1,292 meters).
ANIMALS AND BIRDS
During Idi Amin’s 15-year despotic rule of Uganda in the 1970’s, the country’s wildlife was almost wiped out by wayward soldiers using animals as target practice. Now 30 years on and in times of peace, Uganda is once again teeming with wildlife in national parks well worth visiting.
The Nile River calms itself after the falls into a rather more gentile flow and the best way to experience the abundance of animal and bird life along its banks is on a riverboat from Paara Lodge. The river is full of unbelievably large Nile crocodiles who sunbathe on rocks and display their entire 15-foot (4½ metre) reptilian bodies. Occupying the same waterway are thousands of pink-eared hippos who take defending their territories seriously and can startle you with a sudden mock charge.
Buffaloes wade nonchalantly through the prolific floating water hyacinth fringing the banks, and huge herds of over 100 elephants cool themselves in shallow creeks and graze silently on the lush grasses. The park is also home to giraffe, oribi, hartebeest, waterbuck and Uganda kob.
During the boat excursion your senses are bombarded with such diversity, it is hard to know where to look. It is a bird spotters paradise and is especially good for seeing the bizarre looking and very rare shoebill (or whale-headed) stork. It stands alone four-feet high (over 1 meter), with a head like a wobbly wooden mallet and a timid pouting expression. It is almost matched in height by the goliath heron, who appears elegant in comparison.
Dry Season: June to September is the driest time when most animals remain near water, but be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms at any time. The hot dry time is January to February and is a good time to visit. Dry season temperatures average 80°F (25°C).
Rainy Season: It rains anytime from October to December and March to May when many roads become impassible.
The national parks covers 600 miles² (1,500 km²)
The Nile’s flow is dam regulated so the water levels remain more or less constant throughout the year.
The park is accessible on a tarmac road from the capital city Kampala. The journey takes six hours.
This is a malarial area.