Murchison Falls National Park is where the Nile river explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades downwards spectacularly into the “Devil’s cauldron”. The waters of the Nile force their way through a small slit within the rocks, which is just 7 meters or 23 feet wide, and topples 43 meters or 141 feet below with a thunderous roar, forming a residual water spray that forms a beautiful permanent rainbow; the view is simply breathtaking!
The park is located in northwestern Uganda, in the northern region of the Albertine Rift Valley, and is bisected by the Nile river. The park is undoubtedly one of the best national parks in Uganda (as well as being its largest) and is a must-see attraction on any Ugandan safari. Together with the adjacent 748 km2 (289 sq mi) Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the 720 km2 (280 sq mi) Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA).
The park was officially established in 1952. This used to be one of Africa’s most famous national parks, but the poaching in the 1960s and onwards led to the decimation of the park’s fauna populations. However, recently the park is starting to reclaim its former glory.
The park is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls, which in turn were christened by explorer and naturalist Sir Samuel Baker. Baker named the falls Murchison Falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison, the president of the Royal Geographical Society in the 1860s.
The northern section of the park contains savannah and borassus palms, acacia trees and riverine woodland. The south is dominated by woodland and forest patches. Wildlife includes over 75 mammal species, like Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, African Buffalo, Giraffe (Rothschild’s subspecies), Oribi, Common Warthog, the taxonomically interesting Jackson’s Hartebeest, Hippopotamus, Kob (Uganda subspecies and the country’s national animal), Tantalus and Patas Monkey, Olive Baboon and Uganda’s largest population of Nile Crocodiles.
Birdlife is equally prolific, with over 450 bird species present, ranging from a variety of waterbirds, as well as many rare and range-restricted species, including 23 Albertine rift endemics. Some of the top birds are the iconic Shoebill, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Saddle-billed Stork, Red-winged Grey Warbler, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Goliath Heron, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Grey-crowned Crane, Double-toothed Barbet, White-thighed Hornbill and Great Blue Turaco, to name just a few.
Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals. The 1951 film “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart was filmed on Lake Albert and the Nile river in Murchison Falls National Park.
Join one of our Uganda Safaris and Tours to experience this wonderful safari destination with us.