This is Uganda’s largest protected area situated north of Masindi District and spanning the Victoria Nile. It was established in 1952. The Park is named after the dramatic Murchison falls, where the River Nile explodes violently through a narrow 7m gap to fall a distance of 47m. The park covers an area of 3840 square kilometers. With a variety of vegetation raging from riparian forests, to broad savannah grasslands, woodland, rivers and swamps.
It is accessibility by road and will take about 6 hours from Kampala, about 305 km with a lunch break on the way. Paara covers a distance of about 85km from Masindi town by the shortest route. A direct or longer route will cover an area of about 335km.Alternatively one may decide to take on the Budongo forest route that will provide magnificent views overlooking Lake Albert from the direct position of the rift valley escarpment over Butiaba.
You can also access Paara from the north through Chobe Gate, Karuma Falls along Tangi. The Gate that is close to Pakwach covers an area of about 25km2 to Paara in addition to Wankwar Gate close to Purongo. People with Vehicles or public means will definitely go through the Nile at paara. It has a fixed time from 07hr00 and 19hr00.
Murchison Falls Park is also accessible by air: Pakuba is the landing site for the Planes. Airstrip transfers takes 30 minutes – about 19kms from Paraa and Bugungu covers an area of 13kms from Paraa. There is a daily scheduled flight service as well as charter services on request
Attractions include: the unique Murchison Falls as well as the River Nile with its streaming hippo and serried ranges of crocodile along the sandbanks, as well as large numbers of different species getting down to drink & bathe. The high light visit to Murchison is the launch trip up the stream to observe the Falls and riverbank wildlife. The launch starts at 09.00 and 14.00 every day. The round trip takes 3 hrs. Another boat trip goes downstream from Paraa down to the papyrus delta at the point where the river enters into Lake Albert. This 4-5 hour return adventure provides a good chance of discovering the shoebill stork and different varieties of wildlife.
The Nile below Murchison Falls offers exciting challenges to anglers coupled with a chance to land a huge Nile Perch (the record is 108kg). Fishing is prohibited to designated sites & places are limited so advance booking is recommended. A number of boats could be hired for sport fishing by prior booking. Do carry your own fishing equipment.
The most spectacular view of the waterfall is on the top of “where the sight & sound of the Nile crashing through”, wide chasm make a memorable assault on the senses site -can be reached either by car / a 30 minutes climb, leaving the Paraa launch.
The park’s superior savanna game viewing aspect, this grassland wilderness is located between the Victoria Albert Niles with excellent views towards the western rift valley beyond Lake Albert in the DRC. A drive from Paraa passing Delta Point takes 3 to 4 hours. Morning & late afternoon are the best times for sight wild game. A ranger guide from UWA is recommended to help you in most of your game drive.
With over 76 species of mammals including four of the “Big Five”, huge herds of buffaloes and elephants, well-camouflaged leopards and a healthy population of lions as giraffes , this park ca only be compared to Kidepo Valley national park. Other species viewed regularly along the game tracks include Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs. Resident crocodiles and hippos as well as other, visiting wildlife are found along the river.
Primates include: Olive baboons, blue and red-tailed monkeys and black-and-white colobus which can be found in the forested sectors. The savanna-dwelling patas monkey is only found here and in Kidepo Valley National Park. Around 800 chimpanzees live in the Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo Forests.
Birds: The varied habitats make it home to a variety of birds with 451 species recorded. These include: the Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world – and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s national bird. Also seen along the banks of the Nile are the Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Squacco Heron, African Jacana, Sandpipers, Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Piapiac, Silverbird, Weaver Birds, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver and African Quail-Finch.
Budongo Forest: This forest administered by the National Forestry Authority is partly found within the parks protected area and is habitat to chimpanzees, monkeys, baboons and some very special forest bird species. Chimpanzee tracking, bird watching and nature walks are all popular activities that can be undertaken at the Kaniyo Pabidi Ecotourism center close to the main entrance of Kichumbanyumbo gate when approaching from Masindi.