_Murchison Falls National Park
Described by Winston Churchill in 1907 as "Kew Gardens and the zoo combined on an unlimited scale" the Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the bulky Bunyoro escarpment merges into the vast plains of Acholi land.
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 centre piece of the park. The Falls drains the last of the river's energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor for 55km to Lake Albert.
Highlights of Murchison Falls National Park include:
The scene created by the Nile River squeezing itself between a 7 m wide crack in the Great Rift Valley Wall before tumbling 42 metres is splendid, and makes for one of the world's more picturesque waterfalls.
It is great fun to view the Falls from the top, getting sprayed by Nile water while hearing the roar and viewing the river spread out beneath you, before following it up with a completely different view by taking a boat cruise to the bottom of the Falls.
Below the Falls you will find yourself in "Crocodile Alley", where a multitude of these silent predators lurk, easily filling themselves from the fish washed over in the chruning waters.
You can also get the boat to a point below the Falls, near to where Ernest Hemingway's plane crashed, from where you can hike up to the top, in order to be collected by your guide and driven back to camp.
The park is subjugated by woodland, wetland, savannah as well as tropical forest that is well known to be a habitat for over 76 mammal species and over 450 different bird species. Among the large mammals are hippo, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthog, cape buffalo, Uganda kob, hartebeest and elephants.
The Nile corridor of the Murchison has an immense collection of water birds such as rare shoebill stork, and also a huge concentration of Nile crocodile. Kaniyo Pabidi forest is a home to primates, chimpanzees and over 360 species of birds.
A fantastic way to experience Murchison Falls is on one of the boat cruises on offer each day. One boat motors upstream to view the Falls and the wildlife in the vicinity, while the other makes its way downstream towards the Lake Albert Delta which is the best place to find the rare shoe-billed stork, while also allowing for other wildlife sightings.
Ok, we'll admit, we added this description largely just to get our Shoebill photo on the website! But Murchison Falls is home to a huge variety of birds, and is a haven for the rare Shoebill, of which many avid twitchers flock to Uganda to hopefully catch a glmpse.
We were very lucky to get this sighting in the Nile Delta on Lake Albert.