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Nile Adventures | Experiencing Murchison Falls National Park Like Never Before….And why its a Must See!

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Posted January 31, 2016 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Tourism ~ 7,535 views

     

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By Ronnie Mayanja — Last week I was privileged to embark on yet another tourism adventure this time in the western Albertine region and on the world’s longest river. The destination was none other than Murchison falls national park, the largest park in Uganda. For those who might not beware Murchison Falls, also known as Kabalega Falls in the past, is a waterfall between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert on the White Nile River in Uganda.

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The Nile river played a significant part in ancient history flowing for over 4,132 miles from two separate sources (white and blue Nile) it cascades it way to the Mediterranean sea.  At the top of Murchison Falls, the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks, only 7 meters (23 ft) wide, and tumbles 43 meters (141 ft), before flowing westward into Lake Albert. The outlet of Lake Victoria sends around 300 cubic meters per second (11,000 ft³/s) of water over the falls, squeezed into a gorge less than ten meters (30 ft) wide.

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Sir Samuel and Florence Baker were the first Europeans to find these falls. Baker named them after Sir Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society. It’s from the above name that the park was named — Murchison Falls National Park. Murchison Falls is home to about 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds according to research conducted by wildlife bodies. It also covers over 5,663 square kilometers of space making it one of the largest protected areas in East Africa.

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And so I set out on my first leg to revisit and enjoy Murchison falls and experience first hand what improvements if any have taken place since my last visit in 2012. Because I am in market for some affordable tour facilities and accommodation, I checked into Red Chilly a mid-range facility that I must add had a full house and a great hospitality team.

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After what was about 5 hours on the road we were treated to a sumptuous dinner, a bonfire before retiring to my tent that was fitted with all the basic necessities. What was our first interesting surprise of the evening came as we headed into our tent, two huge hippos were feeding on the grass within the compound. We were advised by the Red Chilli crew to steer clear and go about our business as these hippos were always known to pass through the compound in such of food and grass at night.

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After enjoying about 5 hours of sleep we were up early to start on our second leg and make it down to the ferry crossing before embarking on our game drive. The route was dotted with different species of birds and wildlife.

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First came the baboons, then elephants, warthogs, antelopes, giraffes, buffaloes and some rare species only found in the wild. Here I must commend Taban our UWA guide who did well in explaining the different aspects of the park and the type of animals you will be sure to find in the Park.

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As we drove further inland we were also greeted with a change in vegetation from tropical forest to Savannah grassland. After driving for about 2 hours we came across a head of a dead antelope and our guide then advised us that that lions would be nearby since they tend to feed at night.

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After making a continuous search and combing the area we were lucky to pounce of three lions that were resting in a wooded area after enjoying their kill of the day. After capturing those kodak moments with this — the African king of the jungle in his natural habitat we then drove to our resting point on the banks of Lake Albert.

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Here more hippos rested in the swampy waters and several bird species made melodious music on the Lake shores. On our return back to from the park it was then time for the third leg of our journey that took us on a boat cruise along the river Nile. On this trip I was joined by a cousin and a group of 20 university students from South Korea doing missionary work in Uganda.

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Our tour guides on this leg were Waterfront adventures that did great sharing some of the wildlife you will find along the Nile river. First came the birds, the river bank eroded shore lines, the Nile crocodiles, monitor lizards, buffaloes, hippos and some elephants that could be seen swimming in order to cool their bodies in what was some scotching mid-day sun.

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After riding for about one full hour on the Nile we were then treated to perhaps what can be described as the most fascinating landmark of the river Nile — a narrow gorge were the nile explodes into a small area before cascading on to Egypt. After capturing some kodak moments we were then dropped off by our boat crew at an assembly point along the bank used for trekking to the very top of the falls.

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Here here I will commend Uganda wildlife authority because unlike my previous visit the foot path had now been paved and also metallic handles added to allow those that make this one hour climb do so without incident and in safety given the stiff terrain. Because we were a big team climbing our way to the top we took our time in the blazing mid-day sun arriving about 90 minutes later!mini-IMG_7800

This trek was first described to me on my previous trip by the late PRO of UWA – Ms. Lillian Nsubuga who died about two years ago. And so after testing our mental and physical capacity we were greeted by loud thunder of the Nile water as it bounced off the rocky mountainous terrain on its way to Egypt.

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Our UWA guide here reminded us that in 1952 Sir Winston Churchill the famous British Prime Minister had constructed a bridge across the Nile but this had later collapsed due to the water pressure. A wide concrete block stands as the only reminder of this engineering marvel. As I stood by staring into the roaring Nile I started imagining the biblical stories of Ramsey and all the Egyptian pharaohs that built their powers around Nile waters centuries before!

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After enjoying the misty waters of the Nile and getting a rare glimpse of the rainbow formation atop the falls we were then ready to embark on the final leg of journey back to Kampala. This went on without incident of-course until we got close to Maganjo/Kawempe were the traffic jam back into the city tests you to the very core…here I will add that our government needs to build new highways to by-pass some of this traffic nightmares. Imagine a tourist paying so much to experience our wildlife only to be stark in traffic for extending hours especially if theirs is a short stay. This is an area of opportunity for those desiring to to see improved revenue collection in the tour sector!

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Overall I commend the UWA team lead by their Executive Director – Mr. Andrew Seguya, they have done a great job improving things at Uganda Wildlife Authority, from streamlining park entry fees, building permanent structures, renovating bridges, grading the roads and adding signage within the park for better and improved access. The other commendable aspect I witnessed were efforts to trans-locate some wildlife to the upper banks of the river Nile using trucks and specialized vehicles that were loaded onto barges used to cross the Nile.

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I was also pleased to meet and interact with the game warden Aggie Nakidde, a young energetic individual who mingled quite well with some of the tourists in the national park — Aggie together with her entire wildlife authority staff should be commended for their efforts in preserving and conserving Uganda’s wildlife. While UWA is doing well promoting Uganda I feel that Uganda Tourism Board – UTB needs to step up their efforts, while hiring PR firms to market our image abroad is a welcomed gesture this must be met with some checks and balances. We spent millions on CNN campaigns and more recently on the Barcelona legends – my concern here cost — I am told the price tag was over 700 million shillings if and whether that was value for money is a story for another day.

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Overall my experience in Murchison falls National park was quite refreshing and different from my last visit. And so I encourage my fellow Ugandans to try out Domestic Tourism and for those in the diaspora lets try and embrace Diaspora Tourism. It will not only wow you but give you a better sense of why Uganda has been rightly described as a nation gifted by nature!

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Ugandan Diaspora News now proudly brings you some of those kodak moments from Murchison Falls National Park. Our next stop in these adventures series will be Queen Elizabeth National Park if you would like us to visit your lodge inbox us. All photos appear of Ronnie Mayanja and must be used ONLY with permission.


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

3 Comments


  1.  
    Dk

    Love the Wildlife Photoes.




  2.  
    Irene

    Brilliant photos of Murchison falls.





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