Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park lies at the Northern end of the Albertine Rift valley, where the bulky Bunyoro escarpments merges into the vast plains of Acholi land. One of Uganda’s oldest conservation areas, it was initially gazetted as a game reserve in 1926 to protect a savanna that Winston Churchill described in 1907 as “Kew Gardens and the zero combined on an unlimited scale.’ Murchison falls National Park has received many notable foreign visitors. In 1907, Winston Churchill hiked.
Boated and bicycled up the Nile corridor to the falls. He was followed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 during a hunting Safari. In 1951, the falls provided a backdrop of Humphrey Bogart in John Huston’s famous movie, the African queen which was filmed on location along the Murchison Nile and on Lake Albert. British royals have also visited Murchison, the Prince of Wales (later Edward Vii) in 1930 and the queen mother in 1959. The least happy celebrity visitor was Ernest Hemingway in 1954 who literally dropped in, His intention was simply to over fly the waterfall but his plane clipped on old telegraph wire strung across the gorge and cartwheeled into the riverline forest. Hemingway and his wife were rescued and taken to Butiaba where their rescue plane crashed on takeoff. The Park is bisected by the Victoria Nile which first races down 80Km of whitewater rapids before plunging 40m over the remnant rift valley wall at Murchison falls, the centerpiece of the park. This waterfall was named in 1864 by the explorer Samuel Baker who considered “the most important object through the entire course of the river. The stretch of the river provides one of Uganda’s most memorable wildlife spectacles which includes regular visitors like elephants, giraffe and buffalo while the hippopotamus and Nile crocodile are permanent residents. The park covers 3,893 Km2 and it is Uganda’s largest protected area. It is part of the even larger Murchison protected area which includes the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves. The Albert Nile corridor is Uganda’s lowest area (612m at Delta point) and temperatures can be hot with a mean maximum of 29°C. The hottest time are mid December to mid February and June- July, tempered by rainy seasons in April and November.