Near the equator, in the north-western part of Uganda, exists the Murchison Falls National Park. It is impossible to meet a crowd of tourists in this conservation area. But, it’s a home for over 80 species of mammals, including the rarely encountered Rothschild’s giraffes. Camping amongst them will cause memorable impressions.
Our motor trip has begun from the border between Congo and Rwanda, in the famous Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is the place of living for almost half of mountain gorillas in the world. It mostly stretches through all of Uganda to the Murchison Falls National Park. This park was founded in 1952. It’s also famous as the Kabarega national park. It is the biggest safari park in Uganda and the only place in the country, where it is possible to meet all animals of African “big five”: elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, lions and leopards. Besides them, on the background of the magnificent landscapes, the chimpanzees, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles and other animals are enjoying their life. The main attraction of the park is one of the biggest giraffe populations.
The mighty Victoria Nile river runs through the heart of the park and divides it in half. On its way, it creates an impressive and beautiful waterfall. From the height approximately equal to a 16-storied building, it comes down on the “Devil’s Cauldron” through a gorge. The river loses energy, turning into a wide and calm flow, which silently runs along a valley into the Lake Albert. There are many hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes on the river coasts. It is a an amazing sight. The waterfall is made for exploration. The upper part of it is open air, where you can reach the edge and look into the abyss from different sides. A path winds along the side of the gorge and gives a possibility to walk down to the foothill, where a flow splashes infinitely. If you admire the waterfall while sitting in the boat, your eyes will no less of an unbelievable scene. This part of Victoria Nile river is one of the most famous places of interest in Uganda.
Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt and representatives of British monarchy visited Murchison Falls at different times. In 1950, right here on the Lake Albert the drama “African Queen”, which is the classics of cinema, was filmed, starring with Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. The park didn’t leap the pages of the newspapers even three years later when a plane with Ernest Hemingway and his wife Mary crashed near the waterfall. It happened because the plane was flying too low for a better view and caught the telegraph wires. The victims were not rescued immediately. The newspapers even managed to inform about the writer’s death. Luckily, everything worked out.
The safari-park is opened the whole year around. We visited it in November and we were satisfied. But if you don’t want to get there during the raining season that comes to the local latitudes two times a year, it is better to plan a trip from June to the end of September and from January to the middle of March. The best way to get Murchison Falls is to travel by air or by car. The planes arrive at Pakuba in the north-western end of the park.
The author of text and photos: Elena Ivanova