"Murchison Falls National Park" Murchison Falls National Park by Waxbag

Uganda’s Premier Game Park
Murchison Falls National Park is the jewel of all of Uganda’s game parks. It is located along the Western Rift Valley in the northwest of Uganda. The park is 3877 sq km and contains 76 mammal species and 450 bird species. There are many vegetation zones including savannah, riveriene forest, and woodland forest. The key feature of the park is Murchison Falls where the Victoria Nile funnels down a 6 m wide gorge dropping 40 m at 6 million cubic meters per second making it the most dramatic thing ever to happen to the Nile on its 6700 km long journey to the Mediterranean.

See the video at Murchison Falls National Park

The highest density of wildlife is found in the delta that is bound by the Victoria Nile, Lake Albert, and the Albert Nile. This region is very lush savannah and attracts herds of Ugandan kob & hartebeest, approximately 700 Rothschild’s giraffes, 1500 elephants and 200-300 lions. Along the river are large groups of hippos and crocodiles. Buffalo and elephant also frequent the riverside. There are an amazing abundance of birds here. We saw hundreds of pied kingfishers hovering over the water and diving at the small fish below. Darters, Gray and Purple herons, Great egrets, African Fish eagles, Crimson Chested beaters, Egyptian goose, and the national bird the Crowned Crane are represented in great numbers too. The elusive Shoe-billed stork is a resident here although very difficult to find.

War in Murchison

The late 70s and 80s were a bad time for Uganda’s parks. Amin’s war with Tanzania was a catastrophe. In 1979 a 50,000 strong Tanzanian army invaded Uganda forcing out Amin. With the war bill at $500 million, the country was unable to pay its army. The 12,000 troops that remained took what they wanted from shops at gunpoint, hijacked trucks with relief supplies, and slaughtered wildlife for trophies and bush meat. There were 16,000 elephants, 26,000 buffalos, and huge herds of hartebeest and kobs in the park before the slaughter. In 1995 there were estimated 200 elephants, 1000 buffalos, 10,000 hartebeest and no rhino. The bright side of the decimation is that the parks floral got to breathe a sigh of relief as the impact of these animals, especially the elephant, was tremendous. It will take more than 50 years for the park to regain even half of the amount of game it had in the 1960s.

Chimpanzees

Chimpanzee DNA is 98% identical to human DNA making them our closest relative. They are found in the rainforests and woodlands of western and central Africa. Males are generally larger at 3-4 ft and 90-115 lbs as opposed to the females who are 2-3 ft tall and weigh 57-110 lbs. Their arms are longer than their legs and they have opposable thumbs and big toes. Chimpanzees are omnivores eating a variety of fruits and plants as well as ants, termites, and small monkeys. They have been seen using tools in the wild. Chimpanzees are fully grown at 12-13y at which time the female can begin childbearing. Gestation lasts 8.5-9 months. The child stays with its mother until age seven. Chimpanzees live approximately 60 years in captivity and 35-40 in the wild. They eat and sleep in the trees and every night each one has to build a new sleeping nest. Bands of Chimpanzees live in mixed communities which share a territory. They communicate with sounds, facial expressions, and gestures. They even hold hands, hug, and kiss.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful Park, Has a Very Wild Feel About It, Many Primates, amazing waterfalls
  • Cons:It doesn't have the wildlife like Tanzania or Kenya but is well worth visiting
  • Last visit to Murchison Falls National Park: Sep 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 2, 2009
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