Murchison Falls National Park
At 3840 km2, The Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest protected area. The park is cut in half by the mighty Nile River. The river squeezes through a seven-metre gap in a cleft of rock, setting-off explosions of white water, the result of which is the spectacular Murchison Falls. The falls are the most powerful natural water flow in the world.
A boat safari down the river offers superb game viewing, with plenty of hippo and some of Africa’s largest crocodiles, thanks to the menu of big fish. It’s also one of the few places in the world to spot the rare shoebill stork. You don’t need to be a bird watcher to get excited at seeing one; the metre high birds are without doubt the most extraordinary of East African birds. Solitary and silent, these monstrous birds have huge beaks capable of crushing small crocodiles.
If the river leaves you greedy for more, the forests are home to chimpanzees and the palm-dotted hills offer rewarding game drives.
Visitors should bear in mind that the northwest area of Uganda has a violent past and the park, along with the approaching roads, has been subject to incidents over the past 15 years. There have been no visitor related attacks since 2001 and park staff maintain that it’s safe to visit. However, several international embassies still advise their citizens to stay away.
In today’s political climate, it’s difficult to assign areas with ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’ labels. All travellers can really do is make an informed decision.