The Magnificent Murchison Falls

Also referred as the Kabalega Falls, Murchison Falls is probably the main reason why many tourists take tours to Murchison Falls National Park as the number one tourist destination in Uganda. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the World and is found between Lakes Albert and Kyoga on the White Nile River within Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

What makes the Murchison Falls beautiful is the fact that the Nile passes through many miles of rapids before forcing its way through the narrow gorge of only 7 meters (23 feet) wide in the rocks and falls at about 120 meters (400 feet) in a series of three cascades but the first fall of about 40 meters (130 feet) is the one known as Murchison Falls before finally flowing westwards to pour its waters into Lake Albert. Usually, the outlet of Lake Victoria forces over 300 cubic meters of water per second over the waterfalls through the gorge of less than 10 meters wide.

It is believed that Sir Samuel Baker and his wife Florence Baker were the first Europeans to find and explore the waterfalls and eventually named it “Murchison Falls after Sir Roderick Murchison, then President of the Royal Geographical Society and the waterfalls lent the name to the surrounding Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest and oldest Protected Area covering 3840 square kilometers and established in 1952 respectively and is undeniably the most spectacular National Park characterized by roiling savannah grasslands. The Murchison Falls lies on the lower Victoria Nile River within the north-western side of Uganda, about 32 kilometers (20 miles) east of Lake Albert.

However during Idi Amin Dada’s regime, the fall was changed to Kabalega Falls (in the 1970s) after the once powerful and warrior King of Bunyoro-Omukama Kabalega Chwa much as it was never legally recognized. The waterfalls later regained its original name after the overthrow of his Government but some people still known the waterfalls by the Kabalega name. One thing that makes this waterfall very interesting and worth exploring is the fact that it is the site where Ernest Hemingway crashed a plane just downriver from Murchison Falls in 1954.

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the top tourist destinations in Uganda offering tourists with opportunities of spotting four of the big five animals (elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards), giraffes, warthogs, Uganda Kobs, elands, bushbucks, chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, oribis, topis, hippos, Nile crocodiles, waterbucks and baboons among others as well as bird species including the shoebill storks.

In addition to the Murchison Falls, tourists interested in exploring waterfalls during safaris can visit the Itanda, Ssezibwa, Karuma, Aruu, Sipi, Kisiizi, Sisiyi and Bujagali waterfalls among others. All these waterfalls are exceptionally beautiful and worth exploring hence the reason you have to add them in your itinerary when visiting the National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.