The Nile’s ultimate test at Murchison Falls

Few sights can match the beauty of the White Nile forcing itself through a seven meter gorge before plummeting forty five meters below, spending itself and carrying on as a placid river till Lake Albert.

The sight of the river going over the rocks, shooting up cool sprays is spectacular and while the rainbows that appear over the Falls can be quite a sight, same as the passion and fury with which the Nile gushes into the gorge, the lesser “furious” Uhuru Falls on the left continues to flow into the placid river below without much of a drama!

Seen from above, the Falls make a beautiful backdrop. The sight of the river going over the rocks, shooting up cool sprays is spectacular.

View of the falls from downstream

View of the Falls from the river level.

That said, there are a few things that you must know about this gorgeous waterfall and the ways to get to it.

The Top of the Nile Walk

View of the Nile before it plunges through the gorge

View of the Nile before it plunges through the gorge

Once inside the Murchisons National Park, watch out for the sign that says “Top Of The Nile – 12kms”. Follow the dirt road till the end. This is where you can park your car and begin your walk.

Two things to keep in mind –

  1. You must pay for this walk
  2. You must be extremely careful when you undertake this walk.
  3. Carry a bottle of water and do not attempt to do anything as silly as sitting on the rails and leaning over for a picture

Follow the well marked, although steep path running along the river. Take your time over the walk – in some places the path is extremely steep, and if you intend to reach down to the river, keep this in mind that the only way back is the way you came –

The other way you can experience this is walk is to come up on the boat from downstream and walk up up. But you still have to pay!

Nile Cruise

Not quite the cruise you have grown up dreaming about, for a cruise on River Nile in Uganda is more about becoming one with the nature. The cruise boat chugs up the river towards Murchisons Falls through what can only be described as National Geographic  type setting. The best chance of seeing wildlife is here – for they all come to the waters edge for a drink. The boat chugs up river towards the Falls. If you wish, you can get off closer to the base of the falls and walk up towards the starting point of the gorge – but bear in mind it is a steep climb.

The Park

Murchisons Falls National Park is located in the north- western Uganda and is spread around Lake Albert on the Victoria Nile. Teeming with a surprising number of wildlife, it easily one of the best parks in Uganda. Getting here on your own can be a little hard, but not impossible. But it would be best if you booked yourself a safari. Lodging within the national park is rather limited.

Avoid the hot and dusty months between Feb-April or the rainy months between July and September for it reduces your chances of seeing wildlife.

Murchisons Falls

Getting there

  1. You can drive yourself to the Falls or book yourself on a safari-package.
  2. From Kampala, drive north towards Masindi, the last town before you turn to the National Park
  3. Masindi is about 220 kms from Kampala and to anywhere inside the Park to your camp is about 40 miles +
  4.  You can get your permits at the Park entrance and the cost includes a fee for the car, for the people and the number of days you intend to stay inside the park. Costs USD 40 for the car per day and USD 10 per person per day.
  5. Please remember that you MUST exit the park within the stipulated time or pay a hefty fine!
View of the White Nile at Paraa Ferry Crossing - on the way to the early morning game drive.

View of the White Nile at Paraa Ferry Crossing – on the way to the early morning game drive.

There are a few camps inside the Park that offers, full board, campsites, food, bandas or luxury options (Paraa Safari Lodge). But, it is advisable to tank up in Masindi, bring sufficient water and snacks with you. Mosquito repellents might come handy and if you are camping, come prepared with torches, toilet paper, snacks, towels and other basics.

Chilled beer can be had rather easily and even on board the cruise boat!!!

Below are pictures from my 2012 visit.

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