Murchison Falls National Park

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Murchison Falls National Park
Kabalega National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Murchison Falls National Park
Map showing the location of Murchison Falls National Park
Location of Murchison Falls National Park
Location Uganda
Nearest city Masindi
Coordinates 02°15′N 31°48′E / 2.250°N 31.800°E / 2.250; 31.800Coordinates: 02°15′N 31°48′E / 2.250°N 31.800°E / 2.250; 31.800
Area 3,480 square kilometres (1,340 sq mi)
Established 1952
Governing body Ugandan Wildlife Authority

Murchison Falls National Park is a national park in Uganda and managed by the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. The park is in northwestern Uganda, spreading inland from the shore of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile. Together with the adjacent 748 square kilometres (289 sq mi) Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the 720 square kilometres (280 sq mi) Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA).[1]


The park is in Buliisa District in western Uganda and in Nwoya District in northern Uganda. The park is approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi), by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda's capital city. The coordinates of the park are 02 15N, 31 48E (Latitude:2.2500; Longitude:31.8000).[citation needed]


The explorers John Speke and James Grant were the first Europeans to visit the present day MFCA in 1862. It was more thoroughly explored by Samuel and Florence Baker in 1863-4. Baker named the falls Murchison Falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison, then the president of the Royal Geographical Society.[2]

Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt visited the falls in 1907 and 1909, respectively.[citation needed]

The park is sometimes referred to as Kabalega National Park. Kabalega was the Omukama of the Kingdom of Bunyoro, around the end of the 19th century. He resisted colonization by the British, was arrested, and was exiled by the British to the island nation of the Seychelles. Kabalega died in Jinja in 1923 en route to Bunyoro from exile.


Murchison Falls

The park is Uganda's largest national park. It measures approximately 3,840 square kilometres (1,480 sq mi).[3] The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 115 kilometres (71 mi). The park is the location of the famous Murchison Falls, where the waters of the Nile River squeeze through a narrow gorge, only 7 metres (23 ft) wide, before plunging 43 metres (141 ft) below. Also in the park, adjacent to the Masindi-Gulu Highway, are the Karuma Falls, the location of the under-construction 600 megawatt Karuma Power Station, which will be Uganda's largest power station when it comes online around 2018.[4]


In the park, four of the "big five" (Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, and leopard) can be seen, especially in the northern part (above the Nile). Because of excessive hunting and poaching, black rhinoceros became extinct by 1983, but were re-introduced into Uganda in 2005 by Rhino Fund Uganda. White rhinoceros are now being bred again in the 7,000 hectares (27 sq mi) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is located 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of the park. Their mission is to reintroduce small herds of rhinos (around five at a time), while retaining a nucleus breeding herd in the sanctuary.

MFCA and the adjacent Bugondo Forest Reserve have 76 species of mammals as well as Uganda's largest population of Nile crocodile. 450 bird species are present ranging from easy variety of waterbirds, including the rare shoe-billed stork.[5] to Bugondo's 59 'restricted range' species, dwarf kingfisher, Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco are some of the species among them.

The park is also home to the large African wildlife including hippopotamus, giraffes, antelope, Uganda kob, hartebeest, and oribi.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ About Murchison Falls National Park
  2. ^ Thomas Paul Ofcansky, ‘Baker, Sir Samuel White (1821–1893)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 4 Sept 2015
  3. ^ About Murchison Falls National Park
  4. ^ Karuma Power Plant is Uganda's Largest Hydropower Project
  5. ^ The Fauna of Murchison Falls National Park

External links[edit]