History | Murchison Falls National Park


Murchison falls national park has a lot of interesting history that you don’t want to miss out, as narrated by the tour guide during your visit to this magnificent national park. Murchison falls national park is the largest national park or protected area Uganda has, followed by Queen Elizabeth national park. Murchison falls national park spreads to the inland eastwards from the shores of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile and karuma falls.

Murchison falls national park is adjacent to bugungu wild reserve of about 748sq.km and karuma falls wildlife reserve of about 720 sq.km. These protected all together are emerged to form the Murchison falls conservation area (MFCA) of about 3893sq.km spanning in masindi district, buliisa district, nwoya and kiryandongo districts.

The vast land of about 3840sq.km is bisected by the renowned Nile river to form the two parts of Murchison falls national park; the northern part of chobe side and the southern part of paraa side. At a particular point the Nile forms the falls as the fast water tries to rumble its way through the hard rocky narrow gorge of just 7m, the water falls down into a plunge pull from a cliff of about 130 feet. The falls are the famous and top attraction of Murchison falls national park.

Murchison falls national park is managed and controlled by the government body, responsible for all the protected areas in Uganda, the Uganda wildlife authority (UWA). Uganda wildlife authority is responsible for all the conservation policy and planning for Murchison falls national park. It is also responsible for the costing the activities in the national park, in order to raise fund to further the conservation and sustainable tourism projects, plans and programmes as they unfold regularly.


Murchison falls national park was first visited and seen by the early European explorers, that is, john speak and james grant in 1862. Later on, a lovely couple of sir Samuel baker and Florence baker explored Murchison falls national park thoroughly in 1863 to 1864, and also realised that the falls where phenomenal in whole of the area, so Samuel named the Murchison falls after a geologist and president   of the royal geographical society (RGS) called roderick Murchison in 1864. To note, the falls where formerly called the kabalega falls, aname attributed to the king of the bunyoro kingdom, called king kabalega.

The period between 1907 and 1917, left Murchison falls national park vacant as the inhabitants evacuated due to rampant spread of sleeping sickness that was caused by the multiplication of the tsetse flies in the area.

In 1910, history has it that bunyoro game reserve was created in the southern part stretching in present day buliisa, kiryandongo and masindi. Later in 1928, the boundaries of Murchison falls national park extended northwards from the northern shore of the Victoria Nile to the present day nwoya district.

In 1954, history has it that Murchison falls national park was officially reopened following the gazetting of queen Elizabeth national park in 1952 after the queen’s visit to Uganda. The game department strongly enthused that the main attraction of this protected area was the falls and river Nile with its wildlife community and the sand banks and the birds among others.

Getting there

Murchison falls national park is located in the north-western region of Uganda, still, North West of Kampala the capital city of Uganda. It is a 4- 6hr drive from Kampala using the public means; the distance can be shorter on self-drive. The distance of Murchison falls national park from Kampala depends on the route you take. You can take the shorter route via Kampala to masindi, then Murchison falls national park to the southern part of paraa, alternatively you can pass via Kampala –hoima road which is 135 km longer but very scenic. The buses in Kampala bus terminal leaves around 0700 hrs and the second bus leaves at 1900hrs. Using either of the routes, you can reach safely to Murchison falls national park.

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