Hiking & Nature Walks in Murchison Falls National Park

Hiking and Nature Walks are among the top activities in Murchison Falls offering holidaymakers an opportunity to explore this vast wilderness on foot. Located in North-western Uganda covering an area of 3,840 sq km, Murchison falls National Park has varied sceneries and vast landscapes starting from the savannah plains, swamps, forests, the amazing wildlife, awesome culture and lastly the eye-catching magnificent falls on the Victoria Nile. The park harbors a lot of wildlife such as giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, Jackson’s hartebeests, lions and elephants among others. Plant species like the whistling acacia, sausage trees, over 420 bird species, butterflies, and many more.

Most attractions in the park and around the conservation areas can be explored on foot, and although there are different trails that can be followed; tourists are only permitted to follow particular designated trails such as: to the top of the falls, in Rabongo forest and in Kaniyo Pabidi. hiking and nature walk adventures will be a great reward to Nature lovers and birders as they will reward you with great views of wildlife in Murchison falls National Park, birds and different plant life at a close range as they walk through low hills, gullies and riverine forests.

Hiking to the top of the falls

This is considered to be the most remarkable hiking trail in Murchison Falls National Park. the adventure begins with a boat ride on the Nile to the base of the falls at a point known as the ‘The Baker Point’ where its alleged to be the exact spot that early explore Sir Samuel Baker back in 1864 stood as he admired and appreciated the splendor and might of the waterfalls which he named after the then serving president off the Royal Geographical Societ – RGS which sponsored his expedition in Africa.

The boat leaves you at the base and you head for a 45 minute guided hike that will require some bit of physical fitness, while on this hike you will have a great time watching rolling hills, vegetation types, hear the thunderous roar of the falls and see different birds in Murchison Falls National Park. once you are at the top you will be able to watch the waters of the river Nile make their way through a small gap in the rocks about 8m wide hence forming a 45m fall as it drops down to continue with its course.

Nature Walks in Kaniyo Pabidi

This is an area of Natural forest in the Budongo forest located about 8km from Kichumbanyobo one of the park gates to Murchison Falls National Park along Paraa road in Masindi. It is a great place for hikes and nature walks and perfect to have a Uganda Chimpanzee Tour. Also other things to see are the big ironwood and Mahogany trees, various native medicinal plants and birds such as the Hornbills, Chocolate backed Kingfishers among others can be spotted. There is a camp site equipped with firewood and water found within the park so guest can easily find where to stay.

Rabongo Forest Walks

It is located in the southeast of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and approximately a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Paraa. It is a great place for hiking and nature walks as well as primate watching tours with primate trekking. This area is encompassed with savannah grasslands and also here you find good forest cottages and a campsite. During your walk you can spot beautiful birds, medicinal plants, primates like vervet monkeys, black and white colobus, baboons, red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzees among others.

Best time to have a nature walk or hiking tour in Murchison Falls National Park is during the dry season despite the fact that the park can be visited all year round. During the dry season, the trails are generally dry and easy to traverse unlike in the rainy months when they are muddy and slippery.

There is also a 2 to 4 hour guided swamp walk to the Nile delta that gives you opportunity to see various ecosystems and also the rare shoebill stork especially if the water table is low.

Lake Nkugute.

Lake Nkugutte also called lake Rutoto is located in Rutoto Sub-county Rubirizi District. The lake is after a very small urban area only made vibrant by roadside matooke, yellow bananas, and passion fruit vendors.

The lake is tucked between Imaramagamba Forest, Omunkombe and Ryemondo hills. It is belted by Bushenyi-Kasese highway and surrounded by banana, pine and eucalyptus groves. Rutoto area is heavily populated and wooded.

The inhabitants are the Banyaruguru (the emigrants from Buganda), Banyankore, Bakiga and Banyarwanda who grow commercial trees, bananas, coffee and sugarcane.

Centre for tales
The lake has been associated with many myths and spiritual activities. For instance, it is believed the lake is in the shape of the map of Africa, is very deep and that it doesn’t have fish.

Another myth is that the lake has spirits that give wealth and that the water crosses the road thus, rampant road accidents near it. Many people carry out rituals on the lake.

Nyamwonyo who begun fishing on the lake since he was 10 years old has heard all the stories and also witnessed some of the bizarre incidents. In 2002, a bus belonging to SB Coaches collided with a fuel tanker at Kaziko on the southern tip of the lake.

The bus caught fire killing all the 72 people on board. This triggered the belief that the spirits in the water were responsible for the tragedy, that it was an act of sacrifice by the lake spirits.

The lake is a source of water and fish to the local community. There are about 20 boats and you can also find about 10-20 people fishing using hooks. There is tilapia and mudfish but not in big quantities, according to Nyamwonyo.

Though the lake is partly fenced and authorities prohibit any misuse, people directly bathe and wash from it, much as washing and fetching points in form of slabs are provided for.

The lake has also been reducing in size as a result of human activities of cultivation and construction. Nyamwonyo says some points where they used to throw hooks and catch fish years back are now banana plantations.

You can include lake nkugutte on your itinerary to Queen Elizabeth National park.

Namugongo martyr’s shrine

The basilica is located at Namugongo, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District, in Central Uganda. Namugongo is located approximately 14 kilometres (9 mi), by road, northeast of the central business district of Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

The Namugongo Shrines were first recognised by the Late Joshua Serufusa-Zake (1884 – 25 June 1985) when he was the Sabaddu of Kira Sub-County (1827 – 1928). Joshua Serufusa-Zake constructed a structure at the Namugongo site, where it appears shrines were built later for prayer.

His interest in Christianity was enhanced by his father’s participation in the wars that brought Christianity to Uganda. Joshua Serufusa-Zake’s father, Semei Musoke Seruma Katiginya had earned a name for brevity ‘Ngubu’ from the wars. It might be of interest to note that Joshua Serufusa-Zake was born in 1884, just a year before the killings of Uganda Martyrs started.

Overview

Groundbreaking for the construction of the basilica was in 1965. Construction was completed in 1968. The basilica was decreed on 28 April 1993, and is administered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala. It is built close to the spot where Saint Charles Lwanga and Saint Kizito were burned to death in 1886 on the orders of Kabaka Mukasa Basammul’ekkere Mwanga II.

Recent events

2014 marked fifty years since the Uganda Martyrs were canonized and elevated to Sainthood by Pope Paul VI on 18 October 1964. The occasion was marked by a memorial mass at the Basilica and Pope Francis was expected to be the main celebrant. Although the Pope did not visit in 2014, he made the visit to Uganda in November 2015, and celebrated mass outside the basilica at Namugongo, on Saturday 28 November 2015.

Ngamba island

Cut off from the mainland, Ngamba Island is a world away from the rest of Uganda. Perched in the waters of Lake Victoria, this lush outcrop, a short boat journey from Entebbe, is an idyl and a haven for mankind’s closest relation.

‘When corals die off, we die off’Chimpanzees face exploitation by humans, whether through deforestation or traffickers, but Ngamba’s semi-tropical rainforest has become a happy stomping ground for the primate. Overseen by the Chimpanzee Trust, the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary’s approach helps the apes stay fed and watered, but in the daytime they’re free to roam and claim the island as their own.Ngamba’s chimp population has endured difficult previous lives: orphaned, kept as pets, some used in circuses. But together they’ve forged a society on Ngamba, one growing in depth and complexity across nearly 20 years. The island has become the home some humans have deprived them of.Ngamba’s 49 chimpanzees are part of an estimated 200,000 left in Africa — a fifth of the population that existed a century ago, says the trust. “Chimpanzee are classified (as an) endangered species … there’s a real need to protect the population,” says executive director Lilly Ajarova.

What a hunter-gatherer diet does to the body in just three days”Each chimpanzee here has its own unique story,” says Joshua Rukundo, conservation programs director. “It’s interesting (getting) to know these individuals and their stories.”Aykuru was rescued by a police officer from the arms of her dead mother, and is the best of the group at using tools. Cho came to Ngamba with her baby. Sunday is 33 years old and has been a resident since 1998, although in 1999 he nearly escaped aboard a boat commandeered from a group of curious fishermen.The Chimpanzee Trust constantly gathers information on the island’s residents, working alongside the Max Planck Institute in Germany for the past 11 years. Chimps can live up to 60 years, so it’s a long-term research project.”Our whole team is interested in the evolution of cognition,” says Johanna Eckert, a member of the department of evolutionary anthropology at the institute. “We try to find out how chimps think, what kind of problems they can solve in their daily lives, and on the other hand we try to find out something about our thinking and how it evolved.”

Bringing orphaned chimps back into the forest normally live in highly stratified groups. Newly introduced males in particular are treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. It can take up to two years for a new chimp to be fully accepted, depending on whether the group thinks the newcomer might have designs on becoming the alpha.

ACTIVITIES

During your visit you will experience: chimpanzee viewing & feeding, shopping at the island gift shop, bird watching, experiencing other wildlife encounters, swimming on the equator, visiting a neighboring fishing village or simply sunbathing and relaxing.

Day visitors can also ‘get their hands dirty’ by being part of the feeding team. This is an opportunity for you to feed the chimpanzees from the platform. On top of being able to feed your favorite chimp, you will also watch as the chimps excitedly try and gain your attention to receive food (this activity is subject to management exclusion and policies).

Additionally, you can enjoy our fresh lunches prepared on-site. Please note, packed lunches and drinks to the island are prohibited, prompted by the difficulty of controlling litter associated with the personal items. The ban seeks to enforce Chimpanzee Trust’s Environmental Management Policy and System, in place since the founding of Ngamba Island Sanctuary in 1998.

African fish eagle.

The African fish eagle is a species placed in the genus Haliaeetus. this eagle consists of a white-headed species (the African fish eagle) and a tan-headed one (Madagascar fish eagle). These are an ancient lineage of sea eagles, and as such, have dark talons, beaks, and eyes. Both species have at least partially white tails even as juveniles.

Description

The African fish eagle is a large bird, and the female, at 3.2–3.6 kg (7.1–7.9 lb) is larger than the male, at 2.0–2.5 kg (4.4–5.5 lb). This is typical sexual dimorphism in birds of prey. Males usually have wingspans around 2 m (6.6 ft), while females have wingspans of 2.4 m (7.9 ft). The body length is 63–75 cm (25–29.5 in). The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body with a white head like the bald eagle and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of African fish eagles are snow white, with the exception of the featherless face, which is yellow. The eyes are dark brown in colour. The hook-shaped beak, ideal for a carnivorous lifestyle, is yellow with a black tip. The plumage of the juvenile is brown in colour, and the eyes are paler compared to the adult. The feet have rough soles and are equipped with powerful talons to enable the eagle to grasp slippery aquatic prey. While this species mainly subsists on fish, it is opportunistic and may take a wider variety of prey such as waterbirds.

This species is common near freshwater lakes, reservoirs and rivers,

Reproduction.

African fish eagles breed during the dry season, when water levels are low. They are believed to mate for life. Pairs often maintain two or more nests, which they frequently reuse. Because nests are reused and built upon over the years, they can grow quite large, some reaching 2 m (6.0 ft) across and 1.2 m (3.9 ft) deep. The nests are placed in a large tree and are built mostly of sticks and other pieces of wood.

The female lays one to three eggs, which are primarily white with a few reddish speckles. Incubation is mostly done by the female, but the male incubates when the female leaves to hunt. Incubation lasts for 42 to 45 days before the chicks hatch. Siblicide does not normally occur in this taxon, and the parents often successfully rear two or three chicks. Chicks fledge around 70 to 75 days old. Postfledgling dependence lasts up to three months, where after the juveniles become nomadic, and may congregate in groups away from territorial adults. Those that survive their first year have a life expectancy of some 12 to 24 years.

The African fish eagle feeds mainly on fish, which it swoops down upon from a perch in a tree, snatching the prey from the water with its large, clawed talons. The eagle then flies back to its perch to eat its catch.

During your Uganda safari, African fish eagles can easily be spotted.

THE UGANDA EQUATOR

The Uganda equator is one of the most and well known landmarks in Uganda.” The intersection of the earth’s surface with the plane perpendicular to the earth’s axis of rotation and containing the earth’s center of mass” is what Wikipedia sometimes refers to the equator as, but it is still the imaginary line that divides the world into two halves. The Equator is an imaginary line that is seen on maps marking the equidistant from the North and South Pole. Along the imaginary line of the equator, a magnetic needle has no dip and stabilizes in perfect horizontal position. You are able to stand with one of your feet in the northern hemisphere and the other in the southern hemisphere at this point; it is such an amazing experience to stand at both sides of the world. The sun rises and falls rather so fast at the equator, with equal days and nights’ length. The people around the equator experience only warm temperatures and tropical climate throughout the year and therefore quite hard to tell the difference between seasons.

The Equator is located in Kayabwe, Mpigi District, about 72 kilometers from Kampala city, the capital of Uganda. You will find the poster for the Uganda Equator on Kampala-Masaka road 420 kilometers from Kampala. South west of Kampala; you will be able to locate markers of the equator in Kasese District within the Queen Elizabeth National Park. You will experience warm temperatures while at the Equator as you stand in the middle of the world. Please remember to have a sunscreen for your skin.

How Does Water Swirl In Opposite Directions At The Different Spheres At The Equator?

It is at the equator where you will see water drain straight down. The movement and drainage of the water will differ from the Northern and the southern hemispheres at the Equator line. In the demonstration of the carioles effect. With movement that changes direction suddenly, something in motion to the left or right when moving on a rotating body like the earth. In some cases pressure weather cyclonical systems perform this, having a clockwise rotation in the north and a counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere. From a realistic perspective, you may not be able to see this as motion would not be seen with water in small amounts. At the equator, a show manship is used to stimulate the effect. While in the northern hemisphere, the water will drain down the hole in a clockwise direction yet take the counter clockwise direction as it drains from the southern hemisphere down the hole.

The Uganda Museum

A display of Uganda’s cultural heritage where one can see ethnological and natural-historical exhibitions. It is a vivid reminder of the country’s colourful past. One of its most interesting features is the collection of traditional musical instruments, which one is free to play.

The Uganda Museum (founded in 1908) in Kampala has exhibits of traditional culture, archaeology, history, science, and natural history. It regularly presents performances of traditional music. Makerere University’s main library in Kampala has a general collection, which is the largest in Uganda. The most important specialized collections, all in Kampala, are found in the Albert Cook Library at Makerere Medical School (at Makerere University), the Institute of Teacher Education, the Uganda Polytechnic Kyambogo (formerly Uganda Technical College), the Makerere Institute of Social Research, and the Cabinet Office.

The Uganda Museum is situated five kilometres away from the Kampala city center on plot 5 Kira road. When coming from Kampala, pass through Wandegeya trading center and by Mulago hospital. Just before Kamwokya town is a large sign post reading Uganda Museum

Big Five safari in Uganda

Rhino went extinct in Uganda in the 1980s, and while southern white rhino have been reintroduced in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, there are no reserves in Uganda where you can do Big Five safaris. For Big Four (leopard, lion, buffalo and elephant) safaris, Uganda has two options in its western region: Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is the best reserve in the country for wildlife diversity and its famous tree-climbing lions, and Murchison Falls National Park for large herds of elephant, giraffe and buffalo. The other Big Four reserve lies in a remote area of northern Uganda. Kidepo Valley National Park is the country’s most rugged wilderness, and in addition to the Big Four, it conserves species found nowhere else in Uganda, such as caracal, cheetah and aardwolf – and there are plans to reintroduce white rhino.

Masai Mara National Park

The Maasai Mara is one of the most famous safari destinations in Africa.Situated in the southwest of Kenya, covering an area of 1,510 square km (583 square miles), the Masai Mara National Reserve is a land of breathtaking vistas, abundant wildlife and endless plains.

The quintessential Masai Mara safari delivers many attractions, as the reserve is home to an excellent year-round concentration of game, including the more than two million wildebeest, zebras and other antelopes that make up the famous Great Migration. &Beyond owns 2 lodges in the Masai Mara; Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp and Bateleur Camp.

The reserve is a photographer’s and naturalist’s paradise, with abundant elephant, buffalo, giraffe, lion and cheetah alongside the migratory wildebeest and zebra. Leopards are frequently encountered, endangered black rhino hide in the dense thickets and large rafts of hippo and enormous crocodiles are found in the Mara River. The park is also home to over 450 bird species.

Game drives are the most popular activity in the Maasai Mara, but other activities include hot air ballooning, nature walks, photographic safaris and cultural experiences.

Launch Cruise Or Boat Trip In Uganda, Queen Elizabeth

The boat trip within Queen Elizabeth National Park is done on the impressive Kazinga Channel a 40 kilometer water long natural channel that links Lake Edward plus Lake George. Normally the boat sets off every day at either 09.00 am local time or at 2:00pm in the afternoon – local time. This launch cruise may take anything from 2 – 5 hours to well explore the water and the wildlife along the shores of the Kazinga Channel.

There are professional guides right on the boat who will be give you all the necessary information pertaining this  safari or  tour as well as answer any questions that may arise about the wildlife or anything else. In addition, the professional as well as well experienced guides will point out any wildlife which you may have failed to notice.

water way queen elizabeth uganda

Taking a cruise on the Kazinga Channel is among the highlights of Uganda safaris within Queen Elizabeth Park. the launch cruise offers  great chances to take pictures since the boat drifts slowly just by the shores of the channel. The Kazinga Channel supports the biggest number of Hippos in the whole of Africa.

Actually an adult male Hippopotamus weighs more compared to a fully loaded Land- Cruiser.  Hippos don’t swim however they just bounce their bodies at the bottom of the water in which they are in.  They normally stay under water jut as you will notice in the Kazinga Channel so as to safe guard their rather sensitive skin, and actually if you took a night time cruise on the channel you will actually discover that there are not so many hippos since most of them will be grazing on-land.

You will see Crocodiles although 8 000 years back these crocodiles were removed from this lake because of volcanic eruption however, just in the recent years they returned coming from River Semliki.  By the shore of the channel you will not fail to notice Monitor.

During the afternoon boat ride, you can spot large herds of Elephants, Buffaloes, and a number of lone buffaloes within the water which would have been kicked-out from one of the herds, hence finding better protection from different predators like lions by staying in the water.  Predators as well as nocturnal animals normally come to the shores in the late afternoons for a drink.  In addition, a large number of antelopes like the Waterbuck as well as the Uganda Kob also come here to quench their thirst.

The Kazinga Channel is not only a wonderful place to only  bird lovers, but as well to those who may actually not be passionate birders as they will definitely love what they see with a wide array of colorful beautiful birds soaring near to the water surface. Among the common species to look out for are the Martial Eagles, African spoonbills, Cormorants, African Skimmers, Pelicans, Papyrus Gonolek, in addition to the occasional hard to pin down Shoebill Stork.

Therefore a launch cruise along the Kazinga Channel is something that shouldn’t be missed while on your Uganda safari in Queen Elizabeth Park or southwestern Uganda at large.