By Evelyn Masaba
The independence weekend is going to be celebrated from the beautiful Murchison Falls National Park. That is for some Ugandans who are taking part in the #UgTravelMonth. Throughout October, travellers are visiting different parts of the country, an initiative that aims to boost domestic tourism.
The first trip took place on October 2, during which travellers were served delicious dishes of everything that Queen Elizabeth National Park has to offer.
The second trip is taking place on October 8 and is going to be a journey to the Murchison Falls National Park, one of the oldest wildlife reserves in Uganda. It officially became a national park in 1952 though it was established way back in 1926. The 3,840km park is located in northwestern Uganda at the end of the Albertine Rift Valley.
The Victoria Nile, or White Nile as it is commonly known, passes through the park and falls over the rift valley, which creates the glorious Murchison falls — the most visited section of the park.
The park is home to over 76 species of wild animals and boasts of 451 bird species, meaning there is a huge feast for the eyes when you make your way into the park this weekend.
If you are not going to jump onto the #UgTravelMonth bus, there are other ways you can get to the park and have a weekend there too. The park is located between Buliisa district within the Bunyooro Kingdom of western Uganda and Nwoya district in the Acholi region in the north.
Driving from Kampala to the park, it is easier to access the park by going through Bombo, Luweero, Nakasongola to Karuma right off the Northern Bypass route.
The most superb and eye-catching area of the park is where the falls are located and it doubles as the park’s most requested for item on the game drive and sightseeing treks.
Mostly referred to as the Kabalega Falls, the location has a breathtaking effect on visitors due to the formation of the falls. The falls are 43 metres high and tumble down in a thunderous roar into a beautiful fall coupled with dancing rays of light that form a rainbow, especially during sunset when the sun has reached its peak.
Visiting the park means getting sights of many animals that range from giraffes, leopards, oribi, buffalo, crocodiles, elephants and lions among many others. Birds include the red-throated bee-eater, white-browed sparrow weaver, speckle-fronted weaver and African quail finch.
For anyone interested in the African study of herbs, the park is also home to so many different species of flora, especially those used for herbal purposes for generations by the people living nearby who do not have immediate access to emergency medical supplies.
If in any way you have not had a good fill of mammals, the park has a number of primate species in the Rabongo-Kaniyo Pabidi forest reserve and the savanna. On the several nature walks organised by the park, you might catch a glimpse of the olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobus and chimpanzees, which are estimated to be over 800 in number.
And because they are a very naughty lot, it is advisable for all visitors to avoid feeding the primates or leaving their windows open during the drives or one might lose their lunch to them.
The travel month trip is all about communing with the wild, so every traveller is equipped with a tent in a well-lit campsite at the Nile Safari Lodge that is well guarded by park rangers. But if you want to spend a night at the lodges, you will get a 20 per cent discount when you book via Jumia Travel, one of the sponsors of the #UgTravelMonth.