BIRDING / GAME DRIVES

QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK

For any express safari the best place to go for 3 days is Murchison Falls National park, this Uganda’s largest national park protects a chunk of open land scape to view the animals on the Savannah, The Northern sector is the best place to game the Giraffe, Buffalo, Elephant hartebeest, oribi, warthog, the many Uganda kobs, the south there are wonders of primates like Chimpanzees, in 2015 track routes for game were open this includes; Honeymoon track, the trip can be concluded with visiting the top of the roaring Murchison Falls, where the world’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift valley escarpment to Plunge into a frothing pool 50m below, opportunity to hike from the bottom to the top or from the top to the bottom and return to the same route.

 

Day 1: Kampala City – Murchison falls National Park A pleasantly planned safari begins at 07:30am with your guide driving on northward route towards Northern Uganda; this pleasant safari will include your lunch stop in Masindi town before proceeding to the Murchison falls. Upon arrival at the park, you will begin to encounter with variety of birds, monkeys, and baboons in the cool around Budongo forest as you are guided along. An opportunity to enjoy the mighty falls views at the top before crossing the river Nile with the ferry if your hotel/lodge is on the northern sector of the river overnight.

(Accommodation and meals: Fort Murchison Lodge BB.)

Day 2: The Big game drive and boat Ride in Murchison Falls National Park. An early morning game drive at 07:00am enables you to see some of the large mammals that include; lion, leopard, elephant, hippopotamus, Rothschild’s giraffe, Cape buffalo, hartebeest, oribi, warthog, and Uganda kob. And if you are lucky this morning you will spot the famous shoe bill that always loiters around the Nile delta.

In the afternoon at 13:45pm, you will enjoy the Boat/Launch at sun downer to the bottom of the falls, a three hours launch trip enable you to see some animals that come to the banks of the River Nile to drink water, some come to sun bathe as the Nile provides a corridor year-round water for these animals as well as a plethora of water birds (including the rare shoebill stork) and Uganda’s largest population of Nile crocodile. And animals like: – crocodiles, hippos and elephants will be seen here before you return to your hotel for overnight.

 

(Accommodation and meals: Fort Murchison Lodge BB)

Day 3: Murchison falls National Park – Kampala At 07:30am after breakfast, you will leave the park heading back to Kampala via Masindi lunch en route Kampala.

(Accommodation and meals: Airport Guest House. BB)

Included services

Ground transfer in a 4×4 Executive Super Custom
Accommodation on bed and breakfast as indicated in the itinerary
Bottled mineral water throughout the trip
Game drive in Murchison falls
A boat Ride
English speaking guide/ driver
All park Entrance fees

Not included;

Any activities not mentioned in the itinerary and meals along the way.
Drinks (sodas, beer, wine, spirits & any other)
Uganda Visa and air tickets.
Medical and travel insurance
Meals and any other concept not indicated as included.

NOTE:

We still reserve the right to change your accommodation if the mentioned accommodation in the itinerary is unavailable which might affect the prices. You are advised to make your bookings and confirmations as early as possible in order to secure your accommodation and avoid change in price. We also can reserve an air ticket for your transfer to Uganda since we also specialize in air ticketing; we work with different airlines to deliver the best service to our esteemed clients.

Visit our website for more information and for terms and conditions.

www.travelgorgeafrica.com Email: reservations@travelgorgeafrica.com

 

MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, it is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals.

History

Murchison Falls Conservation Area is one of the oldest, and is the largest, protected area (PA) in Uganda. It is comprised of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu Wildlife Refuge and Karuma Wildlife Refuge. Currently, the national park itself encompasses 3,893 sq.km. Bugungu Wildlife Refuge (501 sq.km) and Karuma Wildlife Refuge (678 sq.km) are adjacent and act as buffer zones for the park. In addition is Budongo Forest Reserve which overlaps parts of both wildlife reserves, and covers an additional 591 sq.km. This makes a total of 5,663 sq.km of space that is under some level of protection through controlled use. The national park and the two wildlife reserves are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) as the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) and the Budongo Forest Reserve is managed by the National Forestry Association except where it overlaps with UWA-managed lands.

Between the years of 1907 and 1912, the inhabitants of an area of about 13,000 sq.km were evacuated due to sleeping sickness spread by tse-tse flies. This paved the way for the establishment of the Bunyoro Game Reserve in 1910, which encompassed roughly the area south of the Nile River that is now part of the National Park in Masindi District. In 1928 the boundaries were extended into Gulu District north of the river, and the resulting protected area (PA) became known as the Bunyoro-Gulu Game Reserve. As the human population had already been evacuated due to sleeping sickness, it was possible to establish this game reserve without displacing any of the local people for the sake of the park. In 1932, the Budongo Forest Reserve was established. This became the first commercial logging concession in Uganda, and to date is one of the most intensively studied “working” forests in the world. The boundaries of this forest continued to expand over the next thirty years until they reached the current size of 825 sq.km. Much animosity was created by this process as locals lost land and never quite knew where the boundaries were due to the frequent changes.

In 1952, the British administration established the National Parks Act of Uganda. After forty years of reduced hunting in the Bunyoro-Gulu Game Reserve, the animal populations had expanded to an extent that justified upgrading the reserve, which became Murchison Falls National Park, one of the first two national parks, along with Queen Elizabeth NP. By the mid-1960’s, Murchison Falls had become the premier safari destination in all of East Africa, with over 60,000 visitors per year.

Geography and climate

The park lies in north western Uganda, spreading inland from the shore of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile. Together with the adjacent 748 square kilometers Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the 720 square kilometers Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area MFCA. Murchison Falls National Park is located in Buliisa District in western Uganda and in Nwoya District in northern Uganda. The park is situated approximately 300 kilometers, by road, northwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

The climate in Murchison Falls is tropical and hot. Being close to the equator, temperatures are quite uniform throughout the year. The area around Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) has two rainy seasons. These seasons are not as pronounced as they are at more equatorial regions in Uganda.

Biodiversity

Murchison Fall National Park houses a combination of grasslands, wooded savannah, tropical forests, wetlands, and open water covering approximately 39,000 ha at an altitude of more than 600m. The park houses 109 species of mammals including; hippopotamus, antelope, giraffes, hartebeest, oribi and Uganda kob, 145 tree species and 0ver 476 bird species. Murchison Falls NP is one of the best places in Africa to find the shoebill stork. The boat trip on the Victoria Nile is a great start for many water-associated birds. With 53 species recorded, raptors are also very well represented. The park’s impressive checklist contains more than 450 species. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

The park supports four of the “Big Five”, only rhino being absent. Buffalo and elephant are particularly common. There is a very healthy population of lions that like to prey on the abundantly available Uganda kob. Hyena is present but rare but zebra is absent. The Victoria Nile is a magnet for wildlife and it teems with crocodiles and hippos. Chimpanzees can be tracked in neighboring Budongo Forest Reserve. Large herds of the localized Rothschild’s giraffe are found in the park. The rare Patas monkey can sometimes be spotted on the grassy plains.

Tourism

Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season and it is usually advisable to use 4×4 vehicles while on your Murchison Falls safari. Available tourist accommodation includes lodges notably Paraa Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Budongo Eco Lodge, Bakers Lodge, and alternative budget accommodation at Red Chilli Rest Camp.

The major tourist activities in the park include game viewing typically around the delta circuit, chimpanzee tracking in the Budongo Forest, Launch cruise along the Nile to the bottom of the falls rewards you with sights of a diversity of bird species as well as wildlife, and there is also an interesting walk to the top of the falls.

Seek advice from your local Uganda safari operator on how best you can access the park as well as how to pay for any of the activities you wish to get involved in. Note that you can book your activities from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or at any entry points of the park.

 

SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK

Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori. The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.

The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.

While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating for over 25,000 years, the park contains evidence of even older processes. Hot springs bubble up from the depths to demonstrate the powerful subterranean forces that have been shaping the rift valley during the last 14 million years.

Geography and Climate

Semuliki National Park is located in Bwamba County, a remote part of the Bundibugyo District in western Uganda. Semuliki National Park has an area of 219 sq km and is part of the Central African Congo Basin forest system of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), being separated from the Ituri forest of the DRC only by the Semliki River. It is separated from the rest of East Africa by the Rwenzori Mountain range and with it being located within the Albertine Rift, the western arm of the Great Rift Valley, it is included within the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot

The park experiences an average rainfall of 1,250 mm, with peaks in rainfall from March to May and from September to December. Many areas of the park experience flooding during the wet season. The temperature at the park varies from 18 to 30 °C, with relatively small daily variations.

The area that Semuliki National Park covers is a distinct ecosystem within the larger Albertine Rift ecosystem. The park is located at the junction of several climatic and ecological zones, and as a result has a high diversity of plant and animal species and many microhabitats. Most of the plant and animal species in the park are also found in the Congo Basin forests, with many of these species reaching the eastern limit of their range in Semuliki National Park.

Biodiversity

The flora and fauna show strong affinities with the Congo basin forest with many species reaching the eastern limit of their ranges in Semuliki Forest. The flora is dominated by a single tree species, Cynometra alexandri, mixed with tree species of a more evergreen nature. Swamp forest communities are also found. The fauna of the forest is outstandingly rich and includes more than 400 bird species of which 216 (66% of the country’s total) are true forest birds such as the rare Sassi’s Olive Greenbul (Phyllastrephus lorenzi) and Forest Ground Thrush (Turdus oberlaenderi). Nine species of hornbills have been recorded as well. 75% of the Charaxes butterfly genuses are found in this forest, 441 species of bird, one species of primate, and one of butterfly are only recorded from this area in the East African part of their ranges. The forest is home to 53 mammals of which 27 are large mammals. 11 species are endemic to the park including the pygmy antelope and two flying squirrel species. It is also home to the peculiar water chevrotain, known as the “fanged deer”

Mammals include leopards, hippos, elephant, forest buffalo, hippopotamus, civets, potto, bush babies, mona monkeys, water chevrotains, and nine species of Duikers, including the Bay Duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis) and the Pygmy Flying Squirrel (Idiuus zenkeri) that occur nowhere else in East Africa.

Tourism

Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season (December to March: It is hot and dry, April to June: It is relatively rainy, July to September: It is dry with occasional passing rain, where as October to November: there are short heavy rains) and it is usually advisable to use 4×4 vehicles while in the park, Note that seasons are changing in the world and very often no longer predictable as ever before. Available tourist accommodation in and around the park includes lodges notably Semuliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge and Camp and alternative budget accommodation in Bundibugyo and Fort Portal towns.

The major tourist activities in the park include game viewing by vehicles on dirt roads, hiking and Nature Walks in Semuliki, Birding, and Cultural Encountersm as well as visiting the Sempaya Hot Spings.

Seek advice from your local Uganda safari operator on how best you can access the park as well as how to pay for any of the activities you wish to get involved in. Note that you can book your activities from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or at any entry points of the park.

Semuliki National Park is approximately 6 hours from Kampala by road following the Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal road, with an alternative route of Kampala-Mbarara-Kasese-Fort Portal route taking approximately 9 hours drive. The park is about 2 hours from Fort Portal. Regular scheduled flights by Aero Link take about 2 hours and fly into the park at Semuliki Airstrip from Entebbe airport. Charters can easily be arranged as well by Aero Link, Eagle Air, Kampala Aero Club, and Ndege Jju.

The Semliki Valley contains numerous features associated with central rather than eastern Africa. Thatched huts are shaded by West African oil palms; the Semliki River (which forms the international boundary) is a miniature version of the Congo River, the forest is home to numerous Central African wildlife species, and the local population includes a Batwa pygmy community that originated from the Ituri. As a result, this park provides a taste of Central Africa without having to leave Uganda.