The Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest National Park. A major safari attraction in the 1950s and 1960s when tourism was booming, this park and its animals have been through hard times. But they are now recovering. A large number of animals like buffaloes, rothschild-giraffes and elephants were shot down in great numbers during the civil war years. The Nile River flows through the middle of the park, and the vegetation changes from savanna land in the northwestern part to dense rainforest in the southwest. Visitors come to catch a glimpse of primates like the chimpanzees in the rainforest areas and antelopes, buffaloes, rothschild-giraffes and elephants along the rivers. Visitors also tend to flock tot the Buligi Circuit - the name given to a peninsula between the Victoria and Albert Niles, which contain the highest destination of wildlife and beautiful, lush vegetation. Bird lovers are also in for a special treat here: the large variety of birds that can be observed here include the tiny Malachite kingfisher, Carmine bee-eater, African fisheagle, Saddlebill stork, and the most visible Wahlheaded, or Shoebill, Stork, which stands along the water's edge.
The highlight of this 3,840 square kilometers park is undoubtedly the Murchison Falls, where the Nile roars through a 7 meter gap in the rocks and falls 40 meters vertically. Visitors can observe this spectacle from the path that leads from above the falls down to the bottom. More adventurous souls bathe in the Nile in a small area above the falls. During the tourism boom years, boat safaris along the Nile used to be a major treat. The Paraa Lodge, on the northern shore of the Nile at Paraa, was a busy place, with 150 beds for visitors. Today, the numbers of passengers have dropped and some of the boats are falling to pieces along the riverbanks. However, a boat trip is still a memorable experience, as the captain steers the boat from shore to shore, letting visitors observe, and hear, literally hundreds of hippos along the shores, and catch glimpses of crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and buffaloes. The final treat is the incredible variety of birds that inhabit this park.
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