Murchison Falls in Uganda, photo and description

African Diary. Uganda. About Murchison the man, the park and the waterfall

Roderick Murchison probably deserves not only an entire story, but maybe even a novel of his own. He is probably a worthy man, since he is considered one of the founders of the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain, whose president he has been elected many times. But we are interested in him only because a very famous in East Africa Murchison Falls, located on the territory of the national park of the same name, is named after him.

At this point the interest in the person of R. He was not in Africa, has not seen these places with the waterfall, and is not famous on Ugandan soil by right.

It would be more fair to name the falls after the English geographer Samuel Baker. He was the first European to visit these places, discovering them in 1864, as well as the falls and Lake Albert and many other interesting things. But apparently, he was a modest and sneaky man, since he immortalized not himself, but his patron. They could have named the falls after Winston Churchill, even though he has been here, and in 1907 made a horseback ride from the town of Masindi to the waterfall. Churchill actually cared about these places, and he fought in Sudan, not far from here, and wrote a book about it.

And if you don’t want to glorify the most famous Briton, you can give the waterfall the name of American President Theodore Roosevelt, who was also spotted hunting here two years after Churchill.

If anyone was interested in my opinion, I would recommend naming the falls after my idol, Ernest Hemingway. Not only did Ham see these places with his own eyes, but he even almost died at the bottom of the falls, twice in three days and both times it was a plane crash (actually, an amazing story, Hemingway miraculously survived then, but there was a fractured skull, broken ribs, and bruises).

In fact, there was a renaming. The dictator of Uganda, Idi Amin, gave both the park and the waterfall the name Kabarega in 1970. That was the name of the local king (Kingdom of Bunyoro) who tried to fight the British in the 1890s. But the new name didn’t stick. And even the locals still call this natural landmark by the English name, though in its own way – Macishon Falls.

About Murchison Park!

Better to walk in small steps than to sit (African folk wisdom)

We went to Murchison Falls National Park from the town of Masindi, but not on horseback as Winston Churchill did 110 years ago, but in his expedition minibuses (yes, not so romantic, but fast). The drive was fifty kilometers.

Masindi is a small town, just two streets that intersect in the city center – Port Road and Layette Street.

Once Masindi was a better place, being an important point linking East Africa with the Congo. The road to the village of Butiaba on Lake Albert ran through it. Steamboats ran between Uganda and Congo on this lake, carrying goods and people. But that’s all gone now. The last steamer was cut up for scrap back in the 1960s.

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Masindi is a good place for the “conquerors” of Murchison Falls to stay overnight. We spent two nights there, at the New Court View Hotel, with rooms styled like African huts.

So, let’s go to Murchison Falls! We need the Paraa Ferry. All of the Murchison Falls safari trails run along the north bank of the Victoria Nile, and it’s the ferry that takes us across, starting at 7 a.m. from the south bank.

After taking the ferry to the north shore we are going on a four-hour car safari and then coming back to the river, taking the boat back upriver to the falls (about an hour and a half walk). When the boat stops near the rock, just below the waterfall, on the south shore of Victoria Nile (after that it turns around and goes back), we get off the boat. There is a trail from the drop-off point, up to the very “heart” of the waterfall, and we will do an hour and a half trek along this trail. And there, at the top, cars will be waiting to take us back to the hotel in Masindi. That’s the plan, let’s get on with it.

The crossing from the south bank to the north bank doesn’t take long, about ten minutes. It’s a river called the Victoria Nile.

Here’s the thing. The explorer of these lands, the aforementioned Samuel Baker, discovered Lake Albert and was the first to discover this peculiarity: the Nile flows into the lake at its northern end and immediately rises out of it, but in a more powerful stream. Baker realized they were two branches of the same river, but for convenience he gave them different names: Victoria Nile and Albert Nile.

Having crossed to the other bank, we begin our first car safari of the trip. It’s appropriate here to note a major striking feature of Murchison Falls National Park: the variety of landscapes. While to the south of the river are real forests (we drove through them on the way to the ferry crossing), on the north bank (which we crossed to) begins savannah, gradually turning into semi-desert.

Let’s not forget the rocks of the waterfall, coastal steeps and even the swampy lowlands of the river mouth.

Let’s start our safari, I assure you there will be a lot to see. I read that Murchison Falls National Park has 76 species of mammals and 450 species of birds.

Alas, no rhinos (“thanks” to poachers), zebras or cheetahs, but plenty of giraffes.

Explore and love the nature of East Africa. The Ugandan or Rothschild giraffe

In general, there are only 1 species in the giraffe family, and they are classified mainly according to where the animal lives and the pattern of its coloration. So, one of the varieties of giraffe is the Ugandan giraffe or Rothschild’s giraffe.

Let me tell you right away that I can hardly distinguish the Ugandan giraffe from the Angolan, Nubian or Maasai giraffe. I think that only a specialist in a narrow profile, a giraffe scientist, would be able to do that. But since we are in Uganda, it means that the giraffe will be Ugandan.

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I read about giraffes. Some of the information about them is just amazing. The fact that the giraffe is the tallest animal in the world (5.5 – 6.1 meters) that we all know from our childhood. His heart is a powerful blood pump, weighs 12 kilograms, letting through its valves 60 liters of blood per minute, and the pressure inside his vessels exceeds the standard pressure of the average person in 3 times.

The giraffe’s neck is a third of its length, but the cervical vertebrae, like all mammals, are 7.

I haven’t seen a giraffe’s tongue, but I have read that it is very dark, almost brown, muscular, and so long (up to 50 cm) that a giraffe can reach its own ears with it. It is clear why it is so long, to grasp branches at a great height.

The color of the animal is absolutely unique and individual, like the fingerprints of a human, the pattern of spots on the skin is never repeated.

The head of both male and female giraffes is decorated with a pair of horns, the eyes are large in the fringe of long eyelashes, and the elongated head is crowned with small ears.

Very interestingly, giraffes sleep with their long legs tucked under them, one of which they take aside, and, curving up, they lay their head on their croup. I haven’t seen that either, because long-necked giraffes can sleep standing up, and they sleep very little – from 10 minutes to 2 hours a day. And giraffes spend most of their time eating, of which they prefer acacia thorns, bushes, and grass.

Giraffes can live singly, but mostly in small herds. If there is a herd, that is, a collective, there must be a leader, and he is – it is the dominant male.

African Diary. Uganda. About Murchison the man, the park and the waterfall

The external manifestations of the giraffe herd hierarchy are interesting: the lowest in rank cannot cross the way to the highest one and always somewhat lowers his neck in his presence. From time to time males put up fights for the leader’s position and their main weapon is their harmless horns. But they only use horns to scare, but they hit their heads and necks, and that can be painful. It is interesting that giraffes never use their front legs against their own, this is a serious blow. Fighting off lions this way, giraffes sometimes blow the poor guys’ heads off. In the battle between males, everything is pretend-like; the defeated buck is not driven from the herd, he just makes several steps aside, and that’s all. No more aggression.

There’s a lot to say about these giraffes, for example, about childbirth. The female gives birth to a calf weighing 50 kg and 1.8 meters tall. And she gives birth standing up. Imagine the beginning of a giraffe’s life, with a fall from a height of two meters. What a start!

We could still talk about giraffes communicating in the infrasound range, but enough of that.

There’s still so much wildlife in the national park, you don’t know where to look or who to talk about. Here’s what we’ll do, pay our respects to the cob antelope first, and go for a ride down the Victoria Nile River and a trek to Murchison Falls. About the rest of the animals next time, there will be plenty more national parks along the way.

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Explore and love the nature of East Africa. Cob Antelope.

Among the variety of Ugandan herbivores, why did I choose this particular antelope? The answer is that this animal is depicted on the coat of arms of Uganda.

African Diary. Uganda. About Murchison the man, the park and the waterfall

The Ugandan coat of arms looks like this: the shield and spears (a symbol of readiness to defend the country), the eastern crowned crane and the Ugandan cob antelope (a symbol of the rich wildlife of the country) and the motto “For God and My Country”.

The cob antelope belongs to the genus of water goats. Can not live far from water sources, drinks a lot and constantly.

Males are easy to distinguish and not only because they are larger – they have lyre-shaped horns. Coloration varies from golden to brown, with a white spot on the front of the neck.

There are white rings around the eyes. The front sides of the legs are black. The belly is white.

Cobras are interesting because of their special mating behavior. During the mating season, males occupy a small territory for themselves (about 30 meters in diameter), close to each other, and try to present themselves in the best possible way: slimmer legs, steeper horns, more powerful neck…

The females stroll nearby in small groups, evaluating the suitors. They pretend that they are just walking around, and both of them, as if by chance, find themselves in the territory of the most liked suitors. Females can walk across any borders, but males can only walk within their own territory. For them, borders are sacred. Well, as if they are sacred, they break them, of course, and as a result there are endless ritual fights.

We study and love the nature of East Africa. The crowned crane.

I was thinking if in addition to antelope kob there is also a crowned crane on the Ugandan coat of arms, I have to put in a good word about it, right now. Especially since they also live in Murchison Falls National Park, where we are going on safari.

Look at this big bird, how gorgeous and graceful it looks.

It is a very beautiful bird. Most of its plumage is colored dark gray or black, but the covering feathers are white. And the crowned crane attracts attention, of course, by its crest. This crest consists of gold-colored, very stiff feathers, and, indeed, looks like a golden crown. There are two white and red spots on each cheek. Under the chin the crowned crane has a red throat sack of a small size, like a turkey or rooster.

It is difficult to distinguish males from females, they are very similar, except that the males are slightly larger.

The crowned cranes lead a sedentary lifestyle, but can migrate within their natural range. They prefer open spaces and like pond shores and flooded meadows.

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The mating games of crowned cranes are interesting; they look like mutual courtship between males and females in various ways. One such way is by making clapping noises. This is when the birds inflate their throat pouch and then let the air out of it. And they also amusingly tilt their head forward and then tilt it back. And, of course, dancing together, flapping their wings, skipping and bouncing.

About Murchison the waterfall!

A trickle of water is better than nothing (African folk wisdom).

Of course, one goes to Murchison Falls National Park to see the birds and animals. But there’s also an amazing sight there – the waterfalls on the Nile.

I suggest you go and see how badly the water rages there.

It was a very good idea to combine climbing the waterfalls with a boat ride on the river. This was a slow hour and a half river walk (about 17 km) towards the falls against the flow of the water.

What to do during this walk? Get your camera equipment ready, open your eyes wide (and preferably close your mouth), and wiggle your head around. What you will see, make you squeal with delight anyone, even a pronounced phlegmatic.

The natural wonder that defied Emperor Nero: Murchison Falls

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Murchison Falls, or its middle name Kabarega, is located on the Nile River between Lakes Kioga and Albert in Uganda. This waterfall is considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Its view is admirable and strikes you to the heart at first sight. Huge masses of water, breaking their way through the formidable rocks, fall down. There is such a rumble all around that you can’t even hear yourself, the ground under your feet is trembling. Everything is covered by a dense mist, which is formed by countless splashes. Lush vegetation crowns the majestic spectacle which takes breath away from every viewer.

An African wonder

Murchison Falls is a true African wonder.

The waterfall is formed because the entire huge and great Nile River passes through a rather narrow gap in the rocks. The river is more than a hundred meters wide, with huge columns of water making their way through a seven-meter crevice. Scientists say that the flow of water here is more than three hundred cubic meters per second. This is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Africa. A true wonder of nature.

A true wonder of nature.

The mist that creates the waterfall helps to keep the surrounding vegetation very rich throughout the year. There is a whole series of waterfalls here. Murchison Falls, despite its most modest size, only 43 meters high, is by far the most impressive. All of these waterfalls are a central part of Murchison Falls National Park. It covers an impressive area of nearly 4,000 square miles of rolling grasslands. The waterfall just before the crevasse splits into two parts, as it were. The southern branch is Murchison Falls, while the northern one is Uhuru. It is much more modest in size and does not look as imposing.

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Even Nero retreated.

The places here are not so hospitable.

Historians believe that these places were first reached by Europeans back in 61 AD. Emperor Nero sent a large detachment of Roman legionaries to these places. They were instructed to look for the sources of the Nile. No historical records of the expedition’s results have survived. Experts claim that the Romans never reached the waterfall. The route was incredibly difficult. The legionaries probably got stuck along the way in the marshes of the Sudda. That’s almost eight hundred kilometers south of here. The great Nero could not conquer the natural wonder.

Discovery of the natural wonder by Europeans

The first Europeans arrived here under Emperor Nero.

The first Europeans to finally reach Murchison Falls in 1860 were Samuel Baker and Florence Baker. The couple named the falls after Sir Roderick Murchison, president of the Royal Geographical Society. In the 1970s, the then president of Uganda, Idi Amin, decided to change the name to Kabarega. That was the name of the former ruler of the state. The name never caught on, so the falls are called by the old name.

The name Kabarega never caught on, after it was supplanted by Sir Roderick Murchison, President of the Royal Geographical Society.

The name Kabarega never caught on, and since then the falls have been called after the name of the president of the Royal Geographical Society, Sir Roderick Murchison.

Baker was struck by the power of the falls even before he was fortunate enough to see the wonder. The traveler heard a menacing, growing roar, and as he approached, the majestic sight astounded him. The white waters glistened against the impregnable black rocks, and the thick green bushes framed it all. The place looked like a fairy tale. It was so beautiful that you lost your sense of reality.

Today, tourists from all over the world tend to come here to admire this incredible wonder of nature as well. It is the most striking attraction to be seen all along the path of the great Nile. To get to Murchison Falls, you must take a short journey through the waters of the great river. Travelers arrive here by boat. In addition to the lush and varied vegetation, there is a very rich fauna here. There are elephants, hippos, giraffes, buffalo, monkeys and, of course, crocodiles. There are several dozen different mammals and about four hundred birds.

The nature here is fantastically diverse and beautiful.

The view of Murchison Falls is endless and breathtaking. White as snow, powerful streams of water forcefully fall down and crash to the ground in a cloud of tiny splashes. The ground trembles and the roar is such that it sounds like hundreds of thunderclaps. If you stand on top of the mountain, the surrounding panorama is breathtaking. It’s even hard to breathe with excitement. You can stand for hours, enjoying the grandeur of creation. This place is rightly considered one of the most beautiful on Earth.

People are surrounded by an incredible amount of natural beauty. Very often, behind the hustle and bustle of life, people do not notice the beautiful world around them. Read our article about botanical wonders from around the world that fill life with vibrant colors.

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