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MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Murchison Falls National Park is the largest protected area in Uganda. The waterfall after which the park is named is one of the most electrifying sights of its type in East Africa and you can walk right up to the precipice, if you dare! The Nile river plunges through a narrow gorge which runs into a placid river whose banks are gorged with hippos, water bucks, crocodiles, and buffaloes, which can be seen on the river safari. If you are extremely lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the regal almost dinosaurian Shoebill.  Land safari's include the usual suspects as well as black and white rhino and spotted hyena. The Budongo forest (43km west of Masindi) offers one of the best and most affordable ways to track chimpanzees (check kabiza.com/Uganda-chimpanzees-Kaniyo-Pabidi-1daySafari, +256 77 478 5852, and www.meritsafaris.com/tours-uganda)

The largest nearby town is Masindi about three hours from Kampala and around 8/9 from Fort Portal along a wild 250km dirt road through the indistinct town of Hoima. The Post bus services Masindi daily from Kampala around 8am, except Sundays, but you have to take special hires or matatus from Fort Portal. We won’t lie – the trip from Fort Portal was pretty rough going (at one point we shared the 12 seater matatu with 18 adults, a few kids and two chickens). Transport is limited but matatus run early in the morning from the central bus station. Check a few days before you travel.


Potential worthwhile detours include the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary (www.rhinofund.org) on the Kampala-Masindi Road and the Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve off the shores of Lake Albert near Hoima.


Murchison falls lies a few km north of Masindi – if you are looking for a place to stay in Masindi try Alinda Guesthouse (+256 (0)772550710) or the Court View Hotel (email: courtview@utonline.co.ug, +256 (0)465 20461.

Paraa, situated alongside the Nile a few kilometres downriver of Murchison Falls is the focal point of tourist activities. Paraa is the site of the upmarket Paraa Safari Lodge (email: mweyaparaa@africaonline.co.ug, +256 (0)312 260260), on the north bank and the budget Red Chilli Rest Camp (email: chilli@infocom.co.ug, 0772709150) on the south bank.

 
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