Kabalega National Park



This impressive park, 250 mi/400 km northwest of Kampala, is the largest in Uganda, and its wildlife has largely recovered from the poachers and fighting armies that depleted its stocks in the 1980s. Elephant, lion, Rothschild's giraffe, buffalo, Uganda kob, Jackson's hartebeest, oribi, buffalo and waterbuck are among the more conspicuous terrestrial mammals, and the Nile is home to immense concentrations of hippo, crocodile and waterbirds.

The park has two other sights: Murchison Falls and Karuma Falls, both on the Nile. The river gains momentum over the 14 mi/23 km Karuma Falls before reaching the famous Murchison Falls. There, the Nile squeezes through an impossibly small cleft of rock only 22 ft/7 m across and spits it out as a plume of white water into the aptly-named "boiling pot" some 130 ft/40 m below. It is said that this is one of the most powerful explosions of water on earth. A minimum of two days is required to get a real sense of the park. The Paraa Lodge, which overlooks the Nile downstream from Murchison Falls, is one of a number of the country's improved tourist facilities. From there, you can take a three-hour boat cruise to the very base of Murchison Falls and spot hippo and crocodiles languishing on the calmer shores before reaching the falls. If very lucky, you may spot the rare shoebill stork standing on the water's edge.

Murchison Falls made Hollywood celluloid in the 1951 flick The African Queen, starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart—and in 1954, Hemingway crashed a plane just downriver.

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