By Titus Kakembo
Murchison Falls National Park is set to offer hybrid eclipse enthusiasts extra adventure.
Comprehensive repairs and servicing of the ferry, which links the northern and southern banks of the Victoria Nile, have been accomplished ahead of the special occasion, while all the boats, including Kiboko, Shoe Bill and Mamba, are in sound condition.
They will provide first-class service rides to the bottom of the falls and the delta, where the Nile joins Lake Albert in the western rift valley.
During the boat rides, tourists will be able to see a variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. They stare back as they sunbathe on the shores or wallow in water.
There are also gigantic hippos which will engage tourists in a staring contest. The fee is $25 (sh60,000) per head for foreigners and sh20,000 for East Africans.
Under the guidance of Uganda Wildlife Authority’s professional staff, visitors will be able to spot unique trees with medicinal and nutritional value to both wildlife and human beings, a panoramic view of the Nyamusika cliffs, the crocodile bar and of course the gem of the park, the mighty Murchison Falls.
The professional guides are also on standby to take the visitors to and from Nebbi, Gulu, Soroti and Masindi before and after the eclipse viewing for a memorable game drive. Each game drive will need $20.
Other packages include guided nature walks, birding expeditions, a hike from bottom to the top of the falls and visitation to cultural sites including a spot where the Luo brothers, Gipir and Labongo, are believed to have parted ways, setting a new course in the dialect and cultural development among the Luo.
There will also be a drive along the Te-Bito track to the top of the falls from the northern bank, among other activities.
Murchison Falls National Park can be approached from Masindi via the Kichumbanyobo gate, Packwach through Tangi gate, Gulu through Wangkwar gate, Hoima using Bugungu gate, or Karuma through Chobe gate or even by air, landing at Chobe or Pakuba airstrips.
The park also offers the exciting chimp tracking in the Kanio-Pabidi area of Budongo Forest, sport fishing and other recreational activities.
As visitors wait for the boats and ferry crossing, they will be treated to amazing cultural entertainment from various cultural groups. Visitors can also visit the neighbouring communities to appreciate UWA interventions against crop raiding through digging of elephant trenches, bee-keeping and use of red pepper bricks to scare away elephants from crossing to the community land.
Outside and around the park, visitors can visit neighbouring Gulu and have a breath-taking site of Fort Patiko, which was initially a slave trade holding area before Sir Samuel Baker turned it into a defence fort.
For this season, UWA has offered discounts on gorilla tracking permits effective November 1, which will enable non-resident foreigners to track at $350, and at $300 for residents. East Africans will pay sh150,000 each.
UWA welcomes visitors to visit their other national parks. For more information, visit their website: www.ugandawildlife.org