WERELDREIZIGERS.NL
Murchison Falls National Park Rothschild giraffe (Rothschild giraffe - Giraffa Camelopardalis Rothschildi)
Home » Africa » Uganda » Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari | #pipikikitour2021 ? (3)

Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari | #pipikikitour2021 ? (3)

In the 3th travelogue of the #pipikikitour2021 we drive from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to Masindi for lunch. Then we race on a perfect asphalt road in the Murchison Falls National Park to the colossal and brand new bridge over the Nile. The first sensational scooter safari can then begin…

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

Mexican fajitas in Masindi

It's a lovely, sunny day. The sun is shining and we drive at our leisure from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary towards Masindi. Around one o'clock we take a break for an extensive lunch in the New Court View Lodge† There we eat some delicious fajitas.

I warn Chris in the meantime that a grueling 80 km journey towards Murchison Falls National Park awaits us. 'It's a horrible dirt road and when it rains it's a real slide,' I know from my previous trips in 2017 and 2018 (see the previous blogs here ).

2017 Announcement of Asphalt Road Construction to Murchison Falls NP
2017 Announcement of Asphalt Road Construction to Murchison Falls NP

After about 30 kilometers we are there. There we are cheerfully welcomed by a group of baboons. The employee of Uganda Wildlife Authority sits at a table outside the office. She insists that I put on my mask when I talk to her. 'Covid is a very contagious disease.' Then she registers our scooters and makes us pay 40 dollars per person entrance plus 2,5 dollars for the scooter. This gives us official access to the national park.

The new entrance to Murchison Falls NP near Masindi
Baboons at the new entrance to Murchison Falls NP near Masindi

Tip: In most parks in Uganda it is allowed to enter national parks with local mopeds and motorcycles. In Kenya en Tanzania is this forbidden!.

Eric | Wereldreizigers.nl

We get back on our scooters and drive into the park. The next 50 km may go through the national park, but there is not much to experience. The dense forests prevent the view. This is not an ideal location for the wildlife of Murchison Falls. The many antelope species, giraffes and buffalo prefer the open plains of the savanna. In the dense forest, they are far too vulnerable to their feline enemies. We have to drive a long way before the first real scooter safari can start.

Flooding of the Nile

We still have to cross the Nile. And although I've been here twice before, I miss all the landmarks. There is no longer a ferry, but a hypermodern bridge. Only from that bridge do I overlook the enormous havoc caused by the floods. The Nile is very high and the quay has disappeared because of the rising water of the Nile. I remember a meter high globe, but it was devoured by water from the Nile. The ferry is no longer there. It has been replaced by a hypermodern bridge, which can be seen in the photo below.

Tip: Read here the report on Murchison Falls NP in 2017.

The new bridge over the Nile at Paraa, Murchison Falls NP
The new bridge over the Nile at Paraa, Murchison Falls NP
Paar's ferry in August 2017
The ferry from Paraa in August 2017
The globe on the quay in August 2017 (now completely submerged)
The globe on the quay in August 2017 (now completely submerged)

The first safari on the scooter

Then it is time for a first real scooter safari. Everywhere you look there are beautiful animals. The buffalo and giraffes are really hard to get and the elephants also report in large numbers.

Surprised looks from giraffes to two mzungus with scooters
Surprised looks from giraffes to two mzungus with scooters

Chris goes all out. It is unreal to drive around here with your own scooter. Where else in the world can you just take these amazing selfies with giraffes in national parks at your own pace on your own scooter? Chris decides to make another short video for the Facebook timeline of Wereldreizigers.nl.

Rothschild giraffe

There are not only 'normal' giraffes here as you are used to. It quickly becomes apparent that some giraffes are a lot darker in color. They stand out because they have much more color in the sun, they are beautiful! These are the (threatened with extinction) Rothschild giraffes (Giraffa Camelopardalis Rothschildi), also called baringogiraffe.

You will only encounter this unique giraffe in Uganda en Kenya and at the last count in 2016, only 1.669 were left in the wild. Fortunately, you see that they are doing well in Murchison Falls National Park, because they are well protected here.

Rothschild giraffe (Rothschild giraffe - Giraffa Camelopardalis Rothschildi)
Rothschild giraffe (Rothschild giraffe – Giraffa Camelopardalis Rothschildi)
Posing on the scooter in Murchison Falls NP
Posing with a Rothschild giraffe on the scooter in Murchison Falls NP

African elephants

Large African elephants are also abundant. You can see them peacefully and often in large groups walking through the meadows, a beautiful view. Chris plans to go back into the park the next day and take the drone with him. Hopefully we can then take aerial photos of, among other things, the groups of elephants, more about that later.

A herd of elephants among the palm trees in Murchison Falls National Park
A herd of elephants among the palm trees in Murchison Falls National Park

A neglected Lodge on the Nile

The end of the afternoon is approaching and I search the internet for the beautiful lodge on the Nile where I stayed in 2017. Unfortunately there are no offers and we decide to drive there on spec. If after 12 km of dirt road (marram in Swahili) we see the sign with Murchison Treehouse reach, we learn from a passerby that the Lodge is closed. "Murchison Treehouse is completely submerged."

It is now getting dark and so we decide to report to Red Chili Camp† This abode has been a favorite with backpackers and overlanders for many years. There is a campsite and there are a few rondavels. Unfortunately (we will run into it more often) very little has been done in terms of maintenance.

About Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) is a National Park in Uganda and is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority† It is located in northwestern Uganda and spreads inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria-Nile, up to the Karuma waterfalls.

Together with the adjacent 748 square kilometers Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the 720 square kilometers Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms it Murchison Falls Conservation Area† Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest national park. It measures approximately 3.893 square kilometers in total.

Our scooters at the entrance of Murchison Falls NP
Our scooters at the entrance of Murchison Falls NP

Oil found

Earlier in this article I spoke about the new asphalt road through the national park, what exactly is that? Why is there a hypermodern road in one of the most beautiful nature parks in Africa?

Oil of course…

The 'highway' through Murchison Falls NP with speed bumps including Chinese text
The 'highway' through Murchison Falls NP with speed bumps including Chinese text

In 2012, a huge oil discovery was made in Murchison Falls NP. An estimated 6,5 billion barrels of oil are buried in the ground beneath one of Africa's finest natural parks. The French oil group Total managed to get hold of its exploitation and hopes to start drilling for oil from 2023. I shudder when I read all the megalomaniac chatter on the Total . website about environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible…

Protests and Total

When I drove around Murchison Falls on a scooter in 2017 and 2018, it all seemed far away. There was a lot of protest and many thought it would stick to plans. But despite the many protests from the local population and conservationists, there seems to be literally no turning back in 2021. The highway with a length of almost 100 km was not built to please the locals or tourists. No, a lot of oil traffic will soon take place on this road.

From the air (Chris made the above video with his drone) it is easy to see how much damage this road causes to the nature reserve. And because it is such a gigantic wide road, people drive very fast. As soon as there is more traffic on this road, you will have to wait for accidents. There is a lot of big game here, and there are no fences…

Here are a few websites of protest organizations:

Anonymous opinion about the project:

On October 7, 2021, I happened to speak in Kenya with a Frenchman who has been involved in Total's project from the very beginning (anonymous):

'I have been involved in the project since the beginning in 2009. In total, 40 locations will be drilled. A pipeline will also be built to a new port in Tanzania† Incidentally, there were also plans to connect to the planned pipeline from Juba in South Sudan and Turkana (province in North-West Kenya where oil has also been found) to a port near Lamu (close to Somalia).

Due to persistent attacks by terrorist groups (Al-Shabab) from Somalia, this has been abandoned.

Of the 40 drilling sites, only one is on the other side of the Nile, and therefore in the middle of the national park. Hence the asphalt road that is being built by the Chinese. I think this was a very big mistake by Total. There is so much justified criticism of…'

Also read:

pikipikitour2021 ? (1) Buying a scooter in Uganda & ViaVia Guesthouse
pikipikitour2021 ? (2) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Refugees & Scooter Breakdown
pikipikitour2021 ? (3) Murchison Falls NP | The first scooter safari
pikipikitour2021 ? (4) Drone images scooter safari | Murchison Falls
pikipikitour2021 ? (5) Bad luck in Pakwach and Gulu Central Market
pikipikitour2021 ? (6) Struggling through the mud in Uganda (video)
pikipikitour2021 ? (7) Kidepo Valley | The Legacy of Idi Amin

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

What is it like to drive more than 10.000 kilometers in Madagascar on a locally bought scooter? Or on a pikipiki (scooter in Swahili) through East Africa? In more than 20 years I have visited more than 100 countries. This has resulted in a lot of priceless travel experiences, which I would like to share with you.

ERIC – OVER 100 COUNTRIES
– Currently in Kenya.
– Share unique travel experiences.
– Favorite destinations: Madagascar, Uganda, Japan, India and Colombia.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

Written by:

Eric on a scooter in Uganda

Eric

SOUGHT

TRAVEL CHECKLIST

✔️ This travel insurance also covers orange covid-areas.
✔️ Compare and book the cheapest airline tickets here..
✔️ Save and book the best services.
✔️ Multiple hotels? Then book with 20% Genius discount.
✔️ Save and reserve your airport parking spot.
✔️ Roadtrip† Compare and book a discount rental car.
✔️ Prepare for a trip? Score a practical travel Guide.
✔️ Need a backpack or suitcase? Offers here.
✔️ Gift† I'm giving away 500 times 10 euros!

Translate »
Copy link