Murchison falls is Uganda’s largest national park and one of its most exciting. Bisected by the Victoria Nile, Murchison falls is rich in Savannah game, even after years of poaching, and the falls after which it is names are among the most electrifying sights in Africa. Teeming with hippos and crocodiles, the Victoria Nile below Murchison falls is also the best place to see what many regard as Africa’s most sought-after bird: the shoebill stork, a denizen of papyrus swamps that is as elusive in its habits as it is bizarre in appearance. In 1972, President Idi Amin renamed Murchison Falls, located within Murchison Falls National Park, Kabalega Falls after the Omukama.
Budongo forest to the south has one of the most varied faunas of any forest in East Africa, and its boasts the region’s largest wild chimpanzee population. A must for bird-waters, Budongo also currently offers very good chimpanzee tracking.
Accessing Murchison falls and Budongo forest can be done through Masindi town which can be approached either as an extension of the western Ugandan tourist circuit, by cutting north from Fort Portal via Hoima along a wild 250km dirt road fringed by swamp and jungle, or else as a round trip from Kampala.
4kms from Hoima on the Masindi road are the Mparo Tombs, built on the site of the old capital of Omukama (king) Kabalega of Bunyoro. It was from Mparo that Kabalega let his raids into the neighboring Kingdoms of Toro and Buganda. In 1891, Kabalega was driven from his capital by the British; he then turned to guerrilla warfare, but was eventually shot, captured and exiled in Syechelles by the British after a series of forts were built by General Colville in the Lake Albert region in 1894. The main fort, Katasiha, is 3km from Hoima on the Butiaba road; all that remains of it is an 8m-deep trench (now filled in) and a small cave which was used as an arsenal.
Kabalega died in 1923. He and several of his successors are buried at Mparo, within a large enclosure made of natural materials. Kabalega’s grave is housed in a domed construction similar to that of the Kasubi Tombs in Kampala though considerably smaller. The grave is surround by many of Kabaleg’s personal effects. The care taker is a colourful old lady. Take your shoes off before your enter the main tomb. Outside the main enclosure is a plaque marking the spot where Kabalega met the Emin Pasha in 1877