Murchison Falls National Park – Uganda

Through the Eye of a Needle

Winston Churchill described Uganda as “the pearl of Africa.’’ In a country on the mend from past political upheaval, you’ll sometimes feel you have it all to yourself.

Murchison Falls are uncontested as one of the world’s great natural wonders and were once described as the most exciting thing to happen to the Nile in its 4,200-mile stretch. Unlike the massive 5,600-foot expanse of the Zambezi cataracts at Victoria Falls, here the mighty Nile narrows from nearly 1,000 feet and explodes through a rock cleft barely 20 feet wide before plunging 130 feet with incredible force. It is a mesmerizing sight, whether approached on foot or by boat.

A water launch on the Nile quietly approaches the base of the falls, slipping past numbers of massive ani­mals – sometimes 100 hippos around one bend, and everywhere some of the world’s largest crocodiles, immobile, watching. There are few concessions to the 21st (or even the 20th) century’ here, and it takes little to imagine yourself a 19th-century explorer in search of the source of the Nile.

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