MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

Murchison Falls National Park, gazetted in 1952 is Uganda’s biggest park occupying over 3840 sq.km of land area. This park is accessible about 300 km off from Kampala capital city and its location in Northwestern Uganda makes it possible to branch off to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for rhino trekking. Combining your visit to Ziwa with wildlife tour in Murchison Falls offers you a lifetime opportunity to encounter a complete list of big 5 game in just a single safari.

Murchison Falls National Park was originally established as a wildlife reserve in 1926 and in 1952, it officially became a National Park. It is found within the extensive Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) which also includes Bugungu, Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserve and Budongo Forest.

Where is Murchison Falls National Park located?

Murchison Falls National Park is the only national park that is located in Northwestern Uganda. This park has its boundaries stretch covering the districts of Masindi, Nwoya, Buliisa and Kiryandongo. It is situated along the Albertine rift valley, with the Victoria Nile River dissecting it creating two sections.

Wildlife to find in Murchison Falls NP

Murchison Falls N/Park supports a total of 73 mammal species including 4 of the big 5 game. The park’s special animal species include the Rothschild giraffes, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, 800 chimpanzees, 451 bird species, hartebeests, hyenas, lions, oribis, warthogs, and many more.

The exciting safari activities to do

Game drives

The main reason why most tourists head to Murchison Falls National Park for a holiday is fact that it offers remarkably outstanding wildlife viewing experiences. Day game drives in this park presents visitors an incredible chance to encounter their dream wildlife including lions, buffaloes, giraffes, hartebeests, crocodiles, hippos, warthogs, waterbucks, bush bucks, oribis, Uganda Kobs, duikers, reedbucks, and more.

There are well established trails to explore and experience on Murchison Falls National Park game viewing, especially on the Northern section. Visitors who prefer honeymoon holidays, there is a honeymoon track on the Southern side of the park. A visit to this park also allows you engage in a guided night game drive to search for nocturnal species like spotted hyenas, leopards, lions, and other species.

Birding

Birding tours in Murchison Falls NP expose visitors to a variety of bird species. The prime birds to look out on bird watching tour here include the savanna and forest dwellers. The birds of visitor interest on Murchison Falls NP bird watching trip include the secretary bird, pied kingfishers, black-bellied bustards, Abyssinian ground hornbills, giant kingfishers, African fish eagles, black-headed gondola, grey-headed bush shrikes, African jacanas, Abdim’s stork, African darter, black-faced waxbill, Northern carmine bee-eaters, Pel’s fishing owl,

Blue headed coucal, bluff-bellied warblers, goliath heron, gray crowned crane, squacco heron, verreaux’s owl, yellow-billed storks, white-faced whistling duck, swamp flycatchers, martial eagle, red-throated  bee-eaters, double-toothed barbet, Denham’s bustards, sandpipers, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, white African fish eagle, yellow-throated greenbul, speckle-fronted weaver, green-winged pytilia, and many others.

Visit the top of the falls

A safari to Murchison Falls National Park isn’t complete without a visit to the top of the falls. The park is most popular for its powerful waterfalls –the Murchison Falls which squeezes itself into a narrow rock measuring about 8 meters before plunging 43 meters down then starts flowing to the Albertine Nile Area. You will have a great moment watching it as it forces itself and then continue to your accommodation. You can reach the top of the falls in 2 ways: take a boat to the base and dock at the Baker’s rock then begin trekking 45 minutes but this only happens when the water levels are low the second option is driving to the top direct.

Boat cruise

If you look aquatic life, then you have every reason to undertake a launch cruise on Murchison Falls National Park safari. Set off at the Paraa Jetty to the bottom of the falls, 2-3 hours a journey that rewards you with incredible sightings of aquatic species, especially hippos, Nile Crocodiles, and birds. Besides taking a boat ride to the base of the falls, there is also an alternative of engaging in a boat ride to the Nile Delta.

Sport fishing

Murchison Falls NP safaris aren’t only for savanna game viewing, but also for you to experience the best of sport fishing. The main areas where you can have a great challenge with heavy Nile perch include the bottom of the Murchison Falls and Karuma Falls.

Forest walking

Visit this park not only for game drives but also thrilling guided nature walks or hikes. The forest walks enrich nature lovers with authentic wilderness experiences as they explore the incredible trails while spotting forest birds, primates and floral species. The best locations to consider exploring on a forest walk include Rabongo and Budongo Forest.

Chimpanzee tracking

Budongo Forest is the ideal location for you to explore and experience the best chimpanzee tracking adventure on your tour in Murchison Falls National Park. This scenic natural forest is found in the Southern section of the park and holds over 800 chimpanzees.  In a single day, visitors can engage in the morning or afternoon chimpanzee trekking expedition.

Hot air balloon    

Hot air balloon tour is one of kind experiences, which allow you to enjoy aerial view of Murchison Falls N/Park’s wildlife. This experience is done only in 2 places in Uganda and the other spot is Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Cultural visits

Most tourist activities inside the park can be combined with a cultural tour or community visit in the nearby communities. The popular location to visit for authentic cultural experiences in Murchison Falls NP is Boomu Village/Women’s Group. This is a local community initiative and they have bandas offering budget-friendly accommodation services, and the leaders can take you through their daily way of life, cultural practices and others.

When to visit this national park

At Murchison Falls National Park, visitor can spend a night in camps, safari lodges, and nearby hotels. The available accommodation choices to book include Red Chilli Rest Camp, Murchison River Lodge, Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Baker’s Lodge, Bwana Tembo Safari Camp, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Heritage Safari Lodge, and so on.

How to get to Murchison Falls NP from Kampala/Entebbe

Traveling from Kampala or Entebbe to Murchison Falls National Park takes 5-6 hours for you to drive. The easiest and comfortable way of getting there is by renting a car in Uganda and you drive yourself or hire a driver guide to take you. By air, fly in safaris can be planned by your tour operator and air crafts set off at Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba, Bugungu and Chobe airfields.