Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is located in the northwestern region of Uganda. The national park covers about four districts covering an area of 3,840 square kilometres. It is the most visited savannah national park in Uganda and the oldest protected area in the country. It is also the largest national park in Uganda.

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls Park in Uganda was first established in 1952. The national park is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority a tourism body in Uganda and harbors a wide range of wildlife including vegetation types, animal species like the big five mammals including lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes plus rhinos which can be viewed in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary on your way to the park.  

Overall, Murchison falls national park is home to about 76 mammal species and over 450 bird species; with 23 species endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley Region. 

Activities done at Murchison falls national park

Game drive

This is one of the major activities carried out by visitors in the national park. Game drives in the park are either done early morning at 6am or 7am or late evening at 4pm in a pop up roof safari vehicle where visitors get clear views of the wildlife and vegetation. During game drives in Murchison falls visitors go with trained driver guides who follows different tracks in the part such as Buligi, Albert and Queens tracks north of river Nile. Game drives in Murchison falls national park last for 2 hours and more and visitors will be able to view different animals like buffaloes, elephants, bushbucks, waterbucks, Uganda kobs, bird species such as spur winged lapwing, handsome francolin, saddle billed stork, majestic grey crowned crane among others.

Night game drive

Night game drives in Murchison falls park are the best for visitors looking to view the nocturnal animals in the park. Night game drives in the park are also good for viewing other animals which they missed during the day game drive. Night game drive is done after dinner with spotlight torches in the open savannah vegetation which stretches to the northern part of Nile River where you will see nocturnal animals like Jackals, Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Serval cats among others.

Boat cruise on the Nile 

Boat cruises in Murchison falls national park are conducted on the Albert Nile. Boat trip in Murchison falls park sets off from Paraa to the foot of Murchison falls which takes about 3 hours and from Paraa to the delta and back which takes 4 to 5 hours. During the boat trips you will be able to view animals on the Nile River banks such as hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, water birds like herons, cormorants, fish eagles, king fishers, bee-eaters among others. 

Sport fishing:

Sport fishing in Murchison falls national park takes place above and below the falls and is an exciting and interesting activity in Murchison falls in that the visitors will be able to engage themselves in catch and release fishing. Fish types caught during sport fishing activity include Nile perch, Tiger fish, Tilapia, Mud fish among others and will also relax on the river Nile banks and also order for a fish dish.

Bird watching

Murchison falls National Park is one of the perfect destinations for bird safaris in Uganda. The park is also known as a birders paradise because it harbours 450 bird species hence a great destination for bird lovers. Bird watching the park is carried out in the morning in Budongo forest, riverine vegetation, during the boat cruise and game drive in the savannah vegetation among others and bird lovers will be able to view different bird species such as the pre-historic Shoebill stork which can be viewed along the Nile river especially in the delta area and other bird species like Grey crowned crane, Goliath heron, Red-throated bee-eater, Pied kingfisher, Weaver birds, Black-headed Gonolek, Black billed barbet, Swamp flycatcher, African jacana, Squacco heron, Blue headed coucal, Giant kingfisher, Silver bird among others.   

birds in Murchison falls national park

Nature walks/ hiking, this is an activity where visitors on a safari walk on foot with an armed guide for protection and guidance within the park. Hiking in Murchison falls national park is normally done in Rabongo forest, Kaniyo Pabidi forest, Budongo forest, on top of the falls among others where visitors will be able to explore the beautiful landscapes, Murchison falls, swamps, surrounding local communities, view wildlife species, primates and birds at a close range.

Top of the falls trail:

The hike on top of the falls trail in one of the unique activities offered to visitors in Murchison falls national park. The trail takes you around the falls, water edge and get close to the narrow gorge through which the river explodes into the falls, top of the falls hike offers walking safaris, picnic sites, campsites for adventurous visitors so as to make their safari in Uganda interesting and memorable.

Hot air balloons:

Hot air balloon safaris are also another unique tourist activities offered to visitors in Murchison Falls. These safaris offer visitors an opportunity to explore the park in Hot air balloons. Visitors can choose to do the sunrise and post sunrise hot air balloon safaris with or without bush breakfast. There are also short sunset hot air balloon safaris available at the park for large tourist groups and students. Therefore, visitors on a Uganda Safari should try out the Hot air balloons and get to experience this outstanding national park from the sky.

Cultural encounters:

Cultural encounters in Murchison Falls national park are tours which involve the visitors touring the local communities around Murchison falls national park. Visitors learn about the local communities’ life style, taste their traditional dishes, visit traditional homesteads, art and craft shops where they make crafts like huts, sandals, mats, bags among others. Communities around the park have entertainment groups such as Mubako where they perform to visitors through dances, songs, poems among others especially during dinner at the lodges around the camp fires which gives visitors great experiences about other people’s cultures.  

Accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park.

There are plenty of accommodation facilities within the national park, and these offer visitors a wide range of lodging options. Accommodation facilities within Murchison Falls include; Paraa Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Murchison Safari Lodge, Red Chill Rest Camp, GeoLodges- Nile Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, GeoLodges Shoebill Camp Site, Yebo Safari Camp, and UWA Campsite. There are also other accommodation facilities located close to the park and these include; Boomu Women’s Group Bandas, Budongo Eco lodge, Masindi Hotel and New Court View Hotel.

Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park

How to get to Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls National Park can be accessed by either road of Air transport. Visitors travelling to the park by air can use chartered services from Entebbe Airport to Pakuba Airfield or Bugungu Airfield that are located in the park. You can then connect to the park headquarters by road. 

The park can also be accessed by road where you drive from Kampala via Masindi to the park and it takes about 5 hours and public means where the bus moves from Kampala to Masindi on a daily basis and then you can hire a private vehicle to the park.

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