Murchison Falls National Park is the most visited wildlife safari park in Uganda. It is Uganda’s largest park and also the country’s only park that is perched in the Northwest, about 5-6 hours’ drive from Kampala. Murchison Falls National Park is a spectacular safari destination boasting of its huge profusion of wildlife and features among the 4 protected areas that make up the extensive Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA).
The other 3 protected areas that make up the vast MFCA include Karuma Wildlife, Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, and Budongo Forest Reserve. It has existed since 1952 when it was founded as a national park after upgrading from its status as a reserve in 1926 and today, it is of no doubt a premier Uganda safari destination.
Murchison Falls National Park sits in an area of about 3840sq.km and it is largely characterized by a vast savanna grassland, woodland swamps, and riverine forests. It was named after Murchison Falls by Sir Samuel Baker in 1862. This is one of the most powerful waterfalls and it is also popular as the Devils’ cauldron.
Murchison Falls National Park is shared by 4 districts, Nwoya, Buliisa, Masindi, and Kiryandongo. These are located along the Albertine Rift and this park stretches to cover Lake Albert, Victoria Nile, and Karuma Falls. Murchison Falls National Park is divided into 2 by the Victoria Nile; the Northern and Southern Section.
Murchison Falls National Park has a composition of distinct vegetation zones, each sheltering diverse wildlife species that make this park an outstanding Uganda wildlife safari destination. The different species of wildlife in Murchison Falls include the Rothschild giraffes, hippos, elephants, buffaloes, Jackson’s Hartebeest, warthogs, crocodiles, lions, leopards, Uganda Kobs, Oribis, duikers, chimpanzees plus other primates in Budongo Forest.
Murchison Falls also accounts for over 451 bird species which makes it one of the most sought-after birding destinations. The check-list of avifaunal species to identify on Uganda safari here include Abdim’s stork, elusive shoebill stork, secretary bird, spotted thick-knee, rock pratincole, yellow-billed stork, Goliath heron, osprey, long-toed plovers, piapiac, white-browed sparrow weaver, white-fronted black chat, black-billed barbet, Abyssinian ground hornbill, pied kingfishers, red-throated bee-eater, northern carmine bee-eater, pennant winged nightjars, standard winged nightjars, yellow fronted tinkerbird, speckle fronted weaver, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver, blue napped moosebird, whistling cisticola, Sulphur breasted bush shrike, black-faced waxbill, Northern crombec, double toothed barbet and others.
Activities in Murchison Falls
Game drives or wildlife viewing
Murchison Falls National Park is blessed with a diversity of mammal species accounting for over 76 and 451 bird species. The majority of these can be sighted on Uganda safari in any one of the park’s game tracks; Buligi, Victoria, and Albert tracks. The Buligi wildlife track lies on the Northern back/section of Murchison Falls National Park and the wildlife species to enjoy sight here range from duikers, lions, leopards, reedbucks, Rothschild giraffes, oribis, elephants, buffaloes, birds, and a lot more.
Game drives in Murchison Falls National Park are offered at any time of the year. You can participate in day or evening game drives. A complete game viewing experience here can take you between 2 and 4 hours.
Boat cruise tours
Launch trips in Murchison Falls National Park begin from Paraa and you navigate along the Victoria Nile towards the bottom of Murchison Falls. Visitors enjoy the scenic views of the falls, sight hippos, crocodiles, water birds, and a diversity of other wildlife species. You can choose the morning or afternoon boat or launch cruise tour, all taking you between 3 and 4 hours. There is also the possibility to undertake a boat cruise on Albert delta taking you 4-5 hours but lets you enjoy the great sight of shoebill storks.
Murchison Falls is rich in bird species, over 451 avifaunal species are all concentrated in this protected area. They include among others Abdim’s stork, elusive shoebill stork, secretary bird, spotted thick-knee, rock pratincole, yellow-billed stork, Goliath heron, osprey, long-toed plovers, piapiac, white-browed sparrow weaver, white-fronted black chat, black-billed barbet, Abyssinian ground hornbill, pied kingfishers, red-throated bee-eater, northern carmine bee-eater, pennant winged nightjars, standard winged nightjars, yellow fronted tinkerbird, speckle fronted weaver, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver, blue napped moosebird, whistling cisticola, Sulphur breasted bush shrike, black-faced waxbill.
Hike to the top of the Falls
Murchison Falls National Park is also best explored on a hike to the falls. Either you take a boat cruise to Baker’s rock the begin your trek to the top of Murchison Falls about 45 minutes with the lead of an experienced guide. This is one of the magnificent and greatest waterfalls in the world.
Hot air balloon
Hot air balloon tours in Uganda are only provided in Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park. All hot air balloon experiences in Murchison Falls are offered by Dream Balloons. For any plans to go honeymoon tour, a hot air balloon trip is one exceptional experience you shouldn’t miss to try out. You can undertake the sunrise or post-sunrise hot air balloon or sunset hot air balloon. Strictly 8 visitors can undertake a hot air balloon at a time and only persons above 6 years are eligible.
For visitors who enjoy primate adventures, Murchison Falls National Park is also ideal for chimp trekking. This is offered in Budongo Forest where there are also several other species of primates to enjoy great sight including baboons, black and white colobus monkeys plus birds.
Murchison Falls National Park is one stunning park with a diversity of exciting experiences. It is perfect for a sportfishing experience which is carried out along the Victoria Nile just at the bottom of the Murchison Falls or below Karuma Falls. It is an exciting water sports experience yet challenging as you catch and release the heavy, Nile Perch.
Community & cultural experiences
Get the best of the Uganda safari holiday in Murchison Falls National Park by including community visits into your list of exciting experiences. Find amazing cultural encounters in Murchison Falls by paying a visit to Mubako Community for you to enjoy lots of cultural campfire performances or visit Boomu Women’s Group.
The best time of the year to travel to Murchison Falls
Murchison Falls National Park records ideal weather and climatic conditions that make it an all-year-round destination. But the hot months or dry season starts from December to February with light or no rains; from June to September. These are the most preferred months of the year to enjoy a wildlife tour in Murchison Falls National Park.
The park also records 2 wet or rainy seasons; first starting from March to May and October to November. These are also considered to be the low season/months of the year and they are characterized by heavy rains.
Accommodation in Murchison Falls
A check-list of accommodation in and around Murchison Falls National Park ranges from budget to luxury. The budget lodges range from Mama Washindi Lodge, Saitek Forest Cottages to Murchison Backpackers; mid-range lodge includes Fort Murchison Lodge, Budongo Eco-Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge and Sambiya River Lodge while luxury options include Chobe Safari Lodge, Baker’s Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge and Paraa Safari Lodge.
Getting up-to Murchison Falls National Park
By road, Murchison Falls National Park’s numerous gates are accessible starting from Kampala along the Gulu highway. You can branch off to Masindi and access the park via Kichumbanyobo gate on the southern side, Chobe gate is accessible from the Northern section of the park, Wankar and Mubako gates on Kampala-Pakwach while Tangi gate is found in Paraa Region. By air, fly from Kajjansi airfield/Entebbe Airport to Pakuba airfield, Chobe airfield, or Bugungu airfield.
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