Murchison falls national park
Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most scenic national parks situated in the northwestern Uganda lieing at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, at the size of 380 square kilometers Murchison Falls national park is the largest park in Uganda. The park is named after the mighty Murchison Falls formed as a result of River Nile squeezing through a Narrow Gorge of 7 meter into the Devil’s Cauldron thus creating a rainbow which is ever present. Murchison Falls are a remarkable feature in the park, these falls were named by Samuel Baker a British explorer in 1864, and he considered the falls to be “the most important object in the entire course River Nile”.
Murchison Falls National Park consists of a various habitats ranging from forest, savannah, riverine woodland, borassus palms and acacia trees. The park is a home to 76 mammal species including 4 of the big five that is elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards, other animals include giraffes, Uganda kob, Jacksons Hartebeests, Oribi, waterbucks and warthogs among others. There are also primates found in Kaniyo Pabidi section of the Budongo forest, these include Baboons, Patas monkeys, Blue monkeys, Red-tailed monkeys and Black-and-white Colobus monkeys and Chimpanzees.
Murchison Falls national park is one of the best bird watching destinations in the world with over 450 bird species Including resident and migratory bird species, birds in Murchison Falls National Park include elusive Shoebill, Swamp flycatcher, papyrus Gonolek, Goliath Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Northern red bishop, Squacco heron, Red-throated Bee-eater and African-Quail Finch among others.
Safaris activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park
Game drives are the prominent Uganda safari activity offered in Murchison Falls national park, game drives are done using custom-made tour vehicle with open roofs on various demarcated tracks running through the northern bank of River Nile. Game drives last for about 4 hours and can also last the whole day depending on the interest of the interest of the tourist.
As you drive through the park expect to get a memorable experience as you spot a number of animals such as Bushbucks, Waterbucks, hartebeest, Oribi, Uganda Kobs, giraffes, Patas monkeys, Warthogs, Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopards and Lions among others, you will also enjoy scenic views of the landscape and various bird species such as herons, grey crested cranes, hornbills among others.
Boat safaris on the Nile (Launch trips on the Nile)
Boat safaris on the Victoria Nile are a remarkable experience in Murchison Falls national park, this relaxing experience leads you towards the glorious Murchison Falls and from the comfort of your boat you are treated to views of the falls, animals, birds and the calm waters of Victoria Nile.
Some of the animals to look out for including herds of buffaloes, elephants and antelopes drinking water at the banks of the river, crocodiles and hippos in waters of the lake. You will also watch a number of birds such as shoe bills, Swamp flycatcher, papyrus Gonolek, Goliath Heron among others.
Boat safaris in Murchison Falls national park are offered twice a day that is morning trip starting at 09:30 am and afternoon trip staring at 02:00 pm.
Chimpanzee tracking at Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo Forest
Chimpanzee tracking in Murchison Falls national park is done in the Kaniyo Pabidi which is a section of Budongo forest situated along the boundaries of the park, the forest is a home to various species of primates including baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee tracking offers an encounter with the playful chimpanzees in their natural habitat, this safari activity takes approximately 3-4 hours depending on where the chimpanzees stay the previous nights. You are to stay in the presence of the chimpanzees for one hour watching them play, eat and grooming each other, on this experience you will also enjoy the magnificent scenery and other forest creatures.
Alternatively for tourists who to spend a full day in the presence of the chimpanzee, chimpanzee habituation experience is offered.
Sport fishing is one of the most exciting activities to do in Murchison Falls national park, this activity is done on the Victoria Nile where there is presence of Nile perch providing a challenge to anglers. Sport fishing is only permitted to tourists with a sport fishing permit obtained from Uganda Wildlife Authority, you are required to do a prior booking for the permit.
Note: For sport fishing you are encouraged to bring your own equipments.
Murchison Falls National Park is one of the best birding spot ranked No. 9th by the Africa Bird Guide, the park is a home to over 450 bird species including Albertine rift endemics living in various habitats ranging from forests, water, woodlands and savannah.
Bird watching in Murchison Falls national park is done while on game drive, launch trips and nature walks with a help of a ranger guide. This activity offer an opportunity to encounter a variety of birds such as open-billed stork, Red-throated bee–eaters (nests in the cliff by the river), Pied, malachite and Giant Kingfishers, Grey, night, commom Squacco, Striated and Goliath herons, Egyptian ducks, Spur winged lapwings, Intermediate, Great and Little Egrets. While on game drive do not miss the Abyssian ground hornbills, Black and Northern Red Bishop among others.
Nature and forest walks
Murchison Falls national park is a rewarding destination for nature lovers, nature and forest walks are offered in the Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest which are a habitat for numerous bird species and primates such as Chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkey and olive baboons which you will encounter during your walk.
Another walk in Murchison Falls national park is Hiking to the top of Murchison Falls, this activity starts with a boat trip to the Devil’s Cauldron, stop a few meters from the bottom of the falls and hike through the vegetation cover heading to the top of the falls. This hike is very rewarding as you watch the water of Nile River squeezing through the a 7 meters gorge, the hike takes approximately 45 to 1.5 hours depending on the interest of tourists and their physical ability.
Community walks and Cultural experiences
Community walks and cultural experiences in Murchison Falls national park takes on a visit to the Boomu Women’s Group found right outside the park, while visiting the village you get to learn more about the locals and their daily life style, visit the black smith, demonstration of basket weaving, visit local market and schools. Community walks and cultural experiences give you a deeper insight into the life of the local people and their culture.
How to get to Murchison Falls National Park
One can access Murchison Falls National Park using road and air means of transport, the park is situated in northwestern Uganda and from Kampala city the capital of Uganda it is a drive of approximately 5 hours. By road the park can be accessed through Masindi and Fort portal to the South gates and through Karuma for those traveling from Kampala, Gulu and Kidepo national park. By air means of transport, scheduled/chartered flights are offered from Entebbe International airport or Kajjansi airstrip to various airstrips serving the park such as
Accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park
In Murchison Falls National Park there are a variety of safari lodges, campsites and hotels offering accommodation facilities to tourists visiting the park for a safari experience, these are situated within and outside of the park. Accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park ranges from luxury, midrange and budget and they include Paraa Safari Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Bakers Lodge, Fort Murchison, Nile Safari Lodge, Red Chilli Rest camp, Sambiya River Lodge among others.