Murchison falls national park chimpanzee trekking
Murchison falls National Park is located in northwestern Uganda and is the largest and most visited national park. The park covers a total land area of 3,840 square kilometers and is bisected by Victoria Nile into two sectors that is the northern sector which is filled with high concentration of animals and southern sector. Murchison falls national park harbors abundant wildlife including 76 animals with the big five mammals which include elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos which can be viewed at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary before reaching the park headquarters. there are other animals in the park including waterbucks, bushbucks, warthogs, Jackson’s hartebeest, hyenas, hippos, primates like chimpanzees, baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, 450 bird species such as the elusive shoebill stork, Abdims stork, goliath heron, white faced whistling duck, secretary bird, yellow billed stork, long toed plover, grey headed kingfisher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bellied bustard, marabou stork among others.
chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park is done in Kaniyo Pabidi forest which is situated in Budongo forest which is located in the southern sector of the park and is the largest natural forest in Uganda. Chimpanzee trekking is the one of the major and thrilling activities carried out in Murchison falls national park that involves visitors moving into the forest in search of the chimpanzees and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitats. Chimpanzee trekking is also done in other destinations like Kibale forest national park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park and Kalinzu forest in south western Uganda.
Chimpanzee trekking in the park is done either in the morning at 7:30am or in the afternoon at 2:00pm and starts with a briefing at the park headquarters about the expectations, rules and regulation. After the briefing you will be grouped into 8 people and given a park guide who will be sharing information about the chimpanzees while trekking. Chimpanzee trekking takes about 1 to 4 hours or even more depending on the location of the chimpanzees because they like to move deep into the forest in search of food especially during the dry season. Once the chimpanzee family is found, visitors spend one hour in the presence of the chimpanzees learning about their habits, behaviors, lifestyle, taking plenty of pictures with flash less camera and recording the moments. Apart from the chimpanzees during trekking you can come across other primates like olive baboons, blue monkeys, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, bird species among others hence making your chimpanzee trekking safari unforgettable.
Cost of chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park
Visitors who want to trek chimpanzees in Kaniyo Pabidi forest should first acquire a permit which is issued to visitors above the age of fifteen years of age. A single chimpanzee trekking permit in Kaniyo Pabidi Budongo forest costs $90 for foreign non-residents and the permit is valid for one day. Chimpanzee trekking permit in Murchison falls national park can be acquired directly at Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Budongo forest or in Kampala at Great Lakes Safaris. you can also contact Achieve Global Safaris to acquire the permits for you, this is however the best option to use in that we shall not only acquire for you a permit but also plan your entire safari which involves transportation, accommodation, other activities like nature walk, birding, game drive among others.
When to go for chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park
chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest Murchison falls national park can be done anytime throughout the year though its best done in the dry season during the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry period there is less rainfall in the park therefore chimpanzee trekking trails in the forest and access roads to the park will be passable. However chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest is also done in the wet season in the months of March to April and October to November. During the wet season there will be a lot of food for the chimpanzees due to heavy rainfall which means that the chimpanzees will easily be found hence you will not be able to trek for long hours.
Apart from chimpanzee trekking you can also engage in others activities in Murchison falls national park such as
Game drive, game drive in the park is mostly done in the northern sector because that’s the sector that harbors the highest concentration of animals compared to the southern sector. Game drives in the park are either done in the morning or in the afternoon following different tracks like Buligi game track, Albert and Queen track. during the game drive you will be able to view animals like elephants, large herds of buffaloes, warthogs, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbucks, giraffes, lions, leopards, bushbucks, bird species like saddle billed stork, majestic grey crowned crane, black headed lapwing, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Senegal thick knee among others.
Boat cruise, boat cruise in the park is done on Victoria Nile Delta and there are two boat cruise trips for example the boat cruise upstream to the bottom of the falls and the boat cruise downstream to the Nile Delta. boat cruise in Murchison falls national park start from Paraa jetty and the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls has two schedule sessions, the first one which starts in the morning at 9:00am and the afternoon session which start at 2:00pm each taking about 2 hours while the boat cruise to the Nile Delta takes about 4 to 5 hours ride. during the boat cruise you will be able to view a wide range of animals in water like hippos and others on the water banks such as, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, elephants, buffaloes, bird species like the pre-historic shoebill stork, malachite kingfisher, red throated bee-eater, African fish eagle, papyrus gonolek, open billed stork, yellow footed king fisher, African jacana, saddle bellied stork, goliath heron, views of mountain ranges, fishermen catching fish among others. There are also boats at Paraa jetty foe hire where you can cruise at your own time.
Guided nature walk/ hiking, nature walk in the park is a thrilling activity where visitors move out of the car and walk on foot while enjoying nature, feeling the cool breeze with spectacular views of wildlife. Guided nature walk in the park are commonly done in Rabongo forest, Kaniyo Pabidi forest and top of the falls. during the nature walk you will view different animals at a close range, birds like little green sunbird, slender billed greenbul, dusky long tailed cuckoo, primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkey, red tailed monkey, blue monkeys among others. Nature walk in the park takes about 1 to 2 hours while hiking on the top of the falls takes about 45 minutes. Top of the falls hiking can be done after a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and during hiking you will enjoys splashes and roars of the water.
Birding, Murchison falls national park harbors about 450 bird species which makes it a birders paradise. Birds in the park can be seen during the boat cruise, nature walk, game drive, in destinations like Budongo forest, savannah vegetation, swamps among others which act as habitats for bird species. during birding in Murchison falls national park, you can look out for birds like the sought after bird shoebill stork, blue headed coucal, squaco heron, goliath heron , grey crowned crane, black billed barbet, black headed gonolek, silver bird, white browed sparrow weaver, red throated bee-eater, malachite kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, African jacana among others.
Sport fishing, sport fishing in the park is done on the water banks of River Nile. Sport fishing activity is organized by Paraa and Chobe safari lodge where anglers will use a catch and release method. Fish types that can be caught include tilapia, catfish, tiger fish among others.
How to get to Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is located in the northwestern part of Uganda and can be accessed by road and air transport means
The park is divided in two sectors the northern and the southern by Victoria Nile therefore it has several gates that visitors can use some located in the northern sector and others in the southern sector. when using road transport you will drive from Kampala, via Karuma, Pakwach road and branch off after Karuma bridge to the park headquarters which takes about 4 to 5 hours’ drive and when travelling from Entebbe airport it takes about 6 hours’ drive. The northern gates in the park can also be accessed by visitors coming from Gulu and Kidepo valley national park.
Visitors can also use public means of transport whereby there are busses that move from Kampala to Masindi daily therefore you can board a bus and when you reach in Masindi you hire a private taxi to the park headquarters.
In case you use the northern gates to enter the park you will use a ferry to cross to the southern sector for chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi, Budongo forest.
Murchison falls national park can also be accessed by air transport means whereby there are domestic airlines like Aerolink Uganda limited which operate scheduled and chartered flights from Entebbe airport or Kajansi airfield to Pakuba/chobe airstrip in northern sector or Bugungu airstrip in the southern sector of the park. Flying to Murchison falls national park is the best option for visitors who are not used to travelling ling distances.