Murchison falls national park travel guide
About Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is the most visited national park located in northwestern Uganda 305 kilometers from Kampala. Murchison falls national park was a game reserve around 1926 to protect the savannah grassland and wildlife and was later gazetted into a national park in 1952 which makes it the oldest national park together with Queen Elizabeth national park in southwestern Uganda. The park covers a total area of 3,893 square kilometers and a home of about 76 animal species including the big five mammals which are the elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and rhinos which are viewed at Ziwa rhino sanctuary, other species in the park include giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbucks, oribi, hippos, crocodiles, bushbucks, Uganda kobs, primate species like chimpanzees, baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, over 450 bird species which makes the park a birders paradise with bird species like the pre-historic shoebill stork, open billed stork, Abyssinian ground hornbill, black crake, yellow billed stork, secretary bird, goliath heron, African darter among others.
Murchison falls national park is bisected by River Nile into two sectors that is the northern and southern sector therefore visitors who are interesting in exploring all the sectors cross from the northern sector to the southern sector by a ferry which moves daily on a schedule.
Murchison falls national park travel guide will give you detailed information about the park which will help you to plan a safari to Murchison falls national park.
Attractions in Murchison falls national park
Animals, Murchison falls national park is a home of around 76 animals including the big four mammals which are the lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes and other animals like giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, warthogs, waterbucks, Oribi, bushbucks, Uganda kobs, hippos, crocodiles among others. Animals in the park can be viewed during the game drive, boat cruise, nature walk among others.
Primates, the park is also a home of primate species like the chimpanzees, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys which are found in the southern sector of the park in Kaniyo Pabidi Budongo forest. Visitors interested in viewing primates in the park can engage in chimpanzee trekking or nature walk.
Birds, Murchison falls national park is a home of over 450 bird species therefore this makes the park one of the best birding destination for birding. on you safari in the park you can look out for birds like the elusive shoebill stork, goliath heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, open billed stork, pied and malachite kingfisher, black crake, secretary bird among others.
Budongo forest, Budongo forest is the largest mahogany forest in east Africa. the forest is located in the southern part of Murchison falls national park and a habitat of biodiversity including small mammals, primates, tree species, butterflies, moth, bird species among others. Visitors who visit Budongo forest can engage in activities like camping, forest walk, bird watching, chimpanzee habituation which is done during the low season among others.
Kaniyo Pabidi forest, this is a nature forest covered with big mahogany and ironwood trees that is located in the southern part of Murchison falls national park. The forest is a habitat of primates like chimpanzees, monkeys, baboons, birds like yellow footed flycatcher, white thighed hornbill among others therefore visitors who visit Kaniyo Pabidi forest will get an opportunity of engaging in interesting and adventurous activities like chimpanzee trekking, birding, nature walk, forest walk among others.
Buligi game track, this is one of the well-known game viewing areas in the park. Buligi game track passes through open savannah grasslands, woodlands, acacia vegetation among others and the major activity done around the game track is the game drive which will give you an opportunity to view animals like buffaloes, jackals, elephants, jackals, waterbucks, giraffes, Uganda kobs among others.
Karuma falls, these are beautiful and stunning waterfalls made of rock formations that are found on the Victoria Nile in the eastern boundary of Murchison falls national park. The water falls are located on Gulu-Masindi highway therefore on your way to Murchison falls national park you will pass via these stunning waterfalls which gives you an incredible experience as you hear the roaring waterfalls.
River Nile, River Nile bisects Murchison falls national park into two that is the northern and southern sector therefore visitors who want to explore all sectors will cross from the northern sector to the southern sector by a ferry. The Nile in Murchison fall national park is a home to aquatic species like birds, hippos, crocodiles among others.
Activities in Murchison falls national park
Boat cruise, this is an interesting activity that is carried out in the park. The park offers two boat cruise trips which start at Paraa landing site for example the boat cruise to upstream to the bottom of the falls and the boat cruise downstream to the Nile Delta. Boat cruise trip to the bottom of the falls starts early in the morning at 2:00pm and takes about 2 hour while the boat cruise to the Nile Delta starts in the morning and takes about 3 to 4 hours. During the boat cruise in the park you will have great views of animals like hippos, crocodiles, other animals like elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks which will be drinking water along the banks, water birds such as the prehistoric shoebill stork, black headed lapwing, great blue turaco, African jacana, African skimmer, blue spotted dove, fish eagle, goliath heron, African black crake, saddle billed stork among others.
Game drive, game drive in Murchison falls national park is commonly done in the northern sector because that the area that harbors large concentration of animals. Game drive starts early in the morning at around 6:00am or late in the evening following game tracks like Buligi, Victoria, Albert among others. During the game drive you can look out for animals like buffaloes, elephants, waterbucks, bushbucks, oribi, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, bird species like secretary bird, marabou stork, open billed stork, weaver birds, black bellied bustard, Abyssinian ground hornbill among others.
Night game drive, Murchison falls national park is one of the national parks in Uganda that offer nocturnal game drive which is done at night with an armed park ranger and spotlight torches for clear viewing. During the night game drive in the park you will be able to view hippos which will be grazing, nocturnal animals like hyenas, lions, leopards, civet, bush babies, pottos, night jars and other animals which will be resting.
Chimpanzee trekking, Chimpanzee trekking is a thrilling activity that is carried out in Kaniyo Pabidi Budongo forest in the southern sector. During chimpanzee trekking you will move into the forest in search of the habituated chimpanzees and once found spend one hour in their presence learning about the behaviors, habits, taking plenty of photos and recording the moments which gives you incredible and lifetime memories.
Guided nature walk, this is an interesting activity where you will get an opportunity to get out of the car and walk on foot as you explore the park and feeling the cool breeze. nature walk trails in Murchison falls national park have been developed so as to give visitors the best experience, During the guided nature walk you will follow trails like Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest trail where you will have great views of the birds like slender billed greenbul, yellow manted weaver, primates like red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, trails from Sambiya River where you will view different bird species.
Top of the falls hiking, this is an adventurous activity that shouldn’t be missed on your safari in Murchison falls national park. Top of the falls hike can be done after a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and takes about 45 minutes hiking. During hiking to the top of the falls, you will feel the misty sprays from the Nile as it pours down, cool and fresh air, beautiful scenery, views of the birds, animals among others.
Birding, Murchison falls national park harbors over 450 bird species which makes it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. Birding in the park can be done during the game drive, boat cruise, nature walk among others and you will be able to view bird species like giant heron, grey crowned crane, black headed lapwing, marabou stork, black bellied bustard, Abyssinian ground hornbill, giant kingfisher, long toed plover, shoebill stork, yellow fronted tinkerbird, long tailed nightjar, martial eagle, silver bird, swamp flycatcher, blue headed coucal, African jacana, saddle billed stork, red throated bee-eater among others.
Sport fishing, this is one of the main and interesting activities in the park and the activity is carried out along Victoria Nile at the bottom of the falls either from the boat or from the rocks on the river bank. Sport fishing in Murchison falls national park is done using the method of casting lures, live bait with worms, termites or using spinning method. During sport fishing you will be able to catch fish types like the Nile perch, cat fish, tiger fish,
Cultural encounter, Murchison falls national park is surrounded by local communities such as the Banyoro, Acholi, Alur and each community has its own cultural background. During the community encounter you will interact with different cultures as you learn about their lifestyle such as cultivating, craft making, be entertained by traditional performances like cultural dances, songs among others.
Best time to visit Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time to visit is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During this time there is less rainfall in the park therefore it will easily be accessible, animals will gather around the water banks to drink water, there will be short grass in the park hence giving you a clear view and chimpanzee trekking trails will be passable.
Murchison falls can also be visited during the wet season in the months of March to May and October to November. Though there will be heavy rainfall in the park, some activities like birding and chimpanzee trekking can best be done in the wet season in that there will be abundant food for the birds and chimpanzees therefore chimpanzees will easily be found near the park headquarters as compared to the dry season when they move deep into the forest in search of food. Lodges in the park will offer discounts to visitors during the wet/low season and the park will have few crowds.
Where to stay on your safari in Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park has a wide range of luxury, midrange, budget and camp site accommodations where visitors on a safari can stay such as Paraa Safari Lodge, Red chilli Rest Camp, Geolodges Shoebill Camp Site, Nile Safari Lodge, Yebo Safari Camp, Sambiya River Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Murchison Safari Lodge, UWA Campsite, Budongo Ecolodge, Boomu Women’s Group Bandas, Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Murchison tree house, Amuka Safari Lodge, Bakers Lodge among others. The lodges offer quality amenities like comfortable and spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms, living room, balcony, sitting lunge, gardens, restaurants which prepare local and international dishes, bar, free Wi-Fi in public areas, swimming pool among others.
How to get to Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is located 305 kilometers from Kampala and can be accessed by both road and air transport means
Road transport, you can use public, self-drive or tour company when using road transport to the park. The national park has several entrance gates which you can use in the northern and southern sector such as Tangi, Wankwar, Chobe, Kichumbanyobo and Bugungu gate. When using the northern entrance gates you will drive from Kampala via Pakwach road and then branch off after Karuma bridge to Paraa headquarters which takes about 4 to 5 hours’ drive and when using the southern gates you will pass through Budongo forest.
Air transport, Murchison falls national park can also be accessed by air transport means because there are domestic companies like Aerolink which operate scheduled and chartered flights from Entebbe airport/Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba/Chobe airstrip and Bugungu airstrip in the southern sector. Aerolink aircraft operates on daily schedule with flights which depart from Entebbe at 12:00pm and arrive in Bugungu/Pakuba airstrip at 13:00pm. The return flights depart from Bugungu/Pakuba airstrip at 13:15pm and arrive at Entebbe airport at 16:15pm.