Top 5 Safari Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Top 5 Safari Activities in Murchison Falls National Park: Murchison falls national park is located in north western part of Uganda. The national park was established in 1952 and covers a total area of 3840 square kilometers which makes it the largest national park in Uganda. The park is comprised of different vegetation types including savannah grasslands, woodland, riverine forests, swamps which act as habitats for wildlife species including animals like the big four of the big five mammals, primates and over 450 bird species.
Top 5 Safari Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
1. Game drives in Murchison falls national park
Game drives in Murchison falls national park give visitors an opportunity to explore the park and enjoy great views of wildlife species. Game drives are done in 4WD safari vehicles and they are categorized into 3 groups and these are
Morning game drives which are done early in the morning after breakfast. The morning game drives are the most rewarding in that visitors will get a chance to view animals when they are most active. During the morning game drive visitors should look out for animals like elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, giraffes, Uganda kobs, warthogs, Jacksons hartebeest, bushbucks, oribi among others which will be grazing in the savannah plains with due, view big cats like lions, leopards which will be looking for a morning hunt, view different bird species among others.
Afternoon game drives which are conducted after lunch, the afternoon game drive is not much rewarding as the morning game drive because the big cats will be hiding due to hot sun therefore spotting them might be difficult.
Night game drives in Murchison falls national park start at after dinner and visitors are accompanied by park rangers. During the night game drive visitors will get an opportunity to view nocturnal animals like lions, hyenas, civet, genets, bush babies, night jar, leopards, porcupines, grazers like hippos, elephants, waterbucks, enjoy the beautiful landscape under the stars among others.
2. Boat cruise in Murchison falls national park
Boat cruise is one of the interesting activities carried out in Murchison falls national park. There are two boat cruises that is the boat cruise upstream to the bottom of the falls and the boat cruise downstream to the Victoria Nile delta stretching to the shores of Lake Albert. The boat cruise to the bottom of the falls has two sessions that is the morning session which starts at around 9:00 am and the afternoon session which starts at around 2:00pm and each session takes about 2 to 3 hours ride. The Nile delta boat cruise is also done in different sessions and each session takes about 4 to 5 hours. both boat cruises start from Paraa jetty landing site and give you an opportunity to enjoy stunning views of Murchison falls, beautiful scenery, large herds of hippos in water, crocodiles basking on the banks, elephants, Uganda kobs, buffaloes, waterbucks, warthogs drinking water along the shores, aquatic bird species like the prehistoric shoebill stork, African jacana, saddle bellied stork, open billed stork, goliath heron, yellow footed kingfisher, African fish eagle, giant kingfisher, grey headed kingfisher, Senegal thick knee, swamp flycatcher, blue headed coucal, enjoy views of the fishermen catching fish among others.
Murchison falls national park is a home of more than 450 recorded bird species including migratory birds, Albertine rift endemic birds, savannah birds and water birds. Bird species in Murchison falls national park can be spotted during the game drives, nature walks and boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and along the Victoria Nile delta. During bird watching visitors should look out for different bird species like giant kingfisher, shoebill stork, black headed lapwing, yellow fronted tinkerbird, black billed barbet, long tales nightjar, veracious dove, long toed plover, Abyssinian ground hornbill, yellow billed stork, grey crowned crane, pied kingfisher, weaver birds, silver bird, martial eagle, yellow fronted tinkerbird among others.
4. Chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park
Chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park is done in Budongo forest which is the biggest mahogany forest in East Africa. Chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest starts with a briefing from the park guides about the rules, regulations and expectations, after the briefing visitors are divided into groups of 6 people where each group will be allocated a chimpanzee family to trek. Trekking of chimpanzees in Budongo forest takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on where the chimpanzees slept the previous night, during trekking visitors will be able to view other primate species, birds, butterflies, different plant and tree species among others. Once the chimpanzee are located visitors will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their environment learning about their behaviors, habits, watching them play, feed, breastfeed, hunt, fight, take photos and record videos.
5. Nature walks/ hiking in Murchison falls national park
This is an interesting activity in Murchison falls national park where visitors get an opportunity to explore the park on foot with an experienced park guide and armed game ranger. Nature walks in the park are mostly done in Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest where visitors will get up close and personal with wildlife species including mammals, primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, variety of bird species among others.
Another interesting walk in Murchison falls national park is the hike up to the top of the falls which is done after the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. The top of the falls hike takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the speed and physical fitness, during the hike visitors will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the scenery, listen to the crashing of the water, watch the waters of the Nile squeezing through a 7 meters gorge among others.
Best time to visit Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park can be visited throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season also known as the peak season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season the park receives little rainfall therefore vegetation will be thin which helps visitors to have clear views of animals, access roads to the park and hiking trails will be passable and many animals will gather around the water bodies to drink water which gives visitors an opportunity to view large concentrations of animals and take beautiful photos.
Murchison falls national park can also be visited in the wet/ low season during the months of march to may and November because that’s the best time for birding, visitors will enjoy the park with less crowds, and some lodges offer discounts which favors budget travelers.