Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest national park, covering an area of 3,840 square kilometers (1,503 square miles) in the northwestern part of the country. It is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and over 450 bird species. The park is also famous for its spectacular scenery, featuring rolling savannahs, lush forests, and dramatic river landscapes.
But the highlight of the park is undoubtedly the Murchison Falls, where the mighty Nile River squeezes through a narrow gorge only 7 meters (23 feet) wide and plunges 43 meters (141 feet) into a boiling pool below. The falls are a sight to behold, as they create a thunderous roar and a rainbow-filled mist that can be seen from miles away. The falls are also a source of hydroelectric power, as the nearby Karuma Power Station harnesses the energy of the water.
Murchison Falls National Park is a destination that offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or education. You can explore the park by land or water, enjoy various activities and attractions, and experience the rich culture and history of the region. In this blog post, we will tell you all you need to know about Murchison Falls National Park and why you should choose to visit it.
Things to Do in Murchison Falls National Park
There are many activities that you can enjoy yout Murchison Falls safari, depending on your preferences and time. Some of the most popular ones are:
The park has four sectors: the northern sector (Paraa), the southern sector (Buliisa), the eastern sector (Chobe), and the western sector (Nebbi). Each sector has its own unique features and wildlife. Murchison fallls safaris offer game drives in any of these sectors with a wide range of wildlife species to include; lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, hyenas, jackals, warthogs, and various antelopes. You can also see rare and endangered species such as the Rothschild’s giraffe, the patas monkey, and the Uganda kob.
Murchison falls tours introduce you to a paradise for bird lovers, as the park hosts over 450 bird species, including some of the most sought-after birds in Africa. You can see birds such as the shoebill stork, the saddle-billed stork, the goliath heron, the African fish eagle, the kingfisher, the bee-eater, the hornbill, and many more. You can also see migratory birds that visit the park from November to April. The best places to see birds are along the Nile River, in the Budongo Forest Reserve, and in the Albert Delta Wetland System.
Top of the Falls Hike
This is a short but rewarding hike that takes you to the top of the Murchison Falls. You can witness the power and beauty of the falls up close and feel the spray of water on your face. You can also enjoy panoramic views of the Nile River and its surroundings. The hike takes about 45 minutes to an hour and is suitable for anyone with moderate fitness.
Bottom of the Falls Cruise
This is a boat cruise that takes you from Paraa to the bottom of the Murchison Falls. You can see crocodiles, hippos, waterbucks, and other animals along the river banks. You can also see many birds such as cormorants, pelicans, egrets, herons, and kingfishers. The cruise lasts about two hours and ends at a point where you can disembark and hike to the top of the falls if you wish.
This is a boat trip that takes you from Paraa to the Nile delta, where the river meets Lake Albert. Along the way, you can see hippos, crocodiles, waterbirds, and sometimes elephants and buffaloes on the banks. The delta cruise is also a great opportunity to spot the rare and elusive shoebill stork, a prehistoric-looking bird that can grow up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall.
This is a guided walk in the Budongo Forest Reserve, which is part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The reserve has one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Uganda, as well as other primates such as black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and blue monkeys. You can also see various birds and butterflies in the forest. Chimpanzee tracking requires a permit that can be booked in advance or on arrival at the park headquarters.
This is an activity for anglers who want to test their skills and luck on the Nile. The river has several fish species, but the most sought-after ones are the Nile perch and the tigerfish. The Nile perch can weigh up to 80 kilograms (176 pounds), while the tigerfish is known for its sharp teeth and ferocious fighting spirit. Sport fishing can be done from the banks or from a boat, and requires a license that can be obtained from the park authorities.
This is an activity for those who want to learn more about the local communities and their traditions. You can visit some of the villages near the park and interact with the people who live there. You can also see their crafts, dances, music, and stories. Some of the cultural groups that you can encounter are the Alur, Acholi, Banyoro, and Lugbara.
This is an activity for those who want to explore the park on foot and appreciate its natural beauty. You can choose from different trails that vary in length and difficulty. Some of the places that you can visit on a nature walk are Rabongo Forest, Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, Kichumbanyobo Gate, and Top of the Falls.
Frequently Asked Questions about Safari in Murchison Falls National Park
If you are planning to visit Murchison Falls National Park, you may have some questions about it. Here are some of the common inquiries that we receive from travelers and our answers to them:
What is the best time to visit Murchison Falls National Park?
The park can be visited all year round, but some seasons may be better than others depending on what you want to see and do. Generally speaking, the dry seasons (December to February and June to September) are good for wildlife viewing and hiking, as the animals tend to congregate around water sources and the trails are less muddy. The wet seasons (March to May and October to November) are good for birdwatching and photography, as the vegetation is lush and green and there are more migratory birds.
What are the accommodation options in Murchison Falls National Park?
The park has a range of accommodation options to suit different tastes and budgets. You can choose from luxury lodges, mid-range hotels, budget campsites, and guesthouses. Some of the recommended places to stay are Paraa Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Red Chilli Rest Camp, and Boomu Women’s Group Bandas.
How do I get to Murchison Falls National Park?
The park can be accessed by road or by air. By road, you can drive from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, to the park in about 5 hours. You can also take a bus or a taxi to Masindi, the nearest town to the park, and then hire a car or a motorcycle to the park. By air, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to one of the airstrips in the park, such as Pakuba, Bugungu, or Chobe. You can then arrange a transfer to your accommodation with your safari company or lodge.
Why choose Safari in Uganda – Murchison Falls National Park?
Murchison Falls National Park is a destination that has something for everyone. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose to visit this park:
- The world’s second most powerful waterfall: The Murchison Falls are a sight to behold, as they create a thunderous roar and a rainbow-filled mist. You can view the falls from different angles, such as from the top, from the bottom, or from a boat. You can also hike to the falls from the bottom and feel the spray on your face.
- Abundant wildlife: The park is home to over 76 mammal species and over 450 bird species, making it one of the most biodiverse parks in Africa. You can see some of the iconic animals of Africa, such as elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffaloes, hippos, and crocodiles. You can also see some of the rare and endangered animals, such as the Rothschild’s giraffe, the patas monkey, and the shoebill stork.
- Variety of activities and attractions: The park offers a range of activities and attractions that cater to different interests and preferences. You can enjoy game drives, boat cruises, chimpanzee tracking, sport fishing, cultural visits, nature walks, and more. You can also visit some of the other attractions in the park, such as the Karuma Falls, the Nile-Lake Albert Delta, and the Budongo Forest Reserve.