Fairend Safaris

Murchison Falls National Park

Home to the world's most powerful waterfall

Murchison Falls National Park is home to the world’s most powerful waterfall and forms the largest protected area. It is 5,000 square kilometers comprising of Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves. River Nile crosses this park, diving grasslands roamed by the African Big Five on the Northern bank. And forest inhabited by birds and primates on the southern side where chimps are trekked.

The park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley and was first gazetted as a game reserve. Murchison Falls is home to a wild range of wildlife including mammals, primates, birds and amphibians. The species to look out for are African elephants, Giraffes, buffaloes, lions, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees and many more.

How to get to Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is located 305km North of Kampala city and can be accessed by road or air.  When using the road it takes about 4 – 5 hours to get to the southern entrance gate from Kampala. When travelling from Fort portal it takes about 6 hours to get to the park entrance. Most lodging facilities are about an hour away from the gate therefore there is always an extra time of driving.

Travelers can opt to fly to the park by chartered or scheduled aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield.  Pakuba Airfield is the most convenient point of arrival for many camps and lodges around the park headquarters at Paraa. Other options are Chobe or Bugundu.

Activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park

Game Drive

Game Drives are the top activity in this park, visitors get to see a variety of wildlife species roaming in the open savannah grasslands. They usually take place in the morning, evening, and sometimes all day long depending on the visitors’ choice. This activity can take up to 4 hours as guests explore the park and get a glance at wildlife species. The animals to look out for include l Lions, African elephants, Buffaloes, leopards, and Giraffes among others.

There are different routes for game drives namely Bugali track which is North of paraa and Victoria track which is near River Nile.  Bugali track has different types of vegetation including savannah grasslands, acacia, woodland, and river line. Victoria track is where boat cruises take place giving travelers a chance to see animals grazing at river banks. Birding can be done on this track.

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee trekking is mainly done in the Budongo forest which is a rainforest covering an area of about 825 square kilometers. It is home to primates, birds, and tree species and is 30 minutes away from Kichumbanyo gate.

There are over 600 chimpanzees in this forest and trekking them is done twice a day (morning and afternoon). One needs a permit to participate in this activity which goes for $230 for foreigners and $ 90 for East Africans. The best time to tack chimps is between October and January.

Birding

This is a great activity to do in this park since over 500 birds reside here including water birds, forest and migrant birds among others. Birding can be done anytime throughout the year though the best time is the dry season. During this period the birding trails can be passable and easy to walk compared to wet seasons.

However, during the wet season there are many birds since there is plenty of fruits they feed on. Some of the birds to watch include Flamingos, Shoe Bill, Creasted crane, Grey-headed King Fisher, and Senegal Thick-knee among others. Birding is done in Budongo forest, Lake Albert delta, and Kaniyo Pabidi forest.

Boat cruising

Boat cruising is one of the most entertaining activities done in this park. The park offers two boat cruises one is the Albert Delta boat cruise and the other is at the bottom of the falls. Most tourists visit this park to see the most powerful waterfall in the world, the boat cruise at the bottom of the fall allows you to hike to the top of the falls.

While sailing bird watching is possible and animals are seen grazing at the banks of the river. Taking great photos is an added advantage since the boat gets close to the animals. Remember to carry binoculars to see small birds and animals which might be grazing at a distance.

Nature walks and Hiking

Nature walks and Hiking is among the top activities in this incredible Park allowing travelers to explore the wilderness on foot. One can hike to the top of the falls or have a nature walk in Kaniyo Pabidi or Rabongo forest. Hiking begins with a boat ride to the bottom of the falls where the hike begins. Travelers walk to the top of the falls and this takes about 45 minutes. It requires physical fitness for one to engage in this activity

Kaniyo Pabidi is place for natural walks because it is covered with Savannah grasslands and also you get to find a good number of lodging facilities in this area. During natural walks, visitors get to view birds, primates, and tree species. There is also a 2-4 hour guided swamp walk to the Nile delta allowing you to see rare shoe bill storks.

When to Visit Murchison Falls National Park

This park can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is from December to February and between June and September. During these periods it is easier to find animals, there is not much rain making some activities easier and manageable, and vegetation is sparse making tracking animals easier.

Where to stay

There are several lodging facilities ranging from luxury to budget facilities. Luxury lodging facilities include Baker’s Lodge, Parra Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, and Chobe Safari Lodge.

Midrange facilities include Amuka Safari Lodge, Bwana Tembo Safari Camp, Fort Murchison Safari Lodge and Tilenga Safari Lodge. Kabalega Wilderness, and Pakuba Safari Lodge among others

Budget facilities include Budongo Eco Lodge, Kalalo Cottage Inn, Red Chilli Rest Camp and  Shoe Bill campsite among others.