Murchison Falls National Park is located in northwestern Uganda and in the Northern region of the Albertine rift valley. This national park is Uganda’s oldest and largest among Uganda National Parks and is home to 4 of the big 5 excluding the rhinos. River Nile bisects the national park into two parts i.e. the northern and the southern bank.
Bugungu reserve, Karuma falls Wildlife Park and Murchison falls national park are part of the Murchison falls conservation area.
This national park derived its name from the thunderous Murchison falls which is also one of its major attractions. The vegetation in Murchison falls national park is characterized by swamps, savannah, riverine forests, and woodland.
Different entry gates allow the tourists to access the national park and they include Kichumbanyobo gate, Chobe gate, Tangi gate, Wankwar gate.
A trip to Murchison falls national park may be combined with a visit to Zziwa Rhino sanctuary where the rare white rhinos can be seen in the wild.
How to get to Murchison falls national park;
- By road; about 5- 6 hours drive from Kampala
- By air/ flight; chartered flights from Entebbe airport/ Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba airstrip
Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
Attractions in Murchison falls national park include;
- Murchison falls is also known as Kabalega falls named after one of the kings of Bunyoro called Omukama Kabalega. These falls were formed when the waters of the Nile forced through a 7meter gorge before plunging into the Albert Nile. These waterfalls are the highlight for any trip to this national park because of the thunderous and violent nature with which they are formed.
- Wildlife and bird species seen in this national park are of a variety and the wildlife species include giraffes, lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, antelopes, warthogs, hyenas, and many other species which make your Uganda Wildlife Tour amazing. The bird species in this national park include kingfishers, spotted morning thrush, silver bird, bluff bellied warbler, black-headed batis, white-rumped seed eater, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver and many other bird species making the Uganda birding Tours suitable. Wildlife species are best viewed during the dry season when the grass is shorter compared to the rainy seasons.
- Rabongo forest is an attraction which is great for nature walks, primate trekking where primates such as vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others can be seen.
Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Activities that tourists engage in during a trip in Murchison falls national park include the following;
- Game drives take place at different times of the day which make up most of the best Uganda Safaris. The chances of viewing the wildlife also depend on the choice of the time for the game drive which includes morning game drives, evening game drives, night game drives, and full-day game drives. The northern banks have a large concentration of wildlife species in their savannah plains compared to the southern bank where some herds of antelopes can be seen as well as few other species. Morning game drives increase the chances of sighting wildlife as they are more active at this time of day. Evening game drives offer chances of seeing the wildlife species as they graze around and the tourists also get to watch the sunset in the wild as the different wildlife species look for their last meal of the day and the predators wait for unknowing prey to feast on. Full day game drives offer the ultimate game viewing experience as the tourists get to watch the wildlife species at different times of the day and also learn more about the ways of life of the wildlife species in terms of how they feed, relationship with other species, survival instincts and many other aspects about the wildlife. Night game drives are also available at a cost due to the unique game viewing experience that they offer for the tourists.
- Boat/ Launch Cruise is one of the highlights of the visits to this national park which involves an exciting boat ride along the Albert Nile with views of the rest of Murchison falls national park to the bottom of the Murchison falls where different wildlife species can be seen along the banks of the river and in the water such as crocodiles, waterbucks, buffalos, and hippos. Different bird species can also be spotted during the launch cruise and they include kingfishers, cormorants, bee-eaters, African fish eagle, yellow billed stork, and many other species.
- Bird watching is an activity in Murchison falls national park which involves viewing different bird species which are easily sighted around the ferry crossing area, Paraa rest camp and other birding sites. The bird species include blue napped mousebird, spotted morning thrush, silver bird, bluff bellied warbler, black-headed batis, white-rumped seed eater, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver and many others.
- Top of the Falls Hike is an activity that involves hiking or driving to the top of Murchison falls where water thunders through a 7-meter gorge and plunging many meters of the rift valley wall into the Nile. Many rapids can be seen around this area which is also known as the devils’ cauldron. The hike to the top of the falls offers a view of the Nile, rolling hills, birds and listening to the loud sound of the Murchison falls as it flows through the gorge.
- Nature walks is an activity that engages tourists in exploring the wild on foot which provides them with a chance to view the different aspects in the national park such as observing animals and studying plant species that they missed during game drives. Some of the nature walk trails involve passing through the riverine forest, gullies and low hills. These walks take place in Kaniyo pabidi, at the top of the falls and in Rabongo forest. The Kaniyo Pabidi walk is done within Budongo forest and involves viewing different tree species such as mahogany trees and bird species such as hornbills, chocolate backed kingfishers and many other bird species.
- Sportfishing is an activity that is also a sport that engages tourists in catching fish along the Nile. The fish which is caught is later released into the water alive. Different fish species are caught along the rocky surfaces, at the bottom of the falls and along the river banks. Fish species that are caught include the Nile perch, catfish, tigerfish, and many other species. Sportfishing is done in the company of an experienced fishing guide and specific fishing equipment is used. The fishing methods used include casting lures, spinning and catching fish using live bait. The best time for fishing is in mid-January to early April when the water is clear.
- White water rafting is also done within Murchison falls national park.
Surround yourself with great scenery in the wild as you sail along the Nile or engage in a game drive with the perfect back drop of the thunderous falls in Murchison falls national park and create many memories with your loved ones.