Explore Uganda’s Spectacular Murchison Falls, Experience Nature’s Wonders!

Murchison Falls National Park is the biggest and also the oldest Uganda Park, created in 1952 with land area coverage of 3840sq.km. The Park is separated into 2 by the Nile River forming the Northern and Southern sectors. It is in this splendid protected area where the charming Murchison Falls lies on the Victoria Nile River.

Location of Murchison Falls National Park

Lying on the edge of Albertine rift area is the spectacular Murchison Falls National Park, home to 4 of the big 5 game. The Park’s boundaries stretch covering about 4 districts in Northwestern Uganda including Buliisa, Masindi, Kiryandongo, and Nwoya.

The Murchison Falls was named by Sir Samuel Baker and the late Idi Amin attempted to rename it “Kabalega” who was Bunyoro King. This lasted for the period Idi Amin was in power.

Vegetation of Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is vast Uganda Safaris Park comprising of unique vegetation cover. The Park is dominated by woodlands, savanna grasslands, open plains, and wetlands. It is forms a section of a vast Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) and this also include Kaniyo-Pabidi, Karuma Falls, Bugungu Wildlife Reserves, Rabango Forest and others.

Murchison Falls National Park vegetation
wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park

Wild Animals in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls N. Park holds a significant animal population about 76 mammal species and 451 species of birds. On a safari to Murchison Falls NP, a variety of animals to look out include hyenas, leopards, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, lions, hippos, oribis, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbucks, reedbucks, bushbucks, and more. Primates reside within the Kaniyo-Pabidi including blue monkeys, chimpanzees, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, forest galagos, pottos and more.

Birds in Murchison Falls National Park

There are over 451 species of birds living within Murchison Falls National Park. These include the African darter, Abdim’s stork, bar-breasted fire-finch, Abyssinian ground hornbill, beautiful sunbird, black-billed barbets, African skimmers, African jacanas, African quail-finch, African fish eagle, Black-billed barbet, black crake, black-billed wood-dove, black scimitar bill, black-headed batis, black-faced waxbill, black-headed gondola, blue-napped moosebird, black-headed plovers, black-headed gonoleks, black-lored babblers, bluff-bellied warblers, chestnut-crowned sparrow weavers, blue-headed coucal, dark chanting-goshawk, Goliath heron, Denham’s bustard, eastern grey plantain eater, double-toothed barbet, grey-crowned cranes, fawn-breasted waxbill, long-toed plover, giant kingfishers, grey-headed bush shrike, martial eagle, sacred ibis, red-throated bee-eater, carmine bee-eaters, malachite kingfishers, green-winged pytilia, long-toed plovers, long tailed nightjars, sulphur-breasted bush shrikes, osprey, Pel’s fishing owl, Hugli’s francolins, standard-winged nightjars, saddle-billed stork, pennant-winged nightjars, Northern carmine bee-eaters, Senegal thick-knee, Northern crombec, speckled-fronted weavers, swamp flycatchers, white-browed sparrow weaver, sandpipers, white-faced whistling ducks, white-rumped seed-eaters, sacred ibis, rock pratincole, verreaux’s owl, yellow-fronted tinker birds, swamp flycatchers, spotted mourning thrush, yellow-throated greenbul and more.

Game viewing

Main Activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park

Game drives in Murchison Falls National Park

Game drive in Murchison Falls N. Park is done about 3 sessions- morning, afternoon and night. The park is blessed with a range of wildlife that you can enjoy sight of including lions, elephants, Defassa waterbucks, Bohor reedbucks, oribis, hartebeest, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, bushbucks, side stripped jackals, Uganda Kobs, giraffes, buffaloes, and warthogs.

Visit the top of the falls

Visiting the top of the falls is often the first thing most tourists do as soon as they enter the park. Guests drive to the top of the Murchison Falls and observe it forces itself in a narrow rock of 8 meters before falling about 42 meters creating a permanent rainbow and powerful roar. Adjacent to the Murchison Falls is the Uhuru waterfalls. Another option to reach the top of the falls is by trekking after a boat cruise but this depends on the water levels.

uganda - murchison falls

Launch cruise on the Nile

Launch cruise experience in Murchison Falls NP is excellently done on the Victoria Nile River. The cruise expedition takes 2-3 hours heading to the base of the Murchison Falls with incredible sightings of aquatic life expected along the way. These include crocodiles, hippos, water birds such as cormorants, kingfishers, herons, bee-eaters, ducks and others. There is also an option of taking a boat ride to the Nile Delta, the point in which the Nile River meets Lake Albert. Several wildlife and aquatic birds can be spotted on Nile Delta boat cruise and include shoebills.

Sport fishing

The best sport fishing sites in Murchison Falls N. Park include the base of the Murchison waterfalls and Karuma Falls. Heavy Nile perch and other fish species can be caught here and fishing tours can be combined with game viewing safaris on 4 Days wildlife tour or 5-Day trip.

Forest & nature walks

Forest & nature walks take guests deep into the scenic Rabongo and Budongo Forests offering a distinct wilderness experience. For primate trekking adventures, nature/forest walks are the best option of exploring Murchison Falls N. Park. A variety of primates to expect to come across on Uganda safari in Murchison Falls National Park include the red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, forest galagos, pottos, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys.

Fishing
lake mburo national park - birding

Birding in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park birding tours a great opportunity to identify water birds, forest and woodland avifaunal species. The park offers plenty of birding opportunities, especially at Kaniyo-Pabidi Forest, Northern sections and more. The park’s birds to watch include fawn-breasted waxbill, African skimmers, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Abdim’s storks, African fish eagle, black-billed barbets, black-headed plovers, black-billed wood-doves, sunbird, black-lored babblers, double-toothed barbet, black-headed gondola, dark chanting-goshawk, grey crowned cranes, blue-headed coucals, grey-headed bush shrikes, Northern carmine bee-eaters, chestnut-crowned sparrow weavers, eastern grey plantain-goshawk, giant kingfishers, Hugli’s francolins, Bluff-bellied warblers, pied kingfishers, sacred ibis, malachite kingfishers, white-browed sparrow weavers, pel’s fishing owl, shoebill storks, verreaux’s owl, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, speckle-fronted weavers, spotted owl, yellow-billed stork, yellow-throated greenbul, pennant-winged nightjars, Denham’s bustards, Vaseline masked weavers, spur-winger geese, swamp flycatchers and others.

Chimpanzee tracking

Kaniyo-Pabidi and Budongo Forests are home to diverse primate species and plant life. Over 820 chimpanzees reside within the Budongo Forest and each day, there are 2 sessions for chimpanzee tracking –the first session starts at 8:00 am and in the afternoon, at 2:00 pm.

chimpanzee tracking
hot air balloon safari

Hot air balloon safaris

Hot air balloon tours provide excellent aerial views of Murchison Falls National Park’s faunal species. The experience starts with a briefing and you get to watch buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, birds and more.

Camping

Camping safaris can be organized and you can camp at the lodges or designated campsites. Campers visiting Murchison Falls N/Park are given firewood, tents and water. But you will be required to carry your own food and other camping gear or hire some in Uganda.

Cultural interaction in Boomu village

A cultural walk or visit is best done at Boomu village. Guests can be led by experienced elder from the Boomu Women’s Group, a group that also runs bandas nearby Murchison Falls National Park. You will be taken through the local experience, learn the distinct traditions and cultures or have hands-on experience during the basket weaving.

community

When you should visit Murchison Falls National Park – Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park tours can be arranged at any time of the year although the dry season is exceptionally the best time to get there for a safari holiday. This is during the short or long drier months –June, July, August, September (long drier months) or December, January, February (short dry spell months of the year). The wet season experiences heavy rains but it is possible to travel and explore wildlife in the Murchison Falls National Park.

Where to stay

Places to stay while in Murchison Falls National Park range from budget to luxury and available in campsites, lodges and hotels. You can spend a night in the lodges inside or outside the park and the available options include the Nile Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Bakers Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge (Luxury); Murchison River Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Twiga Safari Lodge (Midrange) and Budongo Eco-Lodge, Boomu Group Bandas, Red Chili Rest Camp and Sambiya River Lodge (Budget).

How to reach Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda)

Murchison Falls National Park is reachable by road and different gates are available offering access to the park in the Northern and Southern sections. The driving time to spend to get to the park is about 6-7 hours and the Northern gates of Murchison Falls NP include Wankwar gate, Tangi, Mubako, and Chobe gates. The Southern gates to Murchison Falls N. Park include Kichumbanyobo gate, and Bugungu.

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