Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls national park is one of the oldest and the largest national park located in north western part of Uganda. The national park was gazetted as a national park in 1952 and covers a total land area of 3840 square kilometers. Murchison falls national park is a home of abundant wildlife species including the big four of the five mammals which are buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopards, other animals like Uganda kobs, giraffes, waterbucks, hippos, bushbucks, primates like chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkeys and variety of bird species,
Activities in Murchison falls national park
Game drive is an interesting and one of major activities in the park that shouldn’t be missed during your safari. Game drives in the park can either be done early in the morning or in the afternoon in a 4 WD safari vehicle with an experienced park guide. During the game drive you will follow different game tracks like Buligi, Albert and Victoria where you will be rewarded with great views of animals like buffaloes, Uganda kobs, giraffes, Jacksons hartebeest, elephants, waterbucks, bushbucks, warthogs, view predators like hyenas, lions, leopards among others if you are lucky and different bird species like Abyssinian ground hornbill, marabou stork, papyrus gonolek, black bellied bustard, open billed stork among others.
Night game drive
Murchison falls national park is one of the national parks in Uganda which offer the fascinating night game drive where visitors explore the park at night in safari vehicles with spot light torches. During the night game drive which is done at around 8:00pm after dinner you will be accompanies by an armed park ranger who will help you to spot nocturnal animals like lions, hyenas, genets, porcupines, bush babies, night jar, leopards, civet, view hippos feeding, enjoy stunning views of the starts among others.
Murchison falls national park offers two boat cruises that is the boat cruise upstream to the bottom of the falls and boat cruise downstream to the Victoria Nile delta stretching to the shores of Lake Albert. During the interesting boat cruise you will enjoy a wide range of animals like elephants, waterbucks, zebras, warthogs among others which will be drinking water along the shores, view large concentrations of hippos and Nile crocodiles in water, enjoy views of different bird species such as the shoebill stork, goliath heron, papyrus gonolek, open billed stork, African jacana, hornbills, kingfishers, fish eagles, bee-eaters, cormorants among others.
Murchison falls national park is a home of more than 451 recorded bird species including Albertine rift endemic species, savannah birds, water birds and migratory bird which makes it one of best birding destinations in Uganda. Bird watching in the park can be done during the game drive, boat cruise and nature walk. During bird watching you will be able to view different bird species like the shoebill stork, lack headed lapwing, black bellied bustard, marabou stork, giant kingfisher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, giant heron, grey crowned crane, long toed plover, black billed barbet, African darter, yellow billed stork, martial eagle, silver bird, swamp flycatcher, Denhams bustard, malachite kingfisher, standard winged nightjar, African jacana, Senegal thick knee, red winged grey warbler, red throated bee- eater, secretary bird among others.
Chimpanzee trekking is one of the most activities in the park where visitors move on foot deep into the forest in search of the endangered chimpanzees and once found spend one hour with them in their natural habitat. Chimpanzee trekking in the park is carried out in Budongo forest which is the largest mahogany forest in East Africa. Trekking of chimpanzees in Budongo forest starts with a briefing about the rules and regulations to follow during trekking.
After the briefing you will start trekking in the forest with an armed park ranger and an experienced park guide who is knowledgeable about chimpanzees and also conversant with trails in the forest. During chimpanzee trekking which takes about 30 minutes to 4 hours you will be able to view other primate species such as red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, view variety of bird species, different tree species among others. Once the chimpanzees are found you will be allowed to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat which gives you an opportunity to observe their behaviors, habits, lifestyle, watch them feed, breastfeed, groom young ones, play, fight, hunt, mate, rest, take photos and record the incredible moments.
Nature walks/ hiking
This is an interesting and exciting activity in Murchison falls national park where visitors will get a chance to move out of the comfort of a safari vehicle and explore the park on foot. There are different nature walk trails in Murchison falls national park including Top of the falls hike, trails to Kaniyo Pabidi forest, Rabongo forest where you will get up close and personal with different mammals, primates like chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, beautiful scenery, view colorful butterflies, listen to sweet sounds of bird species singing in trees, take beautiful pictures among others.
Hot air balloon
Murchison falls national park is the only destination in Uganda which offers the adventurous hot air balloon experience. Hot air balloon activity starts with a briefing about the safety precautions, rules and regulations where after you will set off in a hot air balloon and rise up in the air where you will enjoy aerial views of the park, tree tops, animals among others.
Best time to visit Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park can be visited all year round though the best time is during the dry season also known as the peak season in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. During the dry season there is little or less rainfall in the park therefore vegetation will be thin which makes wildlife viewing easy. During the dry season access roads and hiking trails will be passable and a wide range of animals will gather around the water bodies to drink water which helps you to have great views of different wildlife species.
Murchison falls national park can also be visited in the wet season also known as the low season in the months of March, April, May and November because that’s the best time for bird watching where bird lovers will be able to view migratory bird species.
Where to stay in Murchison falls national park
There are wide ranges of accommodation facilities in the park where visitors can stay during the safari. The accommodation range from luxury, mid range, budget and campsites including Nile Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison Tree House, Geo Lodges Nile Safari Lodge, Bakers Lodge, Budongo Eco Lodge, Amuka Safari Lodge, Heritage Safari Lodge, Parkside Safari Lodge, Boomu Womens Group Bandas, Global Village Guest House, Bwana Tembo Safari Camp, Kabalega Wilderness Lodge, Kalalo Cottages Inn, Red Chilli Rest Camp among others.
How to get to Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park is located in the northwestern part of Uganda and can be accessed by road transport means where by visitors will drive from Kampala via Masindi to the park headquarters which takes about 5 to 6 hours drive in a 4WD safari vehicle.
Murchison falls national park can also be accessed by air transport means whereby visitors book charter or scheduled flights from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba, Bugungu and Chobe airfields. Domestic flights to Murchison falls national park can be booked by your trusted tour operator.