Located in the North-western part of Uganda, Murchison falls national park is the largest national park in Uganda and covers an area of 3,893 sq km about 1,503 sq miles. It is the oldest and first conservation area in Uganda and it is divided by the Victoria Nile. The park was named after the popular Murchison falls where the Victoria Nile forces its way through a narrow gap before plunging 43 meters down with a thunderous roar. The park is surrounded by Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves. A Uganda safari to Murchison falls national park can never disappoint and on one of the safaris here, a traveler may see all the big 5 animals when combined with an en route visit to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary for guided Rhino tracking. Travelers who visit Murchison Falls National park can also combine it with a chimpanzee tracking safari to Kibale National park.
On a Uganda wildlife safari to Murchison Falls, expect to see a massive number of wildlife on sunrise or sunset game drives. Look out for African Cape buffalo, the graceful giraffes, elephants, lions, and leopards, different types of antelopes, monkeys and different bird species and on a boat to the delta, you will have a high chance of seeing the bizarre looking shoebill stork which is one of the famous birds looked for on our bird watching safaris. There are many optional activities in this beautiful national park that include a hike to the top of the falls. You do not need to be physically fit to go for this hike which offers stunning photographic views of the falls. At the top of the falls, you will see a beautiful rain bow. Other optional activities are a balloon safari over the park, sports fishing which requires a sport fishing permit, and chimpanzee tracking tour in Budongo forest. On a boat safari at the bottom of the falls, you will see hippos, Nile crocodiles and beautifully feathered birds.
The park has different types of accommodations for every traveler. Luxury lodges include Bakers lodge and Paraa Safari lodge; mid range lodges include Pakuba safari lodge, Murchison River lodge and Fort Murchison and budget accommodation include Red chilli Murchison Falls.
Top things to do and see in Murchison Faslla National park- Uganda big five safaris
Below are the top activities to do in Murchison Falls National park
Boat safaris to the base of Murchison Falls-
A boat safari at the bottom of the Murchison falls national park is one of the highlights of this national park and should not missed. At the stunning Murchison Falls, River Nile which is the world’s longest river forces itself through a narrow cleft before dropping 43m down with a thunderous roar. River Nile divided Murchison Falls National park in North and south sectors and attracts a huge number of animals which come to drink from the river. A boat safari to the bottom of Murchison falls offers visitors an opportunity to see and photograph animals that come to drink especially during afternoon or evening hours. Apart from the animals, the river attracts huge numbers of birds. You will see Nile crocodiles relaxing at the river bank, hippopotamus splashing waters, elephants, giraffes, antelopes among others. Birds include pied king fisher, fish eagles, saddle billed storks and bee eaters. Boat safaris in Murchison falls national park happen in the morning, in the afternoon and early evening and booking in advance is recommended.
Hike to the top of the Murchison Falls.
The Murchison falls are stunning and a hike to the top of the falls with a constant rainbow is breath taking. This activity by all means should not be missed while in the park and it can also be done by children. The hike offers stunning views of the falls and the green scenery surrounding them. The hike is an easy one and takes about 30 minutes for people who are really fast and about an hour for people who are less fast and with stopovers for the guide’s briefing on some of the stop points. The hike trails are well developed although the steps are quite steep on some point. A traveler will have great views of the Uhuru falls too and you will have some of the best photographs taken from here. The hike starts from the bottom of the falls and your driver guide MUST wait for a visitor at the top of the falls. It is an easy hike but we recommend wearing closed shoes
River trip to the Nile Delta-
Another top activity in Murchison Falls National park is a river boat trip to the Nile Delta. This is where the Victoria Nile flows into Lake Albert and a boat trip here is a must for bird watchers. The banks of the Nile Delta are famous for the weird looking shoebill stork which is rare and pre-historic. The shoebill stork is one of Uganda’s highly sought after birds on every bird watching safari. Apart from the shoebill stork, look out for other birds like the giant Kingfisher, bee eaters, pelican and other storks. You will see many Nile crocodiles, some elephants and numerous antelopes. If time allows, have a bush breakfast by the northern bank or river Nile. As you approach lake Albert, you will have beautiful views of mountains on the other side. Few people go for the Nile Delta boat safari, so you will have the whole river to yourself.
Sunrise, sunset and night safaris in Murchison Falls National park-
The best way to come face to face with the animal kingdom in Murchison falls National parks is by the going for a sunrise, sunset or night safari, in the Northern part of River Nile where most wildlife of the national park are. Travelers who stay at Paraa Safari Lodge and Pakuba Safari lodge do not need to cross the ferry for the game drives since they are located in the North where the activity starts from. On these game drives expect to see lots of elephants, giraffes, Africa cape Buffalo, lions, leopards, primates, and different types of antelopes that include the oribi and the water buck. Murchison Falls National park is also home to many birds which can be seen during the game drives. On a nocturnal or night game drive, you will see nightlight of nocturnal animals like lions hunting.
Birding watching safari in Murchison falls National Park-
Murchison falls National Park is also one of the best birding places in Uganda and the park’s main attraction is the shoebill stork, best sighted on the Nile Delta boat safari. The best time to see the shoebill stork in Murchison Falls National park is January to March. Bird watching can be done during game drives. The most common birds sighted are the Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bellied Bustards, open billed storks, secretary bird. On your boat safari at the bottom of the Murchison falls you will see the kingfishers, hornbills, the Grey heron, fly catchers and bee eaters among others. At the Nile river bank, you will also see stilts, plovers, and geese. Birding watching can also be done from Budongo Forest for forest birds and a long the royal mile. We have a ready made bird watching safari which you can sign up for, for birds of Uganda.
Hot air balloon safari in Murchison Falls National park-
A hot air balloon safari gives a visitor in Murchison Falls National park a bird eye’s view of the national park. Hot air balloon safaris are only possible in the morning, and they are wrapped up by a bush breakfast. One sees lots of animals from above and the safari also offers beautiful views of Lake Albert, River Nile and colorful sunrises.
Chimpanzee tracking Budongo Forest, Murchison Falls NP-
Although Budongo Forest is known as one of the best bird watching locations in East, the forest is home to different types of primates that include red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, the dog shaped olive baboons but the star are the chimpanzees. A visitor can combine a wildlife safari to Murchison falls national park and chimpanzee tracking of habituated chimpanzees in Budongo forest. Chimpanzee tracking can be done in the morning or in the afternoon. For keen bird watchers, includes bird watching a long the Royal Mile track which is one of the best bird watching places. The other best places for chimpanzee tracking and habituation are Kibale National park and Queen Elizabeth National park
Sports Fishing safari in Murchison Falls National park–
One of the less known activities in Murchison Falls National park is sport fishing which requires a special permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority. Sport fishing are done at the bottom of river Nile and Nile Perch is the most common fish caught by anglers doing sport fishing on River Nile. The other types of fish caught are cat fish and tiger fish. Most anglers agree that sport fishing in the wild Murchison Falls is one of the most challenging and clients are always provided with expert guides for safety and for successful fishing. All fish caught during sport fishing is released back to the water. The best months for sport fishing are the dry months of December to March and June to October. Some of the world’s renowned anglers that have done sports fishing in Murchison falls at the base are Jeremy Wade (River Monsters presenter), John Wilson a UK TV presenter, and Zeb Hogan of Monster Fish National Geographic TV. Contact us if you are interested in sport fishing at Murchison falls
What to bring for a safari in Murchison Falls National park.
Murchison Falls National Park is one of the hottest national parks in Uganda due to its location. Below are the basics essentials to bring
- Cool and light clothing
- Sun glasses to protect your eyes from the sun
- Waterproof or plastic bags for cameras, phone and binoculars on the boat safari since it can pour anytime
- A good insect repellent since insects especially tsetse flies can be a problem in the evening and when hiking around the river’s vegetation. You may also bring long sleeved shirts and long trousers for this purpose
- Spare batteries for your camera since some places don’t have electricity all the time
- Flush light
Accommodations in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National park has different types of accommodation for every traveler from High end luxury safari lodges, mid range and budget lodges. Below is a list of some of the safari lodges
High end accommodations in Murchison Falls National park
Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls NP–
Paraa Safari lodge is one of the oldest safari lodges and was established in 1954. The lodge has perfect views of River Nile and is located in the Northern part of Murchison Falls National park where most of the activities like game drives, boat safaris and sport fishing take place. Each room at the lodge is en suite and has a private veranda. Some rooms have beautiful views of River Nile. It has a swimming pool, a restaurant and bar, a gift shop and a conference centre.
Chobe Safari Lodge-
This is a perfect safari lodge with a modern touch. There are 36 en suite rooms on one block each with a private bathroom and shower, a ceiling fan, hair driers and with a private balcony that offers stunning views of River Nile. Activities one can go for while staying at Chobe Safari lodge are fishing, safari game drives, boat safari on River Nile and a boat trip to the Nile Delta.
Other facilities at Chobe Safari lodge are a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, health club and spa and a conference center
Baker’s Lodge is located on the southern bank of River Nile, a great location to explore the Murchison Falls. The lodge derives its name from English Sr. Samuel Baker. This exclusive private lodge has a fabulous setting with luxurious rooms, great food and service and it is in the middle of Murchison Falls National park.
The lodge has 8 spacious thatched safari suites each raised from the ground on decks, overlooking the Nile. Each room has a fan, a mosquito net, locally crafted furniture, en suite bathrooms with solar hot water.
The restaurant, lounge and bar are raised on wooden decks too, allowing guests to have a sunrise kissed breakfast and a sunset in the evening over the river.
There are different multi course menus a visitor can choose from as well as good wine and other bar drinks.
Hot beverages are available throughout the day which are self served by the clients but can also be delivered to the cottage
Mid range accommodation in Murchison Falls National park
Pakuba Safari Lodge- Located at the Eastern bank of the Albert Nile, Pakuba Safari Lodge is tastefully designed and offers comfort to travellers who stay here while in Murchison Falls. Travelers can enjoy different activities of Murchison Falls National park which include game drives, hikes to the top of the falls, bird watching and boat safaris at the bottom of the falls.
The lodge has 46 rooms which are en suite with a private bathroom and flushing toilets. The rooms are clean, comfortable and with mosquito nets.
The food is nice, and the stuff is excellent and friendly. Many animals especially giraffes come right to the lodge to graze.
Murchison River Lodge- Over looking Murchison Falls from the southern bank of River Nile, Murchison River Lodge is a comfortable and relaxing mid range lodge in Murchison Falls National park. It has accommodations for all budgets. It has en suite thatched cottages, self contained thatched safari tents, and comfortable camping tents. You may also bring your own tent to hitch.
The lodge has a swimming pool, a restaurant and bar. The accommodation is simply stunning and the restaurant is set on the most photogenic spot.
Fort Murchison lodge- Designed in a Swahili kind of style, Fort Murchison Lodge is located on the Eastern banks of River Nile. It offers money for value accommodation from mid range to budget options. The mid range rooms are 12 self contained with spacious bedrooms and comfortable beds. Each room has a private balcony
The restaurant has Swahili décor and guests are served 4 course menus. The bar on the roof top has great views and is perfect for a sun downer.
Budget accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park
Fort Murchison tents- Fort Murchison has a budget option and offers non self contained tents that have 2 single beds, mosquito nets, all linen, a bed side table and a power socket for charging your electrical equipments. The tents are under grass thatched roofs with a private terrace. Visitors who stay in tents have shared showers and flushing toilets
How to get to Murchison Falls National park
Road transport: It is about 7 and 6 hours from Entebbe and Kampala respectively to Murchison Falls National park. This time excludes breaks en route and the time at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary for those who include rhino tracking on their itinerary.
Air transport: Murchison Falls National park can also be accessed by air through charter and scheduled flights to Pakuba airstrip through Aerolink, our partners.
Gorilla Link Tours offers exciting Uganda wildlife safaris to this spectacular national park. We have already made itineraries for every traveller that can also be tailor made to suit the traveller’s interests, budget and time frame. We offer short to long safaris to Murchison falls as recommended below. Our short safaris are perfect for travellers with limited time but want to experience a typical Uganda wildlife safari