Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s oldest and largest of national parks situated in the northern part of the Albertine rift valley covering an area of 3,893 square kilometers gazette in 1926 under the government of the late Idi Amin dada who called it the Kabalega national park after the downfall o, the national park is dissected into two by the Victoria Nile, forming the magnificent Murchison falls a unique feature and most powerful waterfall in the world and the only falls of the kind on river Nile. The park lies at an altitude of 615m-1187m above sea level. It is home to 76 mammal species, flora and over 451 species of birds, located in a place where the great escarpment of Bunyoro joins the famous Acholi land.
The parks vegetation contains savannah, borassus palms, acacia trees, riverine woodlands in the northern part, the south contains bush and forest, the Victoria Nile offers spectacular views of the national park, it is one of the finest places to see wildlife commonly spotted is the warthogs, hippos, Nile crocodiles, Jackson Harte beasts, Uganda Kobs , giraffes and several of bird kinds for example the African fish eagle, sunbirds, king fisher, and a lucky day you could see the famous shoe bill,the Kanio papidi is part of the Murchison falls national park where you can see a number of tree species, primates including chimpanzee and olive baboons.
The national park is managed by Uganda wildlife authority together with the Bugungu and Karuma game reserves under the Murchison falls national park conservation area extending to the districts of Nwoya, Gulu,Buliisa, Kirandongo, and Masindi districts. It is one of the country’s peak top tourism destinations with high numbers of visitors, the national park is the only park where it is possible to see the big five these include the lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards and Rhinos, initially rhino existed in Murchison but with time they were depleted and went extinct due to a lot of poaching in the 90’s but it is still possible to see the along the way to Murchison at the Ziwa rhino sanctuary which was established to protect the few species of white rhinos that were relocated.
There a number of activities that can be done while in the national park, chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest, birding, game drives to the northern bank of Nile in search of wildlife of the national park, nature walks, hiking to the top of the falls. The Nile stretch presents an impressive opportunity for a recreational oat cruise along the longest river of the world there is a boat upstream to the bottom of the falls and to the Victoria Nile, the para is the starting point of these cruises which begin in the morning and the afternoon. The park being divided by the Nile means crossing it this is done on the ferry from point to point, crossing from 7am to 7pm.
The parks temperatures tend to be uniform all throughout the year, the park has two seasons the dry and rainy season the best time to visit is in the dry months of December – January and June to mid – September, it is easy to do game drives and the trails for tracking chimpanzee are easier and less slippery, this time is a busy peak season for the national park. the wet season comes in the period of March-May, September – November it’s a time when the park is most beautiful with green vegetation and many birds. Park entrance fees are charged at the entrance points of the national park.
Murchison falls national park is located in northern part of Uganda visited all year round, it is accessed by both air and road, taking approximately 5 hours’ drive from Entebbe by road and chatter flights can be organized from Entebbe or kajansi to the nearest airstrip Pakuba, the parks accommodation is available to travelers ranging from the best budget to luxury for example Paraa Safari Lodge, tree house, Budongo Eco Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge among other facilities ,Chimpanzee permits can be booked in advance, it’s advisable to wear boots, long sleeved trousers, boots, and any other necessary material to carry on a Ugandan safari.
Tourism Activities in Murchison Falls National Park.
Murchison Falls National Park is located in the northern part of Uganda, it is the largest and oldest conservation area of the country covering an area of 3,893 square kilometers stretching through to the northern end of the Albertine rift valley the park cover lies in the districts of Nwoya, Bulissa, Kiryandongo, Gulu and Masindi district, it’s in a place where the great escarpment of the Bunyonro joins to the Acholi land. The park is bisected into two by the river Nile which forms the magnificent Murchison falls a center attraction in the region and from which the park acquires its name Murchison falls national park. It lies at an altitude of 615m-1187m above sea level.
The national park is one of the most selling destinations in Uganda, it is one of the rare places to see all the big five including lions, elephants, buffaloes and leopards, it contains a rich biodiversity of animal and plant species from the savannah grasslands, borassus palms, tickets and bushes, river rine woodlands and forests, throughout the national park are a number of activities visitors can engage in as below:
Game drives in Murchison falls national park are conducted early mornings in order to catch the early morning risers, one would be able to see plenty of animals, birds and butterflies the parks vegetation is composed of woodlands, forests, wetlands, thickets, rivers and bushes which are habitats to most of the species found within this national park among the animals that could be spotted include the Rothschild’s giraffe, Uganda Kobs, Jackson Harte beasts, elephants, lions, water bucks, bush bucks, warthogs, hippos, Nile crocodiles, cape buffalo, Oribi in other speciespassing through different game routes and tracks.
Boat cruise to the bottom of the Nile, the presence of the river Nile presents an opportunity to cruise on it launch trips are done in the morning times and afternoons beginning from the paraa area, private trips can be organized by the management for different time along the Nile, many hippos, crocodiles and water birds such as cormorants, Ducks, king fisher, and on a lucky day the famous shoe bill will be sighted during the activity which lasts for 2 hours touring the water. There is an option of hiking to the top of the falls from the boat, and in this case, one is meant to organize with their tour driver for pickup from the top of the falls one has to be physically fit to handle the hike its impressive as you walk while listening to the mighty roar of the Murchison falls.
Murchison falls national park is among the countries best birding destinations spots with over 451species of birds some of which are Albertine endemics birds to be spotted include the African fish eagle, Abyssinian ground horn bill, nightjars, marabou stock, grey crowned cranes, shoe bill, goose ducks, king fisher among other species these can best spotted on game drives and along the Nile delta region a point at which the Nile flows into lake Albert.
Nature walks in the national park on the beautiful landscapes and the surrounding area can be toured on foot, routes through the Kaniyo Pabidi forest and Rabongo forests which give beautiful views of primates, birds while around lake Albert delta, there are high chances of seeing the famous shoe bill
Community walks and cultural encounters in Murchison falls national park communities like the Mubaku, Banyoro traditional community, present their cultural aspects of tourism through traditional dances and performances, community craft shops, wooden sculptures that have been made by the community.
Chimpanzee tracking in budongo forest, its commonly known as the mahogany forest chimpanzee nest up in the trees and live together with other primate species, bookings are done through the Uganda wildlife authority to track chimpanzee other primates that might be spotted olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others.
The park is managed under the Uganda wildlife authority implying that park fees are paid to the organization to access the park all throughout the year, it is best in the dry months of the park and these a tourist peak seasons for park visit, it’s the most visited national park in Uganda with the largest tourism numbers compared to any other national park.
Tourism Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is located in northern part of Uganda, it’s one of the oldest and largest conservation areas, gazette in 1926 covering an area of 3,893 square kilometers, its named after the prominent Murchison falls and was initially called Kabalega national park by the late Idi Amin Dada. Its home to over 76 mammal species including lions, buffalo, warthogs, elephants, giraffes, waterbucks, leopards, Nile crocodiles and over 451 species of birds. The park is bisected into two by the Nile flowing calmly into lake albert, it is situated along the northern floor of the Albertine rift valley stretching to Bugungu and Karuma game reserves all managed under the Uganda wildlife authority.
There are a number of attractions within Murchison falls national park, its major attraction is the Murchison falls also known as the Kabalega falls, it is the world’s most powerful waterfall along the Victoria Nile the water forces its self in a small slit on a rock falling downhill with a thunderous roar of the mighty falls. it was first sighted by sir Samuel baker and his lady Florence who named it Murchison, the national park acquires its name from the great waterfall, a number of animal species lie along the banks of the Nile and in the water for example the Nile crocodiles and hippos. boat cruises are conducted to the bottom of the falls and hikes to the top of the falls.
Murchison falls national park is blessed with beautiful flora and fauna in the national park, it boosts with 76 mammal species for example elephants, lions, leopards, warthogs, buffaloes, Jackson Harte beasts, oribi, water backs, bush backs, giraffes, primates like chimpanzee and the olive baboons to mention a few and over 451 birds some of which are endemic to the Albertine rift valley. The parks vegetative cover comprises of forests, rivers, open savannah, borassus palms, acacia trees, thicket and riverine forests
Budongo forest is also knownas mahogany forest the whole of east Africa, featuring 9 primate species that include the chimpanzee, 26 mammals and over 300 species of birds and butterflies found in the northern part of Uganda, the forest is an important birding destination on the escarpment of lake albert tracking chimpanzee is done in the budongo forest and the only place to see mahogany in Murchison falls national park and many other tree species.
Karuma falls is located along the Masindi – Gulu road they are among the most impressive attractions Karuma is a local word to mean the great spirit, the locals believe that the stones were placed by spirits, its comprised of a sequence of natural beautiful rock forming on the base of the Victoria Nile it is located on the eastern boarder of Murchison falls national park.
River Nile is the longest river in the whole world flowing through the largest national park in Uganda, several activities can be conducted at the Nile, a bloat cruise to the bottom of the falls is over whelming with excellent sights of animals along the banks of river that come around to graze and drink water while others stay in the water like the Nile crocodiles and the hippos.
Kanio Pabidi forest is part of Murchison falls conservation area to the south its home to several wildlife species, primates like the chimpanzee, black and white colobus monkey, olive baboons can be found here other mammals include elephants, buffaloes among others, it’s a habitat to birds of Murchison falls national park.
Paraa area is an important area within the Murchison falls national park its situated to the northern bank, the word ‘paraa’in the local language means the home of hippos, its where most activity takes place including game drives, hikes to the top of the falls, game viewing along the banks of river Nile and most importantly the ferry crossing across the river Nile to access the national park as whole.
Lake Albert Nile delta area, a point at which the Nile flows into the lake, it’s a habitat to many birds for example the African fish eagle, egrets, goose ducks for many birding safaris, many birds are spotted here and home to some aquatic life on a lucky day one might spot the famous shoe bill in this region.
Murchison falls national park is located in the northern part of Uganda approximately 5 hours’ drive from Entebbe by road or chatter flights could be organized to Pakuba airstrip, it is best visited in the dry months of December – February and June to mid- september the is little rain in these month’s Uganda’s climate is very unpredictable it could rain anytime even during the dry season it is advisable to carry boots, long sleeved shirts and trousers, insect repellants and any other necessary personal travel documents and items. The parks accommodation is best ranging from luxury to budget.
Where to Stay in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is located in the northern part of Uganda with the magnificent Murchison falls, its bisected by the longest river Nile a habitat to 79 species of mammals and over 451 species of birds the park was named after the falls, and initially called Kabalega national park under the late Idi Amin dada after his down fall the name was replaced back to Murchison falls national park. The park is managed together with the Bugungu and Karuma game reserves under the management of the Uganda wildlife authority the park was gazette in 1926 covering an area of 3,893 square kilometers at an altitude of 615m- 1187m above sea level.
The park has a number of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury to the best budget there is something for everybody, some of the facilities are found on the northern bank or south within the national park and some can be accessed outside the neighboring communities mostly in Pakwarch district, the following are some on the stay places in Murchison falls national park
Nile safari lodge is located south of Murchison falls national park it’s an upmarket facility offering exclusive accommodation to travelers, it contains 10 private lovely chalets overlooking the river Nile with en- suite bathrooms’ facilities include a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and a camp ground for adventurous tourists, servings of international cuisines at the lodge.
Para safari lodge lies in the northern sector of the national park adjacent to the river Nile, the lodge is a luxury facility offering comfortable stay for tourists of the park, it’s a point at which boat cruises begin to the bottom of the falls and the landing point of the ferry that crosses the river. Each of the rooms at para safari lodge has en-suite bathrooms toppled with privacy, each of which has a private balcony.
Bakers lodge is a lead luxury facility in Murchison falls national park presenting clear views of the river Nile, it’s part of the wild exclusive camps attaining its name from the European explorer sir Samuel baker who first discovered the falls on Nile, the lodge is situated on the southern bank set with a private area with access to the river each of the individual thatched safari tents is raised from the ground, maximum privacy is maintained in the large airy rooms.
Murchison river lodge is opposite the southern bank of river Nile offering spectacular views of schools of hippos in the Nile it’s a relaxing accommodation facility suite to fit budgets, the cottages are grass thatched with an en-suite private bathroom the lodge offers comfortable camping tents and allows campers to as well come along with tents it being near the river, one can enjoy boat cruises, sundowner’s wildlife species and birds of different kinds.
Chobe safari lodge is strategically placed in Murchison falls national park this a five-star facility in Uganda’s’ crown of tourism it lies directly opposite the Nile with angelic views of the hippos and birds. The lodge has three- layered outdoorswimmingpool, the main lodge contains lounge, reception, restaurant and bar area.it lies 20km away from the Karuma falls.
Fort Murchison river lodge is one of the best places to stay in Murchison falls national park situated at the boundary of the northern side overlooking Albert Nile with angelic views of the national park, the lodge is a best place to stay for archeologists, the lodge was built in the ancient Swahili design the standard rooms feature in built bathrooms and flush toilets, the restaurant offers delicately prepared meals with a wide choice from their menu.
Pakuba safari lodge lies on the eastern bank of the Albert Nile northern section of Murchison falls national park, Pakuba allows you to experience the true African wilderness, the guest rooms are placed with private bathrooms, there is a very high chance of seeing the animals even while at the lodge sight for example giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs, the cozy swimming pool to relax after a long drive is extremely wonderful.
The national park is full of amazing places to stay fitting to your budget of liking which can be visited all year round, the parks best time is during the dry season of December –January and June to September it is the peak season to most tourists and always advisable to book accommodation in advance to avoid any kind of inconveniences during a safari.
Best Time to Visit Murchison Falls National Park.
Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most visited of the national parks registering the highest visitor numbers, it is Uganda’s oldest and largest conservation area protecting a number of animal species some of which are lions, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, leopards, antelopes, warthogs, waterbucks, hippos, Nile crocodiles to mention a few, birds like the African fish eagle, egrets, ground horn bills, famous shoe bills, king fishers are present in the national park out of the 451 bird kinds. The park is bisected in to two by the river Nile each part called the northern and southern bank, it was gazette in 1926 covering a total area of 3,893 square kilometers on an altitude of 615- 1187m above sea level.
The national park is known for the most outstanding feature the Murchison falls from which it attains its name, it was named by the first European explorer sir Samuel baker who first found the waterfall, it’s the world’s most powerful fall, the park was initially called the Kabalega falls by the late Idi Amin dada but later regained its name after his down fall, the vegetation of the area contains savannah, acacia trees, borassus palms , thickets, bushes and forests habitats to the bird and animal species that call this place home. It a greater part of the Murchison falls conservation area together with the Bugungu and Karuma game reserve managed under the Uganda wildlife authority.
For many travelers, they wonder which is the best time to visit the national park, well the park can be visited all year round but the dry season December to February, June to September are the best times having the coolest climatic conditions it’s a good time to go on safari to the national park a time when tourism is at its peak in the national park.During the dry season, animals are easier to see because they are closer to the water sources, tracking chimpanzee is made less difficult as the trails accessible, the weather is always good for sightseeing and game drives, there is usually more sunshine and little rain during this time of the year and less or no mosquitoes within the national park.
In the wet season the park can be accessed and visited as well, this runs in the period of march to April, August to November, the parks beauty is at its peak from blossom of flowers, new leaves on trees and grasses are very green,this is the best time to go birding in Murchison falls national park, very few people be in the park and birds are present at this time because they come around to eat fruits from trees. There are various bird species that migrate to the national park during this time, wild life can still be viewed during this time although it may call for a little more patience to see the animals, roads are slippery on game drives.
Murchison falls national park is surrounded by a number of attractive features right from the Victoria Nile, the flora and fauna, Murchison falls, Karuma falls, kanio pabidi forest, Budongo forest and the Para area, throughout these are several activities carried out like boat cruise to the bottom of the falls, hiking to the top of the falls, birding, chimpanzee tracking, game drives and nature walks.
The climate of the park is tropical and hot temperatures are normally uniform throughout the year basing on the fact that it is near the equator the park stretches through the districts of Nwoya, Bulissa, Masindi, Gulu, kiryandongo district, the park receives rainfall during the low season it should be noted that the dry seasons are not dry as such there are days it rains in this time, Uganda’s climate is very unpredictable therefore it can rain anytime. It is advisable to carry boots, long sleeved trousers and shirts, sunscreen, hats, hand gloves and more essential personal items for safari.
The park lies in the northern part of Uganda approximately five hours’ drive from Entebbe by road, chatter flights can be organized to the nearest airstrip Pakuba to the Murchison falls through domestic flights from Entebbe or kajansi, it is well situated with accommodation facilities ranging to luxury to best budget.