Murchison Falls National Park (World’s Strongest falls) – Uganda most Popular/Visited National Park
Murchison Falls National Park like other national parks in Uganda is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority and it is the only national park in northwestern Uganda, expanding to cover parts of Lake Alberts Victoria Nile and Karuma Falls.
It was formed in 1952 making it one of the oldest parks and also the largest of all the 10 national parks in Uganda-the pearl of Africa with an area coverage of over 3893 square kilometers. On 15th September, 2006 it was designated as Murchison Falls-Albert Delta Wetland System.
This park forms part of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area which also covers Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserve, Budongo Forest Reserve and Bugungu Wildlife Reserve. It derives its name from Murchison Falls-one of the most roaring and scenic waterfalls in the world.
This waterfall flows through a narrow gorge of about 7 meters approximately 23ft prior plunging 43 meters down. Murchison Falls National Park straddles in the districts of Kiryandongo, Masindi, Buliisa and Nwoyo in northwestern Uganda about 4-5 hours’ drive from Kampala or Entebbe.
Wildlife species in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is home to diverse wildlife species including four of the five big five; Buffaloes, African bush elephants, lions, leopards as well as several antelopes (waterbucks, oribis, Uganda Kobs, Hartebeests), chimpanzees, giraffes, warthogs, hippos, crocodiles, over 451 bird species with 59 restricted range species like goliath herons, white thighed hornbills, great blue turacos, dwarf kingfishers; shoebill storks and many others.
Activities to do in Murchison Falls National Park
Game drives in this park are best conducted along the northern circuit. The wildlife species to expect to see on a game drive include warthogs, lions, Rothschild giraffes, Jackson hartebeest, elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs as well as birds.
Murchison Falls National Park is perfect to explore on a game drive during the dry season which starts from June to September and December to February.
This park is largely a savanna grassland, woodland, wetlands and tropical forest and given the nature of habitat, it is a perfect place to embark on a game drive.
Boat trip/launch cruise
A boat cruise is an exciting water sport that you need not to miss to take part while on safari in Murchison Falls National Park. It is best done starting at Paraa Landing area just at a point where the River Nile enters into Lake Albert.
It takes you to the bottom of Murchison Falls with a chance for you to spot out huge concentration of hippos, basking crocodiles, water birds like ducks, bee-eaters, shoebills, cormorants, fish eagles and many others. This water sport usually begins in the morning and in the afternoon.
Bird Watching – Birding Safaris
Murchison Falls National Park is a home to over 451 bird species making it ideal birding spot in Uganda.
The birds to look out in this park include the blue napped mousebirds, chestnut crowned sparrow weaver, green winged ptyilia, black headed batis, black headed gonoleks, spotted mourning thrush and nocturnal species like nightjars. Birding safaris in this park are best done during the wet or rainy season.
Chimpanzee tracking (Chimp Trekking)
Chimpanzee tracking in this park is done in Budongo Forest. On chimpanzee trek, you have opportunity to see not only chimpanzees but also other primates including black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys, baboons as well as bird species.
Nature walks are best conducted on foot and mostly along the trails at Paraa which take you via low hills, forests around rivers as well as the falls.
Other sites to embark on nature walk include Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forest. This rewards nature lovers with incredible sights at variety of bird species, floral species among others.
Hike to the top of the falls
Once you get at the bottom of Murchison Falls, you will start your hike to the top of the falls. It rewards hikers with astonishing sights at variety of birds and on the top of the falls, you will be amazed by the powerful waterfalls of Murchison Falls which squeezes itself in a narrow gorge of about 7 meters prior plunging into 43 meters.
Sport fishing is another thrilling water sport experience offered at Murchison Falls National Park. For avid anglers, it is a must-do water sport and you can have a chance to challenge yourself with a heavy Nile Perch.
Hot air balloon tours
This is a new experience offered to tourists in Murchison Falls National Park. It offers the most breathtaking views over variety of wildlife while you are on air. Hot air balloon tours are best done only in Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Best time to visit Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls National Park is open to visitors throughout the year. But for visitors who are interested in game viewing, the dry season is preferably the best for you to visit this park. It starts from June to September and December to February.
However, you can also visit Murchison Falls National Park during the wet season especially if you are interested in bird watching. The rainy season at this park begins from March to May and October to November.
Accommodation options at Murchison Falls National Park
Luxury options: Paraa Safari Lodge/Chobe Lodge/Nile Safari Lodge/Baker’s Lodge
Midrange options: Murchison River Lodge/Bwana Tembo Safari Camp/Fort Murchison/Sambiya River Lodge/Pakuba Safari Lodge.
Budget options: Red Chilli Rest Camp/The Heritage Safari Lodge/Boomu Womens Group Bandas/Shoebill Campsite.
Getting to Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is in northwestern Uganda about 4-5 hours’ drive from Kampala in a good and comfortable 4×4 drive safari car. You drive via Luweero to Masindi with a chance to make a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to track rhinos.
Alternatively, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Chobe airstrip, Pakuba airstrip or at Bugungu.
Popular Uganda Safari to Murchison Falls