Murchison Falls National Park – Attractions & Activities
With over 76 species of mammals including big animals like great blue turaco, Murchison Falls National Park and the adjacent Bugondo Forest are worthy visiting for game drives, game watching, chimpanzee tracking of the chimps in the park and general wildlife exploration. Murchison Falls National Park is found in North-Western Uganda in the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo and Masindi. It is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The park spreads inland from the shores of Lake Albert, around the Victoria Nile up to the Karuma falls and it is the largest National Park in Uganda.The park attained this name in 1952 when the British administration established the National Parks Act of Uganda. It had gone through a lot of reforms since it was first visited by European explorers John Speke and James Grant in 1862. It was further explored by Samuel and Florence Baker in 1963-4 who named the falls “Murchison Falls” after the geologist Roderick Murchison who was the president of the Royal Geographical Society by then. Africa Adventure Safaris offers tailormade Uganda safaris to Murchison Falls Park
As the largest National Park in Uganda, it occupies approximately 3,893 square kilometers (1,503 sq. mi). Murchison falls is found within the park, the waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge 7 meters (23 ft.) wide before plunging 43 meters (141 ft.) high. Also the Karuma falls are located within the Park along the Nile. The Victoria Nile crosses the Park for a distance of about 115 kilometers (71 mi). The most prominent tourist activities at Murchison Falls National Park include; game drive, boat cruise, waterfall hike, chimp trekking and bird watching.
Tourism attractions & Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Game Drives/ Game Viewing
The park is a habitat to a variety of animals like; African buffaloes, African bush elephants, East African lions, the Uganda kob, the Rothschild’s giraffes and the Nile hippos plus Uganda’s largest population of crocodiles, 450 bird species that include water birds with the rare shoe-billed-stork, dwarf kingfisher, Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco. They are spread across the savannah landscape of the park which makes game viewing and Uganda wildlife safaris very interesting within the park. The Park’s management has come up with tracks that are designed targeting various wildlife species depending on where they graze from for example the Victoria track, Buligi track and Albert track hence giving you varying experiences as you carry out your game drive.
Top of the Falls
Tourists on Uganda safari tours at Murchison falls National Park can explore the top of the falls either by hiking to the top or by driving. Hiking is done by taking a boat cruise from Paraa jetty to the bottom of the falls where the hike starts by following the River course through hard rocks to the top of the falls. Driving starts off from Masindi-Paraa road near Sambiya River lodge. This 15km drive passes through steep and slippery landscapes to the top of the falls. Murchison falls are known as the most powerful waterfall in the world and it has another wonder as the River squeezes itself to pass through a gorge which is less than 8 meters wide (“The devil’s cauldron”) and then falls 45 meters below to form a plume of spray with a thunderous roar marked by a trademark rainbow
On your Uganda safari tour at Murchison falls National Park you will have a chance to encounter the Park’s 451 species of birds that will offer you a memorable birding adventure. In addition to encountering birds while on your game drives and boat cruises, the Park also arranges special birding activities. several bird species can be found in different areas of the park. For example, the vulnerable shoebill stork likes hanging at the banks of the Nile. Gees, plovers, ducks and stilts also like being at the River banks. Birds like the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Marabou Stork, Secretary birds, back-bellied bustards, window bird and open-billed storks can be found in the low lying plains of the Park. In Rabongo forests and Kaniyo Pabidi you can find birds like the Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters, these are especially found in the Nyamusika Cliffs, giant and malachite kingfishers, woodland, pied kingfisher, grey heron, francolin, hornbills, hamerkop, flycatchers, cuckoos, crombecs, warblers and woodpeckers. Other birds that can be encountered include; grey crowned crane, white headed vulture, Abyssinian ground horn bill, black headed lapwing and Senegal thick-knee.
Launch Trips on the Nile
On its way from Lake Victoria to the far North into the Mediterranean Sea, River Nile, the longest River in the world passes through Murchison Falls National Park for a distance close to 115 kilometers. This presents a mega opportunity to tourists for an enjoyable launch cruise. The Park has two boat cruises along the Nile which includes one upstream to the bottom of the Murchison falls, the most powerful waterfall in the world and another downstream to the Victoria Nile Delta that goes up to the shores of Lake Albert.
While on these launch trips you will encounter a variety of wild game including elephants, waterbucks, buffaloes, Kobs and giraffes that like gathering on the banks of the Nile in search of drinking water. These are also joined by a wide range of bird species like the rare and vulnerable shoebill stork, African fish eagle, African Jacana, goliath heron among other species that make your launch trip complete.
A Uganda cultural safari at Murchison Falls National Park will bring you in touch with a range of diverse communities around the park. The nearby tribes like the Alur in the North West, Acholi in the North East, and the Banyoro in the South introduce tourists to their diverse cultural backgrounds. The Bunyoro cultural heritage that includes like black smith, food preparation, cultivation, craft making among others are always exhibited to tourists by the Boomu women’s group. Cultural dances from the Mubako energetic dancers always leave tourists in amazement.
This tourist activity can only be done at only two sites in Uganda that is Murchison Falls National Park along the Nile and at Lake Mburo National Park. Catch the giant Nile Perch as you do sport fishing along the rocky surfaces and the banks of the Nile near the bottom of the Murchison falls
Accommodation/Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park
A variety of accommodation facilities are available at the park which include; campsites, lodges, hotels and guesthouses. All of these have good facilities that are eco-friendly and some of them are built on top of the falls. For budget tourist, places like Kaniyo Pabidi camp and Red Chilli Rest Camp would be very suitable for them. Up market accommodations is also available in Nile safari Camp, Paraa safari lodges and Sambiya River. Those who would like to stay at Masindi, luxury accommodation is available at Masindi hotel and court view hotels with excellent service.
How to Get to Murchison Falls National Park
From Kampala the capital city, it will take you about 5 hours for a distance of about 305 kilometers. The shortest route from Masindi town is that of Paraa that covers 85km. there is another route via Budongo forest that will allow you a magnificent views of Lake Albert from the rift valley escarpments of Butiaba. The good tarmac road network within the park will enable you to have an uninterrupted game drive and game viewing experiences.
Murchison Falls National Park should be on top of your Uganda’s tour destinations for its magnificent tourist activities that will leave you with nothing else to admire in the area of game viewing, game drive, chimp trekking, bird watching, boat cruise, cultural tours, sport fishing and waterfall hiking. For more information and bookings to Murchison Falls National Park, Contact us Africa Adventure Safaris