The 3,893 km2 Murchison Falls National Park forms the core of Uganda’s largest protected area. Together with the adjoining Bungungu and Karumu wildlife reserves, it forms a vast wilderness covering 5,072 km2 and containing a wide variety of wildlife including large game, forest primates and 450 species of birds. The mighty Nile, the longest river in the world, flows through the heart of the park for a distance of 120 km, on its 6,500 km journey from Lake Victoria to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. The centerpiece of the park is the explosive 40m high Murchison Falls, where the Nile is forced through a 6m gap in the Rift Valley escarpment. However, the treasures of Murchison Falls National Park are not just limited to the mighty falls, the park offers many unique experiences for the discerning traveler.
Paraa Launch Trip – Murchison Falls(2-3 hours). The cruise upriver from Paraa on the south bank to see Murchison Falls at the head of Fajao Gorge has been the park’s most popular attraction since the 1950s. An excellent opportunity to see the large resident populations of hippos and crocodiles, as well as other wildlife and extensive birdlife, including a wide variety of waterfowl and a huge colony of red-throated bee-eaters that nest on the cliffs along the way.
nile delta cruises (4-5 hours). The Victoria Nile delta, a 20 km downstream trip from Paraa, is home to rare wetland birds, including endemic species of shoebill and papyrus. Scheduled Delta cruises with breakfast on board option are offered on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 07:00.
Nile perch fishing (half day, full day and multi-day trips). The mighty Nile River in Murchison is famous for its exciting sport fishing. Large, strong Nile perch that live in the turbulent waters below the falls are caught, as well as several species of catfish and a variety of smaller species that are usually used as live bait for the larger fish. Fishing can be done from the shore or from boats that are ideally sized and equipped to cope with conditions and access remote shore pools. Experienced guides travel with you on the river at all times to ensure you have the best chance for success, whether for one day or multiple days.
Sunset and dusk cruises (1-2 hours). As the heat of the day fades, you can visit hippos and crocodiles near the Nyamsika sandbar or downriver among the small reed islands. Enjoy the sunset while enjoying snacks and an evening drink of your choice.
Sunrise with the hippos(1-2 hours) – An early start to see the riverside world come to life with a choice of fresh coffee and home-cooked breakfast on board.
Cruise and Safari. Your park experience can be enhanced by combining river trips with pre-arranged vehicle pickups. Travel by boat to the delta and return to Paraa for a safari through the game-rich Buligi area. Or, leave your boat in the Fajao Gorge and climb to the top of the falls to gaze out over the thunderous abyss before returning to Paraa by vehicle.
Chimpanzee Habituation and Tracking Experience: Tracking down a troop of habituated chimpanzees in an undisturbed area of the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest is an experience not to be missed during your visit to this park. The walk lasts three to four hours and is limited to a small group of visitors, who spend a maximum of one hour watching the chimpanzees eat, play and interact. Full-day chimpanzee habituation experiences are also available for those who want to learn more about the habituation process and the fascinating behavior of our closest relatives.
Great game:This park is home to 76 species of mammals, including four of the “Big Five,” with huge herds of buffalo and elephants, well-camouflaged leopards, and a healthy population of lions. It is also known for its giraffes; in Uganda these can only be seen here and in Kidepo Valley. Other species regularly seen along the game tracks include Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs. Along the river are resident crocodiles and hippos, as well as other wildlife visitors.
game units:A tour of the Buligi game tracks on the north bank with a trained ranger guide is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide variety of animals in the Nile Valley. Visitors can marvel at herds of buffalo, dozens of elephants, warthogs, and towering giraffes, along with bushbucks, reedbuck, duikers, kobs, oribi, and the unusual-looking hartebeest. Your guide will have a good idea of where the lions are hiding, and you may even see a leopard at sunset!
Individual bird species:Both game drives and launch trips offer an opportunity for one to encounter a variety of bird species, including savannah forest birds, waterfowl, and endemic Albertine Rift species. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best seen in the dry season from January to March.
Hikes and nature walks: The vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding Conservation Area can be explored on foot. Trails through the Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests provide sightings of many primates and birds, while around the Nile Delta, guided 2-4 hour swamp walks offer potential Shoebill sightings.
Cultural Encounters: EnergeticMubako dancers perform around the lodge’s campfires, making for a magical African experience at sunset. Boomu Women’s Group offers lodging, a craft store and village tours, revealing the realities of life in this rural community.
murchison falls national park offers a variety of accommodation of different standards and prices, there are relatively low priced and good accommodation available at Red chili Rest Camp, Budongo EcoLodge and Budget Bandas at Sambiya River Lodge. The park also contains high quality lodges at Chobe Lodge, Paraa Lodge, Nile River Lodge, Pakuba Lodge and Bwana Tembo Camp.
So, if you are looking for a unique and unforgettable African safari experience in Uganda, add Murchison Falls National Park to your travel destination.