Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Overview

MFNP is Uganda’s largest national park. It measures approximately 3,893 sq km (1,503 sq mi). The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 115km (71 mi). The park is the location of the Murchison Falls, where the waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge only 7m (23 ft) wide before plunging 43m (141 ft). Also in the park, adjacent to the Masindi-Gulu Highway, are the Karuma Falls, the location of the 600 megawatt Karuma Power Station, which will be Uganda’s largest power station when it comes online circa 2018.

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Notable visitors to the park include Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and several British royals.

Tourists can visit the park any time throughout the year, although conditions in the park are more difficult during the rainy season and it is usually advisable to use 4×4 vehicles while on your Murchison Falls safari. Available tourist accommodation includes lodges notably Paraa Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Budongo Eco Lodge, Bakers Lodge, and alternative budget accommodation at Red Chilli Rest Camp.

The major tourist activities in the park include game viewing typically around the delta circuit, chimpanzee tracking in the Budongo Forest, Launch cruise along the Nile to the bottom of the falls rewards you with sights of a diversity of bird species as well as wildlife, and there is also an interesting walk to the top of the falls.

Contact our safari experts on how best you can access the park as well as how to pay for any of the activities you wish to get involved in. Note that you can book your activities from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices in Kampala or at any entry points of the park.

Activity Highlights

  • Game Drives & Boat Rides for Game Viewing
  • Cultural Encounters
  • Hiking and Nature walks
  • Birding
  • Hot air balloons

Activities in Murchison 

Game Drives in Murchison Falls

A game drive around the Buligi game tracks on the northern bank with a trained ranger guide is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animals in the Nile Valley. Your guide will have a good idea where the lions are hiding, and you may even spot a leopard at dusk!

Cultural Encounters in Murchison Falls

Energetic dancers from Mubako perform around lodge campfires, making for a magical African experience at dusk. Boomu Women’s Group offers accommodation, a craft shop and village tours, revealing the realities of life in this rural community.

Hiking and Nature Walks in Murchison Falls

The vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison Falls National Park and the surrounding Conservation Area can be explored on foot. Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forests provide sightings of many primates and birds, while around the Nile Delta, 2-4 hour guided swamp walks offer possible Shoebill sightings.

Birding in Murchison Falls

Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct bird life, including Savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoe-bill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.

Hot air balloons in Murchison Falls National Park

Enjoy the unique experience of flying in a hot air balloon with one of the following options only available at Murchison Falls National Park:

Sunrise/Post sunrise hot air balloon safari with/ without bush breakfast Sunset hot air balloon safari Short rides for large groups and students.

 

Attractions in Murchison 

The most spectacular view of the waterfall is on the top of “where the sight & sound of the Nile crashing through”, wide chasm make a memorable assault on the senses site -can be reached either by car/ a 30 minutes climb, leaving the Paraa launch.

Rabongo and Kaniyo Pabidi forests

Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi forest for 8 kilometer inside Kichumbar Gate, offer the opportunity to track chimpanzee and primates below Uganda’s largest left mahogany. Bird-watching is excellent with the opportunity of sighting rarities while the yellow-footed flycatcher, white thi horn-bill and Ituri batis. Nature walks are as well offered up at Rabongo forest.

Buligi area

The park’s superior savanna game viewing aspect, this grassland wilderness is located between the Victoric Albert Niles with excellent views towards the western rift valley beyond Lake Albert in the DRC. A drive from Paraa passing Delta Point takes 3 to 4 hours. Morning & late afternoon are the best times for sight game drives. A ranger guide from UWA is recommended to help you in most of your game drive.

Flora and Fauna

The park is subjugated by woodland, wetland, Savannah as well as tropical forest that is well known to be a habitant for over 76 mammal species and over 450 different bird species. Among the big mammals include hippo, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthlog, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob, hartebeest and elephants. The Nile corridor of the Murchison has a big collection of water birds such as rare shoe-bill stork and also has a large concentration of Nile crocodile. Kaniyo Pabidi forest is a home to primates, chimpanzees and over 360 species of different birds.

 

Accommodation in Murchison National Park Uganda

Accommodation ranges from campsites, lodges, hotels and guesthouse. Some of these are built on top of the falls. They have better facilities that are Eco-friendly. Budget accommodation is also available for the budget travelers and the most suitable places include Kaniyo Pabidi Camp and Red Chilli Rest Camp. Tourists that love up market accommodation include Nile safari camp, Paraa safari lodges as well as Sambiya river. In case you want to stop in Masindi, there is luxury accommodation such as Masindi Hotel along with Court view hotels that have excellent services.

Paara Safari Lodge

This lodge is well known for its luxurious and comfortable accommodation. It has about 54 beautiful rooms with en-suite bathrooms as well as balconies and some number of suits that offer a perfect view of the Nile.

Simbiya Safari Lodge
Is positioned in the glorious Murchison Falls National Park. It has accommodation that will favor all tourist. The lodge is located within and it takes only 15 minutes to get to Murchison falls.

Red Chilli Rest Camp

Red Chilli rest camp is well known to be a financial plan camp, that is located within Murchison Falls national park adjacent to the south bank of the River. The camp is mainly for budget travelers.

Nile Safari Lodge
This lodge is suited on the southern banks of river Nile surrounded by the well-to-do papyrus forest Nile Safari Lodge is designed to with beautiful wooden chalets along with lavishness tents that are located in a perfect area to give an amazing view of the park along with the African wilderness.

Quick Murchison Facts

Size: Together with the adjacent 748 square kilometres (289 sq mi) Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the 720 square kilometres (280 sq mi) Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park forms the Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA)
Location: Masindi, Northwestern Uganda.
Desc: The park is the location of the Murchison Falls, where the waters of the Nile flow through a narrow gorge only 7 metres (23 ft) wide before plunging 43 metres (141 ft).
Areas of interest: Murchison Falls, Buligi Game Tracks, Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, Nile Delta
When to Visit: The prime time to visit Murchison Falls NP is during the Dry season (September to March) although it can be visited throughout the year.

Top Tour Safaris

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Murchison Falls Safari, Big Five Tour, A Uganda Safari Adventure

3 Days

From: $450

Gorilla trekking, Primates Safari, Chimpanzee Tracking
Gorilla Trekking and Primates Safari – Kibale, QENP, Bwindi Forest

9 Days

From: $2,850

Uganda Birding Safari Tour
Uganda Birding Safari Tour
Mabamba, Mburo, Bwindi, QENP, Kibale Forest

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From: $3,800

Want to visit Murchison Falls?

The best time for wildlife viewing
The best time for wildlife viewing is the middle and end of the Dry season (November to February) when animals concentrate around reliable water sources. During the Wet season (April to August) animals disperse from the valleys and move to higher ground, where they are more difficult to locate.

Book a Murchison Falls Safari with wild safaris and we’ll take you off-the-beaten-track into an Africa Safari Adventure you have only dreamed about.