Murchison Falls National Park is located in north-western Uganda, 90 kilometres from the town of Masindi. It is Uganda’s largest National Park. It is covered with wild African savannah and majority of the visitors who have toured a number of national parks in Uganda have found this as the best safari destination in the whole of Uganda.
Murchison Falls National Park was named after the impressive Murchison Falls which are located inside the park. The falls form at the place where the longest river in Africa-the Nile Bursts through a small gorge and thunderously drops several meters below into a spectacular river. The river’s banks are congested with crocodiles, buffaloes and Water bucks. Its vegetation cover is comprised of savannah, woodland and riverine. There are large animals in the park like leopards, giraffes, lions, cape buffaloes, oribis, elephants, Uganda Kobs, Hartebeests and Chimpanzees. The total populace of distinct mammal species in the park is 76 and close to 450 bird species. The Murchison Falls Sheltered Area is comprised of Murchison Falls National Park, Karuma and the Bugunga Falls wildlife reserves.
Between 1970 to 1980’s numerous game animals were hunted by the surrounding natives but with the following years we have seen that the population greatly recovered and animals like elephants, giraffes, buffaloes a variety of antelopes are usually seen during game drives while also becoming increasing common.
Rabongo Forest located in the South East of the park is a haven to numerous primates like Chimps and other rainforest beings.
The river Nile holds the largest population of hippos & crocodiles in Africa together with a variety of water bird like the shoebill stork, Africa’s Fish Eagle and the African Skimmer which are usually cited at the river banks. Other types of birds seen include Blue-napped Mouse birds, Bluff-bellied Warblers, Black-headed Batis, Green-winged Ptyilia, Long-toed Plover, Saddle-billed Stork, Verreaux’s Owl, Spotted owl, Long-tailed Nightjars, Pennant-winged Nightjars, White-backed Night Heron standard-winged Nightjar, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Silver Bird, Grey-crowned Crane, Goliath Heron, Black-headed Gonolek, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Spotted Mourning Thrush and the Chestnut crowned Sparrow-weaver.
Accessibility to the Park
You can access Murchison falls national park by road transport and air transport. You can take a 5 hours drive by road from Kampala crossing the Nile at Paraa. The distance between Paraa and Masindi town is 85km on the direct route. There is a longer but more scenic route of views of Lake Albert and the Great Rift Valley escarpment beyond Bulitaba, that takes you through Budongo forest. Also from the north through Chobe Gate found near the Karuma Falls or the Tangi Gate adjacent to Pakwach and the Wankwar Gate close to Purongo, you can still reach Paraa. For those using air, the private charter flights to the park can be arranged at Entebbe International airport or Kajjansi air stripe.
Wildlife Game Viewing
There are morning & evening exciting game drives along the Buligi, and Queen’s and the Albert trail in the northern part of the river Nile on which you will have superb views of wild game.
You can have picnic lunches at Nyamsika Cliffs on which you will also have the opportunity to view elephants together with other animals on the sandy river banks and the grassy hills below.
Launch Trips along the Nile
Taking a launch trip that starts at Paraa up to the base of the Murchison Falls is a very rewarding expedition on the Nile. You will be able to see hundreds of hippopotamus, crocodiles, buffaloes, water bucks, elephants and birds like Cormorants, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, Shoebill, Herons, Bee-eaters and water ducks
This is a remarkable destination for spot fishing. There are numerous fish types although the most challenging as stated by anglers are the tiger-fish and the impressive Nile Perch. Fishing is done on top and below the Murchison Falls. For those who love fishing, remember to carry along your necessary fishing equipment.
Nature Walks and Chimpanzee Tracking
There are several chances to explore the wilderness of the Murchison falls on foot . There are unforgettable trails like the Paraa trail and that to the top of the falls taking you through the stunning riverine forests, low hills and the gullies. On these trails you will view birds and several animals. You can enjoy chimp tracking in the Kaniyo Pabidi and the immaculate natural forests of the Budongo Forest Reserve. You will catch sight of the ironwood and mature Mahogany trees and forest birds like Chocolate backed Kingfisher, White-thighed Hornbill and Puvel’s Illadopsis while tracking the chimps.
Camping in Murchison Falls
You can camp in any of the many campsites at Kaniyo Pabidi. At the campsite you will be availed with firewood & water. Remember to carry whatever requirement you may need while camping.
Rabongo Forest Walks
Starting at Rabongo Forest Eco-tourism Centre a guide will accompany you as you explore on foot the intriguing forest. You will see several primates among which will be Black and White Colobus monkeys, Baboons and Red-tailed monkeys. You will also see a number of medicinal trees and birds.