This is an exceptional place to spot wildlife in large congregations and a special opportunity to sail the Nile river.
Murchison Falls National park is not only Uganda’s most popular wildlife reserve, but is also the largest conservation area in the country (spanning an area of approximately 3,840 sqkm) and one of the ultimate highlights for Uganda tourism.
Wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park is not hard to find and it occurs in such great diversity from four of the big five safari animals apart from the Rhino, which can still be tracked on foot in the neighboring Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Uganda to a large and healthy population of birdlife.
Murchison Falls National Park sits at the base of the Rift Valley and its mixture of vast grassland and palm-dotted savanna is back-dropped by the northern corner of the ancient escarpment that forms the Albertine Rift Valley.
Gazetted in 1926, Murchison Falls is also Uganda’s oldest conservation area and was from way back known as one of the most famous wildlife areas on the African continent, and a delight for tourists on a Uganda holiday.
The park was also a favorite spot for notable VIPs visitors like Theodore Roosevelt and several British Royals including Sir Winston Churchill who later on christened Uganda “the Pearl of Africa”. The park is now one of the easiest places for visitors on Uganda safaris to see elephants, giraffes, buffalo, lions, antelopes, hippos; not forgetting the nocturnal celebrities like the leopards which can also be spotted here.
Key Attractions Murchison Falls National park
Game drives take place early in the morning and late in the evening. You can also enjoy a night game drive on special arrangement. Game drives are exquisite when accompanied by an experienced park ranger guide from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) or your senior driver guide.
The park is superbly amplified by the array of activities to do and things to see. Murchison Falls hosts over 76 mammal species including titanic buffalo herds, leopards in their beautiful rosettes, the largest population of the Rothschild giraffes in the world which in Uganda can only be found here and in two other parks (Kidepo Valley and Lake Mburo National Park).
It also has Jackson’s hartebeests, the Uganda kob, a national symbol which features on the country’s court of arms, bushbucks and waterbucks, notorious warthogs and hyena.
Additionally, the park has several primate species including man’s closest relative the chimpanzee; over 800 individuals have been tallied to live in the park’s Budongo and Kaniyo-Pabidi forests.
Lookout the safari van during your Uganda travel in Murchison Falls National park and you will see several cheeky olive baboons guarding the roads. The park also has the savanna-dwelling patas monkey which will only be seen here or during a Uganda holiday in Kidepo Valley National
Boat Cruise to the bottom of the falls
A cruise on the Nile in Murchison Falls National park that lasts about 90 minutes in entirety brings guests engaging in Uganda travel to only meters away from elephants coming to the river bank with their young ones to take a daily sip, crocodiles basking on the rocks, and an up-close encounter with schools of hippos enjoying a daily swim. The wonder-packed cruise ends in the magnificent sighting of the what is believed to be the most powerful waterfall on earth, a sighting that will blow your mind away.
The falls can also be accessed by driving to the top, and this grants a whole different perspective but perhaps the best way to view the falls from the top is when you take the hike to the top of the Murchison Falls during your safaris in Uganda. Although hectic and tedious, as the contemporary saying goes, it’s all worth it in the end; the views are glorious.
The Launch trip begins at Paraa landing area and takes you to the bottom of the falls. The cruise is amazing and is a must do. While on the cruise you will view hippos, waterbucks, crocodiles, buffaloes and elephants. You will also see water birds such as cormorants, Fish eagles, ducks, Kingfishers, bee-eaters and the shoebill.
The cruise starts at 9am and 2pm daily however exceptional schedules can be arranged with the UWA management. Cruise takes you for 17Km from the bottom of the falls at Paraa for 3hours. Cruise from Paraa to River Delta is 28km and takes about 4-5hours
Hiking to the Top of the Falls
You have to see the mighty Murchison waterfall
This park is best known for its notable waterfall after which its name is coined, the enormous and fierce Murchison Waterfalls; which is positioned along the Nile River and is without doubt the roughest point on the mighty river as it flows from its source in Uganda’s eastern town of Jinja to the Mediterranean ocean.
At this point, the Nile river is seen to continually struggle daily, as it covers an 80km stretch of jagged rapids; flows through an 8 meter-tight gorge, plunging thunderously 45 meters into the “Devil’s Cauldron” and in so doing forms a permanent rainbow which can be seen all year round during a safari in Uganda. It’s shocking how the might at this point never dwindles, it never ceases, it never softens, the ground below your feet ill tremble. Absolutely mesmerizing!
Tourists get to explore the wild on foot while in Murchison Falls Conservation area. There is a trail at Chobe Safari Lodge that winds throughout forest around Airstrip, the lodge up to the the river. One can view birds, animals and plants closely. Nature walks and also happen at top of the falls, Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo Forest. With the help of a Ranger guide, one can explore primates (Red tailed monkeys, Black & white colored monkeys, Chimpanzees, birds, trees and medicinal plants.
Tourists have the chance to hike to the top of the hill from the boat landing and come close to the narrow gorge where the river falls.
Murchison Falls National Park is not short of birdlife and is one in select places in Uganda where the shoebill stock can be sighted and easily photographed. At least 451 different bird species have been sighted here, including the largest heron, the Goliath heron, Sandpipers, African Jacana, several Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, different types of kingfishers including the giant, pied and malachite kingfishers, weaver birds, the African Quail-finch and Denham’s Bustard.
Murchison Falls is an ideal fishing destination. Nile perch of up to 180kg have been caught below the falls. The fast flowing waters above and below the falls are the best places from which you do sport fishing. Fishing for Nile Perch has always been the main attraction for anglers although the tiger fish and electric cat fish also exist. The tiger fish are reputed to be the most aggressive of all the fresh water fish and can be immediately got below the falls and in Lake Albert. The use of a light spinning rod, a small spoon, light line and a wire trace has been a great success in catching the tiger fish. Fishing is available in the river above and below the fall. Do bring your own fishing equipment if you’re interested in finishing.