Murchison Falls National Park is a natural wonder that beckons adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts from around the world. Spread across approximately 3,840 square kilometers, this park is a testament to the breathtaking beauty of the African wilderness. From awe-inspiring waterfalls to diverse wildlife, Murchison Falls National Park offers a wealth of experiences for those seeking to immerse themselves in the splendor of nature. The park is a gem of East Africa, has a very scenic landscape and in this article we shall explore what to do at Murchison falls National Park, how to get there and ensuring you get the most of your visit to this pristine wilderness area.
Getting to Murchison Falls National Park.
Before we delve into the incredible experiences awaiting you at Murchison Falls National Park, let’s talk about how to get there. The park is conveniently located approximately 305 kilometers northwest of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, making it accessible by various means of transportation.
The quickest way to reach Murchison Falls National Park is by taking a domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airfield to Pakuba Airstrip. This short flight offers a bird’s-eye view of Uganda’s diverse landscapes, setting the stage for the adventure that awaits you.
If you prefer a more ground-level experience, a road trip to the park is an excellent option. The journey takes approximately 5-6 hours from Kampala, and it’s advisable to hire a 4×4 vehicle to navigate the sometimes rugged roads. The drive is an adventure in itself, as it offers the chance to witness the changing scenery and rural life of Uganda.
Exploring the Park
Now that you’ve arrived at Murchison Falls National Park, it’s time to dive into the myriad of activities and experiences this pristine wilderness has to offer.
The Magnificent Murchison Falls:
Your visit to Murchison Falls would not be complete without witnessing the park’s namesake attraction. The Murchison Falls, also known as Kabalega Falls, is a stunning natural wonder where the Nile River narrows and forces its way through a 7-meter-wide gorge before plunging 43 meters down. To get a close-up view of this incredible spectacle, embark on a boat cruise to the base of the falls. The sight and sound of the rushing water are awe-inspiring, and the refreshing mist adds to the experience.
Murchison Falls National Park is renowned for its abundant wildlife. Game drives are a must-do activity for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to the Big 4 of the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, buffalos, and leopards. During your game drive, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and numerous bird species. The best times for game drives are early morning and late afternoon when the animals are most active. For those that want to complete the Big 5, you can do the visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for the Rhino Tracking activity.
With over 450 bird species, Murchison Falls National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. The park’s diverse habitats, including savannah, riverbanks, and forests, attract a wide range of avian species. Keep your binoculars handy as you explore the park, and you might spot the iconic African fish eagle, Goliath heron, and the rare shoebill stork.
While Murchison Falls is known for its savannah and wildlife, it also offers a unique opportunity to encounter our closest relatives in the animal kingdom – chimpanzees. The Budongo Forest Reserve, located within the park, is home to a thriving population of chimpanzees. Join a guided trek through the forest to observe these intelligent primates in their natural habitat. It is a few minutes from the gate and chimpanzee tracking is managed by Budongo Eco Lodge under Uganda Lodges and Great Lakes Safaris.
Hot Air Balloon Safari:
For a truly unforgettable experience, consider taking a hot air balloon safari over Murchison Falls National Park. Soaring above the savannah, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the park’s wildlife and landscapes. The early morning balloon ride offers a peaceful and surreal perspective of the African wilderness. But this activity is currently not available now.
Nature Walks and Hiking:
Exploring the park on foot is another way to connect with its natural beauty. Guided nature walks offer a chance to learn about the park’s flora and fauna while experiencing the sights, sounds, and scents of the wilderness up close. For more adventurous hikers, the Rabongo Forest and the top of the falls offer challenging trails and rewarding vistas. Also the walk on the Baker’s trail offers an amazing view of the falls.
This is a great opportunity to get the biggest of the Nile Perch that dwell in the Nile River. Each year there is a competition for fishing at the park and a number of anglers turn up for the event. The activity is offered by Wildfrontiers but you can book it through operators like us.
Where to Stay
Murchison Falls National Park offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxury lodges overlooking the Nile to budget-friendly campsites, you’ll find a comfortable place to rest after your adventures in the park.
Paraa Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge: These are luxurious lodge offers stunning views of the Nile River and provides a perfect blend of comfort and natural beauty.
Pakuba Lodge, Sambiya Lodge, Budongo Eco Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Twiga Safari Lodge, Murchison Bamboo Lodge: These are Situated inside the park and at top locations and outside the park Fort Murchison is an amazing one.
Red Chilli Rest Camp: If you’re traveling on a budget, this campsite provides affordable accommodation and is a popular choice among backpackers. Same as Hornbill Bush lodge, Parkside Safari Lodge.
Tips for a Memorable Visit
Pack Light: Remember to pack comfortable clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and sturdy hiking shoes.
Respect Wildlife: While observing the animals, maintain a safe distance and follow your guide’s instructions to ensure your safety and the well-being of the animals.
Stay Hydrated: The African sun can be intense, so carry plenty of water to stay hydrated during your excursions.
Local Guides: Hiring local guides is highly recommended, as they have extensive knowledge of the park and can enhance your experience with their insights.
Murchison Falls National Park is a true gem of Uganda, offering a rich tapestry of natural wonders and wildlife encounters. Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a birdwatcher, or simply seeking the tranquility of the African wilderness, this park has something to offer everyone. With its accessibility and diverse range of activities, a visit to Murchison Falls National Park promises to be an unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa’s untamed beauty. So, pack your bags, embark on your chosen adventure, and prepare to be captivated by the magic of Murchison Falls.
Book your safari to the park here.