Murchison falls national park is situated in the northwestern part of Uganda, the park is the country’s largest national park covering an area of about 4000 kilometers squared. The park is characterized by Savannah grasslands, riverine forests, woodland, and swamps. Murchison Falls National Park was gazetted in 1926 and established as a national park in 1952. The main tourists attraction in Murchison falls national park is Murchison falls in which the park derives its name it’s also sometimes referred to as “the devils’ cauldron”. Its a great place for Uganda safaris and tours.
Murchison Falls National Park Tour
Murchison falls National Park is the largest and one of the oldest parks in Uganda which is located in the districts of Masindi, Buliisa, Nwoya, and Kiryadongo which are all found in the Albertine Rift. Important to note about the park is the fact that it is home to four of the big five animals which include the elephant, lion, buffalo, and the leopard. However, even if the park doesn’t house the rhinos to have a complete number of the big five animals, tourists on their way to Murchison falls national park, they can visit the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary which is a haven to the endangered rhinos in the country.
Murchison Falls National Park offers the best adventure tours to its tourists because of the number of tourist attractions and activities that are able to meet their different needs and desires while on their Uganda national parks tour. The park is a home to 76 mammal species and 400 bird species which makes it a perfect destination for tourists interested in wildlife. However, it is not only a destination for tourists interested in wildlife viewing but also adventure tourists with a variety of outdoor entertaining activities that they can engage in.
How to get to Murchison Falls National Park
Tourists on their Murchison Falls National Park tour will access the park by either air or road transport depending on their budget. From Kampala the capital city of Uganda, tourists using road transport will take up to 4 hours to reach the park.
By using air transport, the tourists can access the park by booking flights at Entebbe airport or the Kajjansi airstrip to Pakuba airfield which is nearest to the park, tourists can also land at Chobe or Bugundu all of which can lead to easy access of the park in an hour and a few minutes which is faster than road transport.
Tourists can access the park by using different gates which are accessible by tourists in different regions, for instance, tourists can use the Chobe gate which is in the northern sector of the park, kichumbanyobo gate which is located in Masindi town south of the park. Tangi gate which is located in the Paara region and for tourists to access the gate they first have to cross the Nile using the ferry.
The Wankar gate which is located 10 kilometers off the main road and the Mubako gate along Kampala- Pakwach road however the tourists will be able to access the park by using the Karuma falls bridge to cross River Nile. Interesting about the park is even before you reach the park there are many eye-catching features like the river Nile, water birds which can be seen along the river banks and many more.
Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
The park will give tourists on their Murchison falls national park tour the utmost memorable experience while visiting the different regions and engaging in different activities the park has to offer. The attractions and activities that they can participate in to make their Uganda tours memorable are explained as follows;
Wildlife: The park is composed of different vegetation zones and cover which attract different animal species for example it is composed of swamp vegetation along Lake Kyoga, woodland and savannah all of which support wildlife among the different animal species that can be seen include; hippopotamuses, Rothschild’s giraffe, warthog, Cape buffalo, Uganda Kob, Jackson’s-hartebeest, elephants and many more.
The park is also a home to over 400 bird species which offers birders a variety of bird species to look at and study in their natural habitats and some of these bird species may include the shoe bill, grey Crowned Crested Crane, the Giant King Fisher, Goliath Heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Nightjars Marabou stork and many more
- Game drives: For tourists to see a variety of a number of animals then they should participate in game drives which are organized in the morning, evening and the night game drives can be carried out within the park and all of them offer the utmost experience since the tourists are able to see the different animal species. However one of the most memorable game drives that tourists should not miss out on is the night game drives which enable tourists to see the nocturnal animals like lions while they hunt for prey at night which is quite different from other game drives because many animals come out of hiding in the area.
- Birding: The park is a destination for bird lovers because of the numerous bird species that are over 400 in number that they can see while on their Uganda National Parks tours in Murchison Falls National Park. Among the birds that can be seen include the water birds like the African fish eagle, Giant kingfisher, yellow billed stork, great cormorant and many more. Other bird species can be seen in the Budongo forest.
- Murchison Fall: The park derives its name from the falls within the park called the Murchison falls or sometimes called the Kabalega falls. The falls offer a magnificent view to the tourists as they make their way through a narrow gorge forming violent falls which can be seen offering the best unique views. Important to note about the falls is the fact that they are in between two lakes Albert and Kyoga which offer amazingly breath taking views.
- White water rafting: Adventure tourists will have a chance to carry out white water rafting on Murchison falls and because the falls offer rough waters and high speed running waters it makes them suitable for the activity to be carried out which involves tourists using an inflatable raft to navigate the white Nile with in Murchison Falls National Park which is another interesting activity while in the park.
- Wildlife viewing: While on the River Nile, a variety of wildlife can be seen by tourists on their Murchison falls tour that is to say along the banks, animals like crocodiles can be seen sunbathing, buffalos, elephants waterbucks, and other animals are seen quenching their thirst from the waters along the banks.
- Water Bodies: The park will catch the eyes of tourists who have embarked on their journey of carrying out a Uganda national parks tour because it is home to a number of water bodies that is to say, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga and the Victoria Nile River which can be seen once the park is visited. The park offers a number of different activities while on the different water bodies as explained below;
- Boat cruises: In the park, there are two different boat cruises or launch trips that are carried out that is the upstream boat cruise which is carried out at the bottom of the waterfalls which is the most powerful waterfalls in the country and in the area and the downstream boat cruise/ launch trip to the Victoria Nile delta which stretches t the shores of Lake Albert. All the launch trips/ boat cruises begin at Paara Jetty which is the starting point for all of them at 2:00 pm and it lasts for only 3 hours. Tourists will be able to see a number of animal species like the hippopotami, elephants, waterbucks, buffaloes, Kobs, Giraffes and bird species like the shoe bill, saddle-billed stork Goliath Heron and many more can be seen which offers breath taking views and satisfactory experiences for tourists o their Murchison falls national park tour.
- Hiking: Murchison falls National Park is an important and rewarding destination to the tourists on their Uganda national parks tour because of the different activities that are engaging for the tourists and the most rewarding activity in the Park is top of Murchison Falls Hike which once carried out offers magnificent views of the national park. The hike to the top of the falls can be rewarding and it takes 45 minutes to reach the top but once reached, tourists will be able to see the white water of the falls running downstream, the sounds of the water running through the rocks which is quite impressing and unique. Tourists can hike through the vast landscape of the area and through the Kaniyo Pabidi Mahogany and Rabongo forests which is home to a number of primate species like the chimpanzees which can be seen jumping in the tree branches, monkeys can also be sighted in the forests.
- Nature walks: For a tourist on their Murchison falls national park tour, nature walks in the park are rewarding because of the different attractions that can be seen once they are conducted and this will ensure that the tourist is able to get satisfied while on their Uganda national parks tour. Guided nature walks in the park are the most rewarding because a tourist is able to get detailed information concerning the areas visited and attractions that are seen. The walks in the park last for one to two hours and they can walk through the Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forests where different animal species can be seen and different bird species. Short walks can also be carried out from Sambiya River Lodge or Mubako junction all of which offer amazing experiences.
Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Other attractions that can be seen by tourists while on their Murchison Falls National Park tour although are not found within the park but can be visited while on the Murchison falls national park tour include;
- Ziwa rhino sanctuary: The Ziwa Rhino sanctuary was established in 2005 to avoid the extinction of the white rhinos in Uganda which were killed in kidepo and Murchison falls national park during the northern Uganda war which only left 6 rhinos in the country but with the efforts of the Rhino fund Uganda, the numbers have increased from 6 to 12 in 2015 and today the number of rhinos are 22 which keep on increasing. The sanctuary not only has Rhinos as the animal species but also other 40 animal species including the antelopes, crocodiles, monkeys, hippopotami and many more and also bird species which attract birders.
- Rhino tracking: Tourists are able to see the rhinos closer at a distance of 6 metres which is safe enough for them while they see the different rhinos, their feeding patterns and so on. During the tracking of the rhinos tourists can take different pictures of the rhinos while in their habitats and so on and once the tourists visit the Sanctuary together with Murchison falls national park, all the big five animals are then seen that is the elephants, rhinos, leopard, lion and the buffalo
- Birding: Although birding in the area is not popular like rhino tracking, the sanctuary offers a number of bird species that can attract birders, for example, Abdim’s stork, Blue spotted dove, Abyssinian ground hornbill, booted eagle, broad billed roller and so many others.
- Nature walks: Through the sanctuary, nature walks can be carried out where a number of animal species can be seen while they walk through the sanctuary for example animals like the Oribi, reedbucks, bushbucks, duikers and so on are seen within.
- Budongo Forest Reserve: From Budongo forest, Murchison falls national park is 47 kilometers which can be accessed in about 30 minutes the forest is the biggest Mahogany forest in the whole of East Africa which. The forest has a variety of animal species that can attract tourists on their Murchison falls national park tour. The forest is home to a number of bird species and chimpanzees, lions, buffalos which have attracted tourists while on their tour.
- Chimpanzee trekking: Budongo forest has over 500 chimpanzees that can be trekked, the activity involves tourists going into the natural habitats of the chimpanzees in order to understand their patterns of living, for example, feeding patterns how they co-exist with one another, their co-existence with the forests and so on which is quite rewarding once carried out.
- Birding: The forest is habitat to a number of bird species like which can be seen in the trees making their nests. Some of the species include; Sabine’s Spinetail, Cassin’s Spinetail (rare), Pygmy Crakes, Kingfishers, White-spotted Flufftail, Ituri Batis, Puvell’s Illadopsis, Brown Twinspot, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Crowned Eagle.
Accommodation in Murchison Fall National Park
Tourists on their Murchison falls national park tour will have a chance to choose from the different classes of accommodation depending on their budget each of the accommodation facilities that are chosen regardless of their classes are able to ensure; visitor satisfaction with top-notch services like bar services, dining services, 24 hour room services which enable quality service delivery.
- Murchison backpackers
- Saltek forest cottages
- Mama Washindi lodge
- Grassroots cottages and tours
- Pakuba Safari Lodge
- Budongo eco-lodge
- Sambiya River Lodge
- Fort Murchison Lodge
- Paraa Safari Lodge
- Chobe Safari Lodge
- Nile safari lodge
- Baker’s lodge
As part of their Uganda tour, tourists on their Murchison Falls National Park tour will have a chance to experience nature’s best when it comes to visiting National Parks which will offer magnificent views of the popular Murchison falls, a number of animals including four of the big five and many more.