Enjoy boat rides, game drives to see four of the big five, nature walks, sport fishing, birding, chimpanzee trekking, in Murchison falls national park, the oldest and largest national park in Uganda.
There are three highlights to any visit to Uganda; beauty, natural wonders and the hospitable people. The scenery and climate in Uganda is unlike any other in Africa or the rest of the world, making Uganda truly the Pearl of Africa, and the rest of the world.
Murchison Falls National Park is one of the set of wonders any visitor will see on their visit to Uganda's many amazing and exciting attractions.
Murchison Falls National Park has a massive size of 3840sq.km which forms part of the 5072sq.km Murchison Falls Conservation Area that includes the National Park, Karuma and Bugungu Wildlife Reserves.
Murchison Falls National Park lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. It is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.
Murchison Falls National Park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant 8 meter wide 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 Nile riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes. You will be able to see all animals that the aquatic life attracts like Nile crocodiles, aquatic birds, hippos and the rare semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope.
Attractions in Murchison Falls National Park
Currently the highlight of your Murchison Falls National Park trip is taking the boat launch to the bottom of these mighty falls. The boat departs at 09:00 HRs and 14:00 HRs and the boat ride takes between 3 and 4 hours. During this ride, you observe large numbers of crocodiles, hippos, and other land animals from the boat as the come to drink, or graze around the river.
Four of the big five animals can be found in Murchison Falls National Park. Opportunities to observe lions, elephants, buffalo, girraffe are plenty. The elusive leopards are also present and though tracking them down is a daunting task, national park guides can provide good clues as to their location and recent movements.
Chimp and Primate Tracking in Rabongo and Kaniyo Pabidi forests
Well defined Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi forest using the Kichumbar Gate that offer an opportunity to track chimpanzee and primates. Bird watching is excellent with the opportunity of sighting rarities while the yellow-footed flycatcher, white hornbill and Ituri batis. Nature walks are also offered in Rabongo forest.
The water below the Murchison Falls provide an exciting opportunity to to anglers for a chace to land a huge Nile Perch (the current record for captured nile perch is 108kg). Fishing is restricted to designated sites and prior booking is recommended. A number of boats could be hired for sport fishing. Remember to carry your own fishing equipment.
Access Roads to Murchison Falls National Park
A number of routes can be used to reach the Nile at Paraa, the parks’ main tourism hub. The river is crossed using a ferry that runs at intervals throughout the day. A bridge is also currently under construction and will greatly ease access from the southern to the northern bank.
Southern Entrance Gates
Southern entrance gates access the national park from Masindi. Two routes lead to Paraa crossing from Masindi town which is a 4 hour drive from Kampala.
Kichumbanyobo Gate: This route enters park through Kichumbanyobo Gate, 16km from Masindi. This is the most direct route and is 86km long. Diversions along the way include the Kaniyo Pabidi section of Budongo Forest, the Heart of Murchison game viewing area and Murchison Falls.
Bulisa Route: A longer but more scenic alternative route from Masindi runs to Paraa via Bulisa (136km). The route passes through Budongo Forest before a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across Lake Albert towards the Blue Mountains of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The park can be entered through Bugungu or Mubako gate. The latter is convenient for visitors staying in the cluster of lodges just outside the park’s western boundary.
Northern Entrance Gates
Murchison Falls National Park can also be reached on the north side of the Nile through Chobe, Wankwar and Tangi gates. These are all accessed from the Kampala - Pakwach road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls in the north-eastern corner of the park, 260kms from Kampala.
Pakuba Airfield, 19km from North Paraa, can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. Other airfields in the park include Chobe to the east and Bugungu to the
south of Paraa.