Murchison Falls National Park

  • Murchison Falls National Park formerly known as Kabalega National Park a name it inherited from one of the former kings of Bunyoro Kingdom is Uganda’s largest protected area covering an area of 3,893 square kilometres. Wildlife in Murchison Falls is under threat due to the discovery of Oil in the Albertine lift valley since government has place priority on oil exploration and extraction instead of conserving and protecting wildlife.

    Located in Northern Uganda, Murchison Falls was first gazetted in 1926 as a game reserve and later graduating to Uganda’s first National Park in 1952. It protects so many wildlife and is home to approximately 76 species of mammals and about 451 species of birds including the rare shoebill stock that can be spotted in the delta region.

    Accessing Murchison Falls National Park

    You can access Murchison Falls National Park through the south by driving from Kampala through Masindi and then to the Park. The other alternative is through the Bungugu gate for those coming from Kibale National Park. This route is very scenic as it takes you through rift valley escarpments and Lake Albert. For those interested in flying to Murchison Falls National Park, there two airfields here. Bugungu Airfield is in the south while Pakuba Airfield in the northern sector. Aerolink operates daily afternoon flights to Murchison Falls National Park while fly Uganda operates charter flights to this park.

    Activities in Murchison Falls National Park

    Murchison Falls National Park is popular for its game drives in the northern sector known as Paraa where you get a chance of spotting the big five. The high light of activities in this National Park is the 2 hour boat cruise to the bottom of the falls where River Nile squizes itself into a narrow gorge. For kin birder, Mruchison falls National park id one of the places where yuo can spot the rare shoebill stork and bird the royal miles as well. There is chimp trekking in Budongo Forest which has the highest number of chimps in Uganda.

    Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park

    There are several Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park both on the south and the northern Sector. In the southern sector we have Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Red Chilli, Sambiya River Lodge and Baker’s Lodge which is still under construction. In the northern sector, there lies Paraa Safari Lodge which is by far the most popular Lodge in this area.

  • Boat Cruise to the bottom of the falls – Nile River, Murchison Falls NP

    This is a three hour cruise from park headquarters to the head of Fajao Gorge at the base of Murchison Falls. The park’s most popular attraction since the 1950s, here is where the force of the mighty Nile River narrows to flow through a seven meter gap, cascading down a forty meter cliff to the vast gorge below. The power of the falls and the scenic views from their base are breath taking. Large resident populations of hippos float in the water along the way, groups of crocodiles bask on the shore, and herds of elephant, buffalos and other antelope can be seen moving along the riverbanks searching for food. The river offers a spectacular opportunity for bird watchers, with a wide range of water birds and vibrant bee eaters nesting in the cliffs along the river’s banks.

    Game Drive in Paraa – Murchison Falls National Park

    Depart with your guide to the northern sector of Murchison Falls National Park, an area rich in wildlife including lions, elephants, buffalo, giraffes, oribi, hartebeest, and countless reptiles and birds, including one of the park’s more difficult species to spot, the rare shoebill stork. Crodiles are also plentiful in this park.

    Water Falls and Sundowners Cruise

    You can enjoy a sun downer cruise from park headquarters to the head of Fajao Gorge at the base of Murchison Falls. The park’s most popular attraction since the 1950s, here is where the force of the mighty Nile River narrows to flow through a seven meter gap, cascading down a forty meter cliff to the vast gorge below. The power of the falls and the scenic views from their base are breath taking. Large resident populations of hippos float in the water along the way, groups of crocodiles bask on the shore, and herds of elephant, buffalos and other antelope can be seen moving along the riverbanks searching for food. The river offers a spectacular opportunity for bird watchers, with a wide range of water birds and vibrant bee eaters nesting in the cliffs along the river’s banks. Drift along the Nile while the sun sets with a cold beverage and light snacks.

    Delta Cruise – Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park

    You can take a half day boat trip into the Victoria Nile Delta, a 20 km cruise downstream from the park’s headquarters. Home to a wide variety of wetland and papyrus endemic bird species, including the elusive shoebill stork, this three to five hour cruise offers a unique opportunity to spot rarely found birds and animals such as hippo, elephants and large crocodiles. Travelling through the center of Murchison Falls National Park, guests can experience the constantly changing scenery of the Nile River as it winds its way to Lake Albert.

    Sunrise Cruise – Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park

    Awake before daylight to depart on our sunrise cruise. This one hour trip takes you along the Nile River for spectacular views of the sun rising to start a new day. Watch hippos play in the water and the wildlife awaken on the shores. Enjoy an optional full breakfast on board as you watch the sun rise over the Nile.

    Sunset Cruise – Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park

    A one and a half hour sunset cruise takes you along the Nile River while you watch the sun slowly disappear behind the escarpments. Enjoy the river’s many animals and birds while they retreat to their overnight hideaways and listen to the many sounds of the African bush as the animals of the night come to life.

    Sundowner Cruise – Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park

    This sunset cruise takes you along the Nile River while you watch the sun slowly disappear behind the escarpments. Enjoy the river’s many animals and birds while they retreat to their overnight hideaways and listen to the many sounds of the African bush as the animals of the night come to life. Drift along the Nile while the sun sets with a cold beverage and light snacks.

    Wine and Cheese Cruise – Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park

    This sunset cruise takes you along the Nile River while you watch the sun slowly disappear behind the escarpments. Enjoy the river’s many animals and birds while they retreat to their overnight hideaways and listen to the many sounds of the African bush as the animals of the night come to life. Drift along the Nile while the sun sets with a glass of delicious South African wine and a selection of gourmet cheeses.

    Chimpanzee Habituation – Budongo Forest Reserve

    Following breakfast at the lodge, set out into Budongo Forest Reserve to join your team and begin your chimpanzee habituation experience. This semi deciduous rain forest, which lies within Murchison Falls National Park, boasts the largest mahogany forest in East Africa. You will assist Budongo’s trackers in their daily habituation research and activities including “de-nesting” the chimps, following them through the forest, and recording their behaviors and movements throughout the day. Finish the day off at sundown when the chimpanzees retire to their new nests for the night. This lifetime experience will allow you within metres of these amusing and very social apes, sharing in their daily lives and experiencing their day-to-day activities. Chimpanzees, our closest cousins, are extremely endangered with only an estimated 5000 remaining in Uganda. You will also have the opportunity to observe the many other animal species living in Budongo’s diverse habitat including black and white colobus monkeys, baboons and hundreds of native bird species. Please note: tracking chimpanzees may be fairly strenuous as the chimpanzees are highly mobile during the day. Also, chimpanzees are wild animals and, as such, sightings cannot be guaranteed.

    Top of the Falls Hike – Murchison Falls National Park

    Embark on a short hike to the top of Murchison Falls where the force of the mighty Nile River narrows to flow through a seven meter gap, cascading down a forty meter cliff to the vast gorge below. The power of the falls and the scenic views from the top are breath taking. Walk along the top of the falls and feel the spray of the water and bask in the cool mist around you.

    Bird Watching – Budongo Forest Reserve

    Set out for Budongo Forest Reserve’s Royal Mile, one of Uganda’s most popular birding sites. Skilled guides will accompany you as you search for hundreds of bird species inhabiting the area. This three to four hour walk can be tailored to your individual schedule and interests.

    Half Day Forest Walk – Budongo Forest Reserve

    You can enjoy a half day walk through tropical rainforest with experienced wildlife guides. Enjoy scenic views, the sights and sounds of the rain forest, ample opportunities for bird watching and glimpses of the many monkey species living in the reserve as they move through the forest canopy.

    Rhino Tracking – Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

    You can visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for a close up encounter with the only rhinos in Uganda. Following their extinction in 1983, local wildlife authorities and international conservationists worked hard to bring the rhino back to Uganda. In 2001 the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre received funding to bring two white rhinos from Kenya to the rescue facility as a start to this challenging process. In 2005, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary welcomed its first four rhinos from Kenya. Through an extremely successful breeding program, Ziwa’s rhino population has since grown to over ten southern white rhinos with two babies born within just the past two years. The success of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary will ultimately lead to a comprehensive reintroduction program allowing rhinos to once again roam wild in Uganda.


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