Are you planning to travel to Uganda and you do not know which destination to visit? If you are looking for the perfect destination that can get you out of the usual environment then Murchison Falls National Park shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list. This magnificent conservation area is the only national park in northwestern Uganda and it covers an area of about 3840 square kilometers.
It features as Uganda’s biggest protected area and comprises of Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves. It lies about 90 kilometers off Masindi town. The park derived its name from the one of the world’s waterfalls; Murchison falls where the River Nile squeezes itself into a narrow gorge. Along the River banks, there are crocodiles, hippos, waterbucks and buffaloes.
The savanna grasslands, woodland and Riverine forest that make up Murchison vegetation cover. The park refuges wildlife species including the four of the big five game in Uganda-Lions, Leopards, African elephants and Buffaloes as well as other wildlife species like Uganda Kobs, warthogs and several antelope families, chimpanzees, baboons and others.
There are also several species of bird including the elusive shoebill stork making the park a home to countless untouched African savanna which is separated by the remarkable River Nile. Rabongo Forest which is situated southeast of the protected area refuges most of the chimpanzees and other rainforest species. The River Nile on other hand refuges most of the hippos and Nile crocodiles as well as several aquatic birdlife that will amaze you while on Uganda safari.
What to do in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park refuges a several wildlife species making one of the most magnificent destinations that you should consider a must to visit while on safari in Uganda. Wildlife spotting in this protected area is conducted along Buligi and visitors can embark on an early morning or afternoon game drives.
The famous wildlife tracks for visitors to have amazing wildlife viewing include the Albert and Queen’s tracks north of the mighty River Nile. For travelers who are interested in remarkable picnics, this is the right place for you. You will have incredible sights at the African elephants, buffaloes, lions, warthogs, giraffes, hartebeests, bush buck, Oribis, waterbucks and other antelope family, birds and other wildlife species in the savanna grassland along the Nyamusika cliffs. Game drives in this park take about 4 hours.
Rabongo Forest in Murchison Falls Conservation Area offers the best experiences for nature lovers. It offers travelers a chance to explore the park’s wildlife in depth while on foot. You will have opportunity to catch a glimpse at most of wildlife, plants and birdlife and not to forget a visit to the top of the falls and Kaniyo Padidi in Budongo Forest.
The Nile boat cruise
This is another exciting activity that you should consider in your travel plan while on safari to Murchison Falls National Park. Your trip starts from Paraa to the foot of the mighty Murchison Falls and it rewards visitors with breathtaking views at hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, elephants, buffaloes along the River bank and most of the aquatic bird specie especially the bee eaters, heron, cormorants, fish eagles kingfishers ducks and for bird enthusiasts who are keen enough, you will also catch a glimpse at the elusive shoebill stork.
The launch cruise begins at 9:00 am and at 2:00pm local time, however special schedules can also be arranged by park management. The launch cruise takes visitors through 17 kilometers from Paraa to the mighty falls and return journey takes around 3 hours making while a 28 kilometer launch cruise from Paraa to the Delta and return lasts for 4 to 5 hours.
Sport fishing adventures
Beside game drives, visitors can also challenge themselves especially with sport fishing adventures. For anglers on safari in Uganda, this is an incredible spot for you to catch the Nile perch and tiger fish. Interested visitors are required to book in advance for this adventure. You will need to come with your own fishing gadgets but the boats are available for you to rent.
Visit to the top of the Murchison Falls
This adventure stakes visitors to the top of the falls and up on landing, you will hike to the top of the mighty Murchison falls to view it as squeezes itself into a narrow gorge of about 7 meters. There are campsites, walking tours and picnic sites. While at this spot, you will be amazed by the powerful roar of the falls as well as a permanent rainbow.
Kaniyo pabidi adventure
This provides visitors opportunity to explore the untouched areas of Budongo rainforest. Visitors walk through mature buttress rooted mahogany and iron wood trees. Chimpanzee trekking is the most popular adventure that you shouldn’t miss out while on safari to Murchison Falls National Park. You will also have a chance to spot most of the forest birdlife especially the white thigh hornbill, chocolate backed kingfisher and puvel’s illadopsis that are never sighted in any area in East Africa. Kaniyo Pabidi is situated 8 kilometers off Kichumbanyobo via Masindi Paraa road and it is managed by the National Forestry Authority.
Other areas of interest to reward you with ultimate experiences in this magnificent protected area include the Rabongo forest which comes with amazing views of primates such as the black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, red tailed monkeys, chimpanzees as well as birdlife, tree species and medicinal plant species. You may also pay a visit to Mubako village and experience the Luo culture, learn their traditional norms, lifestyle and history, enjoy the Luo folk songs and many more.
How to get to Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is accessible both by road and air. By road you can take the Kampala-Masindi route to Kichumbanyobo gate and a 4wheel drive car is the best option to help you navigate through the remotest route to this park. By air, there are charter flights and from Pakuba you will drive for 19 kilometers northwest of Paraa and Bugungu 13 kilometers off Paraa.
Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park
There are many safari lodges in Uganda for you to spend a night over while on safari to Murchison Falls National Park. There are campsites at the top of the falls, Rabongo forest, Paraa as well as the delta sector for you to experience the wilderness of the park. The prominent lodges include Nile safari camp, Boomu Women’s Group, River Camp, Sambiya River Lodge, Paraa Safari Lode, Red chili Rest Camp and many more.
In conclusion, for visitors who are planning to travel to Uganda for wildlife safaris, Murchison Falls National Park should be one of the must to include safari destination in your travel plan. It is one of the best destination that reward visitors with amazing experiences and it is the perfect place for one to get out of the usual environment.