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Murchison Falls National Park

About Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the best game parks to visit while in Uganda. The park is located in the Murchison Conservation Area where we also find the Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves.

The park is endowed with several attractions including over 76 mammal species with four members of the big five, the lion, the leopards, the elephants, and the Buffaloes. Other species include bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, hyenas etc. Along the shores of the nile and within the waters you will see lots of hippos and crocodiles among other resident creatures. There also several primates in the Murchison falls national park including baboons and several monkey species.

Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park is also home to over 450 recorded birds species including the rare shoebill stork. The park is also home to 23 Albertine rift endemics given its location in the western arm of the East African rift valley. Our Murchison falls birding safaris allow you see many of these bird species with the help of our expert guides.

How to reach Murchison Falls National Park

1. By road

The distance from Kampala to Murchison falls national park  is 305Km and driving there will take you 4.5 hours.

The park has several access gates from both the south and the northern as follows.

Southern Entrance Gates

  • Kichumbanyobo Gate. You can access paraa from this gate from masindi town. The distance from Masindi town to this gate is 85Km, crossing through the Kaniyo Pabidi forest to Paara
  • Bugungu Gate. To access this gate from Masindi is is 135Km, passing through the Budongo forest, home of the chimpanzees. This route also takes you through the rift valley escarpment with impressive views of the Albert mountains in the Dr Congo.

 Northern Entrance Gates

To access the park from the north, there are several entrance gates including  the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from the Kampala-Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls Bridge in the northeastern corner of the park, 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitor travelling to/from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.

2. By Air

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 near Murchison Falls to the south.

ATTRACTIONS MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

Nile River Boat Safari

Another  highlight of any safari visit to Murchison Falls National Park is the boat ride up to the falls, almost a scene out of a National Geographic Special on TV, only better because you are there seeing hippos frolic in the water (they do not swim but bounce off the bottom of river or lake),

Nile Crocodiles mouths wide open sunning themselves along the banks, elephant herds coming to bathe and water, Buffaloes in numbers, various species of antelopes and many water birds, one cannot imagine the scenic shoreline you will see on a boat safari up the River Nile.

On the Murchison Falls Boat Safari up to the falls, you have the choice to disembark at the bottoms of the falls and hike up to the top of the falls or return on the boat downstream for more wildlife viewing.

Bird Watching

Bird Species commonly seen between Paraa Rest Camp and Ferry crossing are; Spotted Mourning Thrush, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Silver Bird, Bluff bellied Warbler, Blue-napped Mousebird, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow weaverBlack headed Gonolek, Green-winged Ptyilia, and Black-headed Batis, this is the best site for the localised White-rumped Seed-eater.

Common Nocturnal Species in the area include: Verreaux’s owls, Nightjars such as long tailed and Pennat-winged nightjar which usually is watched between the months of March – September. Also available is the amazing standard-winged nightjar watched from November to February. Other bird species include: African Skimmer, White African fish eagle, long-toed plover, Gray Crowned crane, Goliath Heron and more

Nature Walks

Tourists get to explore the wild on foot while in Murchison Falls Conservation area. There is a trail at Paraa winds throughout low hills, gullies and forest around the river. Nature walks happen at top of the falls, KaniyoPabidi and Rabongo Forest. Rabongo Forest Ecotourism Centre is located in an island of tropical river forest in the south-east of the conservation area. Savannah grasslands surround the forest. With a tour guide, one can explore primates like the Red tailed monkeys, Black & white colored monkeys, Chimpanzees, birds, trees and medicinal plants. Kanio Pabidi is an serene area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature Mahogany and ironwood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the Chocolate backed Kingfisher, the White-thighed Hornbill, and Puvell’s Illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa! Kaniyo Pabidi is on the Masindi – Paraa road, 8 kms from Kichumbanyobo gate.

Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon Safaris can now be taken in Murchison Falls Park.  This is the only park in Uganda where you can take a hot air balloon wildlife Safari.

Rise at dawn over the savannah watch the sun rise and then glide over the park above the tree-tops where you can see the most wildlife below.

The park is filled with vast herds of buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, antelopes. Watch the predators below as they come home from a night’s hunt.

Afterward, it is a one of a kind champagne Bush Breakfast prepared by Paraa Lodge chefs that you will enjoy and as most long remember.

Its pilots also have to go through the Ugandan and Egyptian Aviation Authorities for certification before they are accepted to operate these balloons.

ACCOMMODATIONS MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation ranges from campsites, lodges, hotels and guesthouse. Of these are built on top of the falls and they have better facilities that are eco-friendly.
Budget accommodation is also available for the budget travelers and the most suitable places include Kaniyo Pabidi Camp and Red Chilli Rest Camp.

Accommodation List

  • GeoLodges Nile Safari Lodge
  • Paraa Safari Lodge
  • Rest Chilli Rest Camp
  • Sambiya River Lodge
  • Yebo Safari Camp
  • UWA Campsite
  • Chobe Safari Lodge
  • Murchison Safari Lodge
  • Boomu Women´s Group Bandas