Things to do and see in Murchison Falls National Park
Informational Guide to Uganda’s Best all around Park
Murchison Falls Park –Uganda’s Largest Wildlife Conservation Area – Discover this Fabulous Park in NorthWest Uganda
Murchison Falls National is Uganda’s first and oldest National Park. It is also Uganda’s largest wildlife preservation area being 3,840 square kilometers in size. Murchison Falls National Park is a must see and do wildlife park for the visitor to Uganda. Located at the northern end of the vast Albertine Western Rift Valley where you find the mighty River Nile river tumble-down the Bunyoro escarpment onto the Savannah plains, the most powerful waterfall in the world and continuing peacefully its journey South to North to the Mediterranean Sea.
Murchison Falls is a six-hour drive from Kampala, a drive that can easily broken up by a visit to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you track Rhinos on foot. to do and see in this diverse park, there is something for everyone, most of all you experience the African Wild, the African Bush, Forest, Wildlife, Birds, Primates and the River Nile. Murchison Falls is more than square miles, more than 76 species of mammals and 451 species of birds. Murchison Falls Park is the African Wilderness experience that you will never forget.
Murchison Falls is a Wildlife and Birding Paradise – You can find 76 species of mammals here including four of the big five, the 5th one being Rhinos can be tracked nearby at Ziwa Rhino Reserve. You will find large herds of buffaloes and elephants here, the endangered Rothschild Giraffes in great numbers, the stealth leopard (usually alone except during mating season and of course of the king of the beasts – lions, there are many antelopes such as Jackson’s hartebeest, Bushbucks, Uganda Kob, Waterbucks and Warthogs. Along the River Nile you will see enormous Nile Crocodiles and vast number of Hippos – advice – keep your camera ready.
As you drive through the park you will also come across a number of Olive Baboons, Patas Monkeys, while in the forests of the park you can often spot black and white Colobus Monkeys, even chimpanzees can be spotted on occasion while taking a guided nature walk in Rabongo Forest.
Murchison Falls Park has been declared as one of the best birding locations in all of Africa with 451 recorded species such as the the Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world – and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s national bird. Seen along the Nile are the Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Squacco Heron, African Jacana, Sandpipers, Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Piapiac, Silverbird, Weaver Birds, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver and African Quail-Finch.
Murchison Falls Park, best all around Park, has much to offer to the visitor – from the most powerful waterfall in the world, to sprawling savannahs – the largest and oldest wildlife game park in Uganda is certainly one of the must see parks in Uganda.
Things do and see in and near Murchison Falls National Park:
Wildlife Game Drives:
Our Game Drives take a Uganda Wildlife Authority Ranger on board – between our driver-guide and the UWA Ranger there is not much that you will miss on a game drive in Murchison Falls National Park.
There is nothing like a sunrise or late afternoon game drive with its Rothschild Giraffes, Elephants, Buffaloes, antelopes, lions, leopards, warthogs, savannah birds and more.
Game Drives in Murchison Falls National Park are simply a great way to experience the African Wild in Uganda.
Nocturnal Game Drives:
A most exciting activity that is missed by most is the Nocturnal Game Drive in Murchison Falls National Park where you can see the predators of the night out on the prowl.
The Nocturnal Game Drive is about two hours in length and is take at dusk or after darkness has set in, something we suggest not to miss. you might have a hard time taking pictures but there are the pictures and images in your mind.
Spotlights are used for the Night Game Drives in Murchison Falls National Park – this way there is not much you can miss.
If you are on a family safari in Murchison Falls National Park – let us know if you would like to go on a bush breakfast outing with your family.
Nile River Boat Safari:
One of the highlights of any 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 one will encounter 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 or return on the boat downstream for more wildlife viewing.
Murchison Falls is the world’s most powerful waterfall. One can take the boat safari up to the falls and disembark at the bottom of the falls.
Take the 45 minute hike up along the falls and be refreshed by the mist, feel the ground shake and vibrate under your feet – a most amazing experience.
The waterfall hike is a guided hike and the very path you are taken up – Winston Churchill came down on and boarded a boat for the Sudan.
There is another fall in the distance and the that is Uhuru Falls which means in English – Freedom Falls.
Nile Delta Boat Ride:
Most take the boat safari up to the Falls each day, fewer take the boat ride down the Nile to the Nile Delta where the River merges into Lake Albert.
This is certainly a not to miss event if you enjoy birds, and birds, wildlife, hippos, crocodiles you will see on this boat safari down the River Nile.
This stretch of the River is also one of the best spots in Uganda where you can spot the shoebill stork along the banks of the river, sometimes even in pairs.
Experience both the River Nile and Lake Albert on this boat safari.
Fishing for the Largest Fresh Water Fish in Africa – the Nile Perch can be done from the shore at the falls themselves or by boat as you go up to the falls.
The Karuma falls area near Chobe Safari Lodge is also a great place for fishing in a way you have not experienced elsewhere. If you are avid about fishing – Murchison Falls Park is the spot for you to let your line out and catch a big Nile Perch.
An experience Guide will be with you a you fish either from the River Bank or from a boat that guides you on the way to catch a Nile Perch at Murchison Falls Park.
Birding at Murchison Falls National Park:
Birding can be done from a safari vehicle or on a nature walk along the Nile or through one of its forest. The possibilities are endless here and there are numerous where with a guide you will make some rewarding discoveries and see why Murchison Falls Park is one of the best birding locations in all of Africa.
Murchison Falls National Park includes various landscapes such as Savannah, Riverine Forest, the large Budongo Forest, all areas where the avid birder will spot a wide of variety of Bird Species by boat, vehicle or on foot.
Murchison Falls National Park is a must visit park for birders. Birders will delight in the wide variety of birds found here – Savannah Birds – Water – Birds and various species of Forest Birds – all in one Park – Murchison Falls National Park.
Hiking in Murchison Falls Park:
One can go on a variety of nature walks and hikes in Murchison Falls National Park and choose from a variety of areas to do so.
There is Rabongo Forest which is a birders paradise and also an area where you spot chimps and other primates as you walk along with your guide.
Budongo Forest is one of the best areas to hike when it comes to Murchison Falls National Park and you can see a variety of wildlife, monkeys and birds. You can also go on guided walks in the Chobe area of the park.
The new Baker Trail will also go through the park as you can hike from South Sudan to Lake Albert and follow the trail of the Discoverers Samuel and Florence Baker. If you an avid hike take a look at our hiking advice and tips for Africa.
Budongo Forest is an excellent area for Chimpanzee Tracking, it is a Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Research Station and you have a good opportunity here to track Chimpanzees.
During the off-season you can even do an all-day Chimpanzee Habituation here. Lodging and food is available at the reasonably priced Budongo Eco-Lodge
Budongo Forest a great place for chimpanzee tracking and chimpanzee habituation experience, birding and hiking.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is not a part of Murchison Falls Park but can be easily visited on the way to or from Murchison Falls National Park. Here you track Rhinos on foot with guides which is a most exhilarating experience.
What most people do not realize is that you can also do various nature walks and hikes seeing wildlife and birds. You can do a swamp boat ride here and it is one of the better areas to spot the Shoebill Stork and other water-birds.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is on a large estate that is similar in nature to Murchison Falls where eventually some of the Rhinos will be released to when the numbers of them reaches over 20.
You can stay overnight here at either the upmarket Amuka Lodge or the Ziwa Guest House.
Boomu Village is a cultural experience and is near the Murchison Falls Park Area. Here you can visit an African Village either for a few hours and take a village walk or you can stay overnight in a traditional African Banda.
Go into the gardens to pick the things for lunch and dinner and work alongside African women, sit with a storyteller of old.
There are a variety of activities that you will learn here and Boomu is a great place for a family on safari with children – they simply love Authentic Africa.
Learn how dyes are made from plants and flower and see them used as the loom is used to make a cloth fabric, learn how to make traditional crafts such as baskets and more.
Some of the First Tourists to Murchison Falls Park:
The Sir Samuel and Florence Baker Trail is in place, however the present instability in South Sudan prevents the hiker to follow the trail the Discover Samuel Baker and his wife Florence blazed – soon it should be a reality. In the meantime you can take the safe Baker trail in Uganda.
They were the western discovers of Murchison Falls and the first western visitors to the present park area, they had a mishap which was an encounter with a hippo who overturned their boat causing them to spend time on the river bank awaiting to be rescued which they were.
Florence Baker- was simply a tough and hardy woman, ahead of her time and she valiantly endured the hardship of African travel on foot at that time.
In 1907 Winston Churchill visited the English Protectorate of Uganda and he was amazed by the country and called it “the Pearl of Africa.” He wrote a book which was published which he entitled “my African Journeys.”
He came by boat across Lake Victoria and went by Boat to Jinja and from there he followed the Nile by boat, on foot to present day Murchison Falls.
He was one of the early visitors and original tourists to Murchison Falls National Park. In fact he made his way down from the top of the falls to the bottom to take a boat onward to Khartoum.
Winston Churchill like many visitors today was simply enthusiastic about the Pearl of Africa – Uganda.
President Theodore Roosevelt was the first Conservationist President in the USA – he established many US National Parks that still exist today.
In East Africa it was a different story for Teddy Roosevelt – here he hunted and shot his ways through different countries including Uganda and including the present Murchison Falls National Park.
Though celebrated in America a trendsetter for Conservation – in Africa the reverse was true – though he defended his hunt as research for the Smithsonian Institute.
Mr. Stomach as he was called by Africans had a big appetite for hunting and that included his time here at Murchison Falls National Park.
The 1952 movie, the African was made in the Murchison Falls Park area – the director John Huston and his crew did much of the filming of the movie right on the River Nile using the boat – the African Queen.
Humphrey Bogart hated Africa and drank the nights away with John Huston while Katherine Hepburn was fascinated by Africa with reservations as her book pointed out.
Today a restored version can be boarded for a sunset Nile Cruise, not in Murchison Falls but cruising the Nile in Jinja. Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, the director John Houston had some amazing times in Murchison Falls and on Lake Albert.
Ernest Hemingway and his fourth wife were on a flying safari to Murchison Falls Park when the pilot hit an old telephone wire and Ernest Hemingway became a drop-in visitors. They were stranded on the banks of the Nile for several days before being rescued – the boat none other than the African Queen from the movie set, now used to take tourists up to the falls.
Not only did Hemingway crash once – the rescue plane which he met on Lake Albert at Butiaba crashed again – this is not something that most visitors to Murchison Falls Park experience.
Africa got into Ernest Hemingway and he got into Africa – he simply loved it – Africa is unique in that way – you either love it or hate – most like Hemingway love the Africa that they encounter on Safari.
Murchison Falls National Park is home to a variety of lodges both inside and outside of the park – from budget to 5 star luxury lodging.
There is a lodge that fits your budget and wishes, just right for you. Choose a lodge and we will include in your itinerary for Murchison Falls National Park.
Murchison Falls National Park has many choices for lodging -0 the question is where to stay and best places are on the game drive side of the park instead of having to take the first ferry to the game drive side at 7 am
Some of the lodges are right along the River Nile while other are in some other scenic spot – the choice is yours.e top ten things to bring on a safari, journaling, packing for a safari, safari lodging advice and more.
Enjoy Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda by spending a few days in African Wild of Uganda, simply not be missed… plan ahead – and enjoy the best all around Park in Uganda…
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys
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