Murchison Falls National Park – Uganda’s Best All-Around Wildlife Park
The Top Things to Do and See in Murchison Falls Park – Uganda’s largest National Park
The Activities that you can do in Murchison Falls National Park
Things to do and see in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda is the largest wildlife reserve in the country. It is home to more Rothschild Giraffes (Nubian, Uganda, Baringo Giraffes) than elsewhere in Africa. Vast herds of Elephants, Buffaloes, and Antelopes. It is also a Carnivore country, and you can see lions, leopards other cats here.
Murchison Falls Park has the unique distinction of having a River flow through it. Not just any River but the historic River Nile. You cross the Nile via a safe Ferry. It is one of Africa’s Natural Wonders- Murchison Falls is also the Most Powerful Waterfall in the World.
Murchison Falls was named so by the British explorer Sir Samuel Baker in 1864 after Sir Roderick Murchison, then President of Britain’s Royal Geographical Society. Idi Amin, a frequent visitor to Murchison Falls, changed the name to Kabalega Falls, but after his downfall, it reverted to Murchison Falls.
Murchison Falls became a movie star when the movie “African Queen” was filmed with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart starring.
Winston Churchill visited here in 1907, a journey he wrote about in his Book “My African Journey, published in 1908.
The American Conservation President Theodore Roosevelt shot through this park, killing everything in sight in 1909.
Ernest Hemingway crashed here while flying over Murchison Falls as his plane hit a telegraph wire. Royalty and Commoner have all flocked to Murchison Falls. In 2018 Kanye West, Kim Kardashian (during better times as a couple), and the rapper Sean Paul all visited Murchison Falls Park.
For70 Years and longer, Murchison Falls has been a Must Visit Ugandan Destination, and it remains that way until this day.
Why do Tourists and Visitors to Uganda choose to visit Murchison Falls Park?
The Star Attraction – The Most Powerful Waterfall in the World & the Nile runs through the Park.
Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest wildlife reserve – 3,840 square kilometers in size. Murchison Falls National Park is a must-see and wildlife park for visitors to Uganda. Located at the northern end of the vast Albertine Western Rift Valley, where you find the mighty Nile River tumble-down, the Bunyoro escarpment onto the Savannah plains, and then continues its journey peacefully South to North to the Mediterranean Sea.
Murchison Falls is the best park for a short Wildlife Safari, and it offers visitors more things to do and see than other wildlife parks.
There are many things to do and see in Murchison Falls National Park, 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, with more than 76 species of mammals and 451 types of birds.
Along the River Nile, you will see enormous Nile Crocodiles and a vast number of Hippos – advice – keep your camera ready.
Murchison Falls Park has been declared one of the best birding locations in Africa, with 451 recorded species such as the Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world – and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s national bird.
Murchison Falls Park the best all-around Park; in recent years, it has become one of Uganda’s most visited National Park. It is no wonder that Rough Guides included it in the Best Travel in 2020 List.
Getting to Murchison Falls Park:
Fly to Murchison Falls Parks with AeroLink Safari Airline:
We can arrange for you to fly to Murchison Falls National Park from Entebbe International Airport with a daily 60-minute AeroLink flight, which saves you between five to six hours of drive-time. Your driver guide will meet you at the airstrip and take you to your lodge. At the end of your visit to Murchison Falls, you can either return to Entebbe or continue your Safari by flying to Kasese, which is a short drive to Kibale Forest and northern Queen Elizabeth Park> From here, it is a short drive to Ishasha for the Tree-Climbing Lions and Buhoma in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for Gorilla Trekking.
Drive to Murchison Falls Park as a singular Safari Park Destination:
The Drive to Entebbe or Kampala can be up to six hours long, and the drive can be broken with a visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary with lunch and Rhino Trekking. On the return trip, break up the long drive time with lunch and Chimpanzee Trekking in Budongo Forest.
Furthermore, the drive can also be broken by having lunch at the historic 1923 Masindi Hotel, where luminaries such as Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, and director John Huston stayed during the 1951 making. Of “the African Queen.” Ernest Hemingway and his wife Mary stayed here recuperating for a few days after two air crashes. The well-known British Michael Palin while tracing Ernest Hemingway’s time in Uganda.
Include Murchison Falls Park in a longer Safari:
You can include Murchison Falls Park in a longer safari with parks such as Kidepo Valley Park or Kibale Forest.
The Top Things to do and see in Murchison Falls National Park:
Wildlife Game Drives:
Game Drives take an 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 Wildlife Reserve
You will find large herds of buffaloes and elephants here. There are the endangered Rothschild Giraffes in large numbers, and you will sometimes see the stealthy leopard. Of course, there is the king of the beasts, the Lion; add to that the many antelopes such as Jackson’s hartebeest, Bushbucks, Uganda Kob, Waterbucks, and Warthogs.
Game Drives are about three hours long – not too long if you are on a family safari with small children. Unlike in other African Park, the distance to the Game Drives is quite reasonable.
Game Drives in Murchison Falls Park are a great way to experience the African Wild in Uganda.
Nile River Boat Cruise:
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 there see 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. Murchison Falls has some of the giant Nile crocodiles in all of Africa.
The Elephant herds are 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 can disembark at the bottoms. From there, you hike up to the top of the Falls. There your driver-guide meets you and returns you to the lodge.
Private Boat Cruise: We can arrange a private boat cruise that takes you up the Nile to the falls and back.
Top of Falls Hike
Murchison Falls is the world’s most powerful waterfall. One can take the boat safari up to the falls and disembark at the bottom.
Take the 45-minute hike up to the falls and be refreshed by the mist, feel the ground shake and vibrate under your feet – a most fantastic experience.
The waterfall hike is a guided hike, and on the path, you are taken up; Winston Churchill came down and boarded a boat for Sudan. Winston Churchill also commented in “My African Journey” That a bridge across the Nile here would be inexpensive.
The Trail is also part of the famed Baker Trail, named after Samuel and Florence Baker.
There is another fall in the distance, Uhuru Falls, which means Freedom Falls in English. The Falls hike has become a favorite along with the Nile Cruise with visitors to the park.
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 Nile River merges into Lake Albert.
It is undoubtedly a not to miss event if you enjoy the birds, wildlife, hippos, and crocodiles you will see on this boat safari down the River Nile to where it drains into Lake Albert and where it is commonly referred to as the Nile Delta.
This stretch of the River is also one of the best spots in Uganda where you can spot the shoebill stork along the river banks, sometimes even in pairs.
Experience both the River Nile and Lake Albert on this boat safari. This Boat Safari is a must for Birders and those who want to see the Shoebill Stork in the Wild.
It is a half-day activity and is best done in the morning, especially if you are on a bird-watching outing.
Private Boat Cruise: We can arrange a private boat cruise that takes you down the Nile to Lake Albert and back.
Hot Air Balloon Wildlife Safari:
Hot Air Balloon Safaris can now be taken in Murchison Falls Park. It is the only park in Uganda where you can take a hot air balloon Wildlife Safari.
Rise at dawn over the savannah – watch the sunrise 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, and 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 most long remember. Hot Air Balloon Ride is a one-of-a-kind experience in Uganda.
Please Note: This activity is presently not available. Hopefully, it will soon be available again. Dream Balloon suspended its operation after Uganda’s Parks closed during the early days of the pandemic in 2020.
Hiking in Murchison Falls Park:
One can go on various nature walks and hikes in Murchison Falls National Park and choose from multiple areas.
There is Rabongo Forest, a birders paradise, and an area where you can spot chimpanzees 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.
Someday if ever completed, the Baker Trail will also go through the park. The Trail begins in South Sudan, ends along Lake Albert, and follows the Trail of the Discoverers Samuel and Florence Baker. If you are an avid hiker, look at our hiking advice and tips for Africa.
Please note that hiking in the park without a ranger is not advised or permitted, and this is for your protection.
Fishing for Africa’s biggest Freshwater Fish- the Nile Perch:
Catching a Nile Perch while fishing on the Nile at Murchison Falls is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Those who love to fish for that big one come from far and wide in their quest to catch a Nile Perch. There is even a yearly fishing tournament that takes place here, and its star attraction is the enormous Nile Perch.
The experience of catching a Nile Perch is often compared to reeling a salmon in the rivers found northwest of the US, British Columbia, or Alaska. The Nile Perch is a fighting fish that anglers love to tangle with here on the Nile at Murchison Falls.
Fishing can be done from a boat or the Nile’s banks, and an experienced guide will be at your side to guide you along. Angling for Nile Perch is on a catch-and-release basis, and you do not get to take it back to the lodge for an evening meal. If you want to keep the fish, you can do so while fishing Lake Albert or Victoria.
If this is something that you would like to do, contact us, and we will arrange a Murchison Falls Park Fishing and Wildlife Safari for you.
Sunrise breakfast or Sunset with Sundowner Cruise on the Nile
The Top Things to do and see near & around Murchison Falls National Park:
The Scenic Drive to or from Murchison Falls Park:
The scenic route and snakes along Lake Albert, where you see the Blue Mountains in the Congo and the Western Rift Valley Escarpment, give you many photo opportunities.
See Fishing Villages along the Lake, where smugglers and poachers hide out. One of the highlights is a stop in Butiaba, once the halfway stop for Seaplanes that flew from Cairo to Capetown.
It is also the town where you will find the wreck of the SS Croydon that used to make its journey across the lake. Butiaba was also the starting point for wildlife cruises to Murchison Falls Park. Sadly, no great storm destroyed the harbor, and ships and technology changed. Butiaba is still a sleepy fishing village after the local port closed as the area was flooded by heavy rains in 1963.
Chimpanzee Tracking in Budongo Forest:
Budongo Forest is an excellent area for Chimpanzee Tracking, it is a Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Research Station, and you have a unique opportunity to track Chimpanzees.
During the off-season, you can even do an all-day Chimpanzee Habituation here. Lodging and food are available at the reasonably priced Budongo Eco-Lodge.
Budongo Forest is an excellent place for chimpanzee tracking and chimpanzee habituation experience, birding, hiking, and nature walks from a few hours to all-day hikes on the trails of Budongo Forest.
Chimpanzee tracking is best done by adding a day to your Safari to Murchison Falls Park or as an add-on to your Safari on the first or last day in Murchison Falls Park.
Budongo Forest’s Golden Mile is one of the best birding locations in Uganda. Those from Poland or from Polish ancestry might be surprised to learn that Budongo Forest was once a refugee camp for Poles during World War ll. Evidence of that refugee Camp is the still-active “Our Lady of Poland” Catholic Church and cemetery.
Rhino Tracking – Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary:
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 an exhilarating experience.
Most people do not realize that you can also do various nature walks and hikes to see 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 waterbirds.
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is on a large estate similar to Murchison Falls, where eventually, some of the Rhinos will be released when their numbers reach over 20.
You can stay overnight at the upmarket Amuka Lodge or the Ziwa Guest House. The Amuka Lodge has a swimming pool, and some of our clients have raved about the food served there.
Boomu Women’s Group – a Ugandan Village Visit and Stay:
Boomu Village is a cultural experience near the Murchison Falls Park Area. Here you can visit an African village for a few hours and take a walk. You can also 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 an excellent place for a family on Safari with children – they love Authentic Africa. Children and Teens love learning new skills such as weaving, making jewelry, and making baskets.
Learn how dyes are made from plants and flowers and see them used as the loom to create a cloth fabric, and learn how to make traditional crafts such as baskets. Along the River Nile, while others are in another scenic spot – the choice is yours.
Murchison Falls Park Safaris:
Here are the best Murchison Falls Park Safaris for you. They have not stripped-down versions but include full-board lodging, all activities, and entrance fees into the park.
These private safaris are offered at the lowest price, yet they are not inferior in quality, but full-service safaris for you.
They begin with a one-night stay to more in the park. Murchison Falls Park is the only park in Uganda where a Big-5 Safari is a possibility. Another reason is that the park is now Uganda’s number one park. We love to show you the park with a river running through it, not any River, but the River Nile.
This Park can also be included in a Safari with Kibale Forest and Chimpanzee Trekking or ten days or longer in a safari that provides for most of Uganda’s parks.
Read more here about our Murchison Falls Park Safaris.