Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Welcome to Murchison National Park information. This information will greatly assist you in your preparations to visit Murchison Falls, finding where to stay, safari companies, map, getting there and so much more.

Murchison Falls Conservation Area ( MFCA ) comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves.

This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes.

The vegetation is characterised by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.

Activities In Murchison Falls

Wildlife Game Drives

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 Wildlife Reserve

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 are about three hours in length – not too long if you are on a family safari with small children.

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.

Hot Air Balloon Wildlife Safaris

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

Rise at dawn over the savanna – 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.

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 spots 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 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 Park is a must visit  for birders.  Birders will delight in the wide variety of birds found here – Savanna Birds – Water – Birds and various species of Forest Birds – all in one Park – Murchison Falls 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 can spot chimpanzee 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.

Attractions in Murchison Falls

The Nile and Murchison Falls

When the park was established in 1952, the Game Department enthused, ‘The main tourist attractions of this park was definitely the unique Murchison Falls as well as the River Nile with its streaming hippo and serried ranges of crocodile along the sandbanks, as well as large numbers of different species getting down to drink & bathe.

Presently the spotlight of a visit to Murchison is the launch trip up the stream to observe the Falls and riverbank wildlife. The launch starts at 09.00 and 14.00 every day. The round trip takes 3 hrs. Another boat trip goes downstream from Paraa down to the papyrus delta at the point were the river enters into Lake Albert. This 4-5 hr return adventure provides a good chance of discovering the shoebill stork and different varieties of Uganda safari wildlife.

The Nile below Murchison Falls offers exciting challenges to anglers coupled with a chance to land a huge Nile Perch (the record is 108kg). Fishing is prohibited to designated sites & places are limited so advance booking is recommended. A number of boats could be hired for sportfishing by prior booking. Do carry your own fishing equipment.

The most spectacular view of the waterfall is on the top of “where the sight & sound of the Nile crashing through”, wide chasm make a memorable assault on the senses site -can be reached either by car / a 30 minutes climb, leaving the Paraa launch.

Rabongo and Kaniyo Pabidi forests

Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi forest for 8 kilometer inside Kichumbar Gate, offer the opportunity to track chimpanzee and primates below Uganda’s largest left mahogany. Birdwatching is excellent with the opportunity of sighting rarities while the yellow-footed flycatcher, white thi hornbill and Ituri batis. Nature walks are as well offered up at Rabongo forest.

Buligi area 
The park’s superior savanna game viewing aspect, this grassland wilderness is located between the Victoric Albert Niles with excellent views towards the western rift valley beyond Lake Albert in the DRC. A drive from Paraa passing Delta Point takes 3 to 4 hours. Morning & late afternoon are the best times for sight game drives. A  ranger guide from UWA is recommended to help you in most of your game drive.

Flora and Fauna

The park is subjugated by woodland, wetland, savannah as well as tropical forest that is well known to be a habitant for over 76 mammal species and over 450 different bird species. Among the big mammals include hippo, Rothschild’s giraffe,warthlog,cape buffalo, Uganda kob,hartebeest and elephants.The Nile corridor of the Murchison has a big collection of water birds such as rare shoebill stork and also has a large concentration of Nile crocodile.Kaniyo Pabidi forest is a home to primates, chimpanzees and over 360 species  of different birds

Getting There

Some of you may be wondering how to get to the park. But by means of road or car, it will take you around 5hours from Kampala with about 305 km.Paara covers a distance of about 85km from Masindi town by the shortest route.

A direct or longer route will cover an area of about 135km.Alternatively one may decide to take on the Budongo forest route that will provide magnificent views overlooking Lake Albert from the direct position of the rift valley escarpment over Butiaba.

You can also access Paara from the north through Chobe Gate, Karuma Falls along with Tangi.The Gate that is close to Pakwach covers an area of about 25km2 to paara in addition to Wankwar Gate close to Purongo. Click here for Uganda safaris.

People with Vehicles or public means will definitely go through the Nile at paara.It has a fixed time from 07.00 and 19.00.Besides road, Murchison can be accessed by air.Pakuba is the landing site for the charter flights and this takes about 19kms from paraa and Bugungu covers an area of 13kms from Paraa.
Safari in Uganda

Accommodation (Safari Lodges)

Accommodation ranges from campsites, lodges, hotels and guesthouse. Some of these are built on top of the falls. 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. Tourists that love up market accommodation include Nile safari camp, Paraa safari lodges as well as Sambiya river. In case you want to stop in Masindi, there is luxury accommodation such as Masindi Hotel along with Court view hotels that have excellent services.

GeoLodges Nile Safari Lodge

  • Tel: +256 414 258273, +256 312 260758
  • Email: info@geolodgesafrica.comreservations@geolodgesafrica.com
  • Website: www.geolodgesafrica.com

Paraa Safari Lodge

  • Tel: +256 312 260260/1, +256 414 255992
  • Email: mweyaparaa@africaonline.co.ugreservations@marasa.net
  • Website: www.paraalodge.com,  www.marasa.net

Rest Chilli Rest Camp

  • Tel:+256 414 223903
  • Mobile: +256 772 709150
  • Email: Contact us via the online form on our website
  • Website: www.redchillihideaway.com

Sambiya River Lodge

  • Tel: +256 414 233596
  • Email: reservations@sambiyariverlodge.com
  • Website: www.sambiyariverlodge.com, www.afritourstravel.com

GeoLodgesShoebill Camp Site

  • Tel: +256 414 258273, +256 312 260758
  • Email: info@geolodgesafrica.comreservations@geolodgesafrica.com
  • Website: www.geolodgesafrica.com

Yebo Safari Camp

  • Tel: +256 465 420029
  • Mobile: +256 772 637493, +256 701 637493
  • Email: yebotours2002@yahoo.com
  • Website: www.traveluganda.co.ug

UWA Campsite

  • Located at the top of Murchison Falls
  • Contact UWA for bookings

Chobe Safari Lodge

  • Tel: +256 312 260260/1, +256 414 255992
  • Email: mweyaparaa@africaonline.co.ugreservations@marasa.net
  • Website: www.chobelodgeuganda.com, www.marasa.net

Murchison Safari Lodge

  • Tel: +256 412 74767
  • Mobile: +256 772 430587
  • Email: backpackers@infocom.co.ug
  • Website: www.backpackers.co.ug

Boomu Women´s Group Bandas
Contact via Pearls of Uganda:

  • Mobile: +256 772 930304, +256 772 657700
  • Email: info@pearlsofuganda.org
  • Web: www.pearlsofuganda.org

Budongo Ecolodge

  • Tel: +256 414 267153
  • Mobile: +256 772 426368
  • Email: info@ugandalodges.cominfo@safari-uganda.com
  • Website: www.ugandalodges.com, www.safari-uganda.com

How much does a Gorilla permit cost?

The prices of Gorilla permits in Uganda are fixed at 600 USD for both the high and low season. In the past the price would be lowered in the off peak seasons of February, March and April to 450 USD but due to increased demand for the permits it’s no longer the case.

The increase in demand for the Uganda Gorilla permits is primarily due to the fact that the Gorilla permit in Rwanda was increased from 750 USD to 1500 USD per permit effective 6th May 2017. That’s a 100 percent increment in the price of the permit.

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