Murchison falls national park safari
About Murchison falls
Murchison falls national park is located in north western Uganda in Masindi, Bulisa, Nwoya and Kiryandogo districts. The national park is the largest and most visited park in Uganda due to the abundant wildlife species. The park covers a total area of 3,893 square kilometers and is covered by savannah grassland, woodland, tropical forest, riverine woodlands and acacia trees which act as habitats for animals. Murchison falls national park is bisected by River Nile into two sectors that is the northern and the southern sector though the northern sector is the most visited because it harbors the largest concentration of wild animals. Visitors who want to explore all sectors in the park cross from the northern sector to the southern sector by a ferry which travels daily on schedule.
What to see on your safari in Murchison falls national park
Wild animals, the national park is a home of about 76 mammal species including the big four mammals out of the big five mammals and they include elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards. Other animals in the parks include the giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, warthogs, Uganda kobs, hippos, waterbucks, oribi, bushbucks among others. Animals in the park can be viewed during the game drive, boat cruise in the northern sector of the park or nature walk in the park.
Primates, Murchison falls national park harbors primate species including chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, grey cheeked Mangabey, black and white colobus monkeys olive baboons among others. Primates in the park are found in Budongo forest which is situated in the northern sector.
Birds, the national park is a home of over 450 bird species which makes it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. Bird species that can be spotted include black billed barbet, black headed Gonolek, swamp flycatcher, African jacana, African quail finch, silver bird, Abyssinian ground hornbill, blue headed coucal, grey crowned crane, speckle fronted weaver among others.
Kaniyo Pabidi forest, the forests are situated in Budongo forest southern sector of the park 8 km from Kichumbanyobo gate. Kaniyo Pabidi is a habitat of bird species such as yellow footed flycatcher, Ituri batis and primates such as the chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys hence a great place for chimpanzee trekking and birding.
Budongo forest, Budongo is the largest mahogany forest in east Africa that is dominated by iron wood and mahogany trees. The forest is located 3 hours’ drive from Kampala city in the southern part of Murchison falls national park and has major tourist sites like Kaniyo Pabidi, Busingiro ecotourism site among others. Budongo forest is a habitat of primates like chimpanzees, baboons, monkeys, bird species like blue breasted dwarf, pygmy crake, white spotted flufftail, ituri batis, Cassin’s hawk eagle, brown twin spot, crowned eagle among others.
Buligi game track, this is one of the major game viewing areas located 7km from the north of Paraa and stretches over 160 km passing through savannah grassland, woodland, acacia and riverine vegetation. Buligi game track is a great area foe game drive which gives you an opportunity to view many animal species in the parks such as elephants, buffaloes, leopards, jackals, lions, waterbucks, giraffes, bushbucks, Jackson’s hartebeest among others.
Activities to engage in on your Murchison falls national park safari
Game drive, this is one of the popular activities in the park where visitors explore the park in the comfort of a safari vehicle. Game drives in Murchison falls national park can either be done early in the morning when the animals are still active or late in the afternoon when the animals are going back to their resting places. During the game drive you will follow tracks in the pack such as Buligi game track, Pakuba track, Tebito track, Chobe track, Queens track, Victoria track, Albert game track among others where you will get an opportunity to view animal species like the elephants, buffaloes, lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, warthogs, giraffes, Uganda kobs, oribi, waterbucks among others.
Night game drive, Murchison falls national park is one of the national parks in Uganda that offer nocturnal game drives where visitors move into the park at night with a park ranger and spotlight torches for clear viewing. during the night game drive in the park you will be able to view nocturnal animals like lions, leopards, hyenas, porcupines, bush babies, genets, civet, night jar, hippos grazing among others.
Boat cruise, boat cruise in Murchison falls national park is carried out in sessions and is done in two areas that it boat cruise upstream to the bottom of the falls and the boat cruise downstream to the Victoria Nile delta. boat cruises start from Paraa jetty which is the main starting point and the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls can either be done in the morning at 9:00am or in the afternoon at 2:00pm and takes about 2 hours. during the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls you will have great views of the hippos, crocodiles in water, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, Uganda kobs among others along the water shores drinking water, bird species like the malachite and pied kingfisher, red throated bee-eater, kingfishers, hornbills, among others.
boat cruise to the victoria nile delta takes about 4 to 5 hours and during the cruise you will get an opportunity to view animals in water, animals along the water banks drinking water, bird species like the shoe bill stork, saddle billed stork, papyrus Gonolek, open billed stork, goliath heron, yellow footed king fisher, African fish eagle, African jacana among others.
Nature walk/hiking, this is an exciting activity where you get out from the comfort of the safari vehicle and explore the national park on foot. nature walk in Murchison falls national park is done following trails in different areas for example trails in Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabingo forest which offer great views of primates like the chimpanzees, baboons, red tailed monkeys, bird species such as the dusky long tailed cuckoo, slender billed greenbul, yellow manted weaver, grey long bill, hiking to the top of the falls which takes about 45 minutes and offers beautiful views of the scenery, gentle water sprays, listen to the crashing of the water among others.
Bird watching, Murchison falls national park is a home of over 451 bird species with some species endemic to the Albertine rift which makes it a birding paradise in Uganda. There are water birds, forest birds, savannah birds among others and birding in the park is carried out during the game drive, boat cruise, nature walk through the savannah vegetation among others. on your birding safari in Murchison falls national park you can look out for bird species like silver birds, goliath heron, black headed lapwing, grey crowned crane, shoebill stork, giant king fisher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, marabou stork, back bellied bustard, martial eagle, yellow billed stork, African darter, long toed plover, standard winged nightjar, spotted thick knee, dark chanting goshawk, speckle fronted weaver, black billed barbet, black crake, black headed batis, blue naped moosebird, black faced waxbill among others.
Chimpanzee trekking, chimpanzee trekking is the second best done activity in Uganda after gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga forest national park. Chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park is carried out in Kaniyo Pabidi forest which is situated in Budongo forest one of the largest natural forests in east Africa. Chimpanzee trekking in the forest starts with a briefing at the information center where after you will be grouped into 6 people to trek each habituated chimpanzee family. Chimpanzee trekking in Kaniyo Pabidi takes about 2 to 3 hours or even longer and once the chimpanzees have been found, you will spend one hour with them in their natural habitat learning about their lifestyle, behaviors, habits, feeding, taking photos and recording the moments which give you incredible and lifetime experiences on your safari in Murchison falls national park.
Where to stay on your safari in Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park has a wide range of luxury, midrange, budget and camping sites where visitors on a safari can stay including Murchison River Lodge, Fort Murchison Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Tree House, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Amuka Safari Lodge, Bakers Lodge, Geo Lodges Nile Safari Lodge, Boomu Women’s Group Bandas, Bwana Tembo Safari Camp, Budongo Eco Lodge, Kabalega Wilderness Lodge, Global Village Guest House, Heritage Safari Lodge, Kalalo Cottages Inn, Masindi Hotel, New Court View Hotel, Park Side Safari Lodge, Red Chilli Rest Camp, Shoebill Campsite, Uganda Wildlife Campsite, Ziwa Rhino Camp, Yebo Safari Camp among others. The lodges offer quality services and facilities like comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms, siting rooms, restaurant which serves local and international dishes, bar, free Wi-Fi in public areas, swimming pool, gardens for relaxation and great views of the park, animals and River Nile.
Best time to go on a safari in Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season during the months of June to September and December to February. The dry season is also known as the peak season and visitors prefer the travel during the peak season because during this period there is less rainfall in the park therefore the vegetation will be short which enables clear viewing of the animals which will be grazing, access roads to the park will be passable, you will be able to view large concentration of animals along the water shores drinking water which gives you an opportunity to take clear photos and chimpanzee trekking trails in Budongo forest and nature walk trails will be dry and passable.
Though the wet/rainy season is known for heavy rainfall, you can also visit the park because the lodges will be offering discounts to attract visitors, there will be less crowds in the park therefore you will have an opportunity to explore the park with few people, there will be plenty of fruits in the forest which helps you to easily view the chimpanzees.
How to get to Murchison falls national park
Road transport, the park has several routes which can be accessed by road transport means such as Chobe gate, Tangi, Mubako and Wankwar gate in the northern sector, Bugungu and Kichumbayobo gate in the southern sector of the park. When using road transport you will drive from Kampala via Karuma Pakwach road and then branch off from the main road after Karuma bridge to Paraa headquarters which takes about 5 hours’ drive from Kampala and 6 hours’ drive from Entebbe airport.
Murchison falls national park can also be accessed by public means of transport though not advised because there are buses which travel daily to Masindi town therefore you can go to the bus station, board a bus and when you reach Masindi town you disembark and hire a private taxi to the park headquarters.
Air transport , there are domestic companies in Uganda such as Aerolink Uganda limited which operate scheduled and chartered flights daily from Entebbe airport or Kajansi airfield to Pakuba/Chobe airstrip in the northern sector or Bugungu airstrip in the southern sector. flights from Entebbe airstrip depart at 12:00pm and arrive in the park at 13:00pm and the return flight from Pakuba, Chobe or Bugungu airstrip depart at 13:15pm and arrive at Entebbe at 16:15pm therefore visitors who want to arrive fast or travel long distance journeys can opt for air transport.
If you are interested in going on a safari in Murchison falls national park you can book safari packages like 3 days Murchison falls national park, 4 days Murchison falls game viewing and primate tracking, 2 days Murchison falls wildlife safari among others with Achieve Global Safaris at an affordable price.