Murchison falls national park is Uganda’s largest protected area discovered by Sir Samuel Baker in 1860 and he named it after the geologist Roderick. This spectacular national park is located in the Northwestern Uganda in the districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Masindi and Kiryandongo. The distance is approximately 305km from Kampala the capital of Uganda. Murchison falls is not only surrounded by beautiful scenery, it is home to a variety of mammals such as lions, elephants, giraffes, leopard not forgetting the chimpanzees in Budongo forest. The park also possesses a number of bird species like shoebill and the grey crowned cranes.
The park is divided by the Victoria Nile making through rapids and waterfalls like the impressive Murchison falls before entering lake Albert. Murchison falls national park is unique in such a way that it has spectacular Karuma waterfalls comprising of cascading natural rock formations.
It is known for having the most powerful waterfall in the world where river Nile squeezes through a 7-meter gap and drops 45 meters down. This is an extraordinary place to see diversity of wildlife and so a boat trip should be included on the to do list.
This is the only national park in Uganda where one is able to spot the ‘big five’ by combining Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary which is a few kilometres away from Murchison Falls National Park, mammals that includes the lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and the leopard which can be sighted in the North, hippos, Nile crocodiles among other mammals. The Rare Rothschild’s giraffe can also be recognised.
Besides big four, the park is also home to primates like the baboons, vervet monkeys not forgetting the playful chimpanzees and can be spotted in the south.450 extremely attractive bird species that includes the shoebill stock that loves to assemble in the wetlands, kingfisher, Egyptian goose, black belly bustard among others. Bird watching can be done all year round in the park during the rainy season since it is when the exuberant birds arrive in the park.
Murchison falls national park can be enjoyed throughout the year, though, December to February are the best times to visit the park considering it the dry season and animals are easily found during the dry season.
And for the bird watchers, the best time to visit the park is November and June since this is the time that various birds arrive in the park.
Birding is an activity that involves observing of different bird species by either naked eyes or a binocular. The park is the best place for a birdwatcher since it is home to over 450 species like the forest and water birds making it the best birding destination in Uganda. During this activity, one will spot different bird species like the shoebill, open billed stock, widow bird, secretary bird, swamp flycatcher, Abyssinian ground hornbill, weaver bird, kingfisher, red winged grey warbler among others.
A game drive is an adventure that involves viewing wildlife. Get a satisfying game drive in the park as you excurse through the wild areas to find some of the most iconic and elusive wildlife. This rewarding activity can be done early in the morning or in the afternoon. During this rewarding activity, you shall be able to spot animals like giraffes, elephants, lions, and on a lucky day, one will spot a predator.
This is one of the most popular wildlife activities that ushers you in the chimpanzee world in the wild. Trekking these primates which is done in Budongo forest beginning with a brief interaction at the headquarters of the park.
Chimpanzee trekking is done for three hours and once they are found, you shall be able to spend one hour with them as you learn about their intelligence, beauty as well as social life structures and one is able to sight other primates like the blue monkeys, colobus monkeys.
This has proved to be the most delightful among other activities carried out in the park having two types of cruises that can be done within the park. The bottom of the falls which is the most rewarding commences from Paraa sailing up stream towards the falls. This is one of the epic moments where one is able to take shots of the animals along the Nile since the boat is ever getting closer to these mammals.
The other cruise is the Albert delta Cruise where the boat sails downstream where the river divides up creating various floating islands of papyrus zones. Hippos are here to help you out to spot the prehistoric shoebill stork by clearing away the water vegetation. Get caught up in moments with nature’s greatness as you are watching the dusk falling and the sun setting as you take shoots of the awesome moments.
Murchison falls national park is located in North-western Uganda and can be accessed through air transport where you will have to book a flight from Entebbe international Airport or Kajjansi airfield.
The park can also be accessed through road transport where you will drive from Kampala to either Kichumbanyobo or through Chobe gate that takes approximately 5 to 6 hours of drive.