The distance from Kampala to Murchison falls national park is 305Km and driving there will take you 4.5 hours. The park has several access gates from both the south and the northern as follows.
Southern Entrance Gates
- Kichumbanyobo Gate- You can access paraa from this gate from masindi town. The distance from Masindi town to this gate is 85Km, crossing through the Kaniyo Pabidi forest to Paara
- Bugungu Gate – To access this gate from Masindi is is 135Km, passing through the Budongo forest, home of the chimpanzees. This route also takes you through the rift valley escarpment with impressive views of the Albert mountains in the Dr Congo.
Northern Entrance Gates
- To access the park from the north, there are several entrance gates including the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from the Kampala-Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls Bridge in the northeastern corner of the park, 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitor travelling to/from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.
By Air Transport
Pakuba Airfield, 19km from North Paraa, can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. Other airfields in the park include: Chobe to the east, and Bugungu – near Murchison Falls – to the south.
Where to Stay on a Safari in Murchison Falls National Park
A. Paraa Safari Lodge: Para Safari Lodge is a luxurious and comfortable accommodation with about 54 beautiful rooms with en-suite bathrooms and the balconies which offer a perfect view of the Nile. Some of the activities offered at this lodge include sport fishing, ferry cruise, game drives, hiking, boat cruise which gives you an opportunity to see large hippos, crocodiles, and many bird species like ass fish eagle, kingfishers, bee-eaters and the pelicans. You will also see the River shore frequent visitors like elephants and buffaloes along with the River cooling off the heat in the water.
B. Pakuba Safari Lodge: Pakuba offers activities such as; game drives, chimpanzee tracking, boat cruise, launch trips on the Nile, birding, nature walks, hiking to the top of the falls depending on the number of days one has at Murchison falls adventure. There are also special offers for the guests here which include: when you stay for 3 nights, the management will take you for the morning and evening safari drive, go for nature walks to the top of the falls, afternoon boat cruise to the base of the falls and the Nile Delta boat cruise. For those who stay for four nights, you will be taken for morning and evening safari, there will be nature walks, hike to the top of the falls and base of the falls.
C. Murchison River Lodge: Murchison River Lodge consists of 14 double rooms, 5 single rooms, 8 dormitories with basic cooking facilities and camp refrigerator. It has facilities such as: wide bar area, swimming pool 300 metres from lodge, single and double rooms, 8 dormitories, modern showers and toilets, self-contained rooms, tight security, fully stocked bar which is open from 6.30am to 1.30am, a superb restaurant open from 7.30am to 9.30pm, spacious verandas with fantastic views.
D. Red Chilli Rest Camp: This is a financial plan camp located within Murchison falls National Park adjacent to the south bank of the River. The Rest Camp usually opens from 6.30am to 9.30pm but its bars closes at midnight. Camp at this lodge as the campfire will be set to give all the warmth you need as you enjoy your meals.
Top of Murchison Falls Experience
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 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 the very path you are taken up, Winston Churchill came down and boarded a boat for Sudan. The trail is also part of the famed Baker Trail, named after Samuel and Florence Baker.
There is another fall in the distance, and that is Uhuru Falls, which means in English – Freedom Falls. The Falls hike has become a favorite with visitors to the park. This has become a favorite with most visitors.
Bird Watching In Murchison Falls Park
Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds, and Albertine Rift endemics. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March. The commonest species found in the plains include the Marabou Stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Secretary Birds, Black-bellied Bustards, Open-billed Storks, and Widow Bird.
The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March. Closer to the river where there are more thickets and woodlands, the commonest bird varieties include the Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters – particularly in the Nyamusika Cliffs; Woodland, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers; Francolin; Hornbills, Grey heron; Hamerkop; Shrikes; Flycatchers; Cuckoos; Woodpeckers; Crombecs and Warblers.
Cultural Encounters & Local Experiences
Experience the culture and the lifestyle of the locals who are resident in the neighboring areas of Murchison Falls National park. Relax in the evening as you watch the energetic dancers from Mubako perform. The Boomu women’s group offer accommodation, a craft shop and village tours where you will see the local lifestyle and their daily activities in the rural communities. The village is a cluster of traditional thatched huts, where villagers gather to escape the midday sun under the shade of a large tree.
At dusk, the local cultural groups perform at a campfire of the local lodge, accompanied by the beautiful sound of the “Adungu” which is an instrument made of cowhide and twine and the harmonies of different sizes. There are few economic opportunities in this region and the climate makes farming hard, but with the money generated through tourism, the community can buy produce from local markets, pay school fees and others.
Game Drives In Murchison Park
In Murchison Falls National Park game viewing can be enjoyed while on a game drive in several designated game drive areas. The main areas are the Delta where there are great chances of seeing the Lions in wait for prey as they go to drink, the Buligi Peninsula and the southern sector is famously known as the heart of Murchison.
Explore the length of around 120-170km driving through the savannah grasslands, woodland, acacia and riverine vegetation viewing different animals, for example, the elephant, lion, herds of buffaloes, jackals, Uganda kob and so many others as well as different bird species. The evening game drives will help you spot leopards at dusk. The idea of moving with a game ranger is that they know different hideouts for different animals.
Murchison Falls Launch Trips
The launch trip in Murchison Falls National park is an upstream drive that presents an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with the memorable frontal view of the Falls. The launch departs at 9 am and 2 pm daily and takes three hours. While on a launch boat cruise tourists will be able to see various animals dramatically parading on the ricer banks quenching their thirst and also see aquatic animals close to their boat while having lunch animals such as crocodiles and hippopotamus not forgetting aquatic birds.
The breathtaking river Nile as for ages been of great importance to the people living g around it and also a habitat to various animals, the river banks are very suitable for agricultural purposes and dams have been created for hydroelectric power. A tranquil sundowner boat cruise at 5.30pm offers the classic view of an equatorial sunset reflected on the river.
Nature Walks & Hiking Safaris
The vast landscapes and varied scenery of Murchison Falls National Park offers a great place for nature walks and hiking experiences. Trails through Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forests provide sightings of many primates and birds, while around the Nile Delta, 2-4 hour guided swamp walks offer possible Shoebill sightings.
This is an experience that brings all the senses into play: watch waves of white water tumble hypnotically through this six-meter chasm, listen to the roar, taste the spray on your face and feel the rock shake beneath your feet. Sheer sensory overload! If you don’t fancy the trek to the top, stop off at the north bank during your game drive, and walk down a set of steps to stand within meters of the rapids.
Birders and nature lovers can enjoy short treks starting from Sambiya River Lodge or Mubako Junction, both on the south bank, or a walk along the north bank from Paraa, passing the Emmy River. All walks last from one and a half to two hours.
Sports Fishing at Murchison Falls Park
Sport fishing in Murchison Falls National Park is quite rewarding for the avid angler. There are great opportunities to land a large Nile Perch “mputa” or Cat-fish “semutundu”. Other fish include Tigerfish, Electric catfish, Tilapia, “Ngara” (Genus Alestes). The sport fishing activity is best done at the banks of the Nile below Murchison falls within the strong currents and highly oxygenated water. Here there are high chances of having a massive catch.
Experienced UWA Guides are available to lead you to the best fishing spots, however, to book for a sport fishing adventure at Murchison Falls National Park, you can get in touch with us to arrange for you the unforgettable adventure. A fishing permit is required and currently (March 2019) is at $50 per day or $150 for four days. Park entrance fees are paid separately details are on the UWA Tariff.
Murchison Falls National Park Overview
Murchison Falls National Park sits on the shore of Lake Albert, in northwest Uganda. It’s known for Murchison Falls, where the Victoria Nile River surges through a narrow gap over a massive drop. The park is endowed with several attractions including over 76 mammal species with four members of the big five, the lion, the leopards, the elephants, and the Buffaloes. Other species include bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, hyenas, etc. Along the shores of the Nile and within the waters you will see lots of hippos and crocodiles among other resident creatures. There also several primates in the Murchison falls national park including baboons and several monkey species.
The highlight of your tour in Murchison Falls National Park is visiting the “Murchison Falls” a point along the Nile, within the park where River Nile forces its way through a narrow gorge 8 meters wide. The launch trip upstream is very interesting and offers magnificent views of the falls and several wildlife species found along the shores including Buffaloes, Hippos, Crocodiles, waterbucks, and birds.