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How to Plan a Safari in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda


Measuring about 3840 sq. km, Murchison Falls National Park is the largest national park in Uganda. Established in 1952, it is one of the country’s earliest national parks.

Murchison Falls is located at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, spanning across three districts: Masindi, Kiryandongo, and Buliisa.

Murchison Falls National Park hosts over 144 mammals, 556 bird species, 51 amphibians, and 51 reptiles. This national park is renowned for having the highest number of African elephants, which are said to be the largest living mammals. The park is bisected by the River Nile, which squeezes through an 8-meter wide gorge before plunging over 45 meters down, creating a thunderous roar.

A safari to Murchison Falls National Park offers one of the most unforgettable experiences in life. The park boasts a multitude of attractions to explore, including animals, birds, the River Nile, and Murchison Falls, reputed to be the strongest in the world. Tourists can have exceptional experiences by participating in various organized activities.

Overview:

Things To Do in Murchison Falls National Park

During your stay in Murchison Falls National Park, there are so many activities that can be done. The more days one has, the more activities one can do while on a safari in Murchison Falls.

On a day, a maximum of two activities can be done, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Night game drives can be carried out in the night for those who want to see nocturnal animals.

Fortunately, there are so many activities to do while on a safari in Murchison Falls National Park, including the following:

Game Drives

Murchison Falls National Park has over 144 mammals, 6 primates, 556 bird species, 51 amphibians, and 51 reptiles. Game drives are the best way to see some of the wildlife in the national park, and they are conducted in the morning, evening, and night hours around different park areas.

Day game drives (morning and evening) last two to three hours in different areas of the southern sector of the park. During these drives, tourists can see animals such as elephants, lions, leopards, warthogs, Nile crocodiles, Uganda kobs, sitatungas, hartebeests, cape buffaloes, giraffes, side-stripped jackals, spotted hyenas, hippos, cape buffaloes, and a few primates, among others.

Night game drives are also possible in Murchison Falls National Park, where tourists move to some areas of the park with armed ranger guides and strong lights to locate animals that are active during the night. During the night game drives, animals likely to be spotted include spotted hyenas, lions, bushbabies, giraffes, and leopards, to mention but a few.

Giraffes in the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda
Giraffes in the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda

Bird Watching

Over 556 bird species have been recorded in different areas of Murchison Falls National Park.

The birding areas in Murchison include Kaniyo Pabidi, Royal Mile, and Busingiro, where tourists can see forest birds. Birding can also be done along the river, where birders can see waterbird species.

Birds of Murchison Falls National Park are best seen during the nature walks in the abovementioned areas. Bird species include Shoebill stork, yellow-fronted tinkerbird, saddle-billed stork, grey crowned crane, marital eagle, black-headed lapwing, red-throated bee-eater, Denham’s bustard, giant heron, African jacana, northern red bishop, black scimitarbill, vinaceous dove, Senegal thick-knee, long-toed plover, black-billed barbet, African darter, giant heron, and red-throated bee-eater to mention but a few.

Related read: Best Places for Bird Watching in Uganda

Bird watching from the boat at the Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
Bird watching from the boat at the Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

Boat Cruises

While on a safari in Murchison Falls National Park, an activity you don’t have to miss out on is a boat cruise. Boat cruises in the park are done to the bottom of the falls and the Nile Delta. The Albert Delta boat cruise is mostly done by birders, while the bottom of the Falls boat cruise is done to allow visitors to see the Murchison Falls.

Bottom-of-the-falls boat cruises in Murchison Falls National Park start from Paara dock, and tourists are taken all the way up to the bottom of the falls. During the boat cruise, tourists are able to see different water animals like crocodiles, hippos, and others grazing near the river shoes, such as elephants and antelopes, while border visitors will be able to spot a few water birds in the nearby vegetation cover.

The Albert Delta boat cruise starts from the Paraa dock but sails down the River Nile waters. It goes all the way to the Nile Delta, where the River Nile joins Lake Albert. During the boat cruise, birders are able to see some of the park animals along the shoes, but most importantly, bird species such as the Shoebill stork, long-toed lapwing, goliath heron, African fish eagle, and pied giant malachite, to mention but a few.

Murchison Boat cruise at the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda
Murchison Boat cruise at the Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda

Visit the Top of the Falls

Tourists can see Murchison Falls when they take a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls; however, the best way to see the falls is by hiking or driving to the top.

Those who hike to the top of the falls need around 45 minutes, and the good thing about this is that they get to meet and see different attractions in the park.

Driving to the top of the falls makes the activity easy because tourists slope for a few minutes to reach the top. At the top of the falls, one can see water flowing at a very high speed before passing through a narrow gorge that is 8m wide. When the water passes through the gorge, it falls down the rock about 45 meters and then produces a thunderous row into the Devil’s cauldron.

How To Plan a Safari to Murchison Falls National Park

Tourists intending to visit Murchison Falls National Park for safaris are advised to first research the destination.

By reading about the park, one can determine what they will do while there, the number of days needed, the best time to visit, how to get there, and the amount of money needed, among other things. This piece of work has all the necessary information to plan a safari to Murchison Falls National Park.

Booking a Safari to Murchison Falls National Park

Assuming you have already gotten your travel dates, booking a safari to Murchison Falls National Park can be difficult, especially for first-time travelers. There are several factors to consider when booking a safari to any national park, and these include choosing a local tour operator, mode of transport, accommodation type, and activities to do while there, to mention but a few.

If you intend to visit Murchison Falls National Park for a safari, you need to set travel dates. Your dates of travel help in pricing as the tour package process differs according to the months of the year. You are supposed to look for different tour operators that can help you organize a memorable safari.

When booking with tour operators, one is supposed to send them the travel dates, group size, room plan, mode of transport, level of luxury, and travel budget. The tour operator will use this information to determine the cost of the safari and then send you a quotation.

When the tour operators send the quotation and itinerary, it’s better to read through it and see if everything is in the order you want. From here, you choose the tour operator with the best price, and based on their booking conditions, you can make a deposit or make full payment for your safari to be confirmed.

Africa Adventure Vacations

This is your go-to spot for incredible African safaris you’ll never forget.

They’re a top-rated safari company located in Uganda that provides amazing tours. Whether you’re into wildlife, culture, birding, luxury gorilla safaris, or Kilimanjaro trekking, they’ve got you covered.

They can tailor tours to your travel preferences, budget, and schedule.

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When Should You Book a Safari to Murchison Falls National Park?

Tourists are required to book a safari to Murchison Falls National Park at least 3 to 4 months in advance. Booking the safari in advance enables them to get the best tour operator, secure the best accommodation facilities, and have time to prepare, and it also enables tourists to save enough money to use on the safari.

The Places to Stay in Murchison Falls National Park

Tourists planning to visit Murchison Falls National Park have to think about the places they will stay at if they are to spend a night or more within the park. There are so many lodges inside and around the beautiful park where tourists can stay, and where to go usually depends on the client’s budget.

Lodges in Murchison Falls National Park are plenty in different areas in and around the park. These lodges include budget, mid-range, and luxury options offering different services. Lodges include Paara Safari Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Fort Murchison Lodge, Mama Washindi Lodge, and Hornbill Bush Lodge, to mention but a few.

Best Time to Visit Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park can be visited throughout the year. However, there are months that are better than others, like the dry season months. June to September and December to February are the best times to visit Murchison Falls National Park, for they have good weather characterized by little rainfall and plenty of sunshine.

During the dry season in Murchison Falls National Park, the vegetation is short, with good views of wildlife and other park attractions, game tracks to different park areas are dry and easier to pass through, and lastly, the roads leading to the park are passable. With little rainfall received, activities go on as planned and there is none you can miss.

Tourists can still consider visiting Murchison Falls National Park during the low season, when the prices are low and only a few tourists are in the park. The low season happens when the park receives too much rainfall and little sunshine. Tourists should come knowing that tall vegetation leads to unclear views of some of the attractions, and the game tracks are muddy and slippery.

Getting to Murchison Falls National Park

As you plan your next safari to Murchison Falls National Park, you need to know that tourists can access the park in two ways. Depending on the traveler’s budget, Murchison can be accessed using road transport or air transport. Air transport is quick, but travelers need to know it’s expensive, while road transport is cheap and takes 6 to 7 hours, including stopovers.

  • Getting to Murchison Falls National Park by road: This is one of the national parks that can be accessed by road transport, and from Entebbe, tourists go through Luwero, Nakasongola, and Masindi, where they enter the park using the southern gates to access the park. Tourists can still access the park from Pakwach using Tangi gate or Wankar gate near Purongo.
  • Accessing Murchison Falls National Park by air: The fastest way to get to Murchison Falls National Park is by air transport. There are three airstrips in Murchison Falls National Park which tourists can fly to and access, including Chobe, Pakuba, and Bugugu. Different flying companies like Bar Aviation Uganda, Aerolink Uganda, and Kampala Executive Aviation have flights to the park.

Get in touch with Africa Adventure Vacations to book your trip to the Murchison Falls National Park:

  • Africa Adventure Vacations

    Africa Adventure Vacations is a one-stop center for the best and most memorable African safaris. We are a renowned safari operator based in Uganda, offering exceptional tours throughout the East African region, ranging from wildlife adventures, culture, birding, luxury gorilla safaris to Kilimanjaro trekking tours. All our tours can be customized to best suit your travel needs, budget and time.





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