A Safari to Uganda is often not complete with a visit to the great Murchison Falls National Park. Those who are after a glimpse of Uganda diverse Wildlife, this Park should be your first layover on a tailor made Uganda Adventure Tour vacation.
Just in the north western part of Uganda within the Albertine rift is where you find this focal point of wildlife encounters in Uganda. Among Uganda top ten National Parks, Murchison ranks the largest and it covers a total area of 3893 square kilometers.
This Park is found in Murchison Falls Conservation area including Budongo forest reserve, Kigezi Wildlife reserve and Karuma falls.
The park’s ecosystem consists of tropical rainforests, savannah grasslands, swampy areas, woodlands and thickets. These all boast lush habitats that shelter a large number of different Wildlife species that are worth a sight. Some of these include elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes, Antelope species, lions, leopards, primates and different bird species.
You can get to this Park by either road transport means or air transport means. Travelling from Kampala by road, it takes about 7-8 hours for the scenic drive via Kampala – Masindi – Gulu highway. You can stopover in Nakasongola for a visit to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary.
Other than, road transport means you can go by air plane means – private charters are arranged from Entebbe up to Pakuba airstrip in Murchison – with this option, there is no possibility of visiting the Rhino Sanctuary.
Another alternative is when you connect from the nearby parks like Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth or Kidepo Valley National Park.
Most travelers from different parts of the World know this Park mainly for its great falls but definitely it has a lot of things to see and do while on your Safari. Below we have tried to detail the major things to do or key highlights for a trip to Murchison Falls National Park.
This is one of activities that shouldn’t miss on your bucket list as you are planning a Uganda Safari Tour. Murchison is endowed with lots of Wildlife species including Wild animals, Primates and different bird species. Animals like Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes, Bush bucks, kobs and other antelope species.
All these are possible on foot but this is not secure and recommended. Therefore if you after sighting them, you must embark on a game drive.
Game driving usually includes driving around in a vehicle with pop up roof. From the pop up you can take in numerous sweeping views.
Game driving lasts for about 2-3 hours while following the permanently established trails. Off tracking is illegal.
This is usually includes meeting face to face with the chimpanzee primates in the Jungles. These primates are the closest to human being features and rarely seen.
Therefore if you are after them, don’t miss the chimpanzee tracking excursion while in Murchison for a Wildlife safari.
This experience is offered in the Budongo forest – part of Murchison Falls National Park. Usually like Mountain Gorilla trekking, a briefing is first conducted to advise trackers on what to avoid and do while in the presence of the chimps.
After you will start the journey to search for these primates in the Jungles. It requires a permit which costs $90 USD per person.
Launch trip cruise
You can take in the spectacular scenery of the park from the waters. Launch trip cruises are arranged on daily basis to the bottom of the falls.
This cruise along the falls rewards stupendous views of aquatic life like crocodiles, hippos and different bird species. You will as well sight some wild animals that draw near the banks in need of water. It lasts for about 3-4 hours for the drive.
Hot Air ballooning
You can soak up Murchison’s natural wonders by game drive or boat cruise but from the basket of a hot air balloon, it is exceptional. Views of landscapes, sunset/rise, gushing falls and large herds of animals from above are inspirational.
Hike to the top of the falls
For adventure feeling, you can enjoy the hike up to the top of the falls.
This is a guided expedition and takes about 45 minutes for the hike up to the top; you will feel the ground shake under your feet. This trail to follow is part of the Baker trail – named after Samuel and Florence baker.
Murchison Falls National Park consists of different localities that feature several hiking trails to join for breathtaking hikes. You can have nature walks in Rabongo forest, a birders’ paradise or Budongo Forest where you have the chance to sight some chimpanzees.
This is out of the park and you can do it on your way to the park – stop over in Nakasongola for rhino tracking in Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary. This pursuits lasts for only one hour and the permit for the tracking costs $50 USD per person.
Murchison is one of Uganda’s top hotspots for bird watching. It is located with over 450 species of birds. You can sight plenty of birds including savannah, forest and water bird species in Budongo forest reserve.