A Guide to Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda
Location: Murchison falls National Park named after the president of the Royal Geographical Society is positioned in northwestern Uganda spreading inland from the shores of Lake Albert around the Victoria Nile. The MFNP was initially established as a game reserve in 1926 and became one of Uganda’s first national parks in 1952-it is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area covering districts of Buliisa in western Uganda and Nwoya in northern Uganda.
Altitude: 619-1292m above sea level
Access: It will take you around 5hours from Kampala to Masindi with about 305 km and then a distance of about 85km from Masindi town by the shortest route. Guests are urged to travel in 4×4 vehicles due to the conditions of the roads. Other access is also possible from Hoima/Fort portal towns (western Uganda).
Best viewing Season: Throughout the year
Accommodation: Luxury, mid-range, and budget accommodation facilities are all available in the Park. Campsites and camping services are also offered by different lodges and Uganda wildlife authorities. Accommodation can be arranged through the local tour operator or contacting the lodges directly.
Attractions: It is mainly made up of savannah, Borassus palms, acacia trees, and riverine woodland. Of great interest is the 8m wide gorge where the Nile River is squeezed through and plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron”, creating a trademark rainbow.
Popular tour packages: The 3 days Murchison falls safari is most popular as it offers an opportunity to enjoy a game drive and search for some of the Big 5 animals, and then enjoy a fantastic boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. If interested, you can go for chimpanzee tracking in Kanio Pabidi forest reserve on day 3 before driving back to Kampala. Depending on time availability, you can extend your trip to Kibale National Park or Murchison Falls, or Bwindi Impenetrable forest among others.
Fauna: There are listed 76 species of mammals amongst which the Cape buffalo, Rothschild’s giraffe, Uganda kob, hartebeest, and waterbuck are commonly seen. You may also spot Oribi, bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, the shy Sitatunga, bush duiker, warthog, and bushpig. Large carnivores found in the park include lion, leopard, and spotted hyena. There are also listed 451 bird species but the commonly seen include hornbill, cormorant, the rare shoebill stork, Goliath heron, pelican, bee-eaters, kingfishers, saddle-billed stork, and Egyptian geese among others, seen along the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls.
Viewing Hours: The Park can be visited daily from 7h00 to 19h00.
Particularities: It is one of the most spectacular parks in all of Africa! Renowned for its scenic beauty and the spectacular falls from which it gets its name. The Reserve is ideal for a game drive and it is here that Murchison falls’ tourism potential comes to life, even for the ordinary eye. From rolling savannah and tall grasslands to thick bush and woodlands, the bio-diversity of this park never ceases to amaze visitors and residents alike.
- Cultural encounters
- Game drives
- Hiking and nature walks
- Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo forest
- Launch trips