Murchison Falls National Park
Witness the Nile at its most intense at Murchison Falls
Uganda’s largest and oldest national park, Murchison Falls was established in 1952 and is now a renowned conservation area. On your bespoke, guided Murchison Falls tour you’ll find untamed wilderness, sprawling savannah and, of course, the dramatic waterfalls from which it takes its name.
Located on the shores of Lake Albert, the River Nile slices Murchison Falls National Park dramatically in two, before channelling through a gorge only a few metres wide and crashing in the valley below. This is one of the world’s most powerful flows of natural water. Even on dry land you’ll be swept up by the mist and trembling ground beneath your feet.
We are relieved to report that the once endemic poaching to the park ended in the 1980s and the animal population has since exploded. Your local guide will show you all the best locations for spotting wildlife, and you’ll tick off at least a couple of the Big Five. Lion, elephant, hippo, waterbuck, leopard and hyena all dwell here and with such a variety of ecosystems and prolific birdlife too – over 450 species at last count – Murchison Falls National Park is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream, and a must for any tailor-made safari holiday in Uganda.
What to Expect in Murchison Falls N.P
The park supports four of the Big Five; only rhino are absent. Buffalo and elephant are particularly common. There is a very healthy population of lion that like to prey on the abundant Uganda kob. Other antelope found here are oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest, grey duiker and bushbuck. Hyena is present but rare, and zebra is absent. The Victoria Nile is a magnet for wildlife, and it teems with crocodile and hippo. Chimpanzee can be tracked in neighboring Budongo Forest.
Large herds of the localized Rothschild’s giraffe are found in the park and in 2016 a group of them was moved across to the area of the park south of the river where wildlife is sparse. Murchison Falls is the only park, aside from Kidepo and Lake Mburo, where giraffe are found in Uganda. The rare Patas monkey can sometimes be spotted on the grassy plains.
Murchison Falls NP is one of the best places in Africa to find the prehistoric-looking shoebill stork. Sightings of this sought-after bird are almost guaranteed on a boat trip on the Victoria Nile towards the Lake Albert delta. This boat trip, as well as the more popular ‘launch’ trip towards Murchison Falls, are, in fact, great for checking off many water-associated birds. With 53 species recorded, raptors are also very well represented. The park’s impressive checklist contains more than 450 species in total. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Murchison Falls National Park can be visited throughout the year, but the best time for wildlife viewing is the Dry season (from December to February) when animals congregate around the Victoria Nile and other reliable water sources.
How To Get There
Unlike many of the other parks in Uganda, Murchison Falls doesn’t fit in a convenient circuit and is mostly visited as an add-on to a more standard safari package.
Murchison Falls NP is located 305km/190mi north of Kampala. The drive takes about four hours. It is also possible to fly to Pakuba, Chobe and Bugundu Airfield by chartered or scheduled aircraft service from Entebbe International Airport (EBB) or Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala.
When flying from abroad, you’ll arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB). It is located 46km/29mi from the capital (Kampala). Your local tour operator will usually arrange for you to be picked up at the airport and will take care of all further transportation as part of your safari package.
Charter flights are also available. As part of your tour package, domestic flights between Ugandan parks are usually arranged by your tour operator. Regularly scheduled, domestic flights are run by:
Murchison River Lodge