Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls national park covers an area of 3840 km2 and is the largest national park and with the other reserves like Karuma and Bugungu and Budongo, it covers an area of 5,025 km2. The altitude range from 619m at the delta on Lake Albert and 1,292m at Rabongo hill. The area is traversed by the river Victoria Nile, which connects Lake Kyoga with Lake Albert and was gazetted in 1952 making it Uganda’s oldest national park.

The park is named after the marvelous falls on the river, which encounters a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley Escarpment, and then it is transformed into a froth of thunderous white water, with no comparison to any other site in East Africa. The vegetation is characterized by Savannah, riverine forest and woodland in Murchison falls.

Species in Murchison Falls National Park

There are 76 mammal species, the big five and others respectively including Rothschild giraffes, Savannah elephants, lions, Cape buffaloes, giraffes, leopards, spotted hyenas, Uganda kobs, bush buck, water buck, warthogs, oribi and jackal. And over 450 bird species.

Activities in Murchison Falls National Park

The famous launch trip from Paraa along the river Nile up to the Murchison Falls (17 km), to see the aquatic wildlife like Hippos, Crocodiles and water birds like cormorants, pelicans, herons, fish eagle, shoebill stork. A Hike to the top of the falls is another really interesting activity that lets you see the spectacular falls from different angles, giving a great opportunity for some really nice pictures.

The Game drives north of river Nile and at Lake Albert Delta (Buligi, Albert and Queen’s tracks) are such a great adventure, seeing various big game. Sport fishing (Nile Perch and tiger fish) is a rarely desired activity by visitors to this park but it’s one that can be enjoyed that on the Victorian Nile. “Chimpanzee trekking and filming” and bird watching can be done in Budongo Forest and Kaniyo Pabidi Forest Reserve.

Accessibility to Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls national park with the adjoining Karuma and Bugungu Wildlife Reserves can be accessed through different routes that will lead to the Paraa Park headquarters. It can also be reached by air using the daily flights from Entebbe International Airport or chartered aircrafts from Kajjansi airfield to Pakuba airfield, 19km Northwest of Paraa and south at Bugungu, 13km from the park headquarters.

The most commonly used route is Kampala via Masindi town to Kichumbanyobo Gate which is about 300km long and takes an average of 4.5 hours. This route is currently considered the shortest and most convenient with 175 km on a good road 125km of the journey on fine murram road. This route takes you through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest before encountering the rift valley escarpment that offers a spectacular view of Murchison falls landscape.

Alternative Accessibility to Murchison Falls National Park

The alternative route is via Biiso and Buliisa which enables the visitors to enter the park through the Bugungu Gate. Although a bit longer than the Kichumbanyobo Gate corridor, this access route leads through Budongo Forest, down the rift valley escarpment with a fascinating view over Lake Albert onto the Blue Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and over the wide open spaces of the massive national park.

The adventurous route also leads the visitors through the chimpanzee packed forest before descending to the rift valley escarpment where one can explore the remains of the historical Butiaba Port as well as Wanseko a popular spot south of the Nile delta.

Once in the conservation area, the Nile river crossing at Paraa in the heart of the park is approximately 5hrs drive from Kampala (305 km). Paraa is 85 km from Masindi town by the direct route. A longer (135km) alternative route passes through Budongo forest and provides scenic views across Lake Albert from the rift valley escarpment above Butiaba. Paraa can also be approached from the north, via Chobe Gate near Karuma Falls and Tangi Gate near Pakwach (25km to Paraa), and Wankwa Gate near Purongo. A vehicle ferry crosses the Nile at Paraa operating hourly between 07:00 and 19:00 with the exception of 13:00.

Accommodation facilities in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison does provide wide variety of accommodation facilities like the Paraa safari lodge, Chobe safari lodge, Nile safari lodge (Luxury), Budongo Eco lodge, Sambiya River lodge, Murchison River lodge, Fort Murchison lodge (Mid-range) and Red chilli rest camp (Budget accommodation) among others.