Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Uganda, located in the northern part of the country. The park is named after the magnificent Murchison Falls, which is the most powerful waterfall in the world. This national park covers an area of about 3,840 square kilometers and is home to a variety of wildlife species, including elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, chimpanzees, and many more. Here’s all you need to know about Murchison Falls National Park:
How to Get to Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park is located about 300 kilometers northwest of Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. The park can be accessed by road or air.
The park can be accessed by road from the capital city of Kampala, which is approximately a 5-6 hours’ drive. You can hire a private vehicle or take a taxi or bus from Kampala to Masindi town, which is the nearest town to the park. From Masindi, you can hire a car and a driver or take a taxi to the park’s main gate.
You can also fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Pakuba Airstrip, Bugungu Airstrip or Chobe Airstrip located within the park. Flights are available from various airlines, including Aerolink Uganda, Bar Aviation, Kampala Executive Aviation, and Eagle Air. From the airstrips within the park, you can arrange for transfers with your accommodation or Tour Company to your preferred accommodation within the park.
It is important to note that visitors to Murchison Falls National Park must have a valid entry permit, which can be obtained from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Visitors are also advised to book their accommodation and transportation in advance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Game Drives: Game drives are one of the most popular activities in Murchison Falls National Park. Visitors can explore the park in a 4×4 vehicle with a guide and view wildlife such as elephants, lions, giraffes, and many more. Game drives are usually done early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the animals are most active. The rare patas monkeys are often seen on game drives in the park.
Nature Walks: Nature walks are another activity that visitors can enjoy in Murchison Falls National Park. The walks are usually guided and take visitors through different parts of the park, where they can see different plant and animal species.
Boat Safaris: Boat safaris are another popular activity in Murchison Falls National Park. Visitors can take a boat ride on the Nile River and see wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles, and various bird species. The highlight of the boat safari is the Murchison Falls, where the Nile River forces its way through a narrow gorge, creating a magnificent waterfall.
Chimpanzee Trekking: Murchison Falls National Park is also home to a population of chimpanzees, which can be seen on a chimpanzee trekking excursion. Visitors can trek through the forest with a guide and see the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
Cultural Experiences: Visitors can also experience the culture of the local communities around Murchison Falls National Park. This can include visiting local villages, learning about the local customs and traditions, and interacting with the locals.
Accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park has several accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. There are several lodges and campsites located inside the park, as well as outside the park. Some of the popular lodges in the park include; Nile Safari Lodge, Twiga Safari Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Chobe Safari Lodge, Fort Murchison, Pakuba Safari Lodge, Sambiya River Lodge, Red Chilli Rest Camp among others. There are also several campsites located inside the park, which are ideal for visitors who want to experience camping in the wild.
Best Time to Visit Murchison Falls National Park
The best time to visit Murchison Falls National Park is during the dry season, which runs from December to February and June to September. During this time, the weather is dry and sunny, and the temperatures are mild, making it comfortable for visitors to explore the park.
The dry season is also the best time for game viewing as the animals tend to gather around water sources, making it easier to spot them. The vegetation is also less dense, which makes it easier to see the animals.
During the dry season, the water levels in the Nile River are also lower, making it easier to view the Murchison Falls. Visitors can take a boat safari and get up close to the falls, which is a thrilling experience.
However, the dry season is also the busiest time in the park, and visitors can expect to encounter large crowds, especially at popular attractions like the Murchison Falls. Accommodation and tour prices may also be higher during this time.
The rainy season, which runs from March to May and October to November, is the low season in the park. The weather is wetter, and the temperatures are cooler. The park is also less crowded during this time, which can be an advantage for visitors who prefer a more peaceful and quiet experience.
The rainy season is also a good time for bird watching as the park is home to over 450 bird species. The vegetation is also lush and green during this time, which makes the scenery more beautiful.
However, the rainy season also has some disadvantages. The roads in the park can be muddy and impassable, which can make it difficult to explore the park. Some of the lodges and campsites may also be closed during this time, which limits accommodation options.