The magnificent Murchison Falls National Park is the biggest National Park in Uganda, and it provides you an unforgettable safari experience. From the dazzling views, such as the sublime Karuma Falls, the Nile and Paraa, to exploring Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo Forest while tracking the chimpanzees and other primates, the Murchison Falls National Park offers a complete safari experience. Not to mention that camping in the area can provide you the chance to see crocodiles, elephants, and hippos from your own verandah. Moreover, this National Park is one of the most significant destinations for bird watchers around the world, due to the presence of 460 bird species.
- +Paraa – the place to see hippos
- +Budongo Forest
- +Karuma Falls
- +Kaniyo Pabidi Forest
- +Rabongo Forest
- +Boat cruises on the Nile River
About Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park can be found in northwestern Uganda, and it is considered one of the main attractions in the country. Uganda itself is a mesmerizing country, also known as the Pearl of Africa. The National Park has a surface of 3,480 square kilometers. Every single kilometer of this surface abounds in fascinating species of animals, birds, trees, plants, and butterflies.
The magnificent Murchison Falls National Park will offer you an experience that you won’t be able to forget soon. It may not be as huge as other national parks that you have visited, but it is one of the most powerful.
What is impressive about it is the fact that the park gathers together some of the most different landscapes, from rainforests and falls to untamed savannahs. This means that the activities that take place in Murchison Falls National Park can vary a lot.
You may observe the animals in their own environment, and you can also enjoy the silence and the colors of a beautiful safari sunset. You can take a calming walk, or you can choose an adventurous activity such as gorilla tracking. You may reserve a day to delight yourself by watching numerous species of bright and colorful butterflies, while the next day you may want to make a boat cruise on the Nile, to observe the dangerous Nile crocodiles, the huge Nile buffalos, and the massive hippos. A safari driving may provide you the opportunity of seeing elephants, giraffes, leopards and even endangered species such as rhino.
Bird watchers also enjoy visiting the Murchison Falls National Park, because of the large variety of birds seen here. The number of species present in the National Park is around 460. In the wet season, the migration of birds transforms Murchison Falls National Park into a real paradise for bird watchers.
Murchison Falls and Karuma Falls are other natural beauties that should not be ignored. Kuruma Falls are creating a fantastic landscape due to its natural rock formation. The Murchison Falls are more impressive that Karuma Falls by their magnitude – the wide Nile flows through a 6-meter space between rocks and creates an extraordinary 43-meter fall. However, both of them provide excellent views and unique places for fishing.
You can arrive at Murchison Falls National Park by road or by air. If you want to arrive using a charter flight, you have to choose as landing destination Pakuba. This is not far from Paraa and Bugungu, less than 20 kilometers.
The other option is by road. In this case, Masindi town, Kampala, and Pakwach are the best choices that grant you access to the park.
When to Go & Weather
- The peak season in Murchison Falls National Park is from June to July and from December to February. These months include the dry and the wet season as well, every period with its own advantages.
- If you are interested in observing and admiring wild animals, it is better for you to choose a period from December to February. The lack of water makes the animals gather together near to water sources; therefore, you may easily observe a greater variety of animals in these months.
- On the other hand, if you are rather interested in bird watching or viewing the landscapes, it’s recommended to visit Murchison Falls National Park from June to November. In this period, the landscape mesmerizes you with luxurious vegetation and many migratory birds can be seen. You don’t have to worry about the heavy rains. The position of the Murchison Falls National Park, unlike the other National Parks of Uganda, provides good weather for safari activities all year round, even in the wet season. The lower prices represent another advantage during this period.
- However, when planning a trip to this National Park, you may want to consult first some sites that provide a weather forecast day by day:
Another useful site is the one you can find below, because of its day by day forecast not only for a few days but for months:
In the Murchison Falls National Park, the temperature is usually high, the climate being tropical. During the day, the temperature is around 31°C, while, during the night, the temperature decreases to an average of 18°C.
The rainy season begins in March and lasts until November, but April and May are the wettest months. Even if in October it doesn’t rain daily, this is the wettest month, due to torrential storms.
From December to February you will witness the dry season. In this period, the temperatures are higher, and the sky is clear almost every day.
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Samuel Baker named Murchison Falls National Park after the president of the English Royal Geographical Society. His name was Roderick Murchison, and he was a great geologist. The area of Murchison Falls was first recognized as a Game Reserve in 1926 and then it received the title of National Park in July 1952. This is the oldest conservation area of Uganda and currently the biggest National Park of the country. Moreover, it’s one of the most important touristic attractions of Uganda, being the first safari destination in East Africa.
The wildlife and flora of Murchison are diverse and full of surprises. The Murchison Falls National Park gives you a unique opportunity to observe magnificent species, from tiny butterflies to massive elephants and hippos, next to a great diversity of flora.
When it comes to flora, an impressive aspect of the Murchison Falls National Park is the unusual combination of savannah and forest, plus delta area. The forests of the National Park – such as Budongo Forest and Rabongo Forest – are riverine forests with a high abundance of medicinal plants and trees.
The wildlife is also magnificent in this National Park, due to its variety. In Murchison Falls National Park you can observe animals such as spotted hyenas, hartebeests, waterbucks, lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants, Nile buffaloes, Nile crocodile, hippos, and even the endangered rhino.
The primates represent another main attraction of the Murchison Falls National Park. Olive baboons, black-and-white colobus, red-tailed monkeys, they all are a part of the incredible Murchison Falls’ wildlife. But what attracts more tourists is the opportunity of seeing chimpanzee, which are in a large number in the National Park (around 800) and also gorillas.
The National Park has a great variety of bird species (around 460), attracting year by year many bird watchers. Some of the species that you can see here are: Shoebill, Yellow-billed Stork, Abdim’s Stork, Senegal Thick-knee, Spotted Thick-knee, Goliath Heron, Secretary Bird, Black-headed Plover, Longed-toed Plover, Martial Eagle, Veracious Dove, Gigant Kingfisher, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Red-throated Bee-eater, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Double-toothed Barbet, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, and Swamp Flycatcher.
Murchison Falls is a National Park of Uganda, and it is under the management of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority. Therefore, the UWA assures the protection of wildlife, fauna, and ecosystems of the park. Some of the measures taken by UWA are patrolling the areas and arresting people who are illegally grazing their animals in the protected areas.
- Gorilla tracking represents one of the main attractions of the Murchison Falls National Park. It’s one of the few areas in Africa where you can see gorillas.
- Since the Nile is crossing the National Park, you may be able to observe closely the Nile Crocodiles from your lodge.
- Murchison Falls National Park has the largest population of Nile crocodiles from Africa.