Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park was gazetted in 1954 after two years from the queen’s visit to Uganda in 1952 when Queen Elizabeth was renamed to its current name. Murchison falls National Park is the biggest national park in Uganda in terms of area; it extends over a wide area of about Murchison falls national park covers up about four districts including, Masindi district, Kiryandongo, and Nwoya, which are found in the northwestern region of Uganda. Murchison falls national park is located in a distance of about 350km North West of Kampala the capital city of Uganda.

The park derives its name from way back in history and the renowned Murchison falls which was named after a long time geologist, who belonged to the royal geographical society in the 18th century, by the name of Murchison. Murchison falls national park is part and partial of a vast conservation area in Uganda called Murchison falls conservation area.  The Park is home to quite a range of wild special animal species and exclusively endemic bird species.

Murchison falls national park safaris offer a chance to experience the big five of Africa; they are the biggest wild mammal species of Africa. The big five wild mammal species are called so because they are very fierce and dangerous when forced to face attackers, they include rhinos, buffaloes, hippos, lions, and leopards. The park protects over 76 mammal species and 450 bird species, primates, insects and other creatures.

Murchison falls is the best attraction in Murchison falls national park. The park is located between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert along the White Nile which flows Northwest of Lake Kyoga. As huge masses of water forced through a narrow gorge, of just 6meters width, it uses a lot of pressure which leads to the formation of a misty situation around the falls. When the sun shines through the small water droplets, a rainbow is formed around the falls.

 The falls are associated with the best hike of all times, called the church hill hike from the bottom of the falls. The top of the falls hiking trail offers an opportunity for you to spot a number of water birds, beautiful butterflies, et cetera.

Wildlife in Murchison falls national park

The wildlife in this park are held up by the wide variety of ecosystems ranging from grasslands to forests, and swamps among others. The different ecosystems in Murchison falls national park harbor a number of uniquely selected wild animals and birds, such as warthogs, duikers, antelopes, sitatungas, elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, buffaloes, and primates like monkeys, baboons, and chimpanzees; they are mainly found in kaniyo pabidi and Budongo forest reserves.

Murchison Falls National Park
Hippos in Murchison Falls Park

The warthogs are common in the national park; you can spot a lot of them even before leaving your lodge. Other common animals include the olive baboons, blue colobus monkeys, hippos, mongooses et cetera. Chobe safari lodge gives you a chance to enjoy seeing the hippos more clearly as they mourn in water all day long and a number of crocodiles can be clearly spotted at the riverbank of the Nile at Chobe. The wildlife found in Murchison falls national park combined to the white rhinos of ziwa rhino sanctuary in Masindi to make the best big five African safaris. They include hippos, elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinos.

Bird life: Murchison falls national park is a birders paradise with over 450 species of birds; they are classified into categories such as the water birds, the open land birds, grassland birds, and he forest birds. The water birds category includes the sought after shoe bill stork which can be found in the Albert delta during the boat cruise; it is majorly seen in the swampy vegetation along the Victoria Nile towards the Albert delta. Other birds species include the horned bill stork, the grey crowned crown, the pied kingfisher, yellow feet flycatcher, marabou stork, sandpipers, African jacana, Denham’s bastards, silvers bird, blue-headed coucal, black-headed gonolek, eastern grey plantain eater, and herons et cetera.

Primates: The primates in Murchison are mainly found in the forested areas of the park such as kaniyo pabidi. Kaniyo pabidi is where you can enjoy the comedy with a number of primate species such as the chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons among others; the most famous primates are the habituated chimpanzees. During the low season of tourism in Uganda; wet season from March to June, you can enjoy a full day of trekking the habituated chimpanzees or chimpanzee habituation which starts in the morning, at exactly 6 am, to catch up with the chimps as they get down from their nests, built last evening. To note, the chimpanzees build new nests every evening in different areas in the forest. Chimpanzee habituation is a chance for you to enjoy the entire day learning the different behaviors associated with the chimpanzees. Though chimpanzees are largely trekked in Kibale National Park close to Queen Elizabeth National Park which also provides chimpanzee trekking in the Kyambura Gorge.

Getting there

The location of the national park makes it very accessible irrespective of the direction you are coming from. Both by air and road transport, you can access this national park; the road routes are mostly used by the visitors to Murchison falls national park. However, air transport means are cheaper in terms of time and distance.  The visitors to Murchison falls national park either use the northern gates or the southern gates into Murchison falls.

Murchison falls national park, by bus can be accessed from Kampala or by private means (self-drive) or pick up from the airport, if at all it was planned by your tour consultant. The distance takes about three (3) hours’ drive over a distance of about 305km distance from Kampala to Masindi town. the main route enters the park through the Kichumbanyobo gate; about 85km from Masindi through Kaniyo pabidi forest reserve to paraa part of the park. 

Alternatively, you can make use of Bugungu gate to reach the southern part of Murchison falls national park. It is long but the most scenic route which gives you a chance to see a lot of spectacular views like the Budongo forest and the escarpments of the western Great Rift Valley. The northern gates of Mumbalo, wankar, Chobe and tangi gates are located in the northern side of Murchison park. The Kampala- pakwach route which crosses the Nile at karuma Falls Bridge is the best route to access the northern part of Murchison falls national park. To note, Northern gates are also a better option for the traveler from Gulu and kidepo national park.

You can get to Murchison by air transport via the different airports in the area, such as Pakuba, Bugungu, and Chobe airfields. Bugungu airfield is the most convenient for safari tourists who would love to visit Paara part of Murchison falls national park.also the tourists to red chili safari camp, Nile camp, and Simbya safari camp can use bugungu airstrip. You can also use Chobe airfield found near Chobe safari lodge on the northern side of Murchison falls park.

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