Murchison Falls National Park at 3840km2 is the largest park in Uganda and is named after the Murchison falls where the mighty river Nile is forced through a narrow gorge of 7m into the ‘Devils Cauldron’ creating an ever present rainbow. Samuel Baker the explorer considered the Murchison falls as “the most important object of the entire course of the river”. There are plenty of activities done and see in Murchison Falls National Park.
The game drives takes anything from 4 hours to an entire day depending on your interests, amount of time in the park and the different activities you are interested in. Have your cameras to shoot photos of the different animals, birds and landscape but most importantly use the time to enjoy nature. The animals to look out for include; Bushbucks, Waterbucks, hartebeest, Oribi, Uganda Kobs, giraffes, Patas monkeys, Warthogs, Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopards and Lions etc.
Boat safaris on the Nile /Launch trips on the Nile
The boat safaris in Murchison Falls national park are on the Victoria Nile towards the falls. The Nile boat safari is your ultimate experience of water, animals, birds, and great scenery. Here you look out for animals coming to water and those resident/semi residents in water; Crocodiles, Hippos, monitor lizards. Watch out for herds of Buffalo, Elephants and antelopes that come for water.
The opportunities for water birds are high as you take this trip. The launch trip happens twice a day with a morning trip starting at 9am and afternoon at 2pm; however, one can rent a boat and take trip at their leisure. For those most interested in bird watching we recommend the boat ride to the delta where you have chances of sighting the Shoebill as it fishes.
Chimpanzee tracking at Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo Forest
Kaniyo Pabidi is a section of Budongo forest located in the boundaries of Murchison falls national park. You can track chimpanzees from Kaniyo Pabidi a section of Budongo forest, which is home to numerous other primates like baboons, red-tailed monkeys, black-and-white colobus monkeys and blue monkeys, lots of rare bird species and big game like Buffaloes, Elephants, and bush pigs with magnificent scenery.
The chimpanzee trek normally takes 3-4 hours depending on where the chimps nested the previous night, once located the people are can stay in the presence of chimps for an hour watching them eat, play, rest and groom each other. This needs to be booked in advance with Uganda wildlife authority or Budongo Eco Lodge.
There is also an opportunity for a full day Chimpanzee habituation experience which gives more time learning and watching the chimpanzees – this also has to be booked prior to your safari.
Sport fishing is allowed on the Nile after obtaining the permit from Uganda Wildlife authority through your tour operator. The waters after the falls on Victoria Nile provide some of the most exciting challenge to anglers with presence of Nile Perch. The largest Nile perch recorded is 108kg. Fishing is permitted in designated sites and places which require prior booking. You are encouraged to bring your own equipment.
Nature and forest walks
Most of the nature walks happen through the forests, Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo forest where you have opportunities of watching the primates such as Chimpanzees, black-and-white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkey, and numerous bird life.
The Hike up the top of Murchison falls is another exciting walk that everyone should take. Once on the boat trip from Paraa toward the ‘Devils cauldron’, stop a few meters from the bottom of the falls and take hike through the vegetation to experience the top the falls. The hike is fulfilling as you watch the waters of the Nile be squeezed through a 7m gorge. This hike takes any thing between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the interests of the people and their speed at hiking.
Community walks and Cultural experiences
The Boomu women’s Group right outside the park is a worthy visit for someone who wants to engage with the local community. Take the scenic village tour as you learn about the resident’s everyday lives, farming, visit the black smith, demonstration of basket weaving, cooking and visit to a local school. You can choose to stay overnight in this place or just visit for a few hours and continue to the park or when leaving for Kampala. The activities will depend on how much time you have to in the area.
Hot Air Balloon Wildlife Safari:
Air Balloon Safaris can now be taken in Murchison Falls Park. It is the only park in Uganda where you can take a hot air balloon wildlife Safari. Rise at dawn over the savannah – watch the sunrise and then glide over the park above the tree-tops where you can see the most wildlife below.
The park is filled with vast herds of buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, antelopes. Watch the predators below as they come home from a night’s hunt. Hot Air Balloon Safari – a one-of-a-kind-experience in Uganda.
Kibiro Salt Gardens and Fishing Village
It is a steep hike down and up the Western Rift Valley Escarpment that requires that you are in reasonable shape. On the lake, you enter the Fishing Village, where Salt has been made for the local Bunyoro Kingdom and beyond.
It is a look into another world, life as it used to and still is today. Mostly everything is carried in and out on the path you just came down on, making you think why people would go through the hardships of living here.
The Village and Salt Gardens are off the Beaten Tourist Path, this is Authentic, Cultural Africa.
Visits can be arranged for you as you take the scenic route from Murchison Falls Park, overnight would be spent in nearby Hoima.
Rhino Tracking-Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is not a part of Murchison Falls Park but can be easily visited on the way to or from Murchison Falls National Park. Here you track Rhinos on foot with guides, which is a most exhilarating experience.
What most people do not realize is that you can also do various nature walks and hikes, seeing wildlife and birds. You can do a swamp boat ride here, and it is one of the better areas to spot the Shoebill Stork and other water-birds.