Murchison Falls National Park

///Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda, Wildlife safari in Murchison Falls Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda, Wildlife safari tours in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda wildlife safari game drives, boat cruises, nature walks, chimpanzee trekking when to visit, how to get there & where to sleep in Murchison Falls National.

Murchison Falls National Park formerly known as Kabalega National Park a name it inherited from one of the former kings of Bunyoro Kingdom is Uganda’s largest protected area covering an area of 3,840 square kilometers. Located in North western part of Uganda, Murchison Falls was first gazetted in 1926 as a game reserve and later graduating to Uganda’s first National Park in 1952. It protects so many wildlife and is home to approximately 76 species of mammals and about 451 species of birds including the rare shoebill stock that can be spotted in the delta region.

Murchison Falls is the name that was given to the point at which the world’s longest river, the river Nile, is channeled through a narrow gorge within the Rift Valley, descending almost 50 meters below. Sir Roderick Murchison (1851–1853), was President of the Royal Geographical Society, which was the catalyst for many explorations within ‘colonial’ Africa, most notably the search for the source of the river Nile.

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include elephants, giraffes and buffaloes; while hippos, Nile crocodiles and aquatic birds are permanent residents.

Conservation in Murchison falls began in 1910 when the Imperial British government decided to designate the area south of the Victoria Nile as a game reserve which they named Bunyoro game reserve, this game reserve was created ideally as a result of evacuation of local residents who were living in this area as a remedy against an outbreak of sleeping sickness in this area. Later on in 1928, the area north of the Nile was also added on the game reserve hence expanding it to the modern day        Nwoya district. When the national park act was enacted by the colonial government in 1952, Bunyoro game reserve was among the first game reserves to be elevated to the national park status and then renamed Murchison falls national park.

Murchison Falls Conservation Area comprises of Murchison Falls National Park, Bugungu and Karuma Falls Wildlife Reserves. This is where the Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and cascades down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.

The park which hosts around 76 mammal species and an estimate of 451 bird species is the only park in Uganda that has the potential to contain all the big five animal species. These big five include the Lion (King of the Jungle), Buffalos, African elephants, leopards and these can be easily found in the northern part of the park especially above the Nile. The world endangered white Rhinos that were bit extinguished are now being recovered and protected in the Rhino sanctuary located south of the Murchison Falls National Park.

Tourists Attractions in Murchison Falls national park

Murchison falls national park has a myriad of attractions and these include: Murchison falls, over 3000 African elephants, largest concentration of Nile crocodiles, lions that are occasionally sighted, a variety of antelope species, Africa’s tallest mammals the giraffes, primates like chimpanzees and monkeys and a bird species count of over 400

Wildlife as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

The diverse habitat ranging from woodland, wetland, savannah as well as tropical forest act as home to 76 species of mammals including four of the “Big Five”, with huge herds of buffaloes and elephants, well-camouflaged leopards and a healthy population of lions. It is also known for its giraffes; in Uganda these can only be viewed here and in Kidepo Valley. Other species viewed regularly along the game tracks include Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs. Resident crocodiles and hippos as well as other, visiting wildlife are found along the river.

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

African elephants are the largest land mammals in the world with a male elephant weighing in at 4,700-6,048kg or 10,362-13,334Ib and a shoulder height of 3.2-4.0m or 10.5-13.1ft while their female counterparts weigh in at 2,160-3,232kg or 4,762-7,125Ib and a shoulder height of 2.2-2.6m or 7.2-8.5ft. these land giants have 24 teeth in their mouths and usually lose their teeth 4-6 times in their life time which lies between 60-70 years. What sets these land giants apart from the rest of crowd is their elongated tusks which are in fact their second set of incisors. This means that the tusks are very strong as they are used to up root trees and also as weapons they use while fighting. The tusks weigh between 23-45 kg or 55-99Ib with a length of 1.5-2.4m or 5-8 ft

Lions can aslo be occasionally sighted in Murchison falls National Park. Lions are part of the big cate family and are muscular, deep chested with rounded heads. Most of the African lion males can distinguished from their females by the presence of a mane around the necks and heads of male African lions which is clearly absent in females but there quite many cases in Africa where the males also don’t have a mane or have a very short and thin one. The male lions are usually bigger than the females but their sizes vary according to location. In east Africa, adult female lions have a body length of 160-184cm or 63-72in weighing in at 119.5kg or 263Ib on average while the adult males have a body length of 184-208cm or 72-82in weighing in at 174.9kg or 386Ib on average. Lions are social animals who live in groups called prides. A pride is always led by a dominant male and their highly territorial animals controlling vast expanses that are strategic with a lot of prey and water

Nile crocodiles. Murchison Falls National Park has the largest population of these enormous reptiles plying the water of the river Nile. Nile crocodile is very popular with Murchison falls national park habituating in the Victoria Nile and the swamp areas around lake albert. The Nile crocodile is one of the biggest reptiles in the world. These reptiles have a dark bronze color on the upper body part while the under part is of diggy yellow. The crocodile’s body is armored with hard scales to deter bacterial infections and also as a defensive mechanism. The crocodiles in Africa have varying sizes depending on their location but on average the male crocodile is 3.5-5m or 11.5-16.4ft long and weighs in at 225-750kg or 550-1650Ib but the females are 30% less than their male companions in size

Hippos: In Murchison falls National Park, hippos are mostly found in the Victoria Nile and shores of lake albert. Hippos are large animals only behind the African elephant that can weigh anywhere between 1300-1500kg or 2870-3310Ib for both sexes. The hippos are semi aquatic as they both live on land and in water. Hippos are herbivores animals and do come on land in the evening to graze, they can be easily identified basing on barrel shaped body, short legs and long muzzles or mouths, their body is hairless with a purplish gray to blue black color which is also thick about 2in or 6cm. due to lack of body hairs, hippos secret an element that is reddish orange to brown to act as a protective layer both from the scotching sun and bacterial infection. This phenomenon is referred to as “blood sweating”, hippos have a very powerful jaw which can open as wide as 180o and its filled with monstrous teeth with their incisors growing up to 40cm or 1ft4in and canines growing up to 50cm or 1ft8in. Despite their short legs and big sizes, hippos can burst to 30km/hr in short distances. Hippos are highly territorial while in water but not on land, they have a gestation period of 243days and can live up to 40-50 years.

Primates as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

Primates in Murchison falls National Park are found in Budongo forest reserve which is also part of the greater Murchison falls conservation area. In this forest canopies there are primate species which include the following.

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Chimpanzee: These are close relatives of humans alongside gorillas and orangutans, there are two species of chimpanzees, Common chimpanzee species and the Bonobo species, Murchison falls National Park in Budongo forest reserve has about 600 of the Common chimpanzees’ species and a community of 80 individuals has been habituated for you to get close and observe them as they go about their lives in the forest. An adult Common chimpanzee can weigh between 40-60 kg with a height of 1.6 meters or 5ft3inches while an adult female can weigh between 32-47kg with a height of 1.3 meters or 4feet3inches. Common chimpanzees have coarse black hair except on their toes, face, fingers, palms of hand and the soles of their feet. The chimpanzees have a firm grip because their thumbs and big toes are opposite to each other. These chimpanzees reach puberty stage between 8-10 years and they have a life span of up to 40 years in their natural habitat, this can increase to up to 50 years of age in captivity. The chimps have a gestation period of 8 months. These chimps live in groups called communities ranging between 15- 150 members and each community is led by a dominant male called an Alpha male.

Black and white colobus monkey: These monkeys have a black color with a strip of white color on the side of their body, limbs and around their face, these monkeys live in groups of 5-15 members led by a male, their weight ranges between 4-14 kg, they have a body length of up to 75 cm or 30 inches. The black and white colobus are herbivores primates and they have a gestation period of 4-6 months,

Pottos monkeys: This is a special in Budongo forest, as its only found here in Uganda, the Potto’s monkey is a small species of monkeys that grows to a body length of between 30-39cm and a tail of 3-10cm. It’s an average weight that lies between 600g-1.6kg. This monkey has opposable thumbs with which it uses to have a firm grip on tree branches. The Pottos monkey has a moist nose and a toilet claw on the second toe of its hind legs. These monkeys both males and females have a scent gland below their tails which is referred to as a pseudo scrotum in female Potttos and they use this gland to secrete a scent to mark their territories. Their scent has been described as a curry like scent by primatologists. The Pottos monkeys is rather a silent monkey that moves with cryptic movements in order to evade its predators. The diet of Pottos consists of mainly fruits, tree gum and insects. These monkeys are very territorial and it has been known for female monkeys to pass on a share of their territories to their daughters only as their sons will have to leave their mothers when they mature. They have a gestation period of between 193-205 days and usually give birth to one or two babies. They have a lifespan of about 20 years.

Birds- as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

The varied habitats of Uganda’s largest park make it home to a variety of birds with 451 species recorded. The list includes the rare Shoebill Stork species most found in the delta area of the park, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s national bird. Also seen along the banks of the Nile are the Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Squacco Heron, African Jacana, Sandpipers, Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Piapiac, Silverbird, Weaver Birds, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eater, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Speckle-fronted Weaver and African Quail-Finch.

The shoe bill is also called the whale head bird given its large shoe shaped bill. The shoe bill has a height ranging from 110-140cm or 43-55in with also a body length of 100- 140cm or 39-55in and a wingspan 230-260cm or 7ft7in-8ft6in. the male shoe bill is larger than its female counterparts with male having an average weight of 5.6kg or 12Ib while the females weigh 4.9kg or 11Ib. The shoe bill can be distinctively identified by its signature large bulbous bill that has greyish markings on it. this bill has a length of 18.8-24cm or 7.4-9.4in measured along the upper mandible. The shoe bill mandible is very hard as it is made out of keratin and it has sharp edges which enable this bird to decapitate its prey.

The shoe bill also has long dark legs that have 21.7-25.5cm of length with large feet as its middle toe can measure up to 16.8-18.5cm or 6.6-7.3in. and this enables to stand on water vegetation when it goes fishing. Adult shoe bills have a blue grey color with darker slaty grey flight feathers. The shoe bill stock is not known for flying long distances as it usually flies between 100-500m or 330-1640ft when flashed or scared. Their wings are highly adapted to soaring and they have low flap rate that can only go up to 150 flaps per minute. The shoebill has a lifespan of about 35 years in their natural habitat. Both male and female shoe bill participate in nest building, incubation and chick rearing. Their incubation period is 30 days and usually lay between 1-3 eggs per mating season.

Murchison Falls- as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls is characterized by eternal war between rock and water. The waters violently compress through a narrow gorge, spraying misty droplets along their wake over a 50m radius. This creates a permanent rainbow over the battlefield and causes a continuous roar. From Baker Point on the southern side, you can also view the Nile splitting into the smaller Uhuru Falls, created in 1962 when the river burst its banks. These roaring spectacular Murchison falls are formed as a result of river Nile wrestling itself into a narrow gorge of about 23m wide after which it plunges itself 43m down of a cliff, leading to the formation of the world’s strongest falls as it tumbles and wrestles its way through this narrow path on its voyage to the Mediterranean Sea.

The falls form an incredibly beautiful show of nature’s beauty as well as its power which is best observed from the top of the falls as it is on the raised plateau giving you a once in a life time spectra of a view at this magnificent nature’s creation. Because of its sheer beauty elegance and power, Murchison falls has attracted movie makers form all around the world, all with a single agenda which is to feature this incredible beauty in their movies, it has been featured in movies like the 1951 African Queen film starring Humphrey bogart, Katherine Hepburn and directed by john Huston. A multitude of local films have also featured this spectacular beauty in their works of art.
River Nile-A boat ride along the Nile to the foot of Murchison Falls is a rewarding experience for nature lovers, as the northern bank teems with a variety of mammals, birds and reptiles. Guided nature walks along both the north and south banks are another refreshing activity, and sport fishing is also possible here.

Nile-Lake Albert Delta-This wide, calm stretch of water, where the tranquil Victoria Nile flows into Lake Albert, is a key area for bird watchers. Its papyrus-lined banks are bursting with birdlife, including Goliath Herons, Great Egrets, and African Fish Eagles. The most sought-after species here is the rare Shoebill.

Karuma falls-These are located in Chobe, in the northeastern sector of the park. These roaring waterfalls on the Victoria Nile are made up of a series of natural rock formations which cause the waters to ripple and give them a white, foamy appearance. It is an ideal area for sport fishing.

Budongo Forest- as a tourist attraction in Murchison falls national park

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Budongo Forest, which is contiguous with the Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, lies south west of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. Budongo is astonishingly biodiverse, with 24 mammal species, over 360 birds, 289 butterflies and 465 plants. All the forest’s tree species are on display along the “Royal Mile”, a beautiful stretch of road highly regarded for its bird watching. Budongo is also known for its primate population, which includes around 800 chimpanzees. Forest walks are possible at Busingiro Ecotourism Site on the Masindi-Bugungu route to Murchison Falls National Park.

Kaniyo Pabidi Forest-In the south of Murchison Falls Conservation Area, this forest ecosystem contains black-and-white colobus and blue monkeys, olive baboons, and a habituated chimp group which can be tracked. Elephants, buffalos, lions and leopards are also frequent visitors. Many forest birds can be viewed here, including the chocolate-backed kingfisher, white-thighed hornbill and Puvel’s illadopsis which is found nowhere else in East Africa.

Rabongo Forest-Surrounded by savanna and covering just 4km2, Rabongo Forest is considered a birders’ paradise because of the endangered species found here. Rabongo is ideal for educational tours as it provides opportunities to identify animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. For relaxation, visitors can camp and enjoy picnics by the Wairingo River.

Tourist Activities in Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison falls offers a variety of activities to guests that visit and these include game drives, white water rafting, chimpanzee tracking, bird watching, boat cruise or launch trips, nature walks, hot air ballooning and community encounters but for any of these activities to be conducted a park entrance fee has to be paid at any of the park offices and this fee is 40$ foreign nonresidents adults while children 20$, 30$foreign residents adults while children 10$, 20000ugx east African citizens adults while children 5000ugx, 5000 local university students and high school students and 3000ugx for local primary pupils.

Game Drives in Murchison Falls-

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

A game drive around the Buligi game tracks on the northern bank with a trained ranger guide is a fantastic way to see and photograph the wide range of animals in the Nile Valley. Visitors will marvel at herds of buffalos, dozens of elephants, warthogs and towering giraffes, along with bushbucks, reedbuck, duikers, kobs, oribi and the unusual-looking hartebeest. Your guide will have a good idea where the lions are hiding, and you may even spot a leopard at dusk.

The early morning game drives which set off at 6:30am are done in Buligi game tracks which stretch between the Victoria and Albert Niles. The 120-170km in length game trucks, take tourists through open savannah grassland, woodland, acacia and riverine vegetation which support variety of wildlife grazers like Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs Giraffes, lions, elephants, among others. Most of the park’s game can be viewed here, especially during early morning and early evening tours.

The other game viewing sector is the heart of Murchison, this is located in the southern bank of the park and with the presence of many antelopes here, its quickly turning into a good spot to sight predators like lions which are on the lookout for their next meal or snack of the day. Game drives in Murchison can happen on any day and anytime. You can hire a game drive vehicle which costs 30$ for both foreign nonresidents and foreign residents per person and 30000ugx for East African residents per person during day time, for a night game drive this vehicle costs 40$ per person for both foreign residents and foreign nonresidents while 40000ugx for east African residents and this vehicle requires a minimum of 3 persons for it to be hired out. But for a private daytime game drive, it costs 20$ for foreign nonresidents, 20$ foreign residents and 20000ugx for East African residents while private night drives cost 100$ foreign nonresidents, 100$ foreign residents and 10000ugx for East African residents. Night game drives require you to go with a UWA ranger.

Birding in Murchison Falls-

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

With about 450 bird species Murchison falls has to offer, this becomes a birder’s paradise to come and have a glance at many of these species. Many birders are attracted to Murchison falls park to come and watch the rare shoe bill commonly sighted along the banks of the Victoria Nile. Birding in Murchison falls costs 30$ for both foreign residents and foreign nonresidents and 10000ugx for east African citizens

Both the game drives and the launch trips offer an opportunity for one to come across distinct birdlife, including savannah forest birds, water birds and Albertine Rift endemics. The commonest species found in the plains include the Marabou Stork, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Secretary Birds, Black-bellied Bustards, Open-billed Storks and Widow Bird.

Closer to the river where there are more thickets and woodlands, the commonest bird varieties include the Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters – particularly in the Nyamusika Cliffs; Woodland, Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers; Francolin; Hornbills, Grey heron; Hamerkop; Shrikes; Flycatchers; Cuckoos; Woodpeckers; Crombecs and Warblers. The riverbanks are also home to ducks, geese, stilts and plovers. The park’s main birding attraction is the Shoebill, best sighted in the dry season from January-March.

Cultural Encounters in Murchison Falls

Mubako Cultural Campfire Performances-

The remote community of Mubako is located beside the sprawling savannah of Murchison Falls National Park. The village is a cluster of traditional thatched huts around a clearing, where villagers gather to escape the midday sun under the shade of a large tree.

Mubako’s small craft shop sells carved wooden sculptures and hand-woven items made by community members. At dusk, the local cultural groups perform vibrant songs and dances around the campfires of local lodges, accompanied by the beautiful sound of the adungu. Originating from this region, this instrument is made of cowhide and twine, and the harmonies of the various-sized adungus against the backdrop of a Nile sunset are magical.

There are few economic opportunities in this region and the climate makes farming hard, but with the money generated through tourism, the community can buy produce from local markets, pay school fees and support a nursery for 90 children.

Boomu Women’s Group-

The subsistence farmers from the villages of Kihaguzi and Kigaragara in Uganda’s dry northern region had little produce left over to sell, so in 1999 the Boomu Women´s Group was formed, with the aim of reducing poverty and malnutrition, and providing an income for the members to be able to pay their children´s school fees. What began as a craft group has evolved into a wonderful community tourism project, with traditional accommodation, a restaurant, unique guided tours and a well-tended garden.

The scenic village tour reveals the features of everyday rural life, as well as explaining the hardships facing the community. Your guide will show you various crops as well as taking you to visit the village blacksmith. Storytellers share tales about customs and the local way of life, and a visit to the nursery, a cooking demonstration or a basket weaving class can be arranged on request.

Hiking and Nature Walks in Murchison Falls-

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Nature walk trails have been developed in the park to bring the visitors close to nature as they can easily feel, listen and smell what mother nature has to offer in this wilderness. If you are a birder, then try the trails in Kaniyo, Pabidi and Rabongo forests, while here, you will not miss out on the many bird species available in this forests such as the grey longbill, dusky long tailed cuckoo, slender billed greenbul, lemon-billed crombec, little green sunbird and yellow manted weaver. While on this trail please be on the lookout for the various primate species such as black and white colobus monkeys, grey-checked magabeys, pottos monkeys and the red tailed monkeys and of course the chimpanzees because while you are here, you are in their backyard so they might as well just come to you to say hello.

If your launch trip started from Paara and ended at the foot of the water falls, there is another nature hike trail to the top of the falls that lasts about 45 minutes’ walk to the top of Murchison falls and this nature walk experience will always leave you wanting for more as you become mesmerized by the dramatic and spectacular scenery created by the falls. From the thunder roar of the tumbling and wrestling water through a narrow gorge of less than 30m and a sheer vertical drop of about 43m to the chilled mist thrusted up into the air to create a spectacular display of the rainbow colors and mild fog, you will indeed appreciate nature’s work when you finally get to the top of the falls.

The other nature walk trails in Murchison falls park are in the southern bank starting from either from Sambiya river lodge or Mubako junction. These will not disappoint birders as they are located in the hot bed of various bird species, so when you get to these trails get your binoculars ready and start scanning the tree canopies for all your favorite bird species because you might just spot it or them even before you thought you would. Nature walks in Murchison falls go for 30$ for foreign nonresidents, 15$ for foreign residents and 10000ugx for East African residents during day time and night time walks cost 40$foreign nonresidents, 20$foreign residents and 15000ugx East African residents.

Launch Trips in Murchison Falls

One of the highlights of a visit to Murchison falls national park is the launch trip from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls. The launch trip upstream from Paraa presents an astonishing display of wildlife and culminates with the memorable frontal view of the falls. The launch which departs at 9am and 2pm daily, takes visitors close to different wildlife species like Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks and birds like: Herons, Cormorants, Ducks, Bee-eaters, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, and the rare Shoebill. The trip from Paraa to the Falls and back takes about three hours. A boat trip to the Delta where the Victoria Nile engorges into the Lake Albert leads through papyrus swamps takes about 4-5 hours and you will see a similar variety of animals and birds.

Recommended for birders is a morning cruise downstream to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta, providing the best chance in Africa of sighting the elusive Shoebill. This four- to five-hour return voyage also offers an account of elusive wildlife species like hippos, elephants and many birds.

Sport Fishing in Murchison Falls

The banks of the Nile below Murchison Falls provides exciting challenges to anglers. Living within strong currents and highly oxygenated water is the Nile perch. There is chance to land a massive catch – the record is 108kg. Fishing is permitted in designated sites and places and prior booking is recommended. Interested sport anglers are urged to bring their own equipment and secure a permit from UWA.

This can be done in specified places and it requires prior booking with the park management. The most sought after fish species by anglers is the elusive Nile perch and the record catch has been a massive 108 kg. This activity costs 50$ for a single day and 150$ for four days or an annual fishing permit at 300$

Chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzee tracking occurs in Budongo forest reserve on the southern bank of Murchison falls national park which has over 600 individuals with a community of 80 individuals habituated for tourism purposes and a tracking trail network system spanning over 115km. This becomes one of the best chimpanzee tracking site in the country. Only a group of not more than 6 people is allowed to do chimpanzee tracking and usually tracking is done in 2 shifts, the morning shift begins at 08:00hrs with a briefing about the dos and don’ts while tracking and the afternoon shift starts 14:00hrs. chimpanzee tracking will involve tracking a community of habituated chimpanzees and when this community is found, the guide will allow you to have one hour to observe these primates and take photographs. Chimpanzee tracking costs 80$

How to get to Murchison Falls national park

A number of routes can be used to reach the Nile at Paraa at the heart of the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The river is crossed here using a vehicle ferry which runs at roughly hourly intervals throughout the day.

Southern Entrance Gates.

Two southerly approaches to Paraa lead out of Masindi town, which is a 4 hour drive (305km) from Kampala. Along the way to Masindi is the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. You can track them on foot and support this important initiative to reintroduce rhinos to protected areas. The main route from Masindi enters the Conservation Area through Kichumbanyobo Gate to pass through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest to Paraa (85km).
A longer but more scenic alternative runs for 135km from Masindi to the park’s Bugungu gate, the route includes a passage through Budongo Forest and a memorable descent of the rift valley escarpment with views across Lake Albert towards the mountains of the Congo.

Northern Entrance Gates

Murchison Falls National Park can also be entered via the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako and Tangi gates north of the Nile. These are reached from the Kampala-Pakwach Road which crosses the Nile at Karuma Falls Bridge in the northeastern corner of the park, 260km from Kampala. These gates are convenient for visitor travelling to/from Gulu town and Kidepo Valley National Park.
By Air. Pakuba Airfield, 19km from North Paraa, can be reached using chartered aircraft from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield near Kampala. Other airfields in the park include: Chobe to the East, and Bugungu – near Murchison Falls-to the south.

Accommodation in Murchison Falls National Park

Chobe Safari Lodge-Luxury

Chobe Safari Lodge is situated in Murchison Falls National Park in the north western Uganda and its Five Star lodge providing world class accommodation services to tourists on their safaris to Murchison Falls National Park.

The lodge offers opportunities for visitors to have breathtaking panoramic views, accompanied with the nice sounds of the River Nile’s prominent rapids, set the scene for an adventure that will impress even the most discerning visitors. Chobe Safari Lodge provides a rare opportunity to visitors mainly to sample the wildlife as well as the endangered bird species, the diverse beautiful flora and fauna.

The Lodge offers different amenities to different travellers on their Uganda safari destination of Murchison falls National park and among the important amenities include Restaurant/bar with TVs, Swimming pool, Travel desk Children´s play area, Gift shop, On-site wildlife, Solar water heater, Generator for electricity in mornings and evening, Telescope for stargazing and 4×4 vehicle to rent for game drives.

The lodge offers accommodation in the different lodge rooms which range from 16 standard Rooms all positioned in the main building block. The interior avails an atmosphere of being on safari, yet more importantly having that modern touch that gets one back to modernization or civilization which is currently vital. Each standard room have additional features like En-suite private bathroom, Ceiling fan, Hair driers as well as Private balcony which has a best view of the river Nile.

The lodge also has a total of three suites which are all located in the main building block. The built in way that favour traveller s that travels with their families and also travellers who wish to stay in rooms with enough space.

Besides the other types of rooms visitors can also use the 7 deluxe tents situated a short walking distance from the main lodge building. The lodge has deluxe tents which are for the discerning guest who wants a little more exclusivity to make your trip an unforgettable one. The interiors are more spacious and the furnishings are more suited to the ‘luxury safari’ experience. The views from the balconies are unparalleled; watch the mesmerizing sunset over the river’s waters in the evening or marvel at the twilight skies.

Interested visitors have chance to select from 8 standard tents situated a short walk able distance from the main lodge building. These tents offer perfect accommodation to those specific travellers interested in a more authentic ‘safari’ experience.

The lodge also organizes various activities for the tourists and this range from the Safari adventurers like participating in the launch cruise in the waters of the Victoria Nile. For Birders the lodge offers guided nature walks around the two banks of the river where the visitors can enjoy the views of various bird life.

The present of lush green gardens in the lodge and experienced staff to prepare weddings, the lodge also provides options for visitors have their wedding ceremonies at the lodge. Besides the ones mention the lodge also offers Conferences and group retreats among others.

As well as Sustainability tourism is concerned, Chobe Lodge be works with the surrounding communities to develop complimentary tourism activities that express local Ugandan culture and enrich the tourists’ experience. The Lodge also supports Local Craft Shop as well as local Community Dancers and also employs a high number of people from the surrounding areas.

Accommodation Rates

Room Type B/B F/B
Single $154 $175
Double per room $275 $316
Suite per room $333 $374
Nile suite $435 $476
Florence house $500 $582
Presidential cottage $680 $761

Paraa Safari Lodge- Luxury.


Established in the year 1954, Paraa Safari Lodge located in Murchison Falls National Park, on the banks of the mighty world’s longest River Nile.

There is a choice of fine dining, and the Explorer’s bar is the ideal watering hole after a day of wildlife discovery in Murchison Falls National Park. The luxurious pool overlooks the winding Set in an area of landscaped gardens, the safari décor of the lodge still reflects the bygone era of early explorers, enshrined with a modern touch.

Enjoy a variety of excursions and activities; from exhilarating Safari drives to boat trips along the River Nile, ending at the foot of Murchison Falls. For the more adventurous, one can trek up to the top of the falls and marvel at the views through the mist. A variety of ecosystems and an impressive 451 species of birds awaits you here…

Paraa safari Lodge offers different world class Amenities and these ranges from Restaurant and bar, the lodge has best menu of local and international specialties produced by lodge experienced chefs. The Captain’s Table restaurant is located on the upper floor in what was one of the lodge’s main halls before it was renovated. One can choose to eat inside or outside on the balcony (which boasts a sweeping view of the River Nile). Special barbecues and traditional dancers make a Saturday evening at Paraa Safari Lodge an occasion to remember.

Conference facility. For corporate occasions or for those who like to mix pleasure with business, Paraa Safari Lodge can provide a conference room and facilities to cater for your conferencing/meeting needs.

Business Service Centre with Internet access the Business Service Centre is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. It meets all the needs of the traveling business executive and includes 24-hour Internet access as well as printing facilities.

Gift Shop- it indulge in getting your loved ones a present from the pearl of Africa, the lodge gift shop sells local East African crafts and souvenirs such as guidebooks, clothing, an

Swimming Pool – the lodge has one of the best pools which can used by visitors to cool themselves off after a long day out in the bush, the swimming pool at Paraa Safari Lodge even has a pool bar – come sip a cocktail in the water while overlooking the River Nile below at sunset. The other facilities include the Fireplace, Laundry service and On-site wildlife viewing.

The lodge provides accommodation to guest in its different rooms and the description of the rooms is given below;

Each of the 54 rooms is a haven of style and serenity, complete with balcony and private bathroom. All rooms have fans and hot water.

Suites also have air conditioning, mini bars and panoramic windows.

In addition, the Queen’s Cottage has a sunken bath, king-size master bedroom, twin room (both with en suite bathrooms), living/dining room, mini bar and air conditioning.

The luxurious lodge in the Murchison Falls Park also organizes different activities and these include Chimpanzee Tracking, Game Drive Birding and Nature Walks as well as Boat ride to Murchison Falls Fishing Boat trip to the Nile Delta

The Paraa Safari Lodge supports and operates with the help of the local and surrounding communities. Most of the staff at the lodge are local residents helping to create authentic Ugandan surroundings with the comforts of home.

On side of the responsible travel again, Nightly dancers from Mubako community arrive to show off their moves and display the local culture and heritage.

The lodge also sources fruit from the surrounding communities and this is done in order to give market to the communities’ products.

Accommodation Rates

Room Type B/B F/B
Single $161 $182
Double $250 $291
Suite $324 $365
Single(Standard Room) $208 $228
Double (Standard Room) $298 $339
Deluxe (Single ) $187 $208
Deluxe(Double) $276 $317

Murchison River Lodge-Mid-Range


Murchison River Lodge sits on the southern bank of the River Nile overlooking Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park. In beautiful surroundings and they offer comfortable and relaxing mid-range accommodation to suit all budgets in attractive thatched cottages, thatched safari tents and simple camping tents in our shaded and well positioned campsite.

The lodge offers accommodation services in the 4 thatched cottages that are spacious and comfortable with attractive furnishing making each one unique. They are open plan with a double bed upstairs on a mezzanine floor and two single beds, including en-suite, downstairs. Their wide verandas overlook the bush and have a sofa and hammock allowing you to sit back, lie back and enjoy the view – especially the birdlife. Our thatched cottages are perfect for families (if necessary we can add two extra children’s beds) or a maximum of 4 adults who know each other well.

The cottages are equipped with solar lights, bed linen, towels, mosquito nets, en-suite toilet and shower, solar hot water, plus a child’s stair gate. They do not have fans or air conditioning. In the evening the pathways are lit with lanterns and our security staff will be happy to guide you from the restaurant to your accommodation, should you require an escort. All visitors staying in the lodge are allowed to enjoy the services of the beautiful swimming pool located in the lodge.

The thatched safari tents in the lodge have been placed on level ground amongst the bush and towards the River Nile. These furnished tents have an outside area with safari chairs and table – the perfect spot to enjoy the cooler part of the day. Four of the safari tents are twin shared whilst two more can include a third bed if necessary. As some of these tents are located near the water, we are unable to provide permanent flushing toilets, however each tent is self-contained with its own private chemical toilet and bush shower.

Beneath our large thatched roof is an open-sided restaurant, bar and terrace from where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the River Nile and Murchison Falls National Park. From this wonderful vantage point we often see elephants, hippo and bush buck.

Accommodation Rates.

Room Type Rates in USD
Thatched cottage(Single) $175
Thatched cottage(Double) $130pp
Extra person $100
Thatched safari tents(Single) $130
Thatched Safari tents(Double) $100pp
Comfortable Camping(Single) $75
Comfortable Camping(Double) $65

Sambiya River Lodge-Mid-Range

The lodge is situated just 15 minutes from the top of the magnificent Murchison Falls; Sambiya River Lodge is the perfect location for those who want to experience the tranquility of Uganda. The Lodge’s unique charm is in the atmosphere of intimacy provided to the guests. Our 36 cottages and bandas are tucked away beneath the trees of our beautiful tropical garden, which also contains a small children’s play area and a pool.

The lodge offers personalized wildlife safaris, fishing excursions, birding walks and trips to Murchison Falls to suit each of our guests’ unique tastes. Sambiya River Lodge is the perfect place to relax between adventures and also watch a spectacular African sunrise with fresh coffee or tea on visitor’s cottage verandah as well as a cool off in the pool after a day full of activities, enjoy excellent meals and sundowners around the Lodge bar or sip after dinner drinks by the camp fire.

Sambiya allows you to relax in luxury whilst experiencing the sights and sounds of Africa.

Lodge Amenities, Lodge amenities, Restaurant and bar with TVs, Swimming pool, Travel desk, Gift shop, On-site wildlife viewing in the surrounding gardens, Solar water heater, Electricity in the mornings and evening

Room scattered around the peaceful gardens, Sambiya has 26 individual and family thatched cottages with en suite bathrooms, fans, screened doors and windows, mosquito nets, and a veranda to relax and enjoy the commanding views of quintessential Africa.

Ten basic bandas are also available for guest accommodation, including one en suite banda and nine with shared bathroom facilities. Bandas have fans, screened doors and windows and mosquito nets.

The activities at the Lodge include exclusive Game drives – we have our own vehicle, Trips to the top of the fall, Nile boat rides to the bottom of the fall – with the option of hiking to the top

Bird watching and the Hiking and trekking, including walking safaris, Chimp tracking and forest walks in Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, Fishing – check out our “Hall of Fame” board to see what has been caught!

Responsible Travel Sambiya was designed as a small eco-lodge. Most of the trees in the concession area were undisturbed and consequently the site is very ‘green ‘It was built with materials from the area, Sambiya Lodge has solar heated hot water, Local crafts from Anaka Women’s Group are sold in the Lodge Gift Shop

Red Chilli Rest Camp-Budget


Red Chilli Rest Camp is the only budget accommodation located inside Murchison Falls National Park and it’s the best place to meet like-minded travellers; begin your thrilling safari; or take a launch trip to the Falls , the Nile River boat dock is right on our doorstep. The camp’s open-sided restaurant offers great views across the river and is a great place to relax with a chilled beer or a good book after a dusty day on safari. The camp also has a bonfire most evenings, and campers with their own cooking equipment are encouraged to use the barbecue area.

All bandas the lodge have mosquito nets, electric lights, fans, linen and towels. Furnished safari tents have linen but no towels, and the tents are treated with mosquito repellent. As there is no electricity, paraffin lamps are supplied. at night
The Lodge Amenities include Restaurant and bar (open until midnight), Outdoor seating areas,Bonfire, Barbecue area (equipment not provided) ,Power points for charging laptops and phones, On-site wildlife viewing, Camping area for up to 100 guests (tents not provided),Electricity is available from 9am until midnight.

The lodge organizes different activities to tourist who spend the night in the camp and among these activities include wildlife viewing in the Murchison falls national park, nature walks, community walks among others.

Accommodation rates

Room Type Rates in USD
Self-camping $7
Twin tent $30
Twin Banda $35
Twin S/C Banda $50
Family Banda $85
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2019-06-17T09:42:40+00:00October 29th, 2016|Tourist Attractions in Uganda|
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