Murchison Falls National Park


Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) is Uganda’s oldest and largest national park. The Ugandan Wildlife Authority oversees the park, which was established in 1952. It is a component of the larger Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA).

The MFCA is Uganda’s largest conservation area, covering 3,840 square kilometers and encompassing the MFNP, Bugugu Wildlife Reserve, and Karuma Wildlife Reserve. This African savanna park is ideal for wildlife watching, whilst Kaniyo Pabidi is ideal for chimp trekking.

The park is situated in the Albertine Rift Valley’s northern portion. The enormous Bunyoro escarpment merges into the broad Acholi plains in this location, which covers the Ugandan districts of Buliisa, Nwoya, Kiryandongo, and Masindi. It extends inland from Lake Albert’s shoreline up to the Karuma Falls, following the Victoria Nile. MFNP is also near the Masindi-Gulu Highway, the Karuma Falls, and the location of the 600-megawatt Karuma Power Station.

The Victoria Nile runs through it from east to west for around 115 kilometers. The Nile River flows through a tiny fissure in the Rift Valley escarpment at Murchison Falls, also known as Kabarega Falls. The spectacular Murchison Falls are formed when the Nile squeezes down an 8-meter wide canyon and dives with a loud scream into the ‘devil’s cauldron,’ leaving a water vapor trail with a stunning rainbow. It proceeds westward into the beautiful Lake Albert from here.

Riverine woodland, marsh, savannah, tropical forest, Borassus palms, and acacia trees may all be found in the park. The park is home to 76 animal species and 451 bird species. Many wildlife species may be found here, including four of Africa’s Big Five. Hiking up to the top of the falls and taking the boat launch tour are two ways to enjoy and appreciate the spectacular cascade. In the Budongo jungle, you may also go chimp trekking. Hippos, Nile crocodiles, and aquatic birds are permanent inhabitants on the riverbanks, while elephants, giraffes, and buffalos are frequent visitors. The park features a large variety of aquatic birds, including the endangered shoebill stork.


The park is home to four of the Big Five, with the exception of the rhino. Crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, Rothschild’s giraffes, Jackson’s heartbeats, waterbucks, warthogs, oribis, Uganda kob, grey duiker, and chimps may all be found at Murchison’s Falls and Budongo forest. The Victoria Nile attracts a variety of animals, including crocodiles and hippos.

MFNP is devoid of several species, including zebra, wildebeest, white rhino, black rhino, cheetah, and wild dogs. Leopards, hyenas, and patas monkeys are rarely seen.

The prairie patas monkey may be found here. The Kaniyo Pabidi and Budongo Forests are home to around 800 chimps. Olive baboons are commonly seen along the road. Blue and red-tailed monkeys, as well as black-and-white colobus monkeys, live in the wooded areas.

Murchison Falls National Park is open to visitors all year. The dry season (December to February) is the optimum period for wildlife watching, as animals concentrate around the Victoria Nile and other reliable water sources.

Best time to visit (Weather and Climate Preferences)

Murchison Falls has a tropical hot climate all year. Temperatures are reasonably consistent throughout the year due to the park’s proximity to the equator. Temperatures are also influenced by the park’s vast range of altitudes.

It does, however, grow hotter during the comparatively brief Dry season (December to February). The Wet season brings light rain (March to November).

Daytime temperatures of roughly 31°C/88°F are usual, with nighttime temperatures dropping to around 18°C/64°F. Because the park’s elevation fluctuates from 615 to 1,187 meters, climatic changes occur, with temperatures dropping by around 6.5°C for every 1,000 meters climbed.

The dry season (December to February)

The driest months are December, January, and February. The sky is generally clear and sunny. These are also the warmest months, with average afternoon temperatures of 33°C/91°F. At night, the temperature drops to roughly 18°C/64°F—perfect for baboons.

The wet season (March to November)

March, April, and May —

By March, the rains had begun, and the sky have become more cloudy. Rainfall is more in April and May. Temperatures during the day average 31°C/88°F, while temperatures at night average 20°C/68°F.

June and July—This is a dryer season, but rain is still forecast. The average daily temperature is 30°C/86°F.

August, September, October, and November are the wettest months, with October being the wettest. It doesn’t rain every day, but when it does, it’s usually in heavy downpours. Temperatures gradually begin to rise by November.

The greatest time to visit Murchison Falls National Park is during the dry season, between December and February when you can readily see animals come to the river bank and water sites. There is also very little vegetation in which the animals may hide. Chimp trekking paths are also dry, which makes the journey simpler

Activities in Murchison falls national park

Game Drives for Wildlife Observation

Murchison is home to a variety of animal species, including over 76 mammals and 451 bird species found across the Savannah grasslands. The park’s environment is ideal for game viewing/driving.

The Nile River divides the park into two sections: the Northern and Southern banks. Safari in Africa Game drives is best done on the Northern bank since the Savannah plains have a high concentration of species. On the southern side, there are fewer antelope herds and fewer other animals. Different tracks, such as Albert, Victoria, and Buligi, each have a unique ecosystem

A game drive along the Buligi game tracks, a 7-kilometer circuit north of Paraa, allows you to marvel at the variety of species on the savannah’s northern banks. Buffalo, elephant herds, warthogs, towering giraffes, bushbucks, reedbuck, duikers, kobs, oribi unusual-looking hartebeest, lions, and a leopard may be spotted at twilight.

A new track, the Honey Moon track, was created on the southern bank, and 15 giraffes were trans-located from the northern bank to this region in January 2016.

Many water creatures visit places like Nyamsika Gorge to collect water. Buffalos, lions, and other birds such as Egyptian plovers and bee-eaters may be seen in greater numbers on the Nyamsika cliffs.

Game drives are an all-year pastime; but, during the wet season, the grass becomes taller, making it more difficult to observe wildlife. Because the grass is thinner during the dry season, you may readily observe a lion hunting. Game viewing is available beginning at 6:30 a.m. Evening game drives begin at 4 p.m. and continue for 3 to 4 hours.

Boat cruise

The boat safari excursion upstream from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls provides a spectacular show of wildlife. Hippos and crocodiles abound, as do elephants, buffalos, waterbucks, and other bird species. The three-hour journey begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. everyday.

A boat excursion to the Nile-Lake Albert Delta takes four to five hours round trip. This trip is ideal for birders. Take the early river cruise to see the hideous antique Shoebill. A calm sundowner boat, on the other hand, provides the traditional vista of a tropical sunset reflected on the river.

Hiking to the Falls’ Summit

On foot, visitors may explore the huge area and varied views of Murchison Falls National Park. Many primates and birds may be seen on trails through the Kaniyo Pabidi and Rabongo Forests.

A boat ride up the Victoria Nile to the foot of Murchison Falls leads to a short trek that goes to the top of the falls for spectacular views. The boat docks at the bottom, and you begin a 45-minute guided climb up. You’ll have a terrific time observing the undulating hills, various greenery, wildlife, and getting a closer look at the tiny gorge on this trip.

The Hot Air Balloon

Only the Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks in Uganda provide hot-air balloon safaris (QENP). The Dream Balloons firm performs all ballooning activities. Hot air ballooning is ideal for honeymooners, adrenaline addicts, and those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The scenery is breathtaking, and the air is crisp and refreshing. Travelers can enjoy the unique experience of flying in a hot air balloon in one of the following ways:

Hot air balloon safari with/without a bush meal at sunrise or after sunrise.

Sunset hot air balloon safari—this departs at 4 p.m. This one, however, does not include any additional perks such as bush lunches after the ride. For large groups and students, these are short rides.

Please keep in mind that the balloon can only carry eight passengers at a time. Children under the age of six are not permitted.

You will get a unique perspective of the park, vistas of Lake Albert and the Victoria Nile, hidden wildlife, a bush breakfast experience in the wild, participation certificates, destination pick up, ferry crossings, and, of course, a trip on the hot air balloon. The cost of the hot air balloon expedition is $380 per person. The ride lasts one hour.

Chimpanzees Trekking

Chimpanzees may be monitored in Budongo Forest at any time of year, but the ideal time to visit is from May to August when the chances of seeing chimps are 90%. The odds are 70% in the months of February, March, April, September, and early October. Chances are 50% in late October, November, December, and January as trackers go great distances to find them since food, shelter, and water are limited.

Birding (bird watching)

A variety of birds may be seen at Murchison Falls National Park. The Shoebill Stork, Goliath Heron, Grey Crowned Cranes, Blue-headed Coucal, Swamp Flycatcher, Secretary Birds, Black-bellied Bustards, Open-billed Storks, Widow Bird, and many other species have been documented. These birds can be seen on game drives, nature walks, and boat cruises.

At the river’s edge, there are numerous thickets and forests, as well as Swallow-tailed and Red-throated Bee-eaters. Pied, Giant, and Malachite Kingfishers, Francolin, Hornbills, Grey heron, Hamerkop, Shrikes, Flycatchers; Cuckoos; Woodpeckers; Crombecs and Warblers, ducks, geese, stilts, and plovers may all be found at the Nyamusika Cliffs.

Murchison Falls is ideal for bird viewing all year. The dry season, from January to March, is, nevertheless, the finest period. Birding is difficult during the rainy season (April to May) and from August to October because the hiking routes get slick and the park roads become unusable. The Shoebill is most commonly seen during the dry season, which lasts from January to March. Migratory birds migrate from November to April.


Murchison Falls Sportfishing Sports fishing is permitted around the River Niles’ rocky surfaces, the bottom of the falls, the Devil’s Cauldron, and the Nile banks.

Murchison Falls and Karuma Falls are the two fishing spots. Anglers utilizing casting lures will find Nile perch and certain catfish to be intriguing trials. Smaller species, such as tiger fish, can be caught using live bait or the spinning method.

Fishing areas may be reached by boat or by walking down from the top of the falls to the valley. The stroll will take about 45 minutes.

You may go fishing in Murchison Falls National Park at any time of year, but the ideal times to go are early in the morning and late in the day. From mid-January to early April, when the water level is low and visible, you can capture more since the fish are eating more due to the extreme weather conditions.

It is recommended that you bring extra sun protection equipment, long socks, long-sleeved trousers, and insect repellent to help avoid tsetse fly bites. All fishermen should have rods ranging in length from 8 to 11 feet, as well as a multiplier reel and a 7″ spinning rod for smaller fish. While fishing along the riverbanks, keep an eye out for hippos and Nile crocodiles.

Community and Cultural encounter

Mubako Cultural Campfire Performances

The Mubako community is located next to the MFNP savannah. There are limited economic options in this location, and the environment makes farming difficult. As a result, the cash created by tourism through the sale of wooden sculptures and handwoven products, cultural melodies, and dance performances helps to enhance their living.

Women’s Group Boomu

The Kihaguzi and Kigaragara communities banded together from the organization to combat poverty and starvation. It has evolved from a craft club to a community tourist enterprise with guided tours and a well-kept garden. You may learn about normal rural life, customs and culture, and see culinary demonstrations, blacksmith craftsmanship, and basket making.

Attractions at Murchison


Paraa is located on the northern bank of the Victoria Nile River, in the heart of Murchison Falls, where the majority of park activities take place. Along the bank, you may begin game drives, nature walks, and bird viewing.

The ferry crossing jetty is located at the base of Paraa, between the south and north sides. From here, air balloon, launch, and boat trips depart. The tourist information office is located at the ferry terminal. There are various resorts, campgrounds, and restaurants in the surrounding region.

The Nile

The Nile River, the world’s longest river, flows through nine nations (Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt, and Kenya), having its source in Jinja. The Blue Nile, which includes the Cataract Nile and the Egyptian Nile, and the White Nile, which is the longest and divides into three sections: the lake plateau area, the sudd, and the central Sudan area.

The Nile is priceless to both man and beast. It supplies water to animals and has fertile banks for cultivation. It also provides hydroelectricity to Uganda through the Owen Falls dam. In Uganda, the Nile River offers a variety of tourism activities such as white water rafting, boat cruises, and bungee jumping, birding, sportfishing, and kayaking.

The Karuma Falls

The magnificent Karuma Falls are located on the eastern boundary of MFNP, approximately an hour’s drive from Gulu in northwestern Uganda, near the Masindi-Gulu bridge. The Falls are a series of natural rock formations that result in rippling River Nile waters with a magnificent white foam effect.

The Karuma Falls are home to the Karuma Power Station, a 750 Megawatt hydropower project. The falls are located 110 kilometers northeast of Masindi and 70 kilometers south of Gulu. To go to Gulu from Kampala, take a bus to Baganda Bus Station or Nakivubo Terminal.

The Budongo Forest

Budongo forest, Uganda’s biggest natural mahogany forest encompassing an area of 825 square kilometers, is one of the greatest chimp habitats in the country, with 600 individuals, 100 of whom are habituated for tracking at Kaniyo Pabidi. It is home to approximately 95 different animals and 360 different bird species and is a three-hour journey from Murchison Falls. Chimp tracking to and from Murchison Falls can be done in the morning or afternoon.

The Rabongo Forest

The region comprises savannah grasslands and a tropical riverine forest and is about a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Paraa. The woodland is an excellent location for tracking chimps and primates. It is also ideal for bird viewing, hiking, and taking a nature stroll.

Kaniyo Pabidi

Kaniyo Pabidi is a Forestry Department-managed area inside the Budongo forest consists of a natural forest located around 8 kilometers from Kichumbanyobo gate along Paraa road in Masindi. Kaniyo Pabidi has a southern boundary with Murchison Falls. Kaniyo Pabidi forest is home to monkeys, chimps, and over 360 bird species, but you can also enjoy excursions and nature walks among large mahogany and ironwood trees.


This is one of the game drive trails in the Murchison Falls Conservation Area, which is located on the northern edge of the savanna grassland wilderness and offers great animal watching. It is located between the Victoria Albert Niles and has spectacular views of the western rift valley beyond Lake Albert. It takes 3 to 4 hours to drive from Paraa to Delta Point. The ideal times to see animals are early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

hot springs

Kibiro Salt Gardens, located on the Kigorobyo sub-coastline, county’s has hot springs. It is 35 kilometers from Hoima town and has restricted access. The water always boils at 100°C, and most people come here for adventure and healing.

Mining and Salt Production

Kibiro Salt Gardens, ruled by the Bunyoro Kingdom, is a tiny fishing settlement on Lake Albert’s southern side. The settlement is 35 kilometers (roughly an hour’s drive) from Hoima town. The location may be reached by boat from Lake Albert, via 4X4 vehicle, or on foot, through a trek to the base of the cliff.

Traditional salt mining and processing is carried out by the people. There are several myths and superstitions about the hot springs and their healing ability. Visitors should bring plenty of drinking water, snacks, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hiking boots.


Accommodation is available at the top of the Falls, Rabongo Forest, Paraa, and Budongo Forest. Showers, toilets, and pit latrines are available in low-cost motels. There may be bandas and cottages that provide meals and beverages.

Our best selections for Murchison Falls lodging include:

  • Bakers Lodge
  • Chobe Safari Lodge
  • Paraa Safari Lodge
  • Murchison River Lodge

Getting there

Traveling by Road

The Nile River is crossed in Paraa by a car ferry that runs about hourly throughout the day.

Gates at the southern entrance:

The journey from Kampala to Masindi takes 4 hours and 305 kilometers via the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Shorter way from Masindi to MFCA through Kichumbanyobo Gate, then through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest to Paraa (85km).

The journey from Kampala to Masindi takes 4 hours and 305 kilometers via the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

Longer route: Masindi to Bugungu gate, via Budongo Forest, along the rift valley escarpment over Butiaba, with views over Lake Albert to the highlands of Congo.

Northern Entrance Gates: Along the Kampala-Pakwach road, at the Karuma Falls Bridge, via the Chobe, Wankwar, Mubako, and Tangi gates north of the Nile. 260 kilometers from Kampala.

These gates are useful for visitors traveling to and from Gulu and Kidepo Valley National Park. In addition to the Wankwar Gate at Purongo, the Pakwach Gate spans an area of approximately 25km2 to Paraa.

Entebbe International Airport (EBB) or Kajjansi Airfield near Kampala to Pakuba, Chobe, and Bugundu Airfields.

Pakuba Airfield is 19 kilometers north of Paraa.

Chobe Airfield, 13 kilometers east of Paraa Bugungu Airfield, near Murchison Falls, south of Paraa