Murchison Falls National Park
Flanking the Victoria Nile some 300Km northwest of Kampala, Murchison Falls National Park is the largest protected area in Uganda and one of the most exacting. The water fall for which the park is named is the most electrifying sight of its type in East Africa, while daily launch trips from Paraa offer the opportunity to se a profusion of hippos, crocodiles ad water birds including the elusive and bizarre shoebill. Terrestrial wildlife, too is recovering from the heavy poaching of the 1980s and a wide variety of mammals-including Elephant and Lion-are now sighted along the road circuit north of the Nile.
In the southeast, Rabongo Forest is home to chimps and other rainforest creatures.
The Nile itself hosts one of Africa’s densest hippo and crocodile populations, and a dazzling variety of water birds including the world’s most accessible wild population of the rare shoebill stork.
The other established attraction in Murchison region is the Budongo forest, effectively a southern extension of the National park, protected with9in the Budongo and Kanyiyo Pabidi forest reserves. The Budongo forest harbors one of the most varied forest faunas in East Africa, and is the premier site for birdwatchers.
In the cool early morning before the sun rises too high, you will see plenty of game on the Buligi, Albert and Queen’s tracks north of the River Nile. At Nyamusika Cliffs you can picnic, enjoy the view and watch elephants and other game on the grassy hillsides. Go well prepared for a four-hour game drive and ensure a guide accompanies you. The best time is 0700hr and 1600hr
The bulk of Murchison falls wildlife is concentrated to the northern bank of the Nile, and the beast are for game drive is the circuit of tracks that run west from the ferry jet at Paraa to the Lake Albert Delta.
One of the highlights of Uganda safaris to Murchison Falls National Park is the launch trip from Paraa to the foot of Murchison Falls. Hippos and crocodiles are abundant and you will see elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks and a variety of birds like herons, cormorants, ducks, bee-eaters, fish eagles kingfishers and sometimes the rare shoebill.
The launch trip from Paraa to the falls (17km) and back takes about three hours. A boat trip from Paraa to the Delta (28km) and back takes about four to five hours and you can see a similar variety of animals and birds. The boat trip is scheduled for 0900hr and 1400hr every day. Any special time arrangement can be made with Park management.
Forest walk in Rabongo Forest
Rabongo Forest Ecotourism centre is situated in an island of tropical riverine forest southeast of the protected area. The forest is surrounded by Savannah grassland and is 11/2hour drive from Paraa. Uganda safaris guides will help you to explore the forest on foot, spotting primates like black and white colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, baboons and occasionally chimpanzees, identifying animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. You can picnic and camp by the Wairingo River, the place is also ideal for student groups.
If you have your own tackle, there is good fishing from the banks of the Nile, with large Nile Perch and Tiger fish offering the main challenge. The largest confirmed Nile perch taken from the bank of the Nile on rod and line weighed 73kg, and was caught by CD Mardach in 1959. However, a fish recorded as 10+6Kg was caught in 2001. Local fishermen have netted specimens weighing up to 160kg.
Top of the falls
As viewed from the launch trip, Murchison falls is impressive indeed. Here one can only truly appreciate the staggering power with which the Nile crashes through the narrow gap in the escarpment, not to mention the deafening roar and voluminous spray associated with the phenomena. Campsites, picnic sites and walking safaris are available here.
Kaniyo Pabidi is an undisturbed area of natural forest within Budongo forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature mahogany and iron wood tress. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the chocolate-backed Kingfisher, the white-thighed hornbill and puvel’s illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa. Kaniyo Pabidi is on Masindi-Paraa road, 8 Kms from Kichumbanyobo gate. There is a campsite where water and firewood are available.
Paraa Safari Lodge
Paraa is situated on the northern bank of the Nile opposite the launch jetty. The large luxurious decorated rooms all have a private balcony facing the river, walk in mosquito netting and a spacious bath or shower. The grounds are dominated by a curvaceous swimming pool and offer a clear view of the Nile.
Nile Safari Lodge
Nestled peacefully amongst the rich papyrus forest on the southern banks of the River Nile, the Lodge offers some of the most luxurious accommodation in Uganda’s largest national park, declared in 2005, the seventh wildest place in Africa (Getaway Magazine). Nile Safari Lodge has a choice of wooden chalets and luxury tents cleverly positioned to maximize stunning views and to give a true feeling of wild Africa. The Lodge currently has ten rooms, which include 5 wooden chalets and 5 luxury tents, all fitted with en-suite washrooms, comfortable and airy rooms perfectly designed to maximize the experience
Red Chili Camp
Red Chili is superbly located to explore Murchison. It is located at Paraa on the south-bank of the River Nile in the heart of the park, just 500 metres away from where boats can be hired for game viewing and sport fishing and from where the car ferry crosses the Nile for game drives around the Delta (where the Nile enters Lake Albert). They have a fully stocked and spacious bar and restaurant below a large open thatched roof with views towards the Nile. They offer the only low to mid budget value for money accommodation in the park and the only camping facilities with modern showers, toilets and cooking area and security lighting.
Sambiya River Lodge
Located on the south bank of the Nile on the Sambiya River. This is the closest accommodation to the falls. Accommodation in self contained cottages. Budget accommodation available in Bandas.
By road from Kampala through Masindi (via Kichumbanyobo gate(, Paraa is a 4 and half hours drive, 2 hours on a tarmac road and 2 and half harbors on a murram road. A 4X4 is recommended. The ferry at Paraa operates on scheduled time between the southern and northern bank of the Nile.
By air; Charter services are available to all-weather aerodromes at Pakuba about 19kms northwest of Paraa and Bugungu 13kms form Paraa.
From Paraa park office to;
Rabongo Forest 67
Nyamusika cliffs 14
Top of the falls(by road) 34
Top of the falls (By water) 17
Kichumbanyobo gate 69
Bugungu gate 15
Tangi gate 25
Bottom of the falls 14
The Delta 28
Bottom of the falls to Albert Delta 55
Red Chilli Rest Camp 0.6
Paraa Safari Lodge 02
Sambiya River Lodge 25
Nile safari Camp 22
From Paraa to Masindi via
Kichumbanyobo gate 86
Bugungu gate 136
From Paraa to Kampala via;
Kichumbanyobo gate 304
Facts About The Conservation Area
Mean temperature: high 29oc low 21oc.
Dry seasons: mid-December to mid-February, June and July.
Wettest months: April and November.
Altitude: 619m at the delta and 1,292m at Rabongo hill.
Total area of MFPA: 5025km2, (MFNP 3,877 SQ KM, Bugungu Wildlife Reserve 473sq km, Karuma Wildlife reserve 675sqkm).
Wildlife: 76 mammal species and 450 bird species.
Dos And Don’ts While in The Park
Enter the Protected Area through Kichumbanyobo, Bugungu or Tangi gate.
Retain all official receipts issued for park activities.
Drive only on designated roads.
Do not sound your horn.
Walk only on designated trails.
A guide should accompany visitors on nature walks and game drives.
Camp only at designated campsites.
Do not pick flowers, do not cut plants nor destroy any vegetation
Dogs or any other domestic animals are not allowed the protected area.
Firearms or ammunition are not allowed in the protected area.
Do not litter.
Drive only between 6:30 am and 6:30pm.
Light fires only at the fire rings at the campsites.
Tours and Safari itineraries to Murchision falls National Park