Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls Self drive wildlife Tours

This is Uganda’s oldest and largest National Park located in the northern part of the country, about 5 hrs drive from Kampala Capital. It lies at the northern end of the Albertine Rift Valley, where the sweeping Bunyoro escarpment tumbles into vast, palm-dotted savanna. The journey from Kampala goes through the famous Luwero and Masindi town. En route to the park, one can visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino tracking. This is the only place in Uganda where one can see the Rhinos in their natural habitat.

Things to Do

  • Game Viewing

Game drives are conducted in open roof vehicles for excellent game viewing and photographing. It is more rewarding with a ranger guide from the park headquarters. Game drives are conducted in the morning to catch up with early raisers and predators returning to their hideouts, in the afternoon and evening.

Additionally, night game drives can also be arranged with a professional ranger and good lights to catch up with night dwellers. Some of the animals to see while on a game drive in Murchison Falls National Park include Lion, Leopard, herds of Buffaloes, Elephants, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Warthogs, and many antelope species, and over 450 bird species among others.

  • Chimpanzee Tracking

This is a half-day activity in Budongo Forest / Kanio Pabidi Forest reserve. Chimps tracking takes place from morning to Midday, and the afternoon shift starts at 2 pm. A maximum of 8 persons allowed to visit chimps in each shift and therefore, one must book in advance to avoid disappointment. The activity involves hiking through the forest with trained rangers and guides in search of the habituated group of chimpanzees. On the hike, expect an encounter with other primates such as Olive baboons, Red-tailed monkeys, Blue Monkey, Galagoes, and Mangabeys among others.

  • Chimpanzee Habituation experience

This is a full-day activity with Chimpanzees in the forest. The activity starts early morning before chimps come out of their nests until the evening when they get back to their nests. You must carry lunch and mineral water for refreshment. You must also book your permit in advance.

  • Bird Watching

Murchison Falls National park has approximately 451 bird species. These can be seen on a forest walk in Budongo / Kanio Pabidi (Forest birds), and water birds on a fantastic boat cruise on the mighty Nile River.

  • Fantastic Boat cruise

This is one of the most popular tourist activities for visitors to Murchison Falls N.P. The boat cruise takes you to the bottom of the Murchison Falls or to the Nile Delta. It is approximately 2 hrs to the bottom of the falls and back. Herds of elephants and Buffaloes are seen quenching their thirst on the shores. Additionally, huge Nile crocodiles and Hippos are also seen basking along the shores.

BirdLife is prolific with over 300 species. The boat provides a clear platform for photographing. It is a lifetime adventure experience to sail to the bottom of the beautiful falls.

  • Spot Fishing

Sport Fishing at Murchison Falls N.P is generally carried out in the area at the base of the falls. The fishing is either from the rocks on the River-banks or slightly lower downstream in the pools from the boat.

The temperatures at Murchison are high and sometimes go beyond 40 degrees C especially at mid-day and anglers should be equipped with sun protection including suntan lotion, hats, and long-sleeved shirts. Tsetse flies may also be a challenge, we thus recommend long trousers and insect repellent.

  • Nature walk

Experience a true African wilderness on a guided safari walk through the park as you watch a variety of animals around you.

  • Bush camping

Bush camping in Murchison Falls National Park offers you a true African wilderness. You can hire a waterproof tent, sleeping bags, mattresses, and lamp from your travel agency. Insect repellent is very important.

  • Hiking to the Top of Falls

It is a 30 minutes hike from the bottom to the top of the fall, giving you perfect views of the breathtaking falls at different points. You must organize a vehicle to pick you from the top back to your lodge or next destination.

Where to Stay?

There are so many places to stay, they include campsites, budget camps and lodges, mid-range and luxury lodges. Some of these include Red Chilli Rest Camp, Sambiya River Lodge, Bwana Tembo Safari Camp, Fort Murchison Lodge, Murchison River Lodge, Nile Safari Lodge, Pakuba Safari Lodge, and Paraa Safari Lodge among others.

Possible Extensions

From Murchison Falls National Park, you can extend your safari to the magnificent Kidepo valley National Park in North Eastern Uganda (4-5hrs) and Kibale National park, home to 13 primate species and over 350 bird species.

3 Day Murchison Falls Self Drive Tour

The 3 Day / 2 Night Uganda self-drive tour to Murchison falls National Park (The biggest in Uganda) offers a great opportunity to see the African Big 5 animals namely; Buffalo, Elephants, Lion, Leopard, and Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in  Nakasongola.

Main Self Drive Tour Activities

Rhino tracking; is one of the exceptional activities to consider on your self-drive safari to Murchison falls. Rhinos are extinct in Uganda’s national parks. They can only be found at the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary and Uganda wildlife conservation education center in Entebbe. Visiting the Ziwa Rhino sanctuary completes your quest for Africa’s big five in Murchison falls national park area.

Elephant Viewing; Murchison falls national park has a population of over 1600 elephants giving you almost 98% chance of spotting the world’s largest land mammal on any given day during your self-drive safari in Uganda. However, you are often cautioned to keep your distance to avoid elephants sending you off from their territory.

Leopard Tracking;  is one of the activities that would require you a ranger or a professional guide to executing. They are some of the rarest animals to see in Murchison falls national park unless you know their whereabouts. To ensure the best big 5 experience, we recommend a game ranger or professional guide for this matter. You can hire a ranger during your self-drive adventure in Murchison Falls National Park

Buffalo Viewing; is another sure exciting activity to do on your self-drive trip in Murchison falls national park. Where the buffaloes are; there are likely to be some lions too since they sometimes prey on them.

The Lions; are some of the animals that not everyone gets to see in Murchison falls national park. Just like the leopards, the help of a professional wildlife guide and game ranger should come in handy for your self-drive trip.

Antelope viewing; is often considered as the garnish on your self-drive Murchison falls safari since there is something that stands out more exceptionally; The boat cruise and Murchison falls hike

With the above activities, we often recommend a Land cruiser TX/TZ with a pop-up roof or a Land cruiser V8 with a pop-up roof for excellent game viewing and photographing during your self-drive adventure in Murchison falls national park.