About Murchison Falls National Park
This is where the River Nile squeezes through a narrow gorge 8m wide and 45m deep forming the rapid magnificent Murchison falls and also splits the park into two forming the north and southern banks. It is the largest protected area in Uganda. It was formerly with in the Bunyoro Game Reserve and the invasion of the tsetse flies that caused sleeping-sickness in 1910 led to the evacuation of a large human population hence leading to the beginning of the conservation process of the area.
It was established as a national park in 1952 and the 1969 census indicated a large mammal population including 14,500 elephants, 26,500 buffaloes, 14,000 hippos, 16,000 Jackson’s hartebeests, 30,000 Ugandan Kobs and 11,000 warthogs as well as a large population of Giraffes, black and white rhinoceros. Wildlife became prey for commercial and subsistence to poachers when Iddi Amin banned foreign visitors from Uganda in 1972. And this is when the park was named Kabalega National Park after the King of Bunyoro during that time. The number of wildlife went down almost by 10% during Iddi Amin’s time.
However, following the withdrawal of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 2005 a rebel group that operated in the area since 1990, Murchison Falls National Park is and has been regarded safe as anywhere in the country and tourist numbers as well as wildlife have concurrently increased since then and it is still ranked one of the top tourist destinations in Uganda.
Location; North Western Uganda
Altitude; 619m – 1292m
Wildlife; 144 Mammals, 556 Birds, 51 Reptiles, 51 Amphibians
Top things to do in Murchison Falls National Park
- Game viewing/ safaris
- Launch/ boat safaris
- Chimpanzee tracking
- Bird watching
- Hiking and Nature walks
- Sport fishing
- Hot air balloon safaris
How to get to Murchison Falls National Park
There are 4 commonly used gates to access the park;
Kichumbanyobo gate (main southern gate 1)
This gate is commonly used by those accessing the park from Masindi town. It is 215km from Kampala to Masindi and then 22km from Masindi to this gate. And it is a 75km drive from this gate to the ferry landing site in the park.
Mubako gate (southern gate 2)
This gate is commonly used by those coming from or going to Lake Albert or Hoima as well as Fort portal. It is 135km between Masindi and Paraa via Lake Albert.
Wankwar gate (northern gate 1)
This gate is situated 10km south of Purongo town which is located 58km on the Arua route from the Karuma junction. It is the best optional for those coming from Chobe, Gulu or Kidepo Valley National Park.
Tangi gate (northern gate 2)
This gate is situated 50km further from the Purongo town, so you can follow the directions for Wankwar gate but continue past Purongo for 50km, there will be a number of sign posts on your left before you get to Packwach Town.
Note: There is a ferry in the park at Paraa connecting the north and south banks. And the official departure times are; 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00 and the last one at 19:00. This is how visitors can connect to their lodges on both banks of the park and also to different activities in the park.
You can fly to Murchison Falls National Park with Aero Link Uganda landing at either Pakuba or Chobe airstrips depending on where you prefer to stay. Flights always depart Entebbe at 12:00 arriving at either Pakuba or Chobe airstrips at 13:00 and depart at 13:15 arriving at Entebbe airport at 16:25.
Best time to visit Murchison Falls National Park
This park can be visited all year round but the rain seasons tend to make some of the routes inaccessible. December-February and June-August which are the dry periods of the year would be the best time to visit Murchison falls National Park while the wet periods of March-May and September-November usually have a lot of rain making it difficult to access some of the routes in the park and also interfering with some of the planned activities of the day.
Accommodation-where to stay in Murchison Falls National Park
Below are some of the places to stay in and near Murchison Falls National Park:
- Southern bank
- Bakers Lodge
Tel: +256 772721155
- Kabalega Wilderness Lodge
Tel: +256 783864900
- Murchison River Lodge
Tel: +256 782007552/ +256 0714000085
- Red Chilli Rest Camp
Tel: +256 393202903/ +256 772509150
- Yebo Safari Camp
Tel: +256 772637493/ +256 713713007
- Top of the Falls UWA Campsite
Tel: +256 312355000/ +256 414355000
- Northern bank
- Paraa Safari Lodge
Tel: +256 312260260/ +256 752788880
- Pakuba Safari lodge
Tel: +256 414253597/ +256 706752822
- Fort Murchison Lodge
Tel: +256 312294894/ +256 770532881
- Heritage Safari Lodge
Tel: +256 792212618
- Delta UWA Campsite
Tel: +256 3123355000/ +256 414355000
Popular Safaris to Murchison Falls National Park
- 2 days Wildlife Safari in Murchison Falls National Park
- 3 days Wildlife Safari in Murchison Falls National Park
- 4 days Wildlife Safari in Murchison Falls National Park