Murchison Falls National Park

Uganda’s largest park, the wild and beautiful Murchison Falls National Park offers breath taking scenery of palm-dotted hills, swamps, riverine woodland and forest, East Africa’s most dramatic waterfall, and a remarkable diversity of wildlife on land and in the Victoria Nile, which teems with hippos and crocodiles. The park is home to large herds of buffalo and elephant and a good concentration of lion as well as leopard and several antelope species from grey duiker and Ugandan kob to oribi and Jackson’s hartebeest. It’s one of the few places in Uganda where you can find giraffe, and on the plains you may be able to spot the rare ground-dwelling patas monkey. Birding is excellent, and the top highlight is a sighting of the endangered shoebill stork, a rare creature that sits at the top of many birders’ wish list. You’re most likely to see them between January and March on the Delta cruise boat ride.

enter image description here

Murchison Falls National Park is part of the greater Murchison Falls Conservation Area, which incorporates the Bugungu and Karuma reserves, as well as Kaniyo Pabidi forest, where you can go chimp trekking.

Highlights

The park’s main feature is the Victoria Nile, which cuts through the wilderness and cascades 45 metres down through a narrow gorge at Murchison Falls, the world’s most powerful waterfall. Boat cruises along the river take you to see the thunderous waterfall, but they’re also a chance to spot pods of grunting hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and bathing elephants. Not to be missed is the short hike up to the top of the falls where you’ll have several viewpoints to see the take in the majestic waterfalls (and spot some monkeys and baboons along the way).

enter image description here

In addition to the boat cruise to the falls, another highlight is the boat ride down the river to the delta where the Victoria Nile merges into Lake Albert for beautiful scenery and wildlife and excellent bird watching.

The park’s 450 species of birds will have twitchers excited: there are water birds to be seen from the river, as well as savanna birds and endemic species from the Albertine Rift Valley.

Practical information

  • You can visit Murchison Falls National Park throughout the year, but the best months for spotting wildlife are the dry ones – from December to February and June to September, when you can find animals congregating around water sources.

  • Birdwatching is also good year-round, but it’s best between January and March. Migratory species are in the park from November to April. March to May and October to November are the rainiest months when some roads become impassable, but during these months there are few visitors to the park which means discounts on lodging. The falls are also at their most dramatic during the rainy months, when the river is at its fullest.

  • While you can do self-driving safaris in Murchison Falls National Park, it’s a good idea to hire a UWA guide to help you navigate the roads and find animals that would be hard to spot on your own.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 1

Entebbe, arrival
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 2

Semliki, a birders paradise
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 3

Semliki, focus on Shoebill

day 4

day 5

to Kibale for some Chimps
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 6

Kyambura Gorge, Queen
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 7

Ishasha, Queen's wild side
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 8

Bwindi and more forest birds
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)
  • Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

day 9

Gorillas while you there

day 10

day 11

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Budget travel in Uganda

Credit: RoadTrip Uganda As with many safari destinations, if you want to save money on lodging on your holiday in Uganda, choose to stay at hostels and campsites outside of the national parks. Transport-wise, the most affordable way to travel is via public transport on buses and minibus taxis, although it’s difficult to reach the more remote national parks on public transport. If…

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park, the second largest and most biodiverse park in Uganda, is the country’s most popular safari destination. Located in western Uganda close to the Rwenzori Mountains, the park encompasses a huge array of different landscapes, including wetlands, swamps and crater lakes, tropical forests, woodland and open savannah, which support a diverse range of wildlife,…

Uganda birding tour

African Green broadbill Uganda is one of Africa’s top birding destinations, with more than 1000 species found at this meeting point of the East African savanna and West African rainforest. There are only four safari destinations in the world that have more than 600 species of birds, and Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of them: it should be at the top of any birder’s…

Getting around in Uganda

One way to travel Uganda independently is by hiring your own car. Hiring a 4x4 is highly recommended, because most roads are unpaved and are often extremely bumpy and potholed, and most of the roads in the national parks are only suitable for 4x4s. However, driving on rough Ugandan roads is not for the feint hearted, and if you don’t have much experience driving in Africa it might be…

Regions of Uganda

If you only visit one region in Uganda, it should definitely be Western Uganda, which is home to the country’s biggest concentration of national parks and wildlife highlights, from the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and big game safaris in Queen Elizabeth National Park to chimpanzee rain forests and the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains. Ssese Islands | Credit:…

Visa requirements for Uganda

Most visitors (apart from people from a few visa-exempt countries in Africa) will need to get a visa for travel to Uganda. You used to be able to get a visa on arrival in Uganda, but this no longer the case. You now need to apply for an electronic visa online prior to your trip. Go to https://visas.immigration.go.ug/ to apply. A single-entry visa costs US$50 and a six-month multiple entry…

Popular Uganda Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Chimpanzee | The Primates of Uganda & Rwanda

Primates and wildlife of Uganda and Rwanda

See mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, golden monkeys and tree-climbing lions, take a boat cruise and visit Rwanda's genocide memorial ...

 | Birding Through Uganda (EA 11 days)

Birding through Uganda

This is a safari for the serious birder wanting to see exciting new bird species, as well as chimpanzees and mountain gorillas...