Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP)

Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP) is the largest protected area in northwestern Uganda, sprawling over 3,840 square kilometers and encompassing Bugungu, Karuma wildlife reserves, and the Budongo Forest.

Top things to do in Murchison Falls National Park

Nile Launch Cruises

These cruises offer several different experiences for visitors. One option is a 3-hour launch trip that takes you from Paraa to the base of the falls.

This journey offers stunning views of both wildlife and the frontal part of the waterfalls. Another option is the Delta Cruise down Lake Albert, which is perfect for bird watchers and provides an opportunity to see the rare shoe bill stork.

For those wanting to experience a beautiful sunset, the sundowner cruise is a great choice. This cruise offers magnificent views of the equatorial sunset reflected on the river.

Most launch rides begin at the Paraa ferry base and take you along the river to the foot of the breathtaking Murchison Falls, which are located in the Fajao Gorge.


Embark on game drives, nature walks, and launch trips in Murchison Falls National Park to discover its diverse ecosystem. With over 451 bird species, including rare Albertine rift endemics, water birds, and savannah birds, the park offers a rich tapestry of bird life.

Explore the delta on foot, a 2-4 hour journey filled with sightings of birds like the Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver and Saddle-billed Stork.

Don’t miss the tranquil delta where the Victoria Nile meets Lake Albert, a haven for birdwatching amidst papyrus reeds. Take a delta cruise for a chance to spot the elusive shoebill stork.

Sport Fishing 

Fishing trips can be taken from the shore or boats on the mighty Nile River, but you will need to obtain a fishing permit first. The turbulent waters of Murchison Falls are famous for their large Nile Perch, as well as several species of catfish and tigerfish.

Experienced guides are available to facilitate catch-and-release fishing, either for a day or a multi-day excursion. The recommended months for fishing are December to March and June to October.

Game viewing / Wildlife Drives

The northern region bordering the Victoria Nile from the Paraa region to Lake Albert is an exceptional game-drive destination. It features lush acacia forests, riverside vegetation, savannah grasslands, and a variety of trees and undergrowth.

Expect thrilling encounters with elephants, buffalo, antelopes, giraffes, lions, and leopards.

The game track network converges notably at Delta Point. Two tracks, the Queen and Albert Nile tracks, offer great opportunities for birding enthusiasts.

The 13km Victoria Nile Track towards the delta hosts a high concentration of game. The eastern Chobe section, approximately 2 hours away, offers ample chances for a remarkable game safari, but note the denser habitat and skittish wildlife due to increased human activities and settlements.

Hot Air Balloon Safaris

This adventure commences at 5:00 am, beginning with gathering points at the Paraa entrances in both the north and south. Guests will be ferried by UWA speed boats to the northern bank, where they will board at the river and proceed to the takeoff location.

The hour-long balloon safaris can accommodate up to 8 passengers and soar to heights of up to 10,000 ft. above sea level. Upon conclusion of the journey, a bush breakfast may be arranged, followed by the transfer of guests back to their initial pick-up spots.

Community-Based Tourism – Boomu Women’s Group 

The Boomu Women’s Group, established in 1999 in Kihaguzi village, aimed to combat poverty by fostering economic and social development in the area.

With assistance from the Uganda Community Tourism Association, they initiated a community tourism project encompassing handcraft production, cultural performances, accommodation, and guided walks.

Budongo Forest Reserve – Southern part of Murchison Falls National Park

Located in the southern region of Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Forest Reserve spans an area of 793 square kilometers, designated as a medium-altitude semi-deciduous tropical rainforest. Notably, this reserve boasts remarkable biodiversity.

Among its treasures are 24 species of small mammals, with nine of them being primates. Furthermore, the reserve is home to an impressive array of flora, including 465 species of trees and shrubs.

Bird enthusiasts will delight in the presence of 359 species of birds, while butterfly aficionados can spot 289 species fluttering through the foliage. Additionally, the reserve hosts 130 species of moths, further enhancing its ecological richness.

Top things to do in Budongo Forest

Chimpanzee Tracking

These hikes take about 2 to 4 hours daily on both morning and afternoon sessions depending on the movement of the chimpanzees. You get to spend one hour with the chimps upon sighting them.

Chimpanzee Habituation 

Spend a day with chimps, observing their morning rituals and evening routines. Learn to identify each chimp’s unique traits and markings. Visit during quieter months like March, April, May, and November for better chances of close encounters.

Nature walks/forest walks 

The reserve has well-developed forest trails which offer great opportunities to explore the tropical rainforest. You can learn more about the ecosystem, the large Mahogany trees, and different bird species.

About 359 bird species have been recorded in the reserve, and you can go on half or full-day excursions with keen birding guides.

How to get to Murchison Falls National Park

To reach Murchison Falls National Park, you have two options: road or air. By road, it takes 4-6 hours (305 km) to get to the park headquarters at Paraa via the Southern Kichumbanyobo gate, which is the most direct route from Kampala.

You can also access the park through the Northern gates, which are located across the River Nile. If you prefer to fly, you can choose from Pakuba, Chobe, or Bugungu Airfields.

Among these options, Bugungu is the most convenient as it is only a few kilometers away from Paraa. Aerolink offers daily domestic flights from Entebbe Airport.

The flight departs at 12:00hrs and arrives at 13:00hrs. The return flight departs the park at 13:15hrs and arrives at the airport at 16:25hrs.

Where to stay in  Murchison Falls National Park

Nile Safari Lodge

Nile Safari Lodge rests majestically on the southern bank, perched atop a rise overlooking the legendary Nile River within Murchison Falls National Park. It boasts a collection of 8 traditional luxury accommodations, crafted from natural materials. These include 6 Deluxe Bandas, 1 Family Villa, and 1 Exclusive Banda.

The Bandas comfortably accommodate up to 3 guests, while the Family Villa features 2 bedrooms catering to a total of 8 occupants (4 adults and 4 children).

Each Banda is characterized by a charming thatched roof, a commodious seating area, a cozy day bed, ample mosquito netting, en-suite facilities encompassing both indoor and outdoor showers.

There is a secluded viewing deck furnished with a swing chair and deck chairs.

Among its amenities are private pools for relaxation, rejuvenating floating dhow massages, a welcoming bar and lounge, an elegant dining venue, and a curated gift shop.

Paraa Safari Lodge

The lodge, nestled within the park, provides lodging with 54 rooms at Paraa Safari Lodge. Each room is equipped with a private en-suite bathroom and a balcony.

These rooms are categorized into 25 Classic Guest Rooms, 26 Deluxe Guest Rooms, 2 Wheelchair Accessible Guest Rooms (inclusive of classic rooms), 2 Suites, 3 Safari Tents, and the Queen’s Cottage.

Additionally, the lodge offers various amenities such as the Captain’s Table Restaurant, Nile Terrace Restaurant, a business service center, Explorer Bar, poolside bar, a swimming pool boasting stunning views of the Nile River, Spa, and fitness center, and bush dining experiences along the picturesque Nile shores.

Chobe Safari Lodge

The lodge is situated on the banks of the Nile River and offers a wide range of accommodations. There are 30 Classic Guest Rooms, 6 Deluxe Guest Rooms, and 2 Wheelchair Friendly Guest Rooms, along with 3 Suites, 21 Safari Tents, and 2 cottages.

Leisure facilities include three 3-tier swimming pools, a spa and fitness center, a gift shop, a business center, and conference rooms.

Dining options include the Karama Restaurant and Terrace, the Karuma Bar, and the Poolside Bar. Guests can also enjoy Bush Dining in the Murchison Falls National Park or dine on the Viewing Deck.

Murchison River Lodge

Murchison River Lodge is situated directly on the southern bank of the River Nile overlooking Uganda’s largest national park, Murchison Falls.

The lodge features 4 en-suite thatched cottages that are open plan with two single beds downstairs and a double bed on a mezzanine floor. There are also 13 en-suite thatched safari tents nestled amongst the trees and bush around the lodge grounds.

The tents are twin-shared – although a third bed or a baby cot can be added – and have their porch with a table and chair set. The en-suite River Tents have a view that sets them apart from the rest.

They are located close to the River Nile in a beautiful setting with their private porch area. There are also 3 comfortable tents and camping grounds with facilities. Other facilities include a restaurant and bar area, a swimming pool, and a campfire area.

Best time to visit  Murchison Falls National Park

The best time to visit Murchison Falls National Park is from December to February for animal sightings around water sources. The period from June to September is the high season for tourism due to lower temperatures and less rainfall.

The wet or green season from March to May and October to November is ideal for birding safaris with discounted accommodation rates. However, it’s not suitable for game safaris due to heavy rainfall and slippery tracks.


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