Everything You Need to Know About Murchison Falls National Park

Murchison Falls National Park Uganda

Everything You Need to Know About Murchison Falls National Park

If you’re in search of awe-inspiring wildlife adventures, then Murchison Falls National Park is a haven for nature lovers. From wildlife safaris to bush camping, boat trips to hot-air balloon rides, Murchison Falls is a breathtaking location waiting to be explored.

About Murchison Falls

The park can be explored in several ways, such as boat cruises to the falls where you can experience, first-hand, the amazing wildlife along the riverbanks, view the remarkable falls and, when the river is low, alight from the boat at the bottom and hike your way to the top. Alternatively, you can drive to the top to view the breathtaking vistas and then hike down.

Game drives are another popular way to explore the park, thanks to the spectacular animals which can be spotted as you tour across this great wilderness.

If you really want an experience like no other, then viewing the extraordinary landscape from a hot-air balloon is a moment you’ll never forget.

In 1952, Murchison Falls was gazetted, making it the oldest park in Uganda. It’s also Uganda’s largest park, with the scenic landscape spanning over 3840 sq km, ranging from dense forest and open water to savannah grasslands and vast woodlands.

Not only the oldest and largest, but Murchison Falls is one of the hottest parks in Uganda (the sheer variety in Uganda’s parks explains the country’s amazing biodiversity) – the perfect habitat for an abundance of wildlife and bird-life. The falls, after which the park is named, is said to be the most powerful in the world, thanks to the mighty Nile which plunges 45m through a narrow gorge and into a devil’s cauldron below. The falls were named after Roderick Murchison, a former President of the British Royal Geographical Society.


Murchison Falls Alligator boat



What To Do At Murchison Falls

When planning your adventure holiday, we will discuss with you the interests of your group or family to customise an itinerary that’s suitable for everyone. Every day is different on safari, so we recommend spending at least a couple of days at Murchison Falls for a fully immersive experience.

Don’t forget to build in some downtime to unwind. Choosing accommodation where you can relax is a good way to compensate for the early mornings.

Game Drives

Game drives are ideal for exploring the park’s diverse wildlife. Murchison Falls is home to 76 species of mammals and over 450 species of birds, so there’s never a dull moment exploring this magnificent park.

Some animals you might see at Murchison Falls:

  • Giraffes
  • Lions
  • Leopards
  • Elephants
  • Warthogs
  • Hyenas
  • Buffaloes
  • Jackson’s Hartebeest
  • Waterbucks
  • Ugandan Kob
  • Hippos
  • Olive Baboons
  • Chimpanzees
  • Jackal
  • Patas monkey
  • Crocodiles
  • Oribi


Chimpanzee Tracking

Starting the day early, chimpanzee tracking is a fantastic way to see chimps in their natural habitat. After a briefing, join your group for a guided jungle trek enjoying the sights and sounds of the forest. Then, spend time observing and learning about this fascinating species, as they play together, grooming, eating fruits and foraging, to the sounds of excitable screams in the treetops.

Shoebill seen in Uganda


With over 1,000 different species, it’s no wonder Uganda is one of the best countries to watch birds. Murchison Falls is one of the best birding locations in Uganda, thanks to its broad range of habitats, from the forest, and riverine to the savannah. Each habitat boasts a variety of bird species, such as the rare Giant Kingfisher or the common Weaver birds. Our birding safaris are accompanied by expert guides, who know exactly where to look to find the stunning bird life that Uganda has to offer.

Some birds you might spot at Murchison Falls:

  • Shoebill
  • Grey-crowned Crane
  • Black-headed Lapwing
  • Senegal Thick-knee
  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
  • Swamp Flycatcher
  • Palm-nut Vulture
  • Goliath Heron


Public and Private Boat Trips

Guests spot an elephant on a private boat trip at Murchison Falls

Whether you want to experience the river on a private or public boat trip, one thing’s for sure: it’s a must-do activity to add to your adventure. Travel along the Nile and see a range of wildlife from hippos and crocodiles to buffalo and elephants as they come to drink, cool off or play in the water. The trip reaches the bottom of Murchison Falls before returning.

Public and private boat trips are also available to the delta for birding, whilst fishing trips on the Nile near the falls can be booked too. Why not book a sunset cruise, and experience the river as the sun goes down, with a drink in hand?

Birding out of the park

Instead of driving out of the park, go by boat with our community tourism initiative. Our local fisherman will take you birding down the Nile and out onto Lake Albert, dropping you at a fishing village where your guide will be waiting to drive you to your next destination. This gives you an insight into the lives of the locals and helps them earn a little extra money.

Bush Camping

Experience the nature of the park as the sun goes down and fall asleep under the stars, by spending the night camping out in the bush at the top of Murchison Falls.

Hot-Air Balloon Ride

Soar across the sky in a hot-air balloon and admire the extraordinary wilderness of Murchison Falls national park from above. From the plunging waterfall and the lush forests to the majestic wildlife that roams the savannah, this activity gives you a sensational bird’s-eye view of the park.

Swimming Pool and Spa Facilities

Some of the lodges in and around the park have swimming pools and spa facilities available for you to relax and re-energise. Many of the park’s activities begin as the sun rises, or late in the afternoon when the animals are more active, as they can hide in the shade at the hottest points of the day. Therefore, it’s nice to include some downtime in between excursions to wind down and keep cool.

Explore the Nearby Area of Murchison Falls

Take time to explore Murchison Falls national park

If you are visiting Murchison Falls national park, why not take time to explore the surrounding region, which is known for its welcoming community? We recommend visiting Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary if you want to go rhino tracking, while birding or a nature walk at the Royal Mile in Budongo forest is truly magical.

If you’re a history enthusiast, then there are guided tours of the Polish church and the area where Jewish refugees lived during the second world war. You’ll love listening to the story of King Kabalega and his Bunyoro Kingdom, too.

Take a trip to a mango farm, or visit a local community group to experience typical village life and gain insight into beekeeping and medicinal plants.


Accommodation to Suit You

From luxury accommodation to somewhere comfortable and affordable, Murchison Falls has a wide range of beautiful lodges that make your trip one to remember. Whether you want to relax by the pool, admire the views, or spend most of your time exploring the park, Venture Uganda will make suggestions to fit your personal itinerary.


Pakuba Safari Lodge swimming pool Murchison falls national park northern Uganda Pakuba Safari Lodge in the heart of the park.

Pakuba Safari Lodge

This medium-sized, mid-range property sits on the Eastern Bank of the Albert Nile, with panoramic views of the Nile and surrounding forest. The lodge has different rooms to suit everyone and the 4 family suites and children’s play area make Pakuba Safari Lodge the perfect spot for families. Located within the park, staying here means you can wake up and start your game drive as the sun rises.

Each room has a private veranda, so guests can look out across the expansive wilderness or enjoy swimming in the sunshine at the large swimming pool. The friendly staff are always available and happy to make sure you have everything you need for an idyllic stay.


An apartment at the Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls National Park    Inside an apartment at the Nile Safari Lodge, Murchison Falls National Park

Nile Safari Lodge, luxury on the banks of the Nile.

Nile Safari Lodge

As the name suggests, the luxurious Nile Safari Lodge is situated on the banks of the Nile, in the heart of Murchison Falls National Park. Stepping into paradise, this tranquil accommodation offers beautiful authentic interiors in spacious rooms, ideal for romantic escapes or family adventures, complete with indoor and outdoor showers, along with a private balcony. Make use of the relaxing spa facilities or take a dip in the pool, and soak up the magic of Uganda’s wildlife. This lodge is also eco-friendly, promoting responsible travel while also accommodating wheelchair users.


Fort Murchison, Murchison Falls national park, Uganda Fort Murchison pool overlooking the River Nile.

Fort Murchison

If you’re looking for a property that offers value for money, then Fort Murchison is an affordable and comfortable lodge just outside of the park, where you can be sure of a warm reception. The Arab slave trade was associated with this area, which is why the impressive accommodation is built in the style of a fort. The architecture means the twelve clean and cosy rooms stay cool during the hottest periods of the day. Alternatively, swimming in the pool and relaxing in the beautiful garden is another way to enjoy the sunshine.


Book Your Stay at Murchison Falls National Park

For a real Uganda experience, book with Venture Uganda. Uganda is our home, so we have all the local knowledge to create an authentic African adventure, that shows you the highlights but also the hidden gems.

Our travel consultants design tailor-made trips to suit every traveller, ensuring your itinerary is perfect for you, whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, with friends or with your family. We take important steps to support responsible travel wherever we can, leaving a positive impact on the environment and on conservation and community projects.

If you would like to book an unforgettable holiday at Murchison Falls, then get in touch with us today and let us create an adventure of a lifetime.

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Woman sits on grass reading the Murchison Falls national park ebook