Most people that visit Uganda for various reason will have a thought of taking a traditional big five Africa safari to one of national parks. My own family from Ireland where my wife comes from, when they visited Uganda for the first time desired to take a safari, my proposal was a 3 days Murchison falls national park safari. My wife and I chose to recommend Murchison falls national park to our irish family for reasons that are unique to Murchison falls national park.
Reasons to visit Murchison falls national park
stretches from south-western Uganda towards the west. Covering an area of 764 square miles (1,978 square km) hilly plains to the east of lake Edward towards the foothills south of the Rwenzori Mountains. The park gets its name after Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. This park was designated in 1952 by the colonial government. The park’s fame comes from its wildlife including animals such as cape buffaloes, hippopotamuses, elephants, leopards, lions warthogs and chimpanzees. With 95 species of mammals and some 500 bird species not including migrant birds. The southern section of the park is famous for lions best known as tree climbing lions.
Where to stay in Murchison falls national park
There are several lodges or accommodation facilities in Murchison falls national park. These lodges differ in standard, service and amenities. Some of the lodges that visitors to Murchison falls nation park can stay at include; to the south Nile safari lodge, Bakers Lodge, Murchison river lodge, Red chilli hideout, Sambya river Lodge and to the north Paraa lodge, Pakuba game lodge. There other lodging facilities outside the park to the northern part of the park. These include Heritage park, Bwana tembo, Fort Murchison lodge.
When to visit Murchison falls national park
Murchison falls national park can be visited all year round although there some months when the park will be very busy and some months when the park will be less busy. June, July, August, September, October, December, January, February are considered to be busy months. While November, March, April with the exception of Easter are considered to be Low season months.
The suggested number of days to visit Murchison falls national park
A typical visit to Murchison falls national park should take 3 days and 2 nights. This is enough time to see what murchison falls have to offer. But factoring in an extra day to the chimpanzees is also a good idea making it 4 days and 3 nights.
Itinerary for visiting Murchison falls national park
The first Day you would just travel by road and making a stop at 170kms where you will find Ziwa rhino sanctuary, here you get a chance to see the souther white rhinos if you would like to take up this activity. If you are not interested in this activity then stop for a toilet break at the Kabalega dinner.
The dinner also offers coffee, tea, hot meals, cold drinks both alcoholic and non alcoholic, snacks and a small craft shop. The drive to the dinner or ziwa rhino sanctuary is 3hours standard or less if you want to go faster. From the either of the points you will then drive to Kafu river where you take a junction towards masindi town 54kms. In Masindi town refuel your vehicle and then continue to Murchison falls national park. Spend a night at your chosen lodge or opt for a night game activity to possibly see lions in action or leopards hunting.
The second day starts at 6:00am giving a visitor high chances of seeing cats before they vanish of the plains into the thickets and bushes. The first activity of the day is usually a game activity taken in your vehicle with a ranger/guide accompanying you on the game drive. Several animals and birds will be spotted during this activity with your keen guide/ranger. The second activity is a standard 2pm boat ride that starts and ends at paraa area at 5:45pm. The third activity is another short afternoon game safari to the a different part of the park.
The third day clients usually start the day late and cross at head back to Kampala.
Take a look at the below itinerary
3 days Murchison falls national park safari to see elephants, rothschilds giraffe, cape bufalo, lions, jacksons hartebeest, warthogs, elephants, giraffes a Nile river cruise.
Murchison falls National Park is Uganda's largest game reserve. It is most popular for its diversity of animals and birds such as lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos, cape buffalos, primates, chimpanzees etc. The river Nile that crosses through the game park is host to a number of animals such as hippos, crocodiles, big Nile perch fish and various water birds. The river also attracts a variety of game that come to drink, cool off and eat fresh grass along the banks. On this particular 3 day Murchison Falls national park Safari you will get a chance to see most of these animals and hike along Murchison Falls for breathtaking views of these magnificent falls. There is a boat ride on the Nile which is ideal for great.
Day 1: 3 days Murchison falls national park safari starts early by 7:00am
Start you day early with breakfast as you prepare to be collected by your driver/guide at 7.00am. Your driver/guide shall brief you on the day's activities ahead as you begin the 6 hour journey to this 3 days Murchison Falls National Park safari. You will have a break at the Kabalega dinner for a cup of tea or coffee. From here continue to Masindi town for your lunch at Masindi Hotel or Court View Hotel. After your lunch drive out of Masindi town to a dirt road for about twenty minutes and get to Murchison Falls National Park. Your driver/guide will make payments at the park gate which takes a few minutes. You will then start seeing the richness of Murchison falls starting with Olive baboons. The deeper we drive into the park, the more chances of spotting game such as warthogs, ground hornbills etc.
Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge
Mid-range: Murchison River Lodge
Budget: Red Chilli Rest Camp or Fort Murchison lodge
Meal Plan: Full Board (lunch and dinner)
Day 2: Murchison falls safari starts with a game drive and boat ride and night game drive
Your 3 days Murchison falls safari begins with differently based on which accommodation you were booked into. For example if you are resident in one of the lodges on the southern bank of the river you will start you game drive at 7:15am. This is because there is a ferry crossing the river at starting from the northern bank to the southern bank. It is on the northern bank that all major forms of game activities take place. The northern bank T supports four of the "Big Five", only rhino being absent. Cape buffalo and elephant are particularly common. There is a very healthy population of lions that like to prey on the abundantly available Uganda Kob, Oribi, and waterbuck antelope. Hyena is present but rare yet zebra is absent.
The Victoria Nile is a magnet for wildlife and it teems with crocodiles and hippos. Chimpanzees can be tracked in neighboring Budongo Forest Reserve on the southern bank. Large herds of the localized Rothschild's giraffe are found in the park. The rare Patas monkey can sometimes be spotted on the grassy plains. Because of excessive hunting and poaching, black rhinoceros became extinct by 1983, but were re-introduced into Uganda in 2005 by Rhino Fund Uganda. White rhinoceros are now being bred again in the 7,000 hectares (27 sq mi) Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is located 134kms south of the park.
Their mission is to reintroduce small herds of rhinos (around five at a time), while retaining a nucleus breeding herd in the sanctuary. The Nile that crosses Murchison Falls National Park divides it into the South and North sections. The North section is more endowed with game compared to the south. For that matter the north is preferred for game drives. If your lodge is on the southern side you'll get to the ferry crossing to get on the other side to start the game drive. Explore the major game trails especially around the area of delta for good game viewings including lots of elephants, lions, giraffes, antelops, Jackals, hyenas, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, Jackson's Hartebeests, and hopefully the elusive leopards among others.
At about 11.30am you return to the lodge for lunch and relaxation. In the afternoon head out on the Victoria Nile for a boat ride. This is the biggest highlight during a 3 days Murchison Falls national park Safari as you will get a chance to spot lots of animals close. Expect to view lots of hippos, Nile crocodiles, elephants, buffalos, and lots of other animals that come to drink water, refresh and cool off the scorching sun and other to eat the fresh grass along the river banks. The Nile is also a birds' heaven with species such as dwarf kingfisher, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, skimmers, storks, Goliath heron, white-thighed hornbill and great blue turaco are some of the species among them. Your boat guide will point out the crush site of Ernest Hemingway.
The ride takes you close to the base of the Murchison Falls and here you are be treated to yet another sight of these lovely falls. You could hike to the top of the Falls before the return ride where you guide will drive and meet you round to the top and drive you back to your accommodation. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Meal Plan: Full Board (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Day 3 - Game Drive and return to Kampala
9:00 am We depart Murchison Falls and head towards the south. To Kampala 315kms with a stop over for a picnic. Arriving back in Kampala between 3 - 5 pm end of 3 days Murchison falls national park safari
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1. Rhino tracking fee.
2. All Meals and accommodation as per the itinerary.
3. All ground transportation in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle.
4. Park entrance fees.
5. Services of a full time English speaking driver/guide.
6. Water, coffee or Tea while on safari.
7. All boat trips.
8. All game drives.
9. All airport pickups and drops.
10. All activities at stipulated in the itinerary.
11. And all government taxes/levies.
1. Bar Bills and Drinks
2. Phone calls
3. Personal insurance
5. Air fare
6. All other Services of a personal nature.
7. Driver guides gratuity.