With an area spanning 3,893km2, the Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park. Located in northwestern Uganda, the park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which crosses from east to west. The Nile pushes its way through a seven-metre gap in the rocks and thunders down 43 metres before flowing into Lake Albert. This impressive structure makes up the Murchison Falls.
Adjacent to the Murchison Falls National Park is the Bugungu Wildlife Reserve, covering an area of 748km2, and the Karuma Wildlife Reserve, spanning 720km2. These three reserves combine to form the Murchison Falls Conservation Area.
John Speke and James Grant were the first Europeans to explore Murchison Falls and the surrounding area in 1862. A year later, Samuel and Florence Baker visited the Falls to explore the area more thoroughly. They decided to name the Falls after the geologist Roderick Murchison, the president of the Royal Geographical Society at the time.
Murchison Falls National Park was officially established in 1952 by the British administration, which ruled over Uganda until 1962. Since then, Murchison Falls has been a popular destination among tourists, who visit the area for the chance to see the incredible wildlife, especially the chimpanzees and rare birds.
Murchison Falls National Park is home to 76 mammal species, including elephants, lions, giraffes, hippopotamus and chimpanzees. The national park also contains the largest population of crocodiles in Uganda. These huge predators are the kings of the river so beware – they are responsible for up to 200 human deaths a year. Don’t worry though, for as long as you observe the mighty crocs from the safety of a boat, you’ll be perfectly safe.
With over 460 bird species to spot, Murchison Falls is also a paradise for birders. The rare shoe-billed stork is the real star of the show here. Its unusual appearance and vulnerable status make it a species well worth spotting. Other notable bird species include the dwarf kingfisher, the Goliath heron and the great blue turaco.
Murchison Falls National Park offers a great safari experience all year round. From viewing game to chimpanzee trekking, visiting Murchison Falls during any month of the year guarantees you an incredible African adventure.
The dry season is the perfect time to spot wildlife as the bush is less dense and animals are more likely to gather around watering holes. As well as this, trails and paths are clear, allowing you to track chimpanzees much more easily and safely. However, the dry season is also the peak season, with fierce competition for accommodation and the park is generally busier.
Head to Murchison Falls during the wet season if you’re a keen bird watcher, as migratory birds, in particular, flock to the park at this time. The park is green and lush, and there is still a lot of wildlife to spot. Due to the rain, some roads and trails may be flooded or slippery, which could hinder some chimp trekking excursions.
There are usually fewer visitors during the wet season, which means that you can generally find a great deal on accommodation. Be aware, however, that some of the lodges may be closed at this time, so it’s important to check before you travel.
Murchison Falls offers a vast range of activities that are designed to help you get the most out of your safari experience.
Head out on a game drive or bush walk to learn more about the local flora and fauna from our knowledgeable guides. Taking part in a chimpanzee trekking adventure is your chance to tick something epic off your bucket list. Boasting a large chimpanzee community, the Budongo Forest at Murchison Falls is the best place to visit if you’re intrigued by these intelligent primates. Once you find a family of chimps, you’ll be able to see how they interact and communicate with one another as they go about their daily lives. This is truly an experience that will stay with long after you’ve left the continent.
A trip to Murchison Falls is incomplete without a boat ride down the Victoria Nile. From the safety of the boat, you’ll be able to observe enormous crocodiles in their natural habitat and see a range of birds and other animals frolicking at the water’s edge.
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