Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the top tourist attractions in Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park is one of the best game parks to visit while in Uganda. The park is located in the Murchison Conservation Area where we also find the Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves.

The park is endowed with several attractions including over 76 mammal species with four members of the big five, the lion, the leopards, the elephants, and the Buffaloes. Other species include bushbucks, Uganda kob, waterbucks and warthogs, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, hyenas, etc. Along the shores of the Nile and within the waters you will see lots of hippos and crocodiles among other resident creatures. There also several primates in the Murchison falls national park including baboons and several monkey species.
The Murchison Falls, Uganda’s largest national park is also home to over 450 recorded bird species including the rare shoebill stork. The park is also home to 23 Albertine rift endemics given its location in the western arm of the East African rift valley. Our Murchison falls birding safaris allow you to see many of these bird species with the help of our expert guides.

PLANNING FOR MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK SAFARI

Best time to visit Murchison falls (Best time to go to Murchison Falls national park)

Located in the northwestern side of Uganda, Murchison falls is the biggest national park in the country covering a total area of 3,840 sq km. It is the most popular national park in the country due to its variety of attractions and is also the top tourist destination in Uganda. It has different vegetations including savannah plains, savannah woodlands, swamps and forested areas which are all habitats to numerous species of mammals, birds, primates and reptiles. Those interested in game viewing will go for game drives and animals like lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, waterbucks, buffaloes, warthogs, Uganda kob, Jackson’s hartebeest and many more animals are spotted. Other activities include boat cruise along the Nile to the mighty waterfalls, birding, chimp tracking in Budongo forest and hiking to the top of the water falls.

Murchison falls was named after the mighty waterfalls which are formerly and locally known as Kabalega falls. Murchison falls National Park has very interesting natural attractions which everyone needs to consider seeing. Just like at most destinations, it is important to know the best time to travel to Murchison falls national park to encounter the best of the safari. This will best planned after getting to know the varying seasons in the region and of generally.

The location of Uganda along the equator gives it a unique climate which has is also one of the reasons to why mant people travel to this country. The climate is almost the same each year with two dry season and two wet seasons. During each of these seasons, there are activities that can be done and those that become challenging to do in different season. This is the reason why travelers prefer to visit Uganda during specific seasons, hence there being the ‘Peak season’ also known as the high season and the ‘Low season’. Each of these seasons has advantages over the other in one way or the other and what seems to be comfortable and more convenient is what travelers choose.

Peak season

The peak season in Uganda comes in the dry season during the months of December to February and from June to September. During this period, Uganda receives a lot of tourists to the national parks. All the major national parks including Murchison fall national park are flooded with tourists and each site like sites for game drives have big numbers of safari cars. This is the time of the year when prices of accommodation in and around the parks are high and they including budget lodges are full. Those who want to stay in luxury lodges on their safari during this period are advised to book early enough.

Luxury lodges in Murchison falls national park include Paraa safari lodgeChobe safari lodge, mid-range lodges are Pakuba safari lodge, Fort Murchison Lodge, Budongo Ecolodge, Murchison River lodge and budget lodges are Twiga Tales and Heritage Lodge.

Apart from the high numbers of tourists’ around the country during the seasons, mosquitoes are many and active but this problem is solved by using insect repellants and sleeping in mosquito nets at night.

During the dry season which is also the high season for business, tourists become more advantaged with the reward of the park. The seasonal waterholes have dried and animals can easily be seen at the major water sources like at the river banks of the Nile. The grass is dry and short and it becomes easy to spot animals from a distance. Unlike in the wet season where tracks and trails become slippery, the dry season is the most favorable for safari vans and any other cars to reach any part park.

Low season

The low season is when tourists are few at destinations and in the country. This season comes during the wet season in Uganda during the months of March to May ad from October to November. There are rains on most days and the vegetation in parks grows taller, roads of the park are slippery and sometimes you’ll be advised not to drive to the park if the roads are extremely slippery. However, as cars drive through the slippery roads, some travelers will enjoy the experience.

Pools of water within the park are filled with water and animals are able to find water and pasture anywhere. This makes it hard to easily spot the animals roaming around the park and also won’t be common on main water bodies.

Safari lodges and camps reduce their prices during the low season because they are on a low demand as tourists are few in the country and at the destination. Generally, the park has few tourists and in case of any sightings on game drives, you will clearly see the animals without any obstructions. Most animals especially grazers will be calving and this is the best time to see this. During the wet season, the volume of water in River Nile increases and the Murchison waterfalls are stronger than during the dry season. You’ll watch the water violently force through the gorge.

Birds in Murchison falls at this time of the year are many because there is plenty of food and they are breeding and in addition, the migratory birds have also arrived and the variety of species is at its peak. Many birds will be spotted along the shore and swamps of River Nile and all over in the plains and forests. This is the best time for birding.

After looking at what happens in the peak and low seasons, we conclude that the best time for visiting Murchison falls national park is a few weeks after the rains have started and a few weeks after it has stopped that is form March to the end of May and in November. The rain is not too much to interrupt your activities and you will find the park still green and beautiful. However, nature cannot be perfectly predicted and this is the reason why Murchison falls national park will be visited at any time of the year and the experiences are still amazing.

Note that those interested in game viewing are recommended to travel during the dry season that is from December and February and August.

What to carry when traveling to Murchison falls national park-Uganda

We have analyzed the climate at the destination and after deciding on when to travel, you need to know the things that are necessary during the trip so that you are not caught by surprise when you are already out of your home. It is important to carry the appropriate clothes for the weather and others essentials as well those that may not be essential but could be required.

  • Passport

This is one of the items you must carry when traveling to Uganda’s Murchison falls. It is a travel document that you must have for you to be allowed to go through any entry point to the country.

  • Yellow fever immunization card

You must have a certificate or card showing that you are immunized against yellow fever.

  • Airline ticket

You need to confirm your ticket early enough so that your plans are not interfered with. When you obtain it, keep it safe.

  • Visa

Apply for the VISA before your travel and obtain it from your country or at Entebbe airport or border on arrival. You will not be allowed to enter the country without a Visa. You can also obtain an East African Visa that takes you to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda if you are going to travel to all the countries.

The above items are the mo0st important when planning to travel and you are advised to photocopy them and keep the copies differently. Keep them safe. Other things that you need to carry with you include the following;

  • Travel and health insurance

We can help you secure your travel with a good insurance company so that you travel with confidence regarding your health when traveling.

  • Passport size photos

Take some passport size photos and carry some when traveling. There can be any reason they may require you to use them.

  • First aid kit

Since traveling will involve long distances to the destination, it is important to have some pain killers, plasters, bandages, anti-diarrhea medicine, and other essential medicine. The fact that you are also changing the environment, it is important to carry these medicines.

  • Anti- malarial medicine

You are advised to seek advice from your physician as you plan to travel to Uganda which is a malaria zone. They will advise you on if to take and carry some anti-malarial tablets. You also need to carry insect repellant

  • A credit card and enough cash

Do not carry a lot of money in cash but have what you are going to use in the mean time and withdraw the rest when you are already at the destination. Let your bank be aware that you travelled and you will keep needing cash for different things.

  • Binoculars

You’ll need binoculars on most activities in Murchison falls national park such as game drives, when birding and also on boat cruise.

  • Camera

You are going to see amazing things and reach places where you’ll need to takes photos and videos for memories. Make sure you have a good camera, a charger.

  • Back pack

You need a back to carry the simple necessities that you’ll be using when you move out for an activity for example the camera, sun cream, power bank and other small things.

  • Clothes

Carry clothes that you’ll be comfortable in but remember that they should be descent because you need to be descent when you travel to villages in Uganda so that you don’t attract people’s attention. Let the clothes that you’ll wear when traveling around the destination is loose. Carry a scarf, t-shirts, long sleeved shirts and sweaters to wear in the evening, caps, night dress. It’s not good to wear clothes of very bright colors when travelling around wildlife areas because they attract animals.

  • Shoes

You need to carry strong water proof shoes, sandals and strong boots if you plan to go for chimp tracking.

  • Hygiene and beauty items

These include deodorants, toothbrush, cleansers, shampoo, lotion and others that you may need.

Sun glasses, books for reading, headlight and flashlight and a driver’s license