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Murchison Falls National Park

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Murchison Falls National Park [1] is in Northern Uganda. The park covers approximately 3840 sq km, and the River Nile passes through. Rabonga Forest in the south east has large populations of chimps and the Nile has a lot of hippos and crocs.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Named after the president of the English Royal Geographic Society in 1862 by Samuel Baker.

Landscape[edit]

Part of the Albertine Rift. the White Nile flows through this park from east to west, before turning north when it contacts Lake Albert. Point of note is the spectacular Murchison Falls, where the Nile squeezes much of its water through a 7-meter wide cleft. Less know is the Uhuru Falls, adjacent to Murchison Falls. "Uhuru" means "freedom" in Swahili - these falls broke through the rock in the year of Uganda's independence.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Elephants, Rothschild's giraffe, nile buffalo, lelwel hartebeest, oribi, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthog, lion, leopard, hippo, nile crocodile, olive baboons, mongoose, honey badger, monitor lizards, black and white colobus, vervet monkey, chimpanzee and a wide array of bird life including the rare shoebill stork.

Climate[edit]

Tropical, rains April/May and Oct/Nov. Good to visit all year

Get in[edit]

Basically you either must bring your own car or rent one to enter Murchison. There is no public transportation through the park and reaching it from Masindi will probably require following one of the steps below.

Take an early bus to Masindi (at the time of this entry in January 2012, 15,000 U.Sh with Link Buses taken from Kampala city bus station at 7am,9am,12pm *Africa time*) and then try to arrange for transport to bring you to the park. With some luck you could get a free ride with the rangers, or you could arrange with a safari guide to drive you out to the park from Masindi. Yebo Tours [2], owned and operated out of Masindi, is the most affordable option we found.

Another low-budget safari is offered by the Red Chili, which can be book out of their hostel in Kampala. Many safari companies offer safaris into this park. One is www.bahr-el-jebel-safaris.com. They operate the nearby River Safari camp. You can fly into nearby Arua Airport from Kampala (daily flights with Eagle Air) and this company will send a safari vehicle to get you.

You can stay with Boomu Women's Group who are located just outside Kichumbanyobo gate, the main gate to the park. You can get transport to there from Masindi. After your stay you can go to the park gate, just metres up the road and try to get a lift to your destination in the park. Either that or you can ask the staff to arrange for a taxi to take you to your destination. If your destination is chimp trekking in Pabidi, staff at Boomu Women's Group can help arrange transport to this site.

Fees/Permits[edit]

For non-residents, a one day permit costs US$30, for East African residents, US$10.

Get around[edit]

Your best bet is to either hire a car or go on an organized safari. Don't even bother hitching or taking a bus. It is VERY difficult to get around in the park without your own transportation. You might get lucky and have a safari opportunity with someone, but you might not.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Take a boat ride and get surrounded by crocodiles and hippos. From 15000 USh.
  • Safaris can be done, the wildlife is abundant.

Do[edit][add listing]

Game drives, chimp walks, birding, boat trips

Community tours that offer a chance to see the local community, understand issues faced by rural Ugandans and learn about local food are offered at Boomu Women's Group [3]. This group also offers a chance to see how local handcrafts are made.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Local crafts, drinks, snacks and simple meals can be purchased from Boomu Womens Group [4]. As this is a community tourism project all sales directly help the surrounding community.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Lodging[edit]

Yebo Tours is locally owned and operated and... professional! It is also the most affordable option we found coming from Kampala. We (one German, one American) received transport to and from Masindi, dinner, breakfast and lunch, accommodation in a traditional banda, and a day tour which included four-hour game drive, boat-ride up to the Falls and nature hike, for $186/person. The owner himself guided us and proved knowledgeable both about the wildlife and local conditions. All in all a rewarding experience that we recommend.

The Nile Safari Camp accessible through a very bumpy road is a luxury tent-style accommodation with spectacular service and wooden cabins overlooking the Nile River. Very quaint and rustic, but with 5-star service.

Paraa Lodge located on the "animal-side" of the Nile River is a hotel boasting a colonial style and a very good food buffet.

Simple and cheap'banda style' accommodation as well as camping can be found at Boomu Women's Group. [5].

River Camp located outside of the Park. But the operators regularly take the clients to Murchison as part of a package. The package includes the use of Swamp Airboats. The camp will also pick-up visitors who fly into nearby Arua airport, that has daily flights. See www.bahr-el-jebel-safaris.com

Camping[edit]

  • Red Chili Guest House is the cheapest option at Murchison Falls. Pitch your own tent for 5000+ shilling or hire one of theirs for 5000 more. The nearby village allows for local atmosphere and cheap local food.


  • The Shoebill Campsite adjacent to the pleasant Nile Safari Lodge offers a very good camping alternative with a great view over the Victoria Nile with the potential to see Shoebills on the opposite river bank. Ablutions are acceptable and a full time askari provides security. Cost is around US$10.


The best camping in Uganda (or just about anywhere else) can be had on the Nile Delta. Make arrangements at park headquarters and a guide will come watch over you while you spend a night on the savannah. Shine your flashlight out of your tent to see hundreds of buffalo eyes shining back at you, hear the lions roar and see the shadows of elephants passing by 20 meters from your tent. Unforgettable!

Backcountry[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

If you stay to the roads with a safari vehicle, there is no danger. However do not go off the marked roads.

Get out[edit]



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