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Murchison Falls National Park

Visit the spectacular Murchison Falls! Take the boat ride to the Bottom of the Falls. Experience the thundering water under your feet at the Top of the Falls!

Devil's Cauldron. Top of Murchison Falls

That’s my dad! The Devil’s Cauldron. Top of Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls National Park is named after the spectacular waterfalls, the undoubted geographical highlight of the area. It was during his 1860-70’s expeditions that the explorer Sir Samuel Baker named the Falls after Sir Roderick Murchison, the President of The Royal Geographical Society

During Idi Amin’s time, the Falls were known by their local name: Kabalega Falls, after the notorious warlord king of Bunyoro Kingdom.

Sir Winston Churchill described the plains around Murchison Falls as “Kew Gardens and the [London] zoo on an unlimited scale.”

On an early morning game drive in Murchison, you’re likely to see elephants, Cape buffalo, Rothschild’s giraffes, lion, Uganda kob, warthog and more. My friend saw a porcupine on safari in Murchison! An armed Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger escorts visitors on game drives.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbills Murchison Falls, safari

Murchison Falls National Park has over 400 bird species. I love the big Abyssinian Ground Hornbill! I spotted these as we drove along the south bank of the Nile

The boat trip to the Bottom of the Falls is second to none. It’s an absolute must-do! You will see huge Nile crocodiles, hippos and 100s of birds, including brightly-coloured Beeeaters, Spoonbills and – if you’re lucky – you can even see the prehistoric-looking Shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur! The boat takes you to the base of the Falls where you can stop for some great photo opportunities.

Shoebill, River Nile Delta, Murchison Falls. Wild Frontiers. Photo Allan Ssenyonga

On my last trip we saw an amazing THREE Shoebills on the River Nile delta cruise with Wild Frontiers. Photo Allan Ssenyonga

View of Murchison Falls and Uhuru Falls, Uganda

View of Murchison Falls and Uhuru Falls, Uganda

The hour’s hike from the edge of the River Nile up to the top of Murchison Falls is highly recommended. En route you will see a second set of waterfalls – Uhuru Falls. The striking view of both waterfalls is not visible from the top of Murchison Falls, nor from the boat. This hike can be done in either direction. There is a steep climb for a few minutes, but the Uganda Wildlife Authority has invested in new steps and handrails, so I highly recommend it. UWA charge a small fee to do the walk to the bottom of the Falls.

Top of the Falls, Murchison Falls National Park

There is an inevitability about the constant flow of the River Nile that I find quite overwhelming. I find myself imagining the distance this water has travelled…. click on the image to read my blog all about Murchison Falls

The experience at the Top of the Falls is staggering. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 metres wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 metres. You can feel the force of the water beneath the rocks underfoot. You’ll need to shout to have your voice heard above the tons of water thundering beneath you!

Sport fishing for giant Nile Perch is a popular activity in Murchison Falls National Park. Guided walking safaris are also available too.

Budongo Forest Reserve, to the south of the main Park, is an excellent ecotourism site for trekking chimpanzees. Budongo Forest is home to some 600-700 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). The Budongo Forest Conservation Field Station studies and works to conserve the local chimpanzee populations.

The majority of Murchison Falls National Park’s game viewing is on the northern bank of the Nile, and this is to stay if you want to overnight in the Park. There’s a range of accommodation just outside the Park, a five-minute ferry ride away on the southern bank of the Nile. The advantage of staying outside the Park is that you do not pay Park entry fees until you enter the Park. The downside is that you have to then wait for the ferry before you start your game drive. The ferry takes just a few minutes to cross the Nile.