Ultimate Guide for Murchison Falls National Park

Planning trips to Murchison national park, reminds me of the time Tasha and I decided to spend her birthday weekend on safari. I also vaguely remember going on a school trip to Murchison as a child. School trips should be mandatory for Ugandan students to explore their country more. Don’t you agree? Do you remember taking school trips to the national parks as a child? I wish there were more educational programs taught at Primary school that help children appreciate the beauty of nature and wildlife in Uganda.

About Murchison Falls National Park

This is our largest national park, which lies at the core of the greater Murchison Falls Conservation area embracing the Bugungu and Karuma wildlife reserves and the Budongo Forest. Animals here are in plenty! Explains why it used to be one of the most famous parks in Africa with several launches of tourists setting off every day.

Park Fees

Type

Adult Fee

Children Fee

Foreign Non-residents

40$

20$

Foreign Residents

30$

10

East African Residents

20,000

5000

 

Your Best Transport Options

Public Transport

Mini buses or Matatus as they are commonly known are an option. You can take one from the old taxi park at 10,000ugx up to Masindi

You can also opt for a bus, which would be heading to Pakwach or Masindi. These set off from Namirembe or

Your first destination can be to Paraa, where you can stay at Red Chili Rest Camp and take the launch trip to view loads of animals.

You can also get out at Masindi and opt for a special hire that should be anywhere between 15,000Ugx and above, this will get you to the national park. The national park office in Masindi also offers lifts that set off from 2pm depending on the availability of space.

Self-Drive

We usually set off early in the morning, as this is the best time to avoid the traffic that starts around 7:30am. All Tasha wanted was to eat her heart out and relax by the pool. All I wanted was to be out in the wild with the animals and take in views of nature. I also really wanted to see lions. And this we shared with our amazing driver Geoffrey.

It’s important to have a good four wheel car and driver who is knowledgeable about where he is going. You can either use the southern or northern route. If you use the southern route, you will drive for three hours towards Masindi.

It takes hours to get to Murchison depending on which gate you approach the park.

Northern Gate- near Karuma falls on Gulu road, Tangi reached from Pakwach and Wankwar from Purungo.

Air:

There are two airstrips close to Paraa. Bugungu on the south side of the river and Pakuba on the north side. Chobe also has an airstrip (probably how Kim and Kanye jetted in last year)

Accommodation Suggestions

This list is based by the lodges I’ve visited and information from friends who were looking to travel cheaply to Murchison:

Pakuba Safari Lodge 

Pakuba is really close to the park gate meaning you spend less than 30 minutes to access the park, making your game drive dreams to spot more animals much more possible. We also loved relaxing by the pool after our activities. Be sure to book the rooms closest to the entrance 😉

Price range: mid-range

Paraa Safari Lodge

Perfect for a relaxed getaway from the city. Tasha and i spent her birthday here eating our hearts out. The food is delicious and will leave you staffed. Sadly there are hardly any views of nature here, but the safari made up for it fully!

Price: luxury

Chobe Safari Lodge

Chobe Safari Lodge is super cozy, with views and sounds of the Nile everywhere you go. I loved that while we had breakfast a baby elephant came towards us. It was one of those epic moments you hope to re-live.

Students lodges 

You can find some as low as 25,000Ugx to 50,000ugx) Have you stayed at a student lodge or hostel in Murchison? Let me know your experience and i can add some suggestions.

Best things to do In Murchison Falls National Park

Top and bottom of the Falls

During the Amin era, the park was named Kabarega falls. To experience the power of the falls, hike to the top which should be pretty easy if you approach from the main entrance. From the bottom of the falls the hike is about two hours. 

Visit to either watch the sunrise (my favorite time) or sunset. Note that there are tsetse flies on the road as you drive here, so keep your windows up and wear as much repellent are possible. Or a long sleeved top.

As for the bottom of the falls, I’d recommend an evening chill done by a small jet boat. It’s really relaxing to see the animals in the evening as well as several birds. There is a separate fee for private hire so check with your lodge or tour guides.

Game Drives

My favorite part of this park is the northern part, where the bulk of wildlife in the park is found as well as our cool recent find Pakuba Safari lodge The lodge has pretty views of Lake Albert and was Idi Amin’s favorite hangout back in the day. Opt for either a morning or evening game drive, or both! You need a minimum of four hours to experience the wildlife. Chances are with both, you will see several animals and check off your big five list.

Are you planning a trip to Murchison Falls National Park soon? Let me know if there’s  additional information you need to help guide you during your planning 🙂 

Have a great weekend,

Karen

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