Gorilla Trekking Uganda – Murchison Falls national park in the spotlight!
Gorilla Trekking Uganda – Murchison Falls national park in the spotlight
When travellers decide they are going to go gorilla trekking in Uganda they often want advice on the best locations or national parks to stop off en route to Bwindi impenetrable national park. There are several choices to consider, so we have decided to create in depth profiles on these wildlife sanctuaries in Uganda, so you can choose for yourselves which to include. We start with Murchison Falls in Uganda, where you can see wild elephants, lions, leopard, shoebill stork and of course the beautiful falls themselves. Murchison is one of our favourite national parks in Uganda and we have been lucky enough to visit multiple times.
How to get to Murchison Falls national park?
If you look on google maps you will see that Murchison is roughly due north of Entebbe and Kampala and can be reached on roads of reasonable quality. Don’t take the driving distances to literally from google maps as recent rains and the need for cautious driving can double those guesstimated driving times. We like to break the journey for our clients with lunch en route and not book any safari activities for the day of arrival. We have also booked the internal flight to Murchison Falls national park from a small airstrip close to Entebbe called Kajjansi. This scheduled flight only lasts 1 hour and then you have a further 1-2 hour transfer depending on which wildlife lodges you are staying in at Murchison. Please note that these internal flights can also be used for clients looking for a shorter gorilla trekking holiday in Uganda, as there are options to fly from Entebbe to an airstrip not far from Bwindi impenetrable national park.
Best time to visit Murchison Falls Uganda?
It is important to realise that Uganda is located right on the equator and has a tropical climate, where heavy rain showers at some point during the day – often at the end of the day after the build up of heat – are a regular occurrence. However statistically there are wetter periods in Uganda; which are the months of April and May and October and November. You could consider the end of the mini rainy season to be a good time to visit Murchison Falls national park, as the falls will be close to maximum capacity and the sight of Murchison Falls even more impressive. The slight down side for travel in Uganda at that time of year, is longer grasses and thicker vegetation, which can make seeing wildlife in Murchison more challenging.
Activities in Murchison Falls national park?
There are a good variety of wildlife activities in Murchison Falls, with the main option being game drives or vehicle safaris in the main national park. Depending on which wildlife lodges you are staying in at Murchison, you may need to take the short vehicle ferry over the Nile to reach the parks main entrance. So, it is important to be up early and first in the queue. However, if you are staying for example at Parra safari lodge, you can just drive straight out in your vehicle and start your game drive inside the park.
The other major activity in Murchison Falls national park is the classic boat safari to see the falls themselves. Double decker boats managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authorities (UWA) chug up and down between Paraa and the falls several times a day to provide great views of the falls, but also see wildlife along the shores, such as hippos, elephants, crocodiles and some antelope species. There are now smaller, private boats which work well for small groups and wildlife photographers, as they can be ‘chartered’ in advance for time slots which will be better for photography.
There is just one stop on this boat journey, pretty much where the boats need to turn around due to the strength of the current from the falls. We recommend this stop for clients who have their own private vehicle and driver and for those with moderate fitness. There is a well defined path to the top of Murchison Falls, which stays quite close to the river bank and allows closer and closer views of the falls as you climb up to the top. You can relax at the top of the falls and maybe enjoy a packed lunch before your driver picks you up and takes you back to your wildlife lodge.
Another activity in Murchison Falls national park we recommend is the private boat safari to the Delta area of the park, which is home to a population of Shoebill storks. Although it is possible to drive around to the Delta area, you will have a much better experience in the boat and your opportunities to photograph the shoebill will be better. Because this boat safari to the Delta costs around 300USD, it is better to join other clients or to be part of a small photography group to keep costs down.
Do you want to visit Murchison Falls when gorilla trekking in Uganda?
Due to the long car transfers involved we recommend a minimum 3 night stay at Murchison Falls to truly experience all the activities on offer. Most of our clients leave Murchison for Kibale where you can go chimp trekking. This is very much a full day drive along roads that can be slow going; but there are also scenic areas as you climb up the rift valley. Take a look at this Gorilla Trekking holiday in Uganda for inspiration. Or you can contact us at [email protected] and we will custom a gorilla safari in Uganda just for you.