- Introduction, Drives
- Nature walk, Sport Fishing
- Top of the Falls, Rabongo Forest
- Facts, Access, Accommodation
Murchison Falls Protected Area (MFPA) comprises of Murchison Falls National Park (MFNP), Bugungu and Karuma Wildlife Reserves.
Murchison Falls National Park derives its name from the Murchison Falls where the mighty River Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a placid river whose tanks are thronged with hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterized by savannah, riverine forest and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees and many bird species including the rare shoebill.
In the cool early morning before the sun rises too high, you will see plenty of game on the Buligi, Albert and Queen’s tracks north of the River Nile. At Nyamusika Cliffs you can picnic, enjoy the view and watch elephants and other game on the grassy hillsides. Go well prepared for a four-hour game drive. Ensure you are accompanied by a guide. The best time is 0700hr and 1600hr.
Nile Perch and tiger-fish provide an exciting challenge to anglers. Sport fishing is possible in the river sections above and below the falls. Prior booking with the park has to be made, as the number of people doing sport fishing at designated sites at any time has to be regulated. Do bring your own fishing equipment. Some boats are available for hire on prior booking.
Launch Trips on the Nile
One of the highlights of a visit to Murchison Falls National Park is the launch trip from Paraa to the foot or Murchison Falls. Hippos and crocodiles are abundant and you will see elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks and a variety of birds like herons, cormorants, ducks, bee-eaters, fish eagles, kingfishers and sometimes the rare shoebill.
The launch trip from Paraa to the falls (17km) and back takes about three hours. A boat trip from Paraa to the Delta (28km) and back takes about four to five hours and you can see a similar variety of animals and birds. The boat trip is scheduled for 090hr and 1400hr every day. Any special time arrangement can be made with Park management.
Murchison Falls Protected Area offers the opportunity to explore the wild on foot. Animals, birds and plants can be closely and quietly observed. Nature walks are offered at Rabongo Forest, Top of the Falls and Kaniyo Pabidi in Budongo Forest.
Top of the Falls
Trails around the top of the Falls go right up to the water’s edge. You have the opportunity to hike to the top of the falls from the boat landing and to get close to the narrow gorge through which the river explodes into the falls. Campsite, picnic sites and waling safaris are available here.
Kaniyo Pabidi is an undisturbed area of natural forest within Budongo Forest Reserve, where you can walk beneath mature mahogany and iron wood trees. Chimpanzee tracking is the most famous activity. You certainly see many forest birds, including the chocolate-backed kingfisher, the white-thighed hornbill and Puvel’s illadopsis found nowhere else in East Africa. Kaniyo Pabidi is on Masindi-Paraa road, 8kms from Kichumbanyobo gate. There is a campsite where water and firewood are available. kaniyo Pabidi is managed by the National Forestry Authority.
Rabongo Forest Ecotourism Centre is situated in an island of tropical riverine forest in the southeast of the Protected Area. The forest is surrounded by savannah grassland and is 1½-hour drive from Paraa. Guides will help you explore the forest on food, spotting primates like black and while colobus monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, baboons and occasionally chimpanzees, identifying animals, birds, medicinal plants and trees. You can picnic and camp by the Wairingo River. The place is also ideal for student groups.
By road from Kampala through Masindi (via Kichumbanyobo gate), Paraa is a 4½ hours drive, 2hours on tarmac and 2½hours on murram roads. A four wheel drive is recommended. The ferry at Paraa operates on scheduled time between the southern and northern bank of the river Nile.
From Paraa Office to:
* Rabongo Forest 67
* Nyamusika Cliffs 14
* Top of falls (by road) 34
* Top of falls (by water) 17
* Kichumbanyobo gate 69
* Tangi Gate 15
* Bottom of falls 25
* The Delta 14
* Bottom of falls to Albert Delta 55
* Red Chilli Rest Camp 0.6
* Paraa Safari Lodge 02
* Sambiya River Lodge 25
* Nile Safari Camp 22
* From Paraa to Masindi via:
* Kichumbanyobo gate 86
* Bugungu gate 136
* From Paraa to Kampala via:
* Kichumanyobo gate 304
* Bugungu gate 353
Campsites are available at the Top of the Falls, Rabongo Forest, Paraa and Delta area. Toilets or pit latrines/showers or bathing shelters are provided at these sites. Traditional and self-contained bandas are available at Red Chilli Rest Camp. Meals and beverages are offered. In addition, luxurious accommodation is available at Nile Safari Camp, Sambiya River Lodge and Paraa Safari Lodges.
Facts about the Conservation Area
* Mean temperature: high 29°C low 21°C.
* Dry seasons: mid-December to mid-February, June and July.
* Wettest months: April and November.
* Altitude: 619m at the delta and 1,292m at Rabongo hill.
* Total area of MFPA: 5025km2, (MFNP 3,877sqkm, Bugungu Wildlife Reserve 473sqkm, Karuma Wildlife Reserve 675sqkm).
* Wildlife: 76 mammal species and 450 bird species.
Dos and Don’ts while in the Park
* Enter the Protected Area through Kichumbanyobo, Bugungu or Tangi gate.
* Retain all official receipts issued for park activities.
* Drive only on designated roads.
* Do not sound your horn.
* Walk only on designated trails.
* Visitors should be accompanied by a guide on nature walks and game drives.
* Camp only at designated campsites.
* Do not pick flowers, do not cut plants nor destroy any vegetation.
* Dogs or any other domestic animals are not allowed in the Protected Area.
* Firearms or ammunition are not allowed in the Protected Area.
* Do not litter.
* Drive only between 6:30am and 6:30pm.
* Light fires only at the fire rings at the campsites.