Murchison Falls Overview

Murchison Falls National Park, located in northwestern Uganda, is one of the country’s oldest and largest conservation areas, covering approximately 3,840 square kilometers (1,480 square miles). Established in 1952, the park is named after its most famous feature, Murchison Falls, where the mighty Nile River explodes through a narrow gorge only 7 meters wide before plunging 43 meters down, creating one of the most powerful natural water flows anywhere on Earth. This dramatic spectacle forms the heart of the park and is a highlight for visitors.

The park’s landscape is incredibly diverse, ranging from dense rainforests in the south, home to chimpanzees and other primates, to vast savannahs in the north, where visitors can spot four of the “Big Five” – lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo. The Nile itself, bisecting the park from east to west, is teeming with hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of waterbirds, making boat trips along the river a must-do activity for an up-close experience with the park’s aquatic life.

Murchison Falls National Park is also renowned for its rich biodiversity. In addition to the large mammals, the park is a haven for bird watchers, with over 450 recorded bird species, including the rare shoebill stork. The park’s varied ecosystems provide habitats for numerous other species, making it a critical area for biodiversity conservation in Uganda.

Tourism activities in Murchison Falls National Park include game drives across the rolling savannahs, boat cruises to the foot of Murchison Falls, nature walks, bird watching, and cultural encounters with local communities. The park also offers a range of accommodations, from luxury lodges to tented camps, catering to all preferences and allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.

With its breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and the majestic Murchison Falls, Murchison Falls National Park offers an unforgettable safari experience, showcasing the best of Uganda’s natural heritage.

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Murchison Falls National Park Highlights


Nestled along the Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park harbors an array of formidable predators, crucial for maintaining ecological balance in this diverse ecosystem.

African Lion: Majestic and powerful, African lions dominate the savanna landscape, forming prides that hunt cooperatively, preying on large herbivores and symbolizing the park’s apex predators.

Leopard: Stealthy and elusive, leopards stalk their prey with precision, utilizing ambush tactics and their remarkable agility to secure meals, blending seamlessly into the park’s dense vegetation.

Spotted Hyena: Adapted scavengers, spotted hyenas are skilled hunters and opportunistic feeders, renowned for their powerful jaws and distinctive laughter-like vocalizations echoing across Murchison’s plains and woodlands.


Nestled along the mighty Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park is teeming with diverse wildlife, including iconic species that enchant visitors with their presence and behaviors.

African Elephant: Towering over the savanna, African elephants roam the park in herds, displaying their majestic presence and vital role in shaping the landscape through their browsing and movement.

Nile Crocodile: Stealthy and ancient, Nile crocodiles lurk in the river’s shallows, showcasing their formidable presence as apex predators and contributing to the park’s rich ecosystem.

Uganda Kob: Graceful and agile, Uganda kobs gracefully navigate the park’s grasslands, captivating visitors with their elegant leaps and social behavior within large herds.

Giraffe: Towering above the acacia trees, giraffes gracefully roam the savanna, their long necks reaching for foliage while showcasing their unique and iconic silhouette against the African sky.

Buffalo: Formidable and gregarious, buffalo herds traverse the park’s plains, their massive horns and strong demeanor embodying the essence of the African wilderness.

Hippopotamus: Behemoth and aquatic, hippos bask in the river’s shallows, showcasing their impressive bulk and social dynamics while providing a glimpse into their semi-aquatic lifestyle.

Warthog: Quirky and resilient, warthogs trot across the savanna, their distinctive appearance and endearing behaviors adding charm to the park’s vibrant ecosystem.

Oribi: Petite and nimble, oribis navigate the grasslands with agility, their delicate appearance contrasting with their remarkable ability to thrive in Murchison’s diverse habitats.

Jackson’s Hartebeest: Swift and alert, Jackson’s hartebeests traverse the park’s open plains, showcasing their distinctive horns and fleet-footedness as they graze and interact with their environment.

Waterbuck: Stately and robust, waterbucks inhabit the park’s wetlands and savannas, their shaggy coats and majestic horns adding to the allure of Murchison’s wildlife encounters.


With over 450 bird species recorded, Murchison Falls National Park is a haven for avian enthusiasts, offering diverse habitats and rich birdlife to explore.

African Fish Eagle: Majestic and iconic, African fish eagles soar over the Nile, their distinctive calls echoing across the landscape as they hunt for fish with precision.

Grey Crowned Crane: Elegant and regal, grey crowned cranes grace the grasslands, their vibrant plumage and distinctive dance displays adding color and charm to the park’s scenery.

Marabou Stork: Towering and stoic, marabou storks patrol the riverbanks, their hunched posture and massive bills making them both imposing and integral to the park’s ecosystem.

Goliath Heron: Graceful and statuesque, goliath herons wade in the shallows, their impressive size and slow, deliberate movements captivating observers along the river’s edge.

Pied Kingfisher: Agile and precise, pied kingfishers hover over the water, their rapid dives and sharp beaks showcasing their prowess as expert hunters of fish.

African Jacana: Delicate and dainty, African jacanas dance atop lily pads, their long toes and intricate plumage allowing them to gracefully navigate the park’s wetlands in search of food.

Malachite Kingfisher: Vibrant and petite, malachite kingfishers flit among the reeds, their iridescent plumage and skillful fishing techniques adding a splash of color to Murchison’s waterways.

Black-headed Gonolek: Bold and melodious, black-headed gonoleks perch in the trees, their striking colors and melodious calls adding a touch of tropical flair to the park’s birdlife.

Yellow-billed Oxpecker: Busy and industrious, yellow-billed oxpeckers hitch rides on large mammals, their constant grooming and vigilant behavior helping to keep the park’s wildlife free of parasites.

Hammerkop: Quirky and distinctive, hammerkops construct large nests in the trees, their unique silhouette and enigmatic presence adding intrigue to Murchison’s avian community.

The Mighty Nile Falls

Murchison Falls, situated within Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda, is a breathtaking natural wonder renowned for its majestic beauty and raw power.

Here, the mighty Nile River funnels through a narrow gorge, creating a spectacular cascade as it plunges over a 43-meter (141-foot) drop.

The falls are a sight to behold, with immense volumes of water crashing down into the churning waters below, sending mist and spray high into the air. Visitors can experience the falls from various vantage points, including boat cruises along the Nile and viewpoints along the riverbanks.

The best time to witness the falls in all their glory is during the wet season, from March to May and October to December, when water levels are at their peak, resulting in a truly awe-inspiring display of nature’s power and beauty.

Engaging Murchison Falls

Embark on an exhilarating game drive through Murchison Falls National Park, immersing yourself in the captivating wilderness of Uganda’s largest national park. Traverse rugged terrain and vast savannahs as you search for iconic African wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, lions, and elusive leopards.

Encounter herds of buffaloes grazing peacefully, while hippos bask in the shimmering waters of the Nile River. Be mesmerized by the diverse birdlife that fills the air with their melodious calls. As the sun sets, witness the breathtaking scenery and golden hues that cast a magical spell over the landscape, creating unforgettable memories of your African safari adventure.

Embark on a tranquil river cruise along the mighty Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest protected area. Glide serenely through the pristine waters, flanked by lush vegetation and towering trees.

As you leisurely navigate the river’s bends, marvel at the abundance of wildlife that congregates along its banks, from elephants and crocodiles to hippos and a myriad of bird species. Feel the gentle breeze on your skin and listen to the soothing sounds of nature as you soak in the breathtaking scenery.

This unforgettable journey offers a unique perspective of the park’s rich biodiversity and natural splendor.

Murchison Falls National Park Trails

Paraa to Top of the Falls Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3 miles (4.8 km) one way with an elevation gain of 656 feet (200 meters)

Description: The Paraa to Top of the Falls Trail offers a moderate hike from Paraa to the breathtaking Murchison Falls, where the Nile River forces its way through a narrow gorge.

Hikers will traverse through woodland and savannah landscapes, encountering wildlife such as elephants and giraffes along the way.

Enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Nile River and the powerful cascades of the falls on this unforgettable trek.

Baker's Trail

Rating: Moderate to Difficult

Distance and Elevation Gain: 5 miles (8 km) one way with an elevation gain of 984 feet (300 meters)

Description: Baker’s Trail follows the footsteps of the famous explorer Samuel Baker along the southern bank of the Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park.

Hikers will traverse through dense woodland and open savannah, encountering wildlife such as buffaloes and antelopes.

Enjoy panoramic views of the Nile River and the surrounding landscapes while retracing the historic journey of Baker through this rugged terrain.

Rabongo Forest Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles (3.2 km) loop with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Rabongo Forest Trail offers a leisurely walk through the lush tropical rainforest of Rabongo, providing opportunities to encounter primates and various bird species in Murchison Falls National Park.

Hikers will explore winding paths, crossing small streams and spotting wildlife such as chimpanzees and monkeys.

Enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the forest and the rich biodiversity of this pristine ecosystem on this captivating nature walk.

Nile Delta Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4 miles (6.4 km) loop with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Nile Delta Trail leads hikers through the scenic landscapes of the Nile Delta, where the Nile River converges with Lake Albert in Murchison Falls National Park.

Hikers will trek along sandy paths and riverbanks, encountering wildlife such as hippos and crocodiles.

Enjoy sightings of birds and aquatic species while taking in the breathtaking views of the river delta and surrounding wetlands on this picturesque hike.

Albert Nile Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles (9.7 km) one way with minimal elevation gain

Description: The Albert Nile Trail offers a scenic hike along the northern bank of the Nile River in Murchison Falls National Park.

Hikers will traverse through woodland and grassland habitats, enjoying sightings of wildlife such as elephants and warthogs.

Marvel at the majestic views of the Nile River and the vast landscapes of the park while immersing yourself in the tranquility of the African wilderness on this captivating trail.

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  • Britannica, Murchison Falls National Park,, retrieved March 2023.
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