A photo of giraffes in Murchison falls NP


Murchison Falls National Park, locally known as Kabalega National Park, is situated between Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert at the end of the Albertine Rift valley. It is approximately 305km and a 4 to 6 hours drive from Kampala. Murchison falls NP is one of Uganda’s oldest national parks, first gazetted as a wildlife reserve as early as 1926 and later transitioned into a national park in 1951.

The northern section of the park contains savanna and borassus palms, acacia trees, and a riverine woodland while the south is dominated by woodland and forest patches.

The Murchison falls NP can be visited throughout the year although the best time to visit is during the dry season (also known as the peak season in the months June to September, December to February). This is because during the dry season, there’s little rainfall and therefore vegetation is thin. This in return makes it easy to have clear views of animals while access roads to the park and hiking trails are also more passable.

For the visitors interested in birding and would like to visit the park when it’s less crowded, the wet season (March to May and November) is ideal. During this time, lodges offer discounts too which favors budget travelers.

A photo of giraffes in Murchison falls NP
A photo of giraffes in Murchison falls NP


Murchison Falls National Park is home to approximately 76 mammal species, 556 Bird species, 51 reptiles, and 51 Amphibians. The signature animal at Murchison Falls National Park is the giraffe.

However, one is able to see many other animals through activities like taking a boat cruise, nature walk and during game drives in the park. Examples of animals at the park include but are not limited to giraffes, elephants, zebras, hyenas, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, bush backs to mention but a few. It should however be noted that the best time to sight the big cats (leopards and lions) is early in the morning during game drives before the sun gets too hot and forces them into their hideouts. The park also has primate residents such as red-tailed monkeys, olive baboons, endangered chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys. These are seen in the Kaniyo Pabidi forest which is part of Budongo Forest, in the south eastern part of Murchison falls NP.

A photo showing tourist attractions in Murchison falls NP.
A photo showing tourist attractions in Murchison falls NP.


Murchison Falls National Park is best known for the most powerful waterfall in the world which is its main tourist attraction. The waterfall is found along River Nile(Victoria Nile) and at the top of the falls, the Nile River squeezes through a narrow gap in between two rocks where it plunges with a thunderous roar into the “Devil’s Cauldron” leaving behind a stunning rainbow. Furthermore, for every second, the equivalent of 200 bathtubs full of water is forced through a gorge less than seven paces wide. The pressure is so great that the ground around it trembles. The water then plummets 43 meters before flowing out toward Lake Albert as a placid river whose banks are dense with hippos, crocodiles, waterbuck and buffaloes.

A photo showing the majestic Murchison falls
A photo showing the majestic Murchison falls


There is a wide range of activities at Murchison falls National Park that offer breathtaking experiences to spice up your visit. The main activities at the park include the following: game drives, bird watching, boat cruises, chimpanzee trekking, nature walks, and hiking to the top of the falls. For adrenaline junkies, the hiking process is a thrilling experience that’s also very refreshing.

A photo of tourists on a nature walk.
A photo of tourists on a nature walk.


While at Murchison falls NP, there is a variety of safari lodge options to choose from, ranging from budget to luxury. The accommodation at these lodges ranges from 40$ to 500$ per night and therefore there’s an option for everyone. One can either book the travel activities through a travel agency or through safari lodges. Whilst choosing the best lodge therefore, beyond affordability, it’s important to consider the one with a gorgeous view of the Nile so as to enjoy a wholesome experience. Examples of lodges at the park that we recommend are; Fort Murchison Safari Lodge for budget, MRL, Pakuba and Sambiya river lodge for midrange, Chobe Safari Lodge, Twiga Safari Lodge, Paraa Safari Lodge, Murchison River lodge for luxury, to mention but a few.

A photo of Paraa safaris lodge.
A photo of Paraa safaris lodge.

The beauty of Murchison falls National park is one that cannot be exhausted in a single blog. It is one that everyone needs to personally experience. Therefore if you are planning for your next safaris destination, we recommend you visit Murchison Falls National Park. And should you like to avoid the hassle and bustle of planning your safaris, simply contact Swanair Travel & Safaris at +256776515014, info@swanairtravel.com, or click here to book your dream getaway.



Before you read my story, I really hope you are above 18. 

I’m Vicky, by the way. I could say that over time I have had an active, if not exciting dating life. It has taught me that if there’s anything amazing about a partner, it should be a level of spontaneity to their character. An attractive randomness about them that may have you doing things that have probably never crossed your mind. 

I found that in Noni, this South African dude I met while we were at the University. He kept telling me much about travelling to Africa and this little country called Uganda. Apparently, it is the pearl of the whole continent and I have come to believe that after we travelled there 3 years ago. If you have grown up in the US like me and you have a chance to travel to Africa, please go to Uganda. Lush waterfalls, calm lakes, the longest river in the world and fresh green covering all over. A bustling city in Kampala, friendly people in other towns and dangerously delicious cuisines. It is like a melting point of everything a traveller would want. I dare say so myself and I am not even that passionate about travel. 

Aerial view of Kampala City

Anyway, in the summer of 2018, Noni drags me to Africa (I did mention that travel isn’t really my thing, right?) He said we would go to so many countries but we would start with Uganda. He had spent his high school there and had a couple of friends, who treated us to one of the wildest nights out in Kampala before we would proceed to a Safari Lodge called Paraa, on the banks of River Nile. One of Noni’s more talkative friends was busy raving on about its close proximity with Murchison falls which tempted me to quickly check their website. It read boldly that “The earth literally trembles at Murchison Falls-one of the world’s most powerful flows of natural water” and that is all I needed to know. I was very excited because it is one thing being in a new city and totally another going to the wild. 

The Murchison Falls

I would really be glad to tell you every detail of the journey to Paraa, but maybe I will do so on a later date. Everything stood out like a mercurial highlight and I was looking around excitedly like a rural child coming to the city for the first time. However, even then my sense of caution still found time to seep through my excitement and I asked Noni why we were in his friend’s car and not a tour company. 

“You worry too much Vicky” he said in a clearly spiked tone. We had reached a place called Wobulenzi and Noni had been drinking since we set off from Kampala. 

“Our driver is non-alcoholic and this country is really free. We are going to have a great time with or without a tour company” he added. Somehow, Noni’s reassurances always worked. Typical of a spontaneous person. 

We finally reached Paraa, a few minutes to 6pm. Maybe it was the alcohol or just the character of Noni and his friends, but we all came to a universal decision that maybe camping out there in the wild wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Noni’s friend (the driver) said he could find a nice guide who would see to it that we enjoy the rest of the evening and secure us a nice safe place with tents at a cheaper cost. 

“I mean, this is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Imagine spending it in the same warm shower rooms like you do in the States! Sleeping outside is better to write home about, don’t you think?” He added quite convincingly and off we were to find the guide. 

It didn’t take us long to locate Okot, the guide who hurriedly showed us an open ground and found us tents. He secured us a spot under a big tree that I had never seen in my life. He said it is called Musizi,

and was home to a leopard for the last 8 years. I was scared for our safety but Okot quickly added that the creature never harmed anyone. My gut almost agreed that the whole leopard thing was nothing but mere folklore.

Tree climbing leopards in Murchison falls National Park

“Now hurry up and set up. We need to go and see the sunset at the falls. It would be sad if you miss it” Okot mentioned. 

I have seen a number of beautiful things in my life and in my dreams, but I could swear that none matches that sunset. First, the sky and clouds turned a golden yellow over the falls. The falls were rumbling violently while the sky was calm and composed. A few minutes later, the sun started creeping down behind the shrubs that shored the Nile. With the sun’s travel, the sky started to redden. Its warm rays glowed upon the falls, which gave them a dancing little effect off the water. Then the sun blazoned red, before following its trail to the other side home. The sky too lost its redness and maintained a casual blue. The water looked whiter than ever and I could swear it was the most calming sight. No wonder we all watched in silence, sipping on our drinks and when the whole show was over, the only intervention was the exclamation “wow”. You guessed right; it came from me. 

Sunsets in Uganda

You could think that all had gone well. You are wrong. In the night, in the arms of my Noni who was snoring like a generator, I heard a grunt from outside. Then another and a third. I peeped through the transparent drape that covered the tent entrance and there, in flesh, were three hippos grazing right outside the tent. One was agonizingly close I could touch it. I felt the irresistible urge to wake Noni up but before I could, I felt the tent shake. That shake woke Noni up for me and in his half-drunk-half asleep stupor he asked me what was happening. The answer was the most unexpected; our tent came flying right off its hooks! The hippos, probably intrigued by the shape of the thing, kept knocking at it until they toppled it over! 

Wildlife Safaris – The Hippopotamus

In falling off, a sharp stick ripped through it and lo-we were exposed! Noni stood sharply, grabbed my hand and butt naked as we were, started running towards the Musizi tree. There was no time to look for Okot or to call on his friends. It was time to secure safety. 

He shot up the tree with lightning speed and perched up on a branch. Then he held out his hand and beckoned to me to climb too. Never in my life have I climbed anything, let alone a tree that had such a large plain trunk. But when Noni shouted “Vickyyy!” and I looked back only to entertain the horrifying sight of a charging hippo, I knew my options were limited. I was up the tree in seconds. I don’t know how and please don’t ask me. 

I choose not to remember that there was no leopard up that tree. I choose to ignore the memory of spending an uncomfortable night up a tree. The only memories I keep are of the breathtaking sunset, the night out in Kampala, Noni’s wild friends and the unparalleled beauty Uganda has to offer. 

Noni and I will be getting married next year. We have a lifetime to do so many crazy things, but I am never letting him take me to see any place without contracting a reputed Safari company. 

The above piece is a work of fiction, to show the unmissable importance of travelling with SwanAir Travel & Tours. However, the names of places and references to the scenic beauty of Uganda are real.