Historically a highlight of the East African safari circuit, at 1,483 square miles Murchison Falls National Park is the largest of Uganda’s reserves, offering an abundance of wildlife against a superbly scenic backdrop.
Bisected by the Nile River, many of the activities gravitate around the water. Delta cruises offer peaceful contemplation of papyrus-lined channels (and a good chance of spotting Shoebill); half-/full-day sport-fishing trips can be arranged; and the most popular activity is the launch cruise to Murchison Falls. Here, 300 cubic meters of water per second explodes through a narrow gorge, creating the most powerful stretch of water in the world. Active adventurers can prearrange to be dropped by boat at the base of the Falls, known as the Devil’s Cauldron, for a steep hike up to the Top of the Falls where dramatic vistas await. The viewpoints can also be accessed by vehicle, from the south and north banks.
North-bank game tracks promise rewarding wildlife-viewing: herds of elephant, buffalo, and critically endangered Rothschild’s giraffe; smaller herbivores include Uganda kob, Jackson’s hartebeest, oribi and warthog; elusive predators such as spotted hyena, lion, leopard, and jackal; and an impressive bird list of more than 450 species. Lion Monitoring, where visitors accompany researchers to locate local prides, is also available here. Most activities are centered on Paraa in the heart of the park, but the southerly Budongo Forest provides a worthy diversion for excellent chimpanzee tracking and bird-watching.