History, Guide and Budget for Murchison falls National Park (Bugungu) Uganda
The 3,894 sq km Murchison falls National Park is Uganda’s largest National park. It houses lions, Uganda kob, hart beast, African elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes , Oribi, Bohor Reed-buck, Nile crocodiles, Common Hippopotamus, Nile monitor lizard, leopard, Common Warthog, Side striped Jackal, bush buck, water buck, Spotted Hyena, and more.
The current Murchison falls was named around 1863 by Sir Samuel baker, after the president of Royal geographical society in London – Sir Roderick Murchison. Around 1952, a new ‘national park law’ was passed by British colonialists which merged Bunyoro game reserve, South of river and Gulu game reserve, North of the river to make it ‘Murchison falls national park’. During President Idi Amin presidency from 1971, Amin renamed it to ‘Kabalega national park’ naming the park after a king – Kabalega of Bunyoro, a very powerful Kingdom, whose king Kabalega was the only king in East Africa to resist colonial rule. The problem was that Idi Amin did not legalize the name ‘Kabalega’ so when he left presidency, it reverted back to Murchison falls – the British name.
Upon arrival from Kidepo to the Murchison falls National park we were taken to view and experience the water fall. The Murchison falls National is said to be the most powerful because all the water from the Nile is squeezed into a narrow gorge at the fall which is 7 meters wide, which then goes out to lake Albert and then to Albert Nile.
Being at the falls made me decide to chase more waterfalls this year. It was supper beautiful. There are points at the waterfall where you would receive some showers of blessing- the volume and speed at which the water flows at the falls caused lot of sprinkles.
Murchison falls National Park Fun Facts:
- You can view the waterfall from different directions to have different experiences. The easiest part is the “ground floor”, which does not require hiking. For the rest, you would need to hike to different levels of the park which gives you a different view at each point.
- A bridge built in 1962, was swept away by the volume water. 30,000 cubic meters of water goes through the narrow rock per second. The narrow space created is 7 meter wide and 40 meters deep.
How to get to Murchison falls National Park From Kampala – Distance
For me, I came to Murchison falls through a chattered Airstrip, which took 1 hour from Kidepo (for my article on Kidepo CLICK HERE). Bugungu airstrip is a domestic airstrip located in Murchison falls national park in the northwestern part of Uganda.
Airstrip cost: $
The distance from Kampala to the southern gate of Murchison falls, is about 235 km , basically 4 hours by road.
Bus/Car Cost: $
Other things to note;
- Be ready to see and take pictures of a number of monkeys and baboons along the way to the falls and back.
- Wear comfortable clothes
- Do not wear slippers and anything slippery. Come with hiking shoes
Murchison falls National Park Entrance Fee:
Top of the falls hike: $15 (foreigners), $10 (foreigner)
Murchison falls National Park Safari
We went on our first safari tour in the morning, it took about 2 hours drive from our lodge to the safari park. If you are like me, get ready to enjoy the 2 hours ride by closing your eyes to rest. Or better still, open your eyes, enjoy nature, take pictures, do not let any moment pass you by.
Tip: Game drives are usually cold in the mornings, so take along with you something to keep you warm.
Upon arrival at the safari park we saw a number of Rothschild giraffes, alot of Uganda kob, hart beast, African elephants, Oribi, and more. For some reasons, I get really exited seeing giraffes and elephants, they never seize to amaze me.
Murchison falls National Park Accommodation
Chobe Safari Lodge. This was where I lodge for 3 nights during tour to Murchison falls. The service was spectacular, the view was great, the food was more than enough.
While at the resort, I saw pictures on the walls of the hallway leading to the dinning area showing that Kim and Kanye West once lodged at their property when they visited Uganda.
I had a room with a twin bed. From my room I had the view of the pool, the lake, the hippos (oh yes there was hippos, alot of them), and the crocodiles. My room was equipped with a wardrobes, cabinets, and two free bottles of water each day.
This was my first time swimming with hippos in site. I found it beautiful and funny. However, the swimming pool itself was made in four layers (looking like that of an infinity pool), and the deepest was about 5-6 meters, while the shallow pool was 1 meters deep.
The lodge had presidential suites, standard rooms, deluxe rooms and more. A few videos and pictures are on my Instagram stories, CLICK HERE to view.
A bonfire is lit every night at the lodge and we definitely made use of it during our stay at the lodge.
Chobe Resort price range:
Click Here to book this experience.
Contributor: Martin Ngabirano, a tour guide with Chigo Tours Africa, licensed by Uganda Tourism Board, and a member of Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA). Click Here to book Martin.