Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s oldest and largest conservation area covering 3,840sqkm (1,503sqmi). It’s the most popularly visited park situated in the northern end of the Albertine rift valley in northern Uganda where the massive Bunyoro escarpment merges into an expansive palm-dotted savannah of Acholi land. With the vast plains, a game drive in Murchison falls national park is a memorable one. Murchison falls national park is Uganda’s most popularly visited park and this is because of the many attractions and activities in the park. No tourist wishes to miss an opportunity to safari to the world’s most powerful waterfall surrounded by amazing wildlife and beautiful birds. When there’s a lot to do then there’s a lot more of what to do in Murchison Falls National Park. If you are adventurous, Try Spot Fishing, The Most Exciting Sport in Murchison Falls National Park.
Spot Fishing in Murchison Falls Park is such a rewarding safari activity for avid anglers. When it comes to Uganda safaris to Murchison Falls National Park many tourists think of the big 4 animals (Lions, Leopards, Buffaloes and Elephants) but then anglers too can have the best sportfishing experience. Fishing in Murchison Falls National Park is done mainly as a sport and is among the main activities in Murchison Falls National Park along the Nile. Fishing is mainly done along the Victoria Nile which involves catching fish along rocky surfaces, the bottom of the falls mainly the Devil’s Cauldron, and at the banks of the Nile by anglers alongside experienced guides.
There are great opportunities to land a large Nile Perch or Cat-fish. Other fish species there include Tigerfish, Electric cat-fish and Tilapia. The record largest Nile Perch was 113 Kgs landed at the water gauge opposite the crocodile pool, and the largest cat-fish was 45 Kgs landed near the Nyamusika Cliffs.
Requirements for a Sportfishing in Murchison Falls National Park
A fishing permit is required purchased at USD 50 per day or USD 150 for four days. These fees are not part of the park entry fees. There are no shops in the National Park, therefore, all necessary supplies such as suntan lotion, medications, spare batteries for electronic equipment and cameras, and mosquito spray must be brought with you.
There are two major fishing sites in Murchison Falls National Park; one near Paraa (located below the mighty Murchison Falls) and another below Karuma falls (at Chobe safari lodge). But sport fishing in the park is currently carried out mainly at the base of the falls either from the boat down the stream or from the rocks on the Riverbank.
Accessing the fishing spots can either be by boat or by walking down from the top of the falls to the gorge which can take 45 minutes for a physically fit person.
Safety during sport fishing in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls is known as the most powerful falls in the world and therefore safety is key. Fishing at Murchison Falls National Park requires expert assistance, to ensure both client safety and the best opportunity for successful fishing. It is recommendable to have an experienced Uganda safari fishing guide along to ensure the smooth running of the trip (especially if it is a first excursion at the falls). A choice of guides is available (subject to availability) and every three anglers are recommended to have one guide.
Any time of the year is good for Fishing in Murchison Falls National Park. The best time of the day to have the best catches are early in the morning and late in the evening. The best catch of the fish is when the water level is low since that’s when the water is clearer that is from mid-January to early April. Generally, it is accepted that the drier months of the year produce better fishing results – December to March and June to October.
What to wear for a fishing safari in Murchison Falls National Park
Temperatures can rise to over 400 C and therefore it is advisable to carry enough sun protection equipment.
Remember to wear long socks, long-sleeved trousers and insect repellents that can be used just in case of tsetse fly bites.
Wear lightweight clothes and hiking shoes for fishing on the rocky surfaces.
Anglers need to carry their own fishing equipment and keep in mind all fish caught is not killed it’s laid back in the water alive. All anglers are advised to have rods that are between 8feet and 11feet with a multiplier reel. While catching smaller species; a 7’ spinning rod is recommended.
You can also hire fishing equipment in Uganda but ensure not to damage or lose any because one will have to pay for the equipment in case of damages. The popular fishing methods include by casting lures, spinning and catching fish on live bait. Fishing along the Nile is an exciting experience however, you are advised to take caution of the Hippos and Nile crocodiles especially while fishing at the Riverbanks.
Murchison Falls National Park is among the leading parks where sport fishing is conducted and therefore if you are a passionate angler on a Uganda wildlife safari in the park, adding sport fishing to your itinerary is a good idea. The other destination for a sportfishing experience is on Lake Victoria -Africa’s largest freshwater lake that can be taken as a luxury safari in Uganda without even having to go upcountry but just a few meters from the airport.
Other Uganda Safari Activities in Murchison Falls National Park
Game Drives in Murchison Falls National Park
On a Uganda wildlife safari, one of the obvious activities in Murchison Falls National Park Uganda is the game drive literally described as a drive through the wild for close wildlife viewing. The animals that thrive in the beautiful savannah plains of Murchison include the big four which are the Buffaloes, Elephants, lions and leopards. The Rhinos can be sighted in the adjacent Ziwa Rhino sanctuary to have a complete sighting of the big five African games. The other wildlife attractions in Murchison Falls National Park include warthogs, giraffes, jackals, waterbucks, Ugandan kob, oribi, hartebeest, sitatunga, bushbucks, duikers and any other wild species that you could run in to.
A game drive can be done in the morning from 6:30 am and in the evening from 4:00 pm. Choosing the game drive depends on your schedule and where you stay a night before the game drive. There’s a variety to choose from on where to stay in Murchison Falls National Park so choose the best place or get advice from your Uganda tour operator. A game drive lasts for about 3-4 hours.
The Exciting Nile Launch Cruise in Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison Falls National Park Uganda is the oldest and largest Uganda safari tour park especially visited by tourists on Uganda wildlife safaris since its home to the big four-game and host to the world’s most powerful waterfalls. One of the popular and best activities in Murchison Falls National Park is a boat cruise that offers the best chances to sight the aquatic species within the banks of the Nile river. There several boat cruises on the Nile River at Murchison Falls National Park and here is what you need to know about leisure boat cruises;
A boat cruise also known as a launch trip is a short cruise/sail on a water body. For safari purposes, the cruise is a sail on a water body for a close view of the water animals in here including hippopotamuses, crocodiles, water birds and other animals that come to the shorelines to quench their thirst. A boat cruise as by the name is basically a cruise while sitting on the boat with no chances of getting out of the boat to the water. This is the only way of getting close to these aquatic animals compared to any other Uganda trip activity especially wildlife safaris in Uganda.
Murchison falls National Park boat cruise takes you to the bottom of the mighty Murchison falls formed by the Nile River as it squeezes through a 7-meter 2(3ft) gorge falling 45m below to what is known as the devil’s cauldron making a thunderous sound and an all-day rainbow.
The different Boat Cruises Done in Murchison Falls National Park
- Sunset and Sundowner Cruises
The sunset and sundowner cruises are evening cruises on the Nile river. As the heat disappears from the day, you visit the hippos and crocodiles near the Nyamsika sandbar or downstream amongst the small reed islands. Enjoy the sunset whilst enjoying snacks and an evening drink of your choice. Cheese and wine, beer and nachos or even champagne can be arranged with prior notice. This sunset boat cruise lasts about 1-2 hours.
- Sunrise / Early Morning Cruise
The sunrise boat cruise is an early morning cruise. This comes with for freshly brewed coffee and home-style cooked breakfast on board.
- Boat cruise with Meals
The boat cruise with meals comes not only with an opportunity to see the hippos but can be done at any time of the day. Make a meal of your choice at the cruise on the Nile whether for lunch or dinner.
Chimpanzee Trekking Safari in Budongo Forest
Chimpanzee tracking /Chimpanzee trekking/chimp tracking is a top Uganda safari activity mainly for Uganda wildlife safari tourists who wouldn’t want to leave without having a lifetime encounter with man’s closest relatives. Uganda is known as the best destination for Chimpanzee trekking with the top destinations being Kibale Forest National Park, Budongo Forest adjacent to Murchison Falls National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park‘s Kyambura Gorge.
About 600 chimpanzees live in their natural habitat of Budongo forest coming second to Kibale Forest National Park that is home to about 1,400 chimpanzees. It’s the second-best chimpanzee trekking destination in the world. Not all of the chimpanzees are habituated for chimpanzee tracking. Uganda chimpanzee trekking safaris are made possible by the 115km trail throughout the forest as tourists follow the trails alongside the guide. The same trails are used for birding and nature walks. You can choose to go for chimpanzee trekking either in the morning or in the evening or chimpanzee habituation.
Lively, energetic and charming chimpanzees are fascinating to watch and this is one of the reasons why chimpanzee trekking is one of the key activities for tourists on Uganda wildlife safaris. In Uganda, it’s rare to encounter wild chimps by chance or just by driving through their habitat so you will need to plan a safari in Uganda with a trusted tour operator. On the morning of your planned trek, park rangers will set off in advance to find the nests the chimps made the night before. They then track the group’s movements, listening for calls and looking for dung, knuckle prints and scraps of half-eaten leaves and fruit. When they locate the chimps, they’ll alert your guide, who will lead you through the forest.
It all starts by following paths in a time range of between 30 minutes and several unpredictable hours one that is an amazing experience of its own. As soon as you can see the chimps clearly, your one-hour encounter officially begins. After the 1 hour, you return to the trek start point where you meet your Uganda tour guide for a transfer to your next destination.
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