Wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park
Wildlife in Murchison Falls National Park is the main tourist attraction in the national park. There are a variety of wildlife species that are found in Murchison falls national park with the Big Four animals including lions, leopard, African Elephant, and the Cape Buffalo. If you are looking to see Rhinos, you can have a stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Masindi.
Big game animals
The national park hosts about 76 animals including the big four mammals which are the lions, leopards, buffaloes and elephants. Visitors who want to view the big five mammals can also have a stopover at Ziwa rhino sanctuary which is along the way as you travel to the park.
There are other animals in the park like Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, bushbucks, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbucks, hippos, oribis among others. Big game animals can be viewed during the game drive which is best done in the northern sector because that’s the area with large concentration of animals.
During the game drive you will follow trails like Buligi, Victoria, Albert tracks among others and you will be able to view many animals grazing in the savannah.
Big game animals in the park can also be viewed during the boat cruise which is done upstream to the bottom of the falls and downstream to the Victoria Nile Delta. Boat cruise is done in schedules and take about 2 to 4 hours.
On the boat cruise you will view hippos and crocodiles which will be in the water and also view a large concentration of elephants, waterbucks, buffaloes among others which will be along the water banks drinking water.
You can also engage in a nocturnal game drive in the park where you will explore the part at night with a park guide and spotlight torches for clear viewing. During the night game drive you will view predators like lion, leopards hunting, hippos grazing and other nocturnal animals like genets, hyenas, civets, porcupines, bush babies, night jars among others.
Murchison falls national park hosts a number of primate species including over 600 chimpanzees, olive baboons, blue tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others. Primates in the park can be tracked in Kaniyo Pabidi Budongo forest which is located in the southern sector of the park.
The most attractions in the southern sector of the park are the chimpanzees therefore visitors on a wildlife safari can engage in chimpanzee trekking which can either done in the morning or in the afternoon within the forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in Murchison falls national park starts with a briefing at the headquarters and takes about 2 to 4 hours or even longer depending on the location of the chimpanzees because they like to move deep into the forest in search of food especially during the dry season.
During chimpanzee trekking you will be able to view other primates like the baboons, red tailed monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others and once the chimpanzees are found you will be able to spend one hour with them in their natural habitat learning about their lifestyle, habits, behaviors, taking photos and recording the moments. Chimpanzee trekking gives you interesting experiences which will make your safari in Uganda unforgettable.
The national park also has nocturnal primates like Bush baby, Potto among others which sleep during the day and become active at night therefore these nocturnal primates can be viewed during the night nature walk with an armed park guide.
Chimpanzees are the second most popular attractions in Uganda after the mountain gorillas in Bwindi national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. Apart from Kaniyo Pabidi Budongo forest, chimpanzees in Uganda can also be tracked in Kibale forest national park, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth national park and Kalinzu forest which is adjacent to the park.
Birds are also among the wide variety of wildlife sighted in Murchison falls national park. The national park harbors over 450 bird species including migratory and endemic bird species which makes the park a birders paradise for bird lovers. Bird species in the park are categorized depending on their habitat for example water birds, forest dwellers, savannah birds and Albertine birds.
Birds in the park can be spotted during the boat cruise upstream to the bottom of the falls and downstream to the Nile Delta and during the boat cruise you can look out for the pre-historic shoebill stork and water birds like goliath heron, black headed lapwing, blue headed coucal, fish eagle, saddle billed stork, dwarf kingfisher, blue spotted dove, malachite kingfisher, African black crake, African jacana, great blue Turaco, African skimmer, squacco heron among others.
Bird species like olive breasted greenbul, guinea Congo, pygmy crake, African pied wagtail, Cassin hawk eagle, yellow crested wood pecker, African shrike flycatcher, swamp flycatcher, blue napped mouse bird, African pied wagtail, Abyssinian ground hornbill, secretary bird, open billed stork, marabou stork, black bellied bustard among others can also be viewed during the game drive in the northern sector and during the nature walk in Rabongo and Kaniyo Pabidi forests, swamp trails and other areas.
Conclusion: Visitors who wish to view wildlife in Murchison falls national park can book a game drive, boat cruise, nature walk or birding safari in the park. Wildlife viewing in the national park can be done at all year round although savannah wildlife in Murchison falls national park are best viewed during the dry season which is between June to September and December to February.