Murchison Falls Extension

Thrilling Wildlife Encounters and Boating to the Base of the Falls


Exlore legendary Murchison Falls, the country’s first national park, where you will have thrilling wildlife encounters in this uncrowded, yet spectacular park. The great Nile River funnels through a 20-foot-wide rocky gorge here, creating a thundering cascade. On a private excursion, you’ll boat up the Nile right to the base of the falls, and enjoy fabulous game viewing in the delta area downstream (fantastic birding—more than 450 species!). The park is also only one of the few places in the world that you can see endangered Nubian (Rothschild) giraffe, and your visit supports their protection.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Entebbe, where you will be met for the transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or take an optional excursion to the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. These famous gardens were laid out in 1898 during the British era and offer a fascinating introduction to some of Uganda’s native flora and a rich variety of birdlife. Overnight at Karibu Guesthouse....meals on your own (This is the same as Day 1 of your Uganda Private Journey program.)

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Day 2
Murchison Falls

Head north through lush countryside to Murchison Falls, Uganda’s largest and first national park (established in 1926). The park is home to 76 species of mammals and an astounding 451 bird species, including the rare and bizarre-looking shoebill (a “must-see” for birdwatchers). Murchison Falls National Park is the best place in Uganda (and maybe in Africa) to see this huge, prehistoric-looking bird, which stands over four feet tall with a seven-foot wingspan. En route to Murchison Falls, you will stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and learn about its efforts to combat poaching. In addition to rhinos, the sanctuary is home to approximately 20 other species of wildlife and 300 different bird species. In Murchison Falls itself, four of the Big Five can be found—lion, leopard, buffalo, and elephant (no rhino). There are huge herds of buffalo and elephant and a healthy population of leopard and lion. The recent Great Elephant Census noted that Uganda is one of the few bright spots for elephants on the continent. Elephant populations in Uganda have increased 600% to more than 5,000 individuals from fewer than 800 that survived the poaching crisis of the 1970s. Jackson’s hartebeest, bushbuck, Uganda kob, waterbuck, and warthog are among the other residents. Murchison Falls is also one of only three parks in Uganda with giraffe. Nearly half of the wild endangered Nubian giraffe (formerly known as the Rothschild’s giraffe), a subspecies of the northern giraffe, live in the park, with only 5,200 individuals remaining. The acclaimed Giraffe Conservation Foundation is active here, and has successfully translocated nearly 40 giraffe across the Nile River to the south side of the park over the last two years to help support this endangered species. Overnight at Nile Safari Lodge. Tonight you’ll savor your first dining experience in the bush, preceded by a welcoming drink...BLD (Note: There is an option to fly from Entebbe to Bugungu—$390 per person (3 or more trip members); $590 per person (2 trip members)—which would allow time for an afternoon activity.)
Driving Time: 6 hours (or optional flight)

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Day 3
Game Drives / Murchison Falls

The mighty Nile River, one of the longest in the world at 4,000-plus miles, flows through the heart of the park for a distance of some 70 miles as it journeys from Lake Victoria to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. This morning, board 4WD vehicles for game viewing, searching for antelope, including bushbuck, waterbuck, and dik-dik; giraffe and elephant are also here in great numbers (they may cross the road right in front of you!). Herds of buffalo are common, as well as primates including baboon and patas monkey, and the birds, of course, are incredible! The park’s centerpiece is Murchison Falls, the famous falls where the thunderous White Nile squeezes its entire volume with explosive force through a narrow, 20-foot-wide rocky gorge to crash in a cascade of foaming white water onto the rocks 150 feet below. A short drive on a twisting, dirt road takes you to the top of the falls, where you can stand close to this churning mass of white water (90,000 gallons of water per second cascades over the falls). The view from the top is also spectacular, the narrow canyon and frothing falls framed by misty rainbows and the late afternoon sun glistening off the tranquil Nile downstream. And unlike other renowned waterfalls, Murchison Falls is refreshingly uncrowded.

Optional chimp trekking: Instead of a morning game drive, enjoy chimp trekking in Budongo forest. The forest is the habitat of an estimated 540 wild chimpanzees of which 80-head strong community of habituated chimps can be visited by visitors. Also other primates are likely to be seen such as the black-and-white-colobus monkey, red tailed monkey and baboons. Please let us know if you want this option. Chimp permit $110 per person.

A 3-hour private boat ride on the Nile brings you to the base of the falls (this is along the same stretch of river where The African Queen, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, was filmed in 1951). Cruising down the Nile provides great wildlife viewing as the animals come down to the water’s edge to drink. The Nile supports the largest concentration of hippos and crocodiles in Africa—you may see hippos soaking in the deeper channels and the alpha predators lounging on the riverbank—and a dazzling variety of water birds. The views of the falls as you approach by boat are breathtaking. An interesting historical and literary monument is just downstream from the falls. Overnight at Nile Safari Lodge...BLD

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Day 4
Murchison Falls

A private boat brings you to a wonderfully calm stretch of water of the Nile Delta, where the tranquil White Nile flows into Lake Albert. This is a key area for birds—its papyrus-lined banks burst with birdlife, including Goliath herons, great egrets, African fish eagles, and the sought-after shoebill, with its massive shoe-shaped bill. Return to your lodge for lunch and a siesta, then head out again in the late afternoon on game drives. Overnight at Nile Safari Lodge...BLD

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Day 5
Kibale Forest National Park

Travel through lovely countryside where every type of fruit and vegetable imaginable is grown, and farmland where you will pass traditional villages with their shambas, or planted lots. Upon reaching Kyenjojo, in the lower foothills of the Ruwenzoris, the renowned “Mountains of the Moon,” drive through tea plantations and into the tropical rainforest of 296-square-mile Kibale Forest National Park. Kibale is contiguous with Queen Elizabeth National Park at the same pleasant altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 feet...BLD (Begin your Uganda Private Journey program—this is Day 2.)
Driving Time: 6 hours


Length: 5 days
Cost From: $3990  
Arrive: Entebbe, Uganda
Depart: Murchison Falls, Uganda
Lodging: 4 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner
Trip Level:

4WD game viewing, boating excursion