Uganda may not be as well known as some of the surrounding countries for seeing lions and other wildlife, but there’s one area at least that can make for an unforgettable outdoor excursion. That area is Murchison Falls National Park, well north of the capital city of Kampala, but not so far north as to be unsafe (given that the Sudan border can be a dangerous area). At this park, you can not only see lions but enjoy a range of incredible experiences that exemplify the wonder of African wilderness, and which you’ll remember the rest of your life.
The main activity at Murchison Falls is naturally to go on a safari. There is an accommodation and activity service known as Red Chilli Hideaway, with different properties around Uganda, that runs perhaps the main safari service: a three day falls and game safari that will take you through the park and show you incredible African wilderness as well as a range of wild animals.
You’re almost certain to see herds of giraffes, many exotic birds, baboons and various deer-like animals. You may also catch sight of some hippos and elephants. And the real treat is to see the big cats, which do wander the park though they’re not always as easily spotted. The experience is incredible no matter what you end up seeing, but to come across lions in a setting like this is about as authentic an African experience as you could ask for.
Part of your safari package can also include a water safari, which will take you through parts of the park on the Nile, and allow you to get a whole different vantage point on the wildlife. You’ll see many of the same animals (you may even glimpse elephants bathing, which is a real treat), as well as crocodiles. The water safari at Murchison Falls can take you right up to the base of the falls themselves, which are among the largest and most impressive in the entire region. One thing that will amaze you is the behavior of the crocodiles: they’ve learned to wait at the base of the falls for an easy meal as fish are caught in the current and rushing right toward them.
Boating On The Nile
The biggest misconception about Africa might be that the Nile is exclusively related to Egyptian lore. This idea is aided by everything from the Old Testament to the animated film The Prince Of Egypt, all of which tie the river closely to Egyptian culture. There is a game currently available online called “A While On The Nile” that does the same perhaps even more blatantly. Using the Nile as the background for a slot reel, it employs exclusively Egyptian (or at least cartoonishly Egyptian) symbols and decorations. This is all understandable given the power and intrigue of ancient Egypt. But in reality the Nile flows through much of East Africa – including Uganda, and Murchison Falls. One of the true joys of visiting this area is the chance to explore what’s known as the Victoria Nile. In addition to your water safari, you may have the option of rafting or kayaking along the river – and if you’re a daredevil, you can even bungee jump out over the surface!
Depending on what kind of service you’re using or which safari you embark on, rhino trekking might be an option as a sort of side activity. It’s a little bit more artificial, in a sense, because rhinos are thoroughly protected in their own sanctuary separate from the park. However, the experience still involves hiking out a good ways into that sanctuary (until it really feels like wild land) along with guides, until you come upon the rhinos. If you’ve only ever seen them in photos or in zoos, you might be shocked and humbled by their sheer size.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Finally, you can also take a hot air balloon safari over the park, if you’re up for some adventure and looking for something different. The benefit to this kind of safari (besides the thrill of flying through the air) is that you can often see more than you would on the ground, simply because you’re able to view more of the park at a given time, and animals behind trees or over hills are less hidden. You won’t see them as closely as on the land or water safari, but you’ll have every chance of seeing all the animals mentioned above, and from an unforgettable vantage point. It may actually be your best shot at seeing the lions.