Murchison falls national park birding safari
Murchison falls national park is the largest and most visited national park in Uganda situated at the northern side of the Albertine Rift valley. It is the oldest national park in that it was gazette in 1952 and harbors abundant wildlife species including vegetation types, 76 animal species including the big four mammals such as lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants and other animals like warthogs, bushbucks, waterbucks, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, Oribi, crocodiles, hippos, 450 bird species like the rare shoe bill stork, primates in Budongo forest including chimpanzees, olive baboons, red tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys among others. Murchison falls national park is located 305 Kilometers north of Kampala and takes about 5 hours’ drive from Kampala city to the park therefore visitors who want to go on a birding safari in the park can either access it by road or air transport means which takes about one hour from Entebbe to Pakuba, Chobe or Bugungu airfield.
Birding in Murchison falls national park
The park is a habitat of over 450 bird species which makes it a birders paradise for the bird lovers with water birds, forest birds, migrant birds and other bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift. Birds in the park can be viewed during the park activities including
Game drive, this can be done in the morning or evening in the savannah grassland following different tracks like Queen’s track, Albert track and Buligi game track. Bird species which can be viewed during the game drive include secretary bird, open billed stork, Abyssinian ground hornbill, black bellied bustard, marabou stork, weaver birds among others.
Boat cruise, Murchison falls national park offers two boat trips namely the boat trip upstream to the bottom of the falls and the boat trip downstream to the Victoria Nile delta. During the boat cruise you will be able to view various bird species such as the sought after pre-historic shoebill stork and other water birds such as goliath heron, black headed lapwing, great blue turaco, African black crake, dwarf kingfisher, blue spotted doves, African jacana, African skimmer, malachite kingfisher, saddle billed stork, fish eagle, Blue headed Coucal, Squacco heron, among others.
Guided nature walk, nature walk is an exciting activity where you will move of the safari vehicle and move on foot as you explore the park with beautiful scenery, vegetation, feel the cool breeze as well as spot different bird species. Nature walk in the park can be done following trails such as swamp trail, along the Nile, Top of the falls, Budongo forest, Kaniyo Pabidi and Rubongo forest. Bird species that can be spotted during the guided nature walk include silver birds, blue napped mouse bird, African pied wagtail, black kite, Fork tailed Drongo, Western Greenbul, Olive breasted Greenbul, yellow footed flycatcher, Guinea Congo, Pygmy Crake, chocolate backed kingfisher, Cassin’s hawk eagle, yellow crested woodpecker, African shrike flycatcher, swamp flycatcher, yellow browed carmaroptera, black and white casqued hornbill, speckled tinker bird, yellow spotted barbet, forest robin, white spotted fluff tail, Ituri Batis, blue throated roller among others.
Best time for birding safari in Murchison falls national park
Birding can be done anytime throughout the year in Murchison falls national park though the best time is during the dry season in the months of January to march because there will be plenty of bird species and the birding trails will be passable compared to the wet season when the birding trails will be muddy and slippery hence making your birding safari in Murchison falls national park difficult. During the dry season in the month of June it’s a breeding season for birds in Murchison falls national park therefore the bird lovers will be able to view colourful bird species on their birding safari.
However bird watching in the park can also be done in the wet season during the months of March to April in that due to heavy rainfalls there will be availability of food and fruits which attract different bird species in the forest. During the month of October to march you will be able to view migratory birds like flamingos, Abdims stork, common teal, Eurasian harrier, northern sholver among others hence making your Murchison falls national park birding safari unforgettable.
What to carry on your Murchison falls national park birding safari
- A pair of binoculars, the binoculars will help you to spot and identify bird species while in the air or up in the trees.
- Camera and extra batteries, a camera will be used to takes pictures of the birds and also capture the moments on your birding safari in Murchison falls national park.
- A field/bird guide book, this guide book will help you to identify different bird species and the destination where they can be spotted therefore you are advised to purchase a field guide book when going on a birding safari in Murchison falls national park because it will guide you during birding.
- Hat and sunglasses, these will protect your skin from direct sun.
- Light clothes and shoes, the clothes should be comfortable to give you freedom during trekking in the forest.
- Energy snack and drinking water to give you energy and also keep you hydrated.
- Rain jacket, since birding will be done in different destinations like Budongo forest it’s important to carry a light rain jacket because it can rain anytime.
- First aid box, the first aid box should contain items like insect repellent, malaria medication among others so as to help you in case you get ill while on a safari.
- Backpack, this will be used to carry all your birding essentials such as camera, batteries, a pair of binoculars, energy snacks among, field guide book others.
Birding safari in Murchison falls national park gives you colorful memories and can also be combined with other breathtaking activities such as game drive where you will view animal species like elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, waterbucks, warthogs, lions, leopards, Uganda kobs, bushbucks among others , chimpanzee trekking in Budongo forest, boat cruise to the bottom of the falls and Victoria Nile Delta where you will see hippos, crocodiles in water and animals along the water banks drinking water like elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, sport fishing, hot air balloon, hiking among other.