Murchison Falls National Park is a perfect safari destination and is famous for a reason. First gazetted as a game reserve in 1926, Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest and oldest conservation area, hosting 76 species of mammals and 451 birds.
The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile, which plunges 45m over the remnant rift valley wall, creating the dramatic Murchison Falls, the centerpiece of the park and the final event in an 80km stretch of rapids. The mighty cascade drains the last of the river’s energy, transforming it into a broad, placid stream that flows quietly across the rift valley floor into Lake Albert. This stretch of river provides one of Uganda’s most remarkable wildlife spectacles. Regular visitors to the riverbanks include the Nile crocodile, hippos, elephants, buffaloes and aquatic birds.
Considering that pupils and students are set for long school holidays, many families will turn Christmas time into an opportunity for a vacation. What better way than to spend the holiday in Murchison Falls National Park with its wide range of attractions, activities and resorts that promise a festive and memorable holiday getaway.
In trying to guide on where families and other travelers could stay, Africa Tembelea conducted a mini survey amongst select tour operators and safari guides seeking their opinion on what they considered as top safari lodges and eco resorts in Murchison Falls National Park.
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Chobe Safari Lodge
Occupying a prime location in Murchison Falls National Park and only three and half hours’ drive from Kampala, Chobe Safari Lodge is the perfect retreat for any discerning traveler.
Chobe Safari was originally constructed in 1950s and at that time was one of the jewels in Uganda’s crown of tourism destinations. The panoramic views of the magnificent River Nile from the site offered a true sampling of the prime offerings of Uganda, coupled with the ample wildlife, birds, flora and fauna.
Following decades of being abandoned, the newly refurbished and restored Chobe Safari Lodge boasts unrivaled architecture and interior design. The Lodge features 36 elegant guest rooms, 21 luxury tents, 4 suites and a Presidential Cottage. The River Nile is the main focus from an architect’s perspective, and so all the rooms and luxury tents have balconies and terraces facing the magnificent sweeping views. Even the 3-tier swimming pool has panoramic views of the River Nile.
Reservations can be made directly from Marasa Central Reservations Office at Plot 96-98, 5th Street Industrial Area, Kampala or alternatively call +256 312 260260.
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Deriving its name from the historic English explorer Samuel Baker, Baker’s Lodge is situated on the South bank of the mighty Nile River which transects Murchison Falls National Park. This intimate, safari styled lodge is set within a large private area with direct river access, large shady trees and wetland areas hosting abundant birdlife along the water’s edge. The views onto the river are vast and magnificent with islands hosting nesting egret birds, elephants bathing and pods of hippos regularly viewed.
Baker’s Lodge has spacious thatched safari suites each raised from the ground on supporting pillars with its own deck overlooking the river.
The swimming pool area also offers a welcome option to cool off from the day’s activities and enjoy the sunset views.
Getting There by Road
Bakers lodge is situated just outside the boundary of Murchison Falls National Park on the South bank of the River Nile. From Kampala drive northwards towards Gulu, turning off to Masindi at the Kafu River junction (approx. 3 hours after leaving Kampala). From Masindi turn opposite the second Shell fuel station (on the corner with Masindi Hotel) to follow the Uganda Wildlife Authority signs along the murram road to the National Park Kichumbanyobo gate. Drive through the Kaniyo-Pabidi section of the Budongo forest, down the escarpment past the turning to the Top of the Falls and onwards towards the Paraa ferry point.
Shortly before reaching the river Nile (approx. 90 – 120 min from Masindi, depending on varying road conditions) there are 2 left hand turns. The second of these hosts a large Uganda Wildlife Authority sign as well as signage for Baker’s Lodge and various other facilities in the area. Turn left here and drive past the park offices, through Mubako village and pass out of the park gate (approx 2.5km). The entrance to Baker’s Lodge is approximately 50 metres on the right hand side, after the park gate.
Bookings can be made through email; [email protected] or call +256772721155
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Nile Safari Lodge
Nile Safari Lodge is nestled on the southern bank of the River Nile and offers exclusive accommodation adjacent to one of the most romantic locations in Africa, Murchison Falls National Park.
Imagine yourself elevated on your private deck on the river bank, one can view the Murchison Falls National Park and watch animals in their natural habitat.
Nile Safari Lodge has six luxurious bandas that provide a high level of luxury and service inclusive of a traditional freestanding bathtub; perfect for relaxing and enjoying the evening views.
There is also an Exclusive honeymoon banda named MWEZI (Swahili word for Moon) which is the ultimate romantic getaway, accommodating couples in the elite banda suite. Its exclusivity is in its private plunge pool, king size star bed with a complementary view of the flowing River Nile.
While the lodge’s Exclusive family banda named DUNIA (Swahili word for Earth) is the ideal option for larger groups. It accommodates four to eight guests.
The lodge has an onsite restaurant with its own greenhouse for fresh produce, a lounge and bar, a beautiful infinity pool, and will soon have a spa with a full range of treatments.
Reservations can be made at their head office located at Quality Shopping Mall Lubowa, Room Q.26. You can also call +256757363362 /+256772363362 to make a reservation.
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Paraa Safari Lodge
Established in 1954, Paraa Safari Lodge is located in the north west of Uganda overlooking one of nature’s best kept secrets, the River Nile.
Paraa Safari Lodge offers a unique blend of comfort, relaxation and adventure. Set in an area of landscaped gardens, the lodge recreates a mood that has come to be associated with the famous explorers of East Africa.
Each of the 54 rooms at Paraa Safari Lodge are complete with balcony and en-suite private bathroom. The choice of accommodation at the lodge varies – a cottage, suites, double, twin and single.
It also offers a choice of fine dining throughout one’s stay, and the Explorer’s bar is the ideal watering hole after a day of wildlife discovery in Murchison Falls National Park.
The swimming pool at the lodge even has a pool bar – where you can sip a cocktail in the water while overlooking the River Nile below at sunset. Priceless!
Reservations can be made directly from Marasa Central Reservations Office at Plot 96-98, 5th Street Industrial Area, Kampala or alternatively call +256 312 260260
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Twiga Safari Lodge
Twiga Safari Lodge is a mid-range lodge with 8 exclusive cottages situated on the bank of river Nile in Mubaako Paraa opposite the Murchison falls National Park.
The lodge accommodation design fuses camping tents with African thatched cottages elevated off the ground which provides a heightened experience with nature all the while from the safety and comfort of their cottage.
How to reach there
Twiga Safari lodge is located along the Southern Bank of the River Nile on the outskirts of Murchison Falls National Park. The lodge is roughly 350km away from Kampala, the Capital city of Uganda. The nearest major town to the national park from Kampala is Masindi (3.5 hours’ drive). The quickest route (82km) from Masindi enters Murchison Falls National Park through the Kichumbanyobo gate. From the gate proceed straight through the Kaniyo Pabidi section of the Budongo Forest, past the escarpment and towards the Paraa ferry point.
About 5 km to the ferry point, there will be a junction with a multitude of sign posts one of which is Twiga Safari Lodge. Make a left turn and proceed through the park headquarters and Paraa primary school until you reach the Mubako Gate.
Twiga Safari Lodge is located 1km from the Mubako gate on the right hand side. This route can take between 1 – 2 hours depending on the weather from the Murchison fall National Park gate. Given that this is a murrum/dirt road; the speed limits should be respected.
Reservations can be made via email [email protected] or alternatively call +256 779 492 404
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Kabalega Wilderness Lodge
Inspired by the breath-taking splendor of the wild landscapes of Murchison Falls National Park and the history and culture of the Bunyoro region of Uganda, Kabalega Wilderness Lodge will amaze you with its allure and its unique location adjacent to one of the biggest natural reserves in Uganda. It comprises of individual Safari Cabins spread throughout 7 acres of bristling bushes on the banks of the streaming waters of the mighty River Nile.
All the lodge structures are made from an architectural balance of mud and wood, and the roof is thatched with handpicked grass from the rolling plains of the neighboring villages. The walls are plastered African style with mud and wattle with a contemporary twist.
The lodge is tastefully decorated with rustic safari furnishings and fixtures handcrafted from carefully selected local and natural materials. The cabins and dinning all feature an open design to offer you a feeling of oneness with nature and breathtaking uninterrupted views of the magnificent and wild surroundings ensuring that your unique safari experience continues even when at the lodge.
Kabalega Wilderness lodge derives its name from Omukama (King) Chwa II Kabalega, also Kabalega (18 June 1853 – 6 April 1923), who was the ruler of Bunyoro in Uganda from 1870 to 1899.
Reservations can be made at their Kampala office: located at Suite 5, Amadinda House, Plot 13B Kampala Road or call Tel: +256 (0) 783 864 900
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Pakuba Safari Lodge
Pakuba Safari Lodge is nestled on the Eastern Bank of the Albert Nile in Murchison Falls National Park overlooking the spectacular River Nile. The lodge location affords panoramic views of the mighty River Nile, sweeping vistas of the surrounding riverine forest below and captivating surrounding wilderness where travelers get the chance to sight Giraffes, Elephants, Antelopes and occasionally Leopards that pay regular visits to the lodge.
The Lodge comprises of 32 Double/Twin rooms and 4 Family rooms. The family suite comprises two independent ensuite rooms with an interconnecting door and its suitable for families with Children.
Pakuba Safari Lodge rooms, each with a private ensuite bathroom, have been designed to meet the requirements of the most discerning visitors.
Reservations can be made via email; [email protected] or direct call to +256706725822
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Heritage Safari Lodge
Located on the northern bank of the Nile [Karuma-Arua road] in the place of origin of the Acoli tribe is Heritage Safari Lodge. This is also the place where the ancient Acoli tribe first settled, in the fifteenth century, during the southward Luo migration from north western South Sudan.
According to the owner, William Olwoch-Lalobo – the location was carefully selected to be within 5 minutes – drive from Murchison Falls National Park, the largest national park in Uganda that gives ample opportunity for easy access to early morning and afternoon game viewing at the time providing the opportunity to allow for tourists to get back for lunch and have some rest.
The round hut at the lodge, called “0t”, was built using local wood and grass. The design is traditional and ethnic in character. It is a low energy structure. The interior has been re-modelled in order to accommodate modern fixtures.
Heritage Safari Lodge cottages give guests 180-degree view; to the east, the early morning sun rise and hot spring, to the immediate south right in front of the cottages the hot spring as it flows into the Nile and to the west the Albert Nile its self with the community in their canoes going about their daily routine.
The cottages are designed to allow unique and flexible bedding arrangement to suit each guest’ unique requirements; single, double, triple, quadruple, family etc.
Whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary, wedding or just a great opportunity to experience a safari with family, friends or colleagues, the Heritage team is on hand to cater for all requests. For reservations, you can email [email protected] or call +256 792 212618
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Set on the Eastern banks of the slow flowing Albert Nile, Fort Murchison revokes the idea of a well maintained isolated outpost from times where Arab traders frequented the African hinterlands and legendary explorers led expeditions in search of the source of the Nile.
Fort Murchison offers a variety of comfortable accommodations to suit budgets from mid to lower market. It consists of 12 en-suite units comprising of a spacious bedroom with comfortable beds, bathrooms with countersunk basins and showers with plenty hot water from solar heaters. All rooms boast a writing desk and a private balcony with its own sofa. The atmosphere is a mix of African luxury with a touch of Swahili style.
Apart from the main accommodation, Fort Murchison offers non-self-contained tents. These are comfortably furnished with 2 single beds with mosquito nets, a bedside table and a power outlet for charging your electrical equipment. All tents are placed under a grass thatched roof which creates your private terrace and provides some welcome shade. The tents share a communal ablution block with showers and flushing toilets.
What’s better after a safari than cooling down at a pool with one of the best views of Uganda?
Fort Murchison is situated in the former Aswa Lolim Game reserve, just outside the northern park boundaries of Murchison Falls National Park. The lodge is a mere 5 km from Tangi gate, just off the main Karuma-Pakwach road.
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Budongo Eco Lodge
Nestled in the heart of Budongo Central Forest Reserve, within the boundaries of Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Eco Lodge is one of the undiscovered pearls of Uganda.
Being the habitat of more than 600 chimpanzees and 8 other species of primates, Budongo Forest has one of the largest communities of chimps in the country. It is also home to rare forest bird species, such as the Puvel’s Illadopses, which is endemic to this region.
Budongo Reserve is the largest remaining Mahogany forest in East Africa, with impressive trees growing up to 80 meters. With a network of 115 km of trails, this unexplored area offers you great excitement and adventure!
The Kaniyo Pabidi Eco-tourism site, which was first managed by the Jane Goodall Institute, was taken over in August 2009 and changed its name to Budongo Eco Lodge under the management of Uganda Lodges.
Budongo Eco Lodge consists of 5 comfortable eco-cabins with private veranda, four spacious dorm rooms, a visitor’s centre and restaurant.
Reservations can be made directly from Uganda Lodges head Office Office at Plot 1001 block 243, Biina Road, Mutungo Hill, Kampala or alternatively call Mob: +256 (0) 701-426368.
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