The boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park is among the notable safari activities in the park.
It is one of the most memorable safari activities in Uganda that no traveler should miss on a Uganda safari.
Murchison Falls National Park offers two types of Nile boat cruises. There is a cruise that goes upstream to the bottom of the falls.
It takes you to the area where Ernest Hemmingway’s plane crashed. From there you are assured to see spectacular views of Murchison Falls.
The other cruise that takes you downstream is known as the Nile-Lake Albert Delta Launch cruise.
In detail below, all the boat cruises in Murchison Falls National Park are explained.
Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park To The Bottom Of The Falls| Murchison Falls Boat Cruise
The Bottom of the falls boat cruise is the most admired activity by visitors on a Murchison falls safari.
Murchison falls boat cruise has been the national park’s most rewarding activity since 1959 when Queen Mother inaugurated it.
How Long Is The Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park To The Bottom Of Murchison Falls -Where Does It Start From And Where Does It End?
The Murchison falls boat cruise is around 2-3 hours cruising a 17km distance giving spectacular views of Uganda wildlife.
The trip starts from Paraa Jetty and the boat slowly cruises eastwards along an archetypically African stretch of the Nile. The cruise is fringed by Borassus palms, acacia woodland, and mahogany stands.
After cruising along the eye-catching stretch, it finally docks in a small bay a hundred meters away from the crashing waterfall.
If you are going to hike to the top of the falls, the boat cruise stops at Baker’s point. This is where you set off for the hike.
What Are The Key Attractions To See While On Murchison Falls Boat Cruise? (The Boat Cruise To The Bottom Of The Falls)
Uganda Animals At The River Shores
Wildlife viewing along the way is superb. You will be able to sight hundreds of Hippos,
- Giant Nile Crocodiles busking along the Nile shores
- Herds of Buffaloes
- Uganda kobs
- Bush bucks
Also barely seen are Rothschild’s giraffes, and black-and-white colobus monkeys.
The majestic African elephants are frequently seen playing in water often within a few meters of the launch.
Uganda Birds At The River Shores
The launch trip to the bottom of Murchison Falls also reliably offers superb bird watching opportunities.
Visitors can look for:
- Goliath Herons
- Saddle-Billed Storks
- African Jacanas
- African Fish Eagles
- Pied And Malachite Kingfishers
- African Skimmers
- Rock Pratincole
- Black-Winged Red Bishop
- Yellow Mantled Widow Bird
- Black-Headed Gonolek
- Yellow-Backed Weaver, and at the right time of the year, a variety of migrants.
The brilliant Red-Throated Bee-Eater’s nest in the sandbanks between Paraa and the falls. This is the best place to see them in East Africa.
The top avian prize and climax of the boat cruise are when you reach the devil’s cauldron. The dramatic Murchison Falls make a thunderous roar when they hit the rocks passing in an 8-meter gorge.
A boat launch to the bottom of the falls can be a return trip. However, tourists can hike to the top of the falls and be picked up by their guides.
Who Operates The Boat Cruises In Murchison Falls National Park?
Launch trips to the bottom of the falls are operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Paraa Safari Lodge (Marasa Africa). The two operators work from the northern bank.
The other operator is Wild Frontiers on the south bank immediately west of the former Paraa ferry jetty.
UWA and Paraa Safari Lodge (Marasa Africa) only offer trips to the bottom of the falls.
Wild Frontiers, however, also operates boat trips to the Lake Albert Delta and bespoke fishing and birding cruises.
When demand is high, all the 3 boat operators can pick up tourists from each side of the river.
Type Of Boats Used For Boat Cruises In Murchison Falls National Park;
Boat launch operators at the Nile in Murchison Falls National Park use double-deck boats and smaller motor cruisers.
The type of boat used depends on the number of people available for the activity at the time.
- Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has a double deck (African Queen) carrying a maximum of 45 passengers.
- Wild Frontiers has a 16-seater (Alligator) and a 5-seater (Kingfisher)
- Marasa Africa (Paraa Safari Lodge) has a scheduled boat (Kingfisher) that accommodates 39 passengers.
It also offers private cruises using Hippo (12-seater), Paraa Voyager (12-seater), and Jewel of the Nile (11-seater).
All the boats follow the same route during the boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. More so, all boats come with lifejackets to ensure safety and well-trained knowledgeable guides.
The guides are well conversant with animal behaviors and can tell you all about wildlife from head to toe.
What Time Does The Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park Set Off?
All boat operators offer daily cruises. Boat cruises in Murchison falls are usually offered in the morning and afternoon.
The morning cruise departs between 08:00hrs and 9: 00hrs and the afternoon cruise departs between 14:00hrs and 15:00hrs.
However, guests are urged to be at the departure areas at least 15 minutes before departure time. Time for departure may vary depending on the bookings of a session.
The morning cruise in Murchison offers better birding opportunities. The Afternoon cruise however is better for photography. This is so because the sun is behind you on the outbound leg and when you reach the falls.
An advantage of being on the first morning or first-afternoon boat is that it offers sightings of shyer animals. The animals come down to drink water before other boats come past.
A keen photographer, however, would certainly want to take the last afternoon departure to capture the best in light.
Where To Seat While On A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park?
When boarding the boat, ensure to be on the left side. The sightings and views on the left side are endless as Uganda wildlife is rich on the northern bank.
This will also ease you from stretching so hard to capture better photographs.
Murchison Falls Boat Cruise Price -Boat Cruise Cost (Bottom Of The Falls)
The cost of the boat cruise operators in Murchison Falls National Park is almost similar.
- UWA Fees
|Visitor Category||Fees (Per Person)|
|East African citizen||UGX30,000|
The costs exclude the park entrance fees. Launch cruise takes a maximum of 45 people
- Paraa Safari Lodge Launch trip fees−US$28 per person
- Wild Frontiers Launch trip fees−US$35 per person (children get discounts)
The Nile-Lake Albert Delta Launch Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park
Also recommended for Uganda safaris in Murchison park is the Nile Albert Delta Launch cruise.
As the bottom of the falls cruise, this launch trip starts from Paraa Jetty and ends at the Delta Point. The boat slowly sails on the gently flowing Nile waters after losing its energy from the fall’s plunge pool.
This 20-kilometer cruise downriver to the Lake Albert Delta is mostly favored by travelers on Uganda birding tours.
It gives the best opportunities not anywhere in Africa for seeing the rare Shoebill, particularly during the dry season.
Scheduled Delta area cruises with a “breakfast on board” option are offered in the mornings (subject to minimum numbers).
The cruises depart from the jetty at Paraa on the South Bank at 07.00 am. Your trip can also be tailor-made with a private boat and timings to suit.
Wild Frontiers runs a daily cruise in a shaded 16-seater boat that leaves Paraa at 07.00 am. The return cruise takes between 4-5 hours.
Murchison Falls Boat Cruise Price -Boat Cruise Cost (Albert Delta Boat Launch)
The fee is $55 per adult
The price is subject to the minimum number of people on board.
On that note, Wild Frontiers also offers a daily falls Sundowner cruise leaving at 15.30hrs.
The sundowner cruises are magical as you meet dusk while on the river. The orange descending sun glows on the green vegetation creating memorable sightings.
The cruise comes with drinks and snacks. Sundowners are mostly for leisure, relaxing, and wondering how mystical Murchison Falls National Park is!
Sundowner cruises give the perfect opportunities for significant pictures of a real Uganda safari.
Best Time Of The Year -Best Season To Go For Boat Cruises In Murchison Falls National Park
Boat cruises in Murchison Falls National park are done every day all year round. However, the best time to enjoy the prime activity is in the dry season or dry months of the year.
During the dry season, less rain or no rainfall is expected leading to successful cruises.
Murchison Falls National Park is one of Uganda’s hot areas with temperatures ranging from 250c-320c.
Many Uganda animal species and birds gather at the Nile shores to bathe and kill thirst giving clear sightings to tourists.
The dry months of Uganda are from December to February and from June to August.
Also in the dry months, the water levels of Victoria Nile are low and stable making navigation of the boat easy.
What To Wear For A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park?
A boat cruise in Murchison park is an extra-ordinary activity when on a safari in Uganda. However, there is wear that you are supposed to put on when going for the cruise and still be in style.
Avoid the hustle and look at our outfit choice for day of the boat ride in the park. The choices will leave you laid-back to gloom as you will be looking practical and stylish for the cruise.
- Long Sleeved shirts and trousers
- Light Shoes or Boots
- Polarized Sunglasses
- Hats or Caps
Long Sleeved shirts and trousers: The long sleeved shirts and trousers will give you body protection from insects and bugs that may bite you.
When cold, the outfit can easily provide you with warmth and when to hot, it will protect your body from direct sunlight contact.
Always keep in mind to wear light clothes that are not bright in color. Layers are highly recommended as they make you feel comfortable at all times.
Light shoes or boots: Shoes are for protecting your feet throughout the entire activity. Mind the shoes you wear as they should be light and have rubber soles to always keep you stable on deck.
The shoe laces should always be tied to avoid any accidents in case your shoes have any.
Polarized sunglasses: Sunglasses are not only for fashion when on beaches. Murchison falls park is hot as the sunlight rays may damage your eye sight.
To avoid all of that, wear polarized sunglasses that will reduce the glare of the sun giving you clear views of wildlife.
Hat or cap: The two will protect your head and face from the direct hot sun of the park providing you with comfort when cruising.
What Should I Carry For A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park?
Have you been asking yourself what to bring for your boat safari cruise in Murchison falls park?
Well, we have picked out some essential items that you can come with for your boat cruise vacation for your Uganda safari.
This is a short list of those items.
- A pair of Binoculars
- Poncho or Rain Jacket
- Insect repellent
- A camera or phone for Photography
- Snacks and beverages
A pair of Binoculars: Since you are on an African Safari, you will need to get clear views of the wildlife that you come across. Remember to carry a pair of binoculars to optimize zoom far sightings.
Many animals and birds come on the river shores and sometimes you require binoculars to see them.
Poncho or Rain jacket: Ugandan weather is unpredictable as it can rain at any time. That’s why you need to come with a poncho or rain jacket to keep you from getting wet.
Always keep in mind that the boats used for boat cruises are open-sided and have no inner deck.
Sunscreen: Murchison Falls National Park is one of the hottest areas in Uganda. You will need sunscreen to apply to your skin to prevent the direct sun rays from damaging your skin.
Insect repellent: Along the Victoria Nile, there are many water insects since there are swamps surrounding the river.
Be vigilant and carry an insect repellent that you will apply on your skin to chase away the insects.
A camera or phone: Come with a good camera or phone to capture unforgettable photographs or videos that you will share with friends and family.
Since you are on a Uganda Safari, expect surprises of wildlife and remember to capture the memorable moments.
However, remember to carry extra charged batteries and memory cards since the great sightings to capture are endless.
Snacks and Beverages: Always carry personal snacks and beverages. On some boat cruises in the park, snacks and drinks are provided though at a fee.
As you enjoy your snacks on the boat, please maintain a clean nature for wildlife by not littering.
15 Safety Precautions To Know When Going For A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park
Murchison falls boat cruise is fun and gives you good animal sightings. However, there are precautions to know so that you be safe and enjoy the boat cruise throughout.
You Can Check Out Our Precaution List To Guide You More
- When going for a boat cruise in Murchison Falls Park, always be on time for departure. At least make sure that you are there 15 minutes before.
Timings may change and will you miss the prime activity full of excellent wildlife sighting.
- When boarding or leaving the boat, consider the gap between the vessel and the jetty. Most times there is a big gap left, always watch your steps so that you don’t injure yourself.
- Do not sit, stand, swing or climb on boat railings, this is extremely dangerous.
We know that it is very tempting for taking selfies though dangerous!!
You may easily lose your balance and slip off into the water since the boat is ever moving.
- If you find that the boat is already full, please! Don’t risk boarding the boat as it has a maximum number of passengers it can’t exceed. You can always wait for another shift.
- When on the boat, ensure to wear a life jacket and check if all the straps are all there.
- Always avoid crowds when on you boat cruise, this will limit you from great photographic opportunities.
It is also dangerous as the crowd maybe on one side of the boat causing in balance which will capsize the boat.
- Drinks are served throughout the boat cruise but endeavor to drink responsibility to remain sober and becoming helpless.
- If you have children on a boat cruise in the park, keep them close to yourself always. Children are playful and can lead to accidents.
- Avoid making noise on a boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park. Yes, some sightings are unusual and are exciting but control your voice.
Mind other passengers you are with, some may be sick and your voice may shock them to death. Others just hate noise.
- Avoid smoking during the boat cruise because it is a public activity and some people may be allergic to tobacco.
- Always keep your valuables with you. Do not leave any of your valuables just hanging in open air.
- Avoid cruising in small boats as they can easily over turn when hit by animals or waves. Where possible, verify from your travel agent.
- In case of any sickness like sea-sickness, feel free to talk to the boat management team for help before you inconvenience others.
- When on a boat cruise in Murchison Falls National park, do not enter into the Captain’s deck. Entering in the captain’s deck is very dangerous as you can touch on key items unknowingly and cause implications.
- When taking pictures with your camera or phone, ensure that they have a loop. This loop is worn in the neck and in case of shock you don’t drop your valuable item in water.
A boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park is the one of the park’s adorable safari activities done. Boat cruises are also enjoyed in Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Bunyonyi.
The wonderful activity takes to the bottom of world’s strongest waterfalls giving you best views of Uganda wildlife.
The Murchison falls boat cruise to the Albert Delta gives you opportunities of seeing the rare Shoebill. It as well gives you sightings of other water-associated birds.
Let us help you book your Murchison falls boat cruise full of Uganda wildlife sightings and unforgettable memories. Kindly send us an email.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Boat Cruises In Murchison Falls National Park Uganda
Is A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls Park Safe?
Yes, a boat cruise in Murchison Falls Park is Safe. The boat cruise has been done for many years since the early 50s and there has not been any danger encountered.
The boats used for the cruise are modern and have the right standards with each seat having a life jacket for safety.
Each boat has a maximum seating capacity and it doesn’t exceed the capacity for precaution measures.
Boats in Murchison Falls National Park contain;
- Personal flotation devices for all passengers
- First-aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Marine radio and fully-charged cell phone
- Signaling and sound devices (horn, bell, or whistle)
- Day and nighttime flares
How Can I Book A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park?
Have you been wondering how to book yourself a boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park Uganda? Well, we are your guide.
You can book for yourself a boat cruise in Murchison falls park by contacting UWA, Marasa Africa, or Wild Frontiers directly.
However, we advise you to let your local travel agent book you. Local travel agents are on the ground and are easily reachable by the boat operators if there are any changes.
By letting your travel agent book your cruise, it helps you to be hustle free from the booking sessions.
Is A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls Park Worth It?
Yes, a boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park is worth it. First, the boat cruise gives value for money as you get to see the world’s strongest waterfalls.
Secondly, many wild animals and birds are sighted coming to bathe and refresh on the shores of the river.
Animals that can be seen are Crocodiles, Hippos, Elephants, Buffaloes, Bush Bucks, etc., and many water-related birds.
What Is The Age Limit For A Boat Cruise In Murchison Falls National Park?
The boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park has no age limit as everyone can go for the activity.
Can I come with children on a boat cruise? Yes, you can come with children on a boat cruise in Murchison Falls National Park.
However, children should always be their parents or caretakers at all times. For infants below the age of one year, you can always contact your travel agent for clarity.