Murchison Falls hike/Top Of The Falls Hike in Murchison Falls National Park is a magnificent memorable experience. The falls are an impressive sight from the boat cruise but the hike brings you closer to the natural wonder.
It is an opportunity for you to see a lot of nature’s secrets during your safari in Uganda. When embarking on the hike, you get to see many Uganda bird species and Uganda primates like Olive baboons and monkey species.
Murchison falls hike is undoubtedly rewarding with tremendous views. The trail followed from the bottom of the falls is made of cemented steps that can test one’s fitness levels.
Anyone can hike to the top of the falls as it is less challenging compared to the hikes of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Hiking to the top of Murchison Falls takes around 45 minutes.
There Are Two Possible Ways Of Reaching The Top Of The Falls;
- Tagging the hike to a boat launch is the more rewarding.
- Driving to the top of the falls
Tagging The Murchison Falls Hike To A Boat Launch
Right from the adrenaline-rising boat cruise, the fun continues. You straight away begin the exciting hike to the top of the iconic falls.
The boat launch takes you to Bakers point where the hike starts. Baker’s Point is where Sir Samuel Baker stood in 1864 when he was naming the falls.
You then ascend on a tree-shaded footpath known as the Winston Churchill Trail. This is the route that was used by Winston Churchill in 1907.
The British explorer trekked down from the top of the falls before he sailed off to South Sudan.
Hearing the thunderous roar from the falls will increase your speed as you will want to witness the strength of the falls.
This short journey gives the best scenic views of the area with rolling hills from a distance. Phenomenal Uganda bird species within the vegetation types are sighted as they nest and feed.
Before reaching the top of the falls, you get clear views of the Uhuru Falls which are breathtaking.
Uhuru falls separated from Murchison falls right after Uganda got its independence in 1964.
When you reach the top of the falls you forget about the endless steps that you have hiked as the water sprays on your face.
This is the best time for photography and videography as you capture River Nile squeezing to pass in an 8-meter gorge.
Always organize or arrange for your pick-up when you reach the top of the falls.
Getting To The Top Of The Falls By Road
The top of the falls is reached along a sporadically steep and rough 15km road that branches north from the main Paraa road.
It then branches off at a signposted junction about 500 meters past Sambiya River Lodge.
From the car park, a short footpath leads downhill to the waterfall’s head and a fenced viewpoint.
From here, one can truly appreciate the staggering power of the Nile crashing through a narrow gap in the escarpment.
The force of the water produces a deafening roar and voluminous spray.
From this main viewpoint, a longer footpath, perhaps 20 minutes walking time, leads to Baker’s Viewpoint on a ridge.
Baker’s viewpoint looks directly towards Murchison Falls as well as the broader Uhuru Falls.
The face-on view of the two cataracts, separated by a lushly forested hillock– is truly inspiring.
However, it is surpassed by following another footpath down to the base of the short gorge below the two waterfalls.
If you want to check out all the viewpoints. Allow at least 2 hours, ideally in the afternoon, when the sun is better positioned for photography.
There is much wildlife in the vicinity of the falls and it is considered safe to walk unaccompanied between the viewpoints. However, you may encounter troops of Olive Baboons and Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys.
The bat cliff immediately south of the main waterfall visible from Baker’s viewpoint is worth scanning with binoculars for raptors and swallows.
If patient until dusk, you should be able to see bat hawks soaring around in search of a quick dinner.
After dusk, the drive from the top of the falls back to the road is particularly good for nocturnal birds.
The notable nocturnal birds seen include the Eagle Owl and (seasonally) Africa’s three most spectacular and distinctive nightjar species.
- Long-Tailed Nightjar (Mar-Aug)
- Pennant Winged Nightjar (March-Sep)
- Standard-Winged Nightjar (Sep-Apr).
Murchison Falls Hike Fees -Cost
|Visitor category||Fees(per person)|
|East African citizen||UGX10,000|
Murchison falls hike fees exclude the park entrance fee.
Hiking fees must be paid in advance at the ticket office at Paraa.
After payments are done, a ranger guide will be allocated to escort you on foot between the landing point and Barker’s View.
Time For Going For Murchison Falls Hike
Murchison falls hike is done in the morning and afternoon.
We would advise you to do the hiking in the morning as the temperatures tend to be low in the morning hours.
Morning hours provide the best sightings for birds as they are more active leaving their nests.
Afternoon hours are mostly hot in Murchison Falls which brings up quick exhaustion as the body is drained. Also on that note, the sightings along the hiking trail are usually in hiding during the afternoon hours.
However, afternoon hikes are rewarding after reaching the top of the falls and the water sprays onto you. This experience will refresh you and make you forget about the continual steps.
Best Time Of The Year-Best Season For Murchison Falls Hike
Murchison Falls hike is done all year throughout though the best time is in the dry months of the year.
In the dry months, the trail followed is dry and easy to access. Sightings in the dry months come quickly.
During the dry season is when the rainbow is seen as the sun is ever shining on the water spray.
Also, the lighting for photography is clear hence capturing clear pictures.
The dry months of Uganda are from December to February and from June to August.
What to Wear for Murchison Falls Hike
When going for Murchison falls hike, always wear light, and put on light shoes like sneakers or light hiking boots.
Light clothes will at least keep you from not sweating too much as it is most times shining.
Wear light long-sleeved shirts and trousers as these will protect you from insect bites. They will as well protect your body from direct contact with the sun which may burn your skin.
Sunglasses and a hat will reduce the direct sunlight that comes toward your eyes and head.
What To Carry For Murchison Falls Hike
Hiking to the top of the falls may seem to be a short journey of only 45 minutes. However, there are a few items you need to carry with you for the superb hike. Always remember and carry them with you.
Come with a camera that you will use to capture the beauty of the falls. The epic photos or videos will speak for you back home.
Carry your binoculars to get clear sightings of the birds that come along during the hike to the top of the falls.
An insect repellent is of good use since there are mosquitoes and many other insects. Spray it on your body to chase away the insects that may bite you along the way during your hike.
Sunscreen will protect your skin from too much sunlight that may cause damage. This is helpful, especially for those doing an afternoon hike.
Carry water in a reusable bottle that will keep you hydrated throughout your hike to the top of the falls.
Why Go For Murchison Falls Hike?
Hiking to the top of the falls takes you to the world’s strongest waterfalls giving you up close views.
This is where the River Nile bisects the park squeezing through a narrow gorge of 8m dropping 45 meters into the Devil’s Cauldron.
The water hits the rocks creating a thunderous roar and forming the famous rainbow.
The views of the dramatic waterfalls give great opportunities for photography.
Hiking to the top of the falls is one of Murchison Falls National Park highlights.
The hike brings you closer to the world’s strongest waterfalls.
This is where River Nile squeezes to pass through a narrow gorge of 8 meters making a dramatic roar. It then drops 45 meters in the water pool.
Be a witness when you reach the top of the falls and capture pictures that you will share with your family.
There are many Uganda birds along the hiking trail that one can see.
Let us help you customize your Murchison Falls Safari with a hike to the top of the falls. Send us an inquiry today.
A hiking fee must be paid in advance at the ticket office at Paraa, and a ranger guide will be allocated to escort you on foot between the landing point and Barker’s View.