Murchison Falls Boat Cruise
Drift gently down the Nile, discovering wildlife on the riverbanks during a sunset cruise. Or, work your way upstream to see the powerful Murchison Falls up close.
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The Albert delta takes off from Paraa, and slowly floats downstream away from the fierce pull of the falls, stretching to the shores of Lake Albert.BBC
The “sundowners” trip offers a morning and afternoon session, but the afternoon slot is the most magical, as you’re on the river when dusk descends.
Enveloped by nature, the vibrant green surroundings become tinged with an orange glow as the sun sets. The perfect setting for unforgettable photos.
The trip is over 28km and takes between 4-5 hours. Birdsong will be your soundtrack as you spot a diversity of game and water-life down by the riverbanks.
The launch trip
The launch trip leaves from Paraa, starting its sail upstream towards the dramatic falls, travelling over 17km.
During this 3-hour trip, you will be encircled by luscious greenery and rugged rocks, peppered with holes created by the rough waters of the falls.
From your vantage point at the base of the falls, you’ll witness the power of Murchison as water surges through a narrow 7-metre gorge. On clear days, the spray of the falls interacts with sunlight to produce a rainbow that envelopes the falls, adding to the beauty and making for perfect photo opportunities.
Wildlife on the water
On your boat cruise, there’s a wonderful opportunity for spotting wildlife. During the dry season, animals are attracted to the water, so you may see elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, and giraffes taking a drink.
During the Albert delta cruise, there’s a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of the prehistoric shoebill stork where the river splits. These birds are fishers, but they struggle to find food due to the thick vegetation floating on top of the water. Occasionally you’ll witness them shadowing hippo trails, which clears the water, so they are able to fish.
For keen birdwatchers, join the Albert delta for a morning cruise, where kingfishers, herons, African fish eagles, hornbills, African skimmers, and egrets may join you.
No matter the cruise you choose, you’re likely to see crocodiles basking in the sunshine on the side of the riverbank, as the park is home to the largest population in Uganda.
What does the cruise entail?
The boats launch twice a day from Paraa at 9am and 2pm. The Uganda Wildlife Authority operates the cruises, and you will be greeted by an experienced team, who will give you a safety briefing and a life jacket.
Knowledgeable guides are aboard every cruise. They can provide you with a wealth of information about Murchison Falls – from where Ernest Hemingway’s plane crashed in 1954, to where The Queen Mother stayed in 1959 when she attended an inaugural cruise.
When is the best time to go?
It’s best to do a boat cruise during the dry season, which is December through to February and June through to September.
Murchison Falls is one of the hottest regions in Uganda, and the temperature ranges between 25-32°C.
After spending an afternoon on the water, soaking up the African sunshine, reaching the falls provides welcome relief as you feel the cool mist from the water.