Embark on a remarkable adventure with a Nile Delta boat cruise, a highlight of any visit to Murchison Falls National Park. Located in Uganda, this vast and captivating savannah safari destination is second in size only to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Murchison Falls offers unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing, where game drives offer sightings of the magnificent Rothschild’s giraffes, herds of buffalo, majestic elephants, and lions preying on the abundant antelope that roam the plains.
The Nile River flows from Lake Kyoga into Lake Albert, dividing Murchison Park National Park into its northern and southern regions. This natural phenomenon creates a magnet for wildlife, as animals gather along the banks of the Victoria Nile. A boat cruise along the Nile provides an extraordinary opportunity to explore the park’s most concentrated animal populations.
There are two captivating ways to experience the mighty Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. From the Paraa jetty, embark on a boat cruise upstream along the Victoria Nile to witness the thunderous power of the falls. You can then hike from Baker’s Rock to Fagio Gorge for a breathtaking view of the falls from above.
Alternatively, start your boat cruise at the Paraa jetty and leisurely glide downstream along the tranquil waters of the Nile, passing through the picturesque papyrus-filled delta. This is where the Nile converges with Lake Albert before continuing its northern journey. Both options provide a remarkable opportunity to observe the abundant wildlife that congregates along the banks of the Nile, allowing you to get up close to Uganda’s iconic big game animals.
Located twenty kilometers downstream from the Paraa jetty in Murchison Falls National Park, the Nile Delta is a haven for incredible water bird species, including the renowned shoebill stork, which is often a highlight of the Nile Delta boat cruise for many tourists.
During the three-hour cruise, which takes you through the scenic Buligi area to the Lake Albert Delta Point, you’ll be immersed in breathtaking wildlife sightings. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of elephants, buffalo, and graceful giraffes as they graze along the Nile’s banks.
As you cruise through the Albert Delta, the gentle waters of the Victoria Nile reveal a thriving ecosystem of prolific birdlife nestled among the papyrus and swampy growth. Look out for the unique shoebill stalking fish and frogs with its distinctive whale-like head. Spotting the shoebill in these parts of the park is a true highlight, and the stunning landscape views provide a serene backdrop for an unforgettable sunset boat cruise.
At the Albert Nile Delta, the Victoria Nile passes through the northern tip of Lake Albert, transforming into the Albert Nile, which flows up into South Sudan. Take a moment to soak in the surroundings and perhaps catch sight of elephants, Nile crocodiles, and other fascinating animals in this area before cruising back up the Nile to the Paraa jetty.
You can opt for a scheduled Nile delta cruise, including “breakfast on board,” available in the mornings (subject to minimum numbers). The delta cruise departs from the Paraa jetty on the south bank at 07:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Alternatively, we can customize a private boat cruise with flexible timings to suit your preferences.
The most highly anticipated activity in Murchison Falls National Park is the boat cruise to the bottom of the world-renowned Murchison Falls, one of the most powerful waterfalls on Earth. This exhilarating cruise also departs from the Paraa jetty, allowing you to witness dramatic wildlife sightings along the banks of the Victoria Nile as you make your way to Baker’s Rock, where you can choose to hike up to the falls.
At the top of Murchison Falls, from the Fajao viewpoint, guests can marvel at the spectacle of the Nile rushing through a narrow gorge, forcing around 300 cubic meters per second of water through a mere 10-meter-wide opening. The resulting splashes create a 50-meter-wide cascade, accompanied by a permanent rainbow—an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
As the thunderous water cascades down the falls, it rejoins the Nile’s course, meandering calmly down the Victoria Nile. You can choose to admire this breathtaking sight from the base of the falls, where hippo pods can be spotted nearby, or hike up the rock for a magnificent view from above.
Launch trips to the bottom of Murchison Falls typically depart at 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. We also offer the option of a private boat cruise for a memorable sundowner or breakfast experience on the Nile. The duration of the cruise is approximately three to four hours.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) operates boat launches from the jetty at 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM daily. The cost is $30 per person, and refreshments are available on board for a reasonable fee. For a more luxurious experience, Wild Frontiers offers boats with enhanced amenities at $32 per person, subject to minimum numbers.
Additionally, we can arrange private pickups and drop-offs by boat from the North bank at Paraa and various lodge points along the southern banks of the Victoria Nile. Guests can also opt for a special waterfall sundowner boat cruise, complete with drinks and snacks, departing at 3:00 PM every afternoon. Private boat cruises are priced at $325 per boat, depending on the trip duration, boat capacity, and boat type.
The dry seasons of December to February and June to September are ideal for visiting Murchison Falls National Park and embarking on a Nile delta boat cruise or a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. During these periods, the weather is generally favorable, and the trails and water levels are more manageable.
It’s important to note that the dry season is the peak season for Murchison Falls Safaris and Uganda as a whole, which means that booking in advance is recommended to secure your spot.
While the wet seasons may offer a different ambiance, with lush greenery and an abundance of wildlife, the higher water levels and faster flow of the Nile can make the cruise less suitable and potentially unsafe. Therefore, it is not advisable to embark on the Nile cruise during the wet seasons.
Extend your exploration of Murchison Falls National Park beyond the boat cruises to the delta and the falls. Enhance your visit by embarking on a thrilling game drive safari in the Buligi section of the park. This area is known for its high concentration of wildlife, providing excellent opportunities to encounter a variety of animals during your morning or afternoon game drive.
After cruising down to the delta and returning to Paraa, you can continue your adventure with a game drive through the wildlife-rich Buligi area. Alternatively, leave your boat at the gorge below the falls and hike up for a captivating view into the thunderous chasm. You can choose to return to Paraa either by vehicle or hike back down for another scenic cruise back to Paraa.
Murchison Falls National Park, situated in one of Uganda’s remotest areas, offers various opportunities for further exploration. You can combine your visit with a trip further northeast to Kidepo Valley National Park for another unforgettable savannah plains experience or head south to join the southwestern Uganda safari circuit via Kibale National Park.
In the south of Murchison Falls, the enchanting Budongo Forest awaits, where you can witness habituated chimpanzee troops as they gracefully maneuver through the prehistoric rainforest canopy.
Not far to the south lies the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where you can track rhinos on foot—an exhilarating activity that completes your list of encountering Africa’s Big Five game. Murchison Falls National Park is home to four of the Big Five, with the rhinos residing in the Ziwa Sanctuary.