Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most common national parks in Uganda and is visited by so many tourists specifically for wildlife viewing activities, launch trips & Chimpanzee tracking. This park has a lot of accommodation facilities that range from budget, mid-range to luxury which often gives clients a wide array of lodging options to choose from. However, the fact that this national park has a lot of accommodation facilities doesn’t mean all the facilities will reward you the comfort you want irrespective of your budget.
Some lodges may be slumber but in actual sense, the settings around them, facilities and views aren’t really worthy the money your cashing in compared to the rest that meet all these for the same prices or even less. Even for a typical budget traveler, having less money on accommodation doesn’t entitle you to a reservation with a substandard facility. You can still get good value for your money if only your choices are right which might be quite hard for you because chances are high you don’t know much about the best lodges in Murchison Falls National Park. This article is here to guide you on the lodges you should always book for your stay in this national park irrespective of your budget. I personally have visited all of them before and i guarantee you will get the best services at each of the facilities.
1. Paraa Safari Lodge (Luxury)
I would say Paraa Safari Lodge is currently the best accommodation facility in Murchison Falls NP. Established in 1954, This lodge is situated north west of Uganda facing one of nature’s loveliest creations, the mighty River Nile. Owned by Marasa Africa Group, Paraa Safari Lodge rewards a unique level of comfort, extreme relaxation plus some bit of adventure. Each of the rooms in this lodge was designed to be a haven of style and serenity with exceptional facilities, views and complete with respective balconies and bathrooms. Paraa Safari lodge offers only luxury accommodation facilities to tourists.
2. Chobe Safari Lodge (Luxury)
With over 30 elegant guest rooms, 20 luxury tents, 4 suites and a Presidential Cottage, Chobe Safari Lodge undoubtedly slots in second on the list and surprisingly, some people prefer it more to Paraa Safari Lodge. The mighty River Nile was the main point from it’s architect’s views, reason why all rooms and luxury tents have respective balconies and terraces facing the magnificent views of River Nile. Chobe falls far North East of Murchison Falls National Park close to the great River Nile and not so far away from the explosive Karuma Falls. The reason as to why Paraa Safari Lodge has long been chosen over Chobe is because of their respective locations. Paraa Safari Lodge sits on the area with the best wildlife viewing spots in the national park, which is not the case with Chobe because you about a 2 hours drive to access Paraa for exceptional wildlife viewing. Otherwise, Chobe is currently the second best accommodation facility in Murchison Falls National Park.
3. Nile Safari Lodge (Luxury)
Nile Safari Lodge is just another facility with excellent services in Murchison Falls National Park and is undoubtedly one of the best places to stay. This lodge was featured in New York Times’ “1000 Places to see Before you Die” article. This lodge is uniquely positioned in an traditional style with an amazing view of the Nile River Bank with extreme sights of Elephant herds, Hippos, the rare Shoe bill Stork plus other wildlife. Its choice of wooden chalets and slumber tents plus their proximity to River Nile clearly maximizes exceptional views and rewards a true feeling of wilderness. Nile Safari Lodge offers some of the most luxurious accommodation services in Murchison Falls NP.
4. Bakers lodge (Mid-Range)
This newest and youngest addition of Wild Frontiers’ Uganda Exclusive Camps takes up the fourth slot on the list. Bakers Lodge is situated right on the southern banks of the historic River Nile, which transects Murchison Falls National Park. This virgin lodge derives its name from a historic English explorer Sir. Samuel Baker, whose great expeditions have long been left in the history of Uganda. This lodge offers a thatched central lounge that has a bar and it’s dining area, all raised with decks of wood all around granting guests great opportunities to savor the dawn for breakfast, sunset throughout the evening hours, not forgetting the magical river views. Bakers Lodge is an excellent place to stay.
5. Fort Murchison (Mid-Range)
Facing the eastern banks of the Albert Nile, Fort Murchison Lodge sits on the Savannah landscapes of Murchison Falls National Park. The architecture of this lodge is truly awesome! Fort Murchison was built with a massive tower and has beautiful colored walls with a small Swahili touch that reflects the influence of the ancient Arab traders and historic explorers that traveled to Uganda (called Buganda by then) often for frequent trade (mainly slave trade) and discovering the source of the Nile. Owned by a Dutch – Ugandan couple, Fort Murchison lodge not only offers mid-range accommodation services and comfortable budget accommodation for shoestring travelers but is also among the top 3 mid-range accommodation places in Murchison Falls National Park. This lodge sits on a land that previously belonged to Aswa Lolim Game Reserve.
6. Sambiya River Lodge (Budget – Mid-Range)
Also known as Sambiya Safari Lodge, this lodge rewards a very relaxing experience and offers you maximum time to relax from activities of game viewing, top of the falls hiking or rather Chimpanzee Trekking. Sambiya River Lodge is located just 15 minutes away from the top of the explosive Murchison Falls. It is indeed an excellent location for tourists who looking for the amazing experience of the beautiful African wilderness. For bird watchers, this lodge is goldmine for you and is a perfect place to spot a wide species of birds. The ancient and rare shoebill stork is also found here at ease and believe me, you can spot the wildlife just as you expected or imagined it. So many animals move around the lodge grounds in the evening hence, you are advised not to move alone at night and to always let a guard accompany you to your hut.
7. Pakuba Safari Lodge (Mid-Range)
Nestled in the northern bank of Murchison Falls National Park, Pakuba Safari lodge is one of the most excellent mid-range accommodation facility for tourists. The lodge faces the great Albert Nile on the eastern side hence, its proximity is a wide preference for variety of animals that often gather around the lodge for overnights. These animals can be spotted at night through windows which alone makes Pakuba Safari Lodge the best starting point for game viewing experiences. Among the wild animals that roam around the lodge in the late evening and early morning are elephants, Kobs, buffaloes, Hartebeests and Lions hence, late night movements are not allowed unless under accompaniment of a guard.
8. Murchison River Lodge (Mid-Range)
Murchison River Lodge sits right on the southern bank of the great River Nile overlooking schools of hippopotamuses, papyrus islands and Murchison Falls National Park. A midst a beautiful surrounding, this lodge offers extremely comfortable and serene mid-range accommodation facilities that matches all budget settings. With well positioned en-suite thatched cottages, thatched tour tents each with it’s own private facilities plus comfortable wild camping safari tents pre-set up around it’s campsite, Murchison River Lodge is definitely worth the money and experience. Tourists are also allowed to bring their own tents since the lodge already has covered areas specifically for self catering within the campsite, a fire pit for warmth plus standard shower and toilet facilities.
9. Kabalega Wilderness Lodge (Mid-Range / Luxury)
Reflecting the great history of Bunyoro Kitara Empire – Kingdom with its famous Omukama (King) Kabalega who is famously known for refusing the British colonial rule, Kabalega wilderness lodge sits along the southern banks of Murchison Falls National Park. The lodge offers mid-range and luxury accommodation services in each of it’s in its respective safari cabins spread across approximately 8 acres of Savannah plains straight to the banks of the famous Nile River. Kabalega Wilderness Lodge’s accommodation units are basically made out of wood and mud while the roof is thatched. One of the strengths of this lodge is it’s interior decoration! It features a traditional decoration with handcrafted facilities. The all wide open design of the dinning area and the respective cabins offers excellent views of wild.
10. Red Chilli Rest Camp (Budget)
Situated within Murchison falls national park and just adjacent to the south bank of River Nile, Red Chilli Rest Camp is popularly known as a financial plan camp and stands out to be a top choice for budget travelers. Red Chilli is well located to explore Murchison Falls and sits on the soils of Paraa, an area within the park with the best wildlife viewing encounters. This rest camp is just 500 meters away from the Paraa ferry, a spot where all vehicles cross the Nile for game viewing encounters around the Nile Delta, also a place where boats can be hired for game viewing and sport fishing.
The fact that Red Chilli Rest Camp targets budget travelers made its accommodation to be planned in form of bandas and camp tents. Unlike the bandas, the tents are free to all tourists who love camping but the respective rooms have far better services in form of single rooms, double rooms as well as family suites. These bandas have facilities such as private en-suite bathrooms, standard toilets, cooking areas plus security lights for emergency in case of any danger.
11. Bwana Tembo Safari Camp (Mid-Range / Budget)
Bwana Tembo Safari Camp is nestled along the northern boundary of Murchison Falls National Park and about 10 kilometers from Tangi gate. This safari accommodation that is owned by an Italian family that set foot on Ugandan soil in 1986 commenced operations in February 2012 and since then, has managed to be key among the mid-range lodging options. Want a taste of Italian cuisines? Bwana Tembo’s meals are raised more into Italian tradition because of the owner’s choice. The mid-range accommodation facility consists of both cottages and safari tents hence, offering diverse services to clients. All rooms within the facility are self contained with their own verandas. It’s water is heated by solar water heaters hence, you are guaranteed of both cold and warm water for a bath. For Italian travelers, Bwana Tembo Safari Camp should undoubtedly be your top pick.
12. Budongo Eco Lodge (Budget)
Placed right in the core of Budongo Forest Reserve and within the boundaries of Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo Eco Lodge is one of the best budget accommodation facilities at Murchison Falls National Park. This portion of Uganda lodges offers excellent and shoestring accommodation services in the heart of one of the largest and most beautiful rain-forests in Uganda. Its accommodation facilities are standard and ideal for budget travelers who travel in groups but prefer shoestring accommodation services. Besides Red Chilli, Budongo Eco Lodge would take my second choice for a budget stay in Murchison Falls National Park.
13. Shoebill Camp Site (Budget)
For a kind of Murchison Falls NP’s most lovely, wild and remarkable stay experiences for a budget traveler or any wild camping traveler, Shoebill Campsite is so much of a choice to you! Situated not so far away from the Murchison Falls National Park entrance, Shoebill Campsite rewards excellent views of the flowing blue-white waters of the great Nile with extreme peace and beauty. There is so much calm relaxing at this camp site around it’s hot campfire, hearing to the sounds of schools of hippos and viewing the movements of the stars after visiting the top of the falls or rather carrying out game drive around the park. I am more than certain that you will definitely love this campsite for your wild camping experience.
Endeavor to carry your own own tents because guests are not provided any tents. If you have no tents then you can coordinate with your operator to organize fr you one. About meals, you can choose to cook your own food if you carried your equipment with you or rather cash in a few amount of money for a superb meal at Nile Safari Lodge restaurant which is just two minutes away on foot. You are also granted access to amenities such as the Lodge’s swimming pool that overlooks river Nile.
14. Masindi Hotel (Budget / Mid-range)
If you are looking for a hotel in Uganda with a lot of history then Masindi Hotel should be your top priority. Masindi Hotel was constructed in 1923 by two top companies by then; East Africa Railways and Harbours Company. Ernest Hemingway (popular American novelist), Humphrey Bogart (American screen and stage actor) and Katherine Hepburn (an American actress, lady who led the Hollywood for close to 60 years) all stayed at Masindi Hotel whilst on their visit to Uganda to shoot a movie titled “The African Queen”. Masindi Hotel is the oldest of all the hotels / lodges in Uganda and surprisingly, it’s charm has never declined but rather maintained that it always has a fresh look and spark. This hotel is not inside Murchison Falls National Park but also not so far away from it and can be accessed in two hours by road from Murchison Falls National park.
All the lodging facilities above are just perfect and i believe you will get good services from each of them. I will keep updating this list in case of emergencies of new better lodges or rather a decline in service of any of the facilities listed above. Still puzzled on your choice of accommodation? For slumber (luxury) travelers, i recommend giving Chobe Safari Lodge or Paraa Safari Lodge your top choice where as Red Chilli and Shoebill Camp site are ideal for typical budget travelers. For those spending nights in Masindi Town, Masindi Hotel should definitely be your top choice. Never make a mistake of reserving rooms in accommodation facilities that cost as little as $40 or $30 a night because you are likely to get disappointed due a number of substandard facilities like broken sinks, weak beds with stained bed sheets or even bed bugs plus several more uncertainties. For budget travelers, plan for at least $100 per night before reserving your safari so as to get a comfortable facility for your stay.
If you are booking your Uganda safaris through a Uganda tour operator then try to find out if they own accommodation facilities in your destination or rather have partnerships with existing lodges because some of these operators are entitled to special confidential rates that enable them get accommodation for a far lesser price. If you previously went through a hard time citing out the best accommodation facilities in Murchison Falls National Park then the choices above should give you value for your money. You can go ahead and check for TripAdvisor reviews of each of the facilities mentioned on this list to see what past clients have to say about them otherwise, i wish you the best stay in Murchison Falls National Park.
Caution: Despite these lodges being built in locations that are hard to access by wildlife, you shouldn’t have any funny movements without a guard especially at night. These animals roam freely and at times reach some of the lodges accidentally during the night which is quite dangerous for a tourist. Besides, the water of the Nile around this park is highly infested with hippos and crocodiles that sometime go as far as roaming within the nearby land. Wild camping is fun but only safe if you follow the respective rules and regulations at each accommodation facility.