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Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

boston, ma
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Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

We're going to be in Uganda for a relatively short period at the end of our East Africa trip in early July. We really want to go to Murchison Falls for the boat trip and a bit of walking (born in Niagara, so I have a soft spot for great waterfalls...) but our itinerary would make it tough for us to fit in the full 3-day trip, and in any case we'll have just come off a Serengeti Safari, so the game drive portion is of less interest to us than it otherwise would be.

Does anyone know if it's practical to get to Malindi via matatu leaving early morning from Kampala, then arrange transport in Malindi for the afternoon boat trip and possibly staying at the park overnight to fit in a walk at the top of the Falls? ... we'd want to be back in Kampala by the next night -- don't mind getting up early and squeezing in a lot in a day.

How early/late do the matatus travel between Kampala and Malindi?

Thanks in advance.

Isle of Man, United...
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1. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

It takes around six/seven hours in a private car to get from Kampala to Murchison. I just would not advise a Matatu to Masindi . I have seen them.

Five of you? A Car and driver would cost around $150 per day so even driving direct you will be there late pm on Day one.That leaves time for a launch trip in the next morning and possibly a walk at the Falls on the way out back to Kampala.

One variation is that you could , by prior arrangement as you will need a Ranger, get off the Launch below the falls (there is a landing place) and walk back the the Ferry start OR have your car meet you at the top.

I have to say this is all a bit hectic. To answer your question it is not in my opinion practical to watatu to Masindi and then arrange transport on to Murchison in time to get to Paraa for the 2.30 Launch trip.

To rescue something of your dream from the ashes you could, maybe, get Sambiya Lodge to collect you in Masindi and take you to their Lodge www.afritourstravel.com and after the activities take you back to Masindi but that begs the question of how you get back to Kampala from there.

Sorry to be a dampener.

boston, ma
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2. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

Wow... 6-7 hours! I've read in multiple places that the road has been recently paved and upgraded and it usually takes about 3 hours by road from Kampala to Masindi. Is that not true?

I had been figuring (based on what I'd seen everywhere so far) that we'd leave Kampala around 6:30 or 7 a.m. to arrive in Masindi before lunch - a couple of hotels in Masindi seem to be able to arrange private transport, so maybe hiring a car and driver just from Masindi might be an option?

We're looking into setting up a private tour out of Kampala (there are 3 of us, including one child), but just want to see if there are other options to save a little money, since our resources aren't unlimited, and if we upgrade on this we have to trade off something else.

It may end up being "hectic" as you say, but the alternative for us may be not making it there at all and just hanging around Entebbe for an extra day, which doesn't feel like a worthwhile trade-off for us.

Isle of Man, United...
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3. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

The road is tarred all the way now and the last bit, as of last December, was very nice. But from Kampala to Kibangya is busy and lots of potholes (not that the Watatu will care) And you will not have experienced Kampala trafffic. The one city I know where it is quicker to avoid the ByPass and use ordinary highway. Having arrived EBB at 9.40 from NBO it took 90 minutes to clear Kampala. It was two o'clock by we got to Ziwa which was 50km short of Masindi. From Masindi to Paraa is 90km on dirt.

I assume you are overnighting in Kampala and have been in country for a few days by then. Where else are you going when you say you will be hanging around Entebbe for an extra day?

USA
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4. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

I just went from Kampala to Murchison Falls in August in a private vehicle. Six hours is a reasonable estimate of drive time. More if you include any stopping.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

In February we traveled from Kampala to Murchinson. We left Kampala (north side) at 5:45am and reached Ziwa Rhinos by 8am. (No traffic at this hour.) After touring the rhinos we still made it to the 12noon ferry, but we drove like crazy. This was in a hired private car. So many factors affect the travel time between the two places which is why I think, you hear so many different times. FYI - There aren't many (any?) transportation options between Masindi and Murchinson.

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

So let's put some numbers on that.

You drove 200km in 2 hours. On tar but not good tar. OK.

Then you spent how long with the Rhinos? 30 mins form filling 30 mins actually looking? I make that 9am.

Then you did another 26 km on tar, got through Masindi town and another 90km on dirt with the stops at the Park Gate, more form filling, and then descended the Rift along a bad road and passed the next check point to skid to a halt at the Paraa Ferry in time to buy tickets and join the queue to board. Well you had almost time to vist the Top of the Falls on the way where with that momentum you could have leapt the chasm and saved on the Ferry fare. It is 3 hours from Masindi to Paraa for normal folks.

Did you see much Wildlife?

boston, ma
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7. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

Thanks everyone for their input.

I think we've concluded that we can do what we want to do in 2 days by hiring a car and driver from Kampala, but we need to get an early start on the first day, and we plan to stay in the park overnight, not in Masindi.

As I noted in the first post, our main reason for visiting the park is the launch ride and the Falls, not the game drives -- though that's a bonus - as we will have done a fair number of game drives by that point in our travels, and will be ready for something else.

So any good recommendations for car hire would be appreciated.

Happy Easter

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

I know it sounds crazy....not as much time needed to fill out paperwork, a little more time with the rhinos. Its only a few minutes to Masindi from there. Where I think we "made up time" was in the trip from the park checkpoint (paid fees) to the ferry which we did in 1 hours 15 minutes----with no stops for photos or viewing wildlife. We did arrive at the ferry at about 11:58. (FYI to anyone else, there is no 1:00 ferry due to their lunch hour, so the driver was trying to avoid the 2 hours of down time.) Yes, we did see a lot of wildlife during the two safaris we took from Paraa. Futzymom, you will be able to do it in two days with a private car and an early start from Kampala.

American in East...
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9. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

As per an earlier post, contact www.afritourstravel.com about car hire from Kampala. Tell them your time frame and the activities you want to do.

You could stay at Sambiya River Lodge. They are the closest lodge to the top of the Falls. You could get off the cruise boat at the base of the Falls & hike up to the top of the Falls (takes about 30 minutes). Your driver would meet you at the top. Resident ranger guide at Sambiya could take you out on a walking safari if you make advance arrangements....to make sure he is at the Lodge when you want to go.

boston, ma
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10. Re: Murchison Falls in 2 days from Kampala?

Mickeykitty,

Who did you hire the car from in Kampala?

Thanks,

Elizabeth (Futzys Mom)

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