Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda’s fourth national park, was designated in 1982, and is situated between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara. It is the only one to contain an entire lake. The attractive acacia-dotted savanna (158 square miles) is home to huge herds of impala, as well as uncommon topi, eland, klipspringer and other antelope. Zebra and buffalo also graze these peaceful acres. At the lake there are hippo and crocodile and a wonderful diversity of birds. Lake Mburo National Park is located in Kiruhura District in western Uganda.
This is the closest savannah national park to Kampala and is where you can find the giraffes and zebras. Here you are able to hike throughout the park as well as mountain biking and horseback riding in and outside the park. There are many tourists to Uganda that love the African wild but have got little time; Lake Mburo National Park is the closest Wildlife part to Kampala. This is the perfect park where one can break a long journey from western Uganda parks like Bwindi and Mgahinga National Park.
The park is a real whisper of the African Wild and its located a short distance away from the main road. 20% of the park is covered by lakes and wetlands swamps that are part of a greater wetland system which extends beyond the National Park. It has got over 13 lakes and there are also savannah grasslands that are dotted with acacia trees, rocky ridges, and forested ravines. Not only can you find lakes and wetlands but also savanna grasslands that are dotted with acacia trees, rocky ridges, forested ravines.
Wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park
Wildlife has been on the rebound here in recent years with even Lions making a comeback and if you do not see them in the daytime, you can hear their roar at night. In 2015 Giraffes were brought here from Murchison Falls Park making Lake Mburo, even more, a choice destination. All reasons to visit Lake Mburo Park and enjoy the Top Things to Do and See in Lake Mburo Park. Birding is one of the activities carried out in the park; the park has got over 350 species like the Red faced Barbert, African Fin foot and the shoebill stork. There is also the saddle billed stork, Tabora cisticola, the African scops Owl, the white winged warbler. The park is a birder’s delight and many colorful species of birds.
The park has got 69 species of mammals that are found here, these include; elands, antelopes, burchell Zebras, Rothschild Giraffes as well as Impalas. You can also see the warthogs, buffaloes, reedbucks, waterbucks, leopards, lions, hippos as well as crocodiles. The lake also gives you a taste of the wild of Africa that is close to Kampala which is a three and half hour drive making it accessible to those with limited time.
Things to Do in Lake Mburo National Park
The game drives through the park offer you to see many animals and birds. Always make sure that you are escorted by a wildlife Authority ranger on board to the vehicle to show you the many species of birds and mammals. This lake is the only park with Eland, impala antelopes, giraffes and the game drives prove to be so rewarding with leopards and the lions. This is the only park in western Uganda where you will find zebras and the rest are found in Kidepo National Park.
There are also night game drives; these are the nocturnal game drives in the park and are one of the very memorable activities one can do here. Spot the creatures of the night like the leopards, lions with in the park. You will also spot some bush babies, porcupines and this drive is normally 2 and ½ hours in length after you will have dinner at your lodge. The spot lights are used to point out various animals that without them, you might miss.
The boat safaris on Lake Mburo; the boat ride on Lake Mburo gets you with the flora and fauna of the lake. Just along the bank, you will see lots of animals coming to water especially during the dry season. You will meet crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, and many otters that are found in the Lake. The bird species found here include; Malachite kingfishers, Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, Blue-headed Weavers, Green-necked Doves, Herons, Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagles, and many more. The boat cruise will also allow you to view both crocodiles and the hippos up close in their natural habitats.
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
Birding in Lake Mburo National park, this park is one of the best places for birding in Uganda with over 350 species of birds that are found here. The birders will find swampy valleys of both Miriti and Warukiri and the road sides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty to the best areas for birding and one may also see the rare shoebill stork. The bird species found here include; Coqui Francolin, Brown-chested Lapwing, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, the Rufous-bellied Heron, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Green Wood-hoopoe, Grey Crowned Crane.
There are also the nature walks in the park; this nature walk can be taken anywhere within the park with an armed Uganda Wildlife Authority guide by your side. You will meet many hyenas, hippos as they graze during the night and returning to the lake to keep cool during the day and protect their sensitive skin from the sun. You will also view many other animals like the giraffes, topis, Eland, antelopes, buffaloes, as well as zebras.
There is Rubanga forest that is closed canopy prior arrangements have to be made with Uganda Wildlife Authority individual at Lake Mburo. This is a great place for birders and over has got 40 species of birds that have been recorded. The trees found here are Markhamia, Platycaluz, Palm, fig trees and many more. The common birds found here include; the shoebill stork, harrier hawk, the green pigeon and the grey backed camaroptera.
Guided Walking Safaris
You can also have a guided walk with an armed ranger to the salt lick and then see the animals licking the salty soils found there. There are also wooden platform hideaways where the visitors can stand and observe the animals below them without the animals being aware. This is a good chance to see the antelopes, zebras, and many animals. The nature walk is mainly done in the morning and it’s about 1 and ½ hours long.
There is also fishing in Lake Mburo National Park; there are over 12 lakes in the general area of the park. Lake Mburo is the largest of them and fishermen come to fish from the lake. There are horseback riding safaris and you can do a game drive from the back of the horse. These can last from one to three hours. There is also bicycling which is a fine way of discovering Lake Mburo and variety of wildlife. Lastly, you can also visit Igongo cultural centre which is 4km from Sanga Gate and it’s a historical showplace for the Banyankole who live in western Uganda. There is also a visit to the equator on your way to Lake Mburo on when you are returning from your safari.