Lake Mburo National Park is located in southwestern Uganda and is the smallest of the savannah national parks in Uganda. It measures 260km2 in size and lies at an altitude of 1220m-1828m above sea level. It is the closest park to Kampala only 3 hours (228km) away from the city Kampala. It is the only park containing an entire lake and the only home of the Impalas in Uganda. In spite of the small size, the park is one of the must visit Uganda safari destination and is great for walking safaris, birding tours and Horse riding tours.
Lake Mburo National Park is small but with varied habitats for its size. They range from acacia woodland, dry hillsides, rocky outcrops, bushy thickets, open and wooded savannah, seasonal and permanent swamps. Its small size should not make you think there is nothing to keep you occupied. You can have various nature walks with a ranger guide to seek out your interest’s i.e. birding, mammals, plants, and shrubs, insects and many more.
Birding is one of the major activities in Lake Mburo national park because of its varied habitats that support several species of birds. The park is home to over 315 bird species which include Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Red necked Spur, common Quails, Black-billed Barbet, Greenwood Hoopoe, Blue-napped Mousebird, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, Nubian Woodpecker, Trilling Cisticola, Bee-eaters and the Cheeky bronze-tailed starling and the majestic crowned crane etc. You have chances of sighting the rare African Finfoot, shoebill, African fish eagle, malachite, and pied Kingfishers, while on the boat safari on Lake Mburo. It offers a unique experience of bird watching because of its diverse habitats.
Having a birding tour in Uganda is a good decision which many travelers plan to have birding adventures in Uganda should take since the country has many bird species that are protected in different national parks. Lake Mburo National park is also one of the best birding spots in Uganda and its known that moving to the national parks for birding is so rewarding and the experience is so long lasting
The best times for game viewing are early morning or late afternoons when the animals are active before the heat forces them to look for shade. The game drives happen in our cars tailor made for safaris with open roofs for good game viewing. On your game drive, you are likely to find the different animals and beautiful scenery. The features include; wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops, woodland. There are also night game drives, which are done after approval and in company of a ranger. They can last up to 2 hours and you have opportunity of seeing the nocturnal animals that are rarely seen during the day.
Lake Mburo is entirely found in the national park. This implies that animals in the park have access to water all through the year. This boat cruise will get you to come face to face with the flora and fauna of the lake. And along the bank, you will also see many animals that come to the water especially in the dry season. You will also see many hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, buffaloes, and over 3 types of otters that are found in the lake. Also when it comes to the birds, you will view the malachite kingfishers, African Fish eagles, blue headed weavers, Rufuos long tailed starlings, the pied kingfishers, hammerkobs, Herons, pelicans, the rare shoebill as well as the cormorants. This boat safari will also give you a chance to view the crocodiles as well as the hippos in their natural habitat and it has continued to be the major tourist attraction.
Lake Mburo National Park is the only park in the country where one can carry out a game drive from the back of the horse and also is one of the best way of viewing the wildlife that are found in the park. Horseback Riding safaris are offered from Mihingo Lodge. You will have a remarkable opportunity to see wildlife closer to nature without the noise of the engine that sometimes alerts the animals into hiding. You will feel part of nature and truly enjoy this experience. The number and variety of animals seen are determined by the time of year and weather but generally you have chances of seeing the Impala, Topi, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, duiker, eland, warthog and the Zebras – which are often fascinated by their relatives the horses. These tours can also last between 1 to 3 hours.
Uganda Wildlife Authority Designated Lake Mburo for sport-fishing in a designated area, which is Mazinga. It contains about six species of fish with tilapia the most common. You will need to get a permit from UWA or contact us to arrange it for you. The visitors that are planning to carry out fishing here should bring their own equipment and then get a permit from Uganda wildlife Authority.
This national park is also open to the walkers as well as they are followed by the ranger guide. At Rwonyo, the guided walk will lead you to the salt lick where you will find many animals that are attracted to the salty rocks. The walks on the western side of this lake usually begin at 7am and will take 2 hours, you will meet many animals including the hyenas that are returning to their dens as well as the hippos coming from the lake. The hikes that go through the woodland that give you a chance to see the forest birds and mammals and the walk to the top of the hill will reward you with the spectacular view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes.
For this walk you need good clothing, you need to carry the wellies or the boots, wear long trousers, the long sleeved shirts. The good clothing for the hiking safari in the bush is for protection against the brush, the thorns, and also against the snake bites, tsetse flies, mosquitoes, ants and the flies. The hiking boots are also necessary and these give you the ankle support as well as protection.
There is a community of cattle keepers along the park boundaries with various activities you can engage in. You can visit a Hima homestead to engage in the process of milk from the cow to various by products. You can also engage in dance, storytelling, and craft making.
You will also have a guided walk with an armed ranger towards the salt lick and then you will see the animals as they link the salty soil that are found there. UWA has also has erected wooden platform hideaway were the tourists can stand and then see the animal around.
It’s also a great opportunity for the visitors to view the antelopes, zebras, eland and many more. This is also an early morning nature walk and it takes 2 and half hours.
This is another way to adventure Lake Mburo National Park as well as the surrounding area. These are also well guided bike rides which are from 1 hour to as long as you like. You will ride among the zebras, antelopes, buffaloes with in the flat areas of the national park. There are so many challenging options or the avid mountain biker due to the terrain of the lake is also diverse in nature.
This is also the best way to get out of the vehicle into the nature. We can therefore involve lake Mburo in your final safari to Uganda where the bikes can be brought along for you to enjoy when need arises. There is also nothing good like enjoying the trails of this lake as well as the nearby areas
You leave the park just 4 kilometers from Sanga gate, you will find the Igongo cultural center that is an historical showplace or the Banyakitara people, who lived in the western Uganda and also include the Banyankole, Batooro, Bakiga and the Banyoro.
This cultural center has got many traditional grass huts on the display and the guides will always explain to you about the way of life of these people in the past. You will also enjoy the museum and then learn about the ways of the local cultures. You can as well enjoy the local food that you can eat with in the restaurant and the great roasted goat that is offered here, it’s really a good stopover or the culture, history and the traditional lovers.
The forest is a good place for birders and it has got over 40 bird species that have been recorded in the forest including the five forest specialists. The trees that are found in this forest include; Platycaluz and Markhamia, palm, acacia. The fig trees and many more.
The common birds found here include; the harrier hawk, shoebill stork, the narina trogn, green pigeon, the double toothed barbet and the grey backed cameroptera.
The park is located in the western part of the country and it’s over 228km/142 meters from Kampala. This drive also takes over 3 to 4 hours.
There are probably two roads that will help you reach Lake Mburo National park, branching off from Masaka – Mbarara road. One of these will help you access the sanga gate 37km east of Mbarara, and the other will help you to enter via the Nshara gate which is 20km from Lyantonde and 50km to Mbarara.