Lake Mburo National Park
If you’re looking for a perfect gateway to an area with a variety of birds and some rare species, then Lake Mburo national park should be among your next destination. The park is located along the Masaka-Mbarara highway making it the closest national park in Uganda to the capital city, Kampala and Entebbe. Its smallest national park in the country covering an area of 370 square kilometers with the five lakes inclusive but with a variety of species.
Lake Mburo’s name originates from a strong cultural background between two brothers who once lived in the low-lying savannah area. The two brothers were; Mburo and Kigarama. It said that one night, one of the brothers Kigarama had a dream that their area would receive too much rainfall that would cause flooding and destroy homes and other properties. Upon, telling his brother Mburo, Kigarama realized his brother never took his dream serious as a result he shifted he and his family to the hills leaving his brother behind. Unfortunately, his dream did come true and his brother who had remained in the valley with his family, all drowned in the flooding waters hence the lake being named after him and the hills named after his brother Kigarama.
Lake Mburo gained the park status in 1983 and has since been among the top spots tourists visit in the country given the fact that it has a variety of habitats that act as a haven for a number of species and the habitats include: rocky ridges, wetlands, hills, forests, open and wooded savannah, bushy thickets, Lakes and more. Its also the only place in Uganda where you will find the impalas, elands and klipspringer.
The park harbors the biggest number of zebras and leopards than any other park in Uganda. It is also home to other wildlife species like: giraffes which have been recently introduced, buffaloes, waters bucks, antelopes, oribis, topis, warthogs, Hyena, genet, bush pigs and white-tailed mongoose. Crocodiles and hippos can also be spotted while on a boat cruise. There are no lions or elephants here. The park is also a perfect place for birding with over 350 species of birds that include the savannah, forest and water birds. The main tree species in the park is acacia hockii while five species of the wetland plants that belong to 5 genera have also been discovered in the park.
It is surrounded with 14 lakes with five of them on its borders and lake Mburo is the biggest. The lakes altogether form wetland system that’s 50km long fed by the Rwizi River on the western side.
Activities to do while in Lake Mburo national park.
Game drive: Like most of the game parks found in the savannah grasslands, a complete safari wouldn’t be memorable if a game drive isn’t carried out. With the help of game ranger Uganda wild life authority, you’ll be able to have a look at different wildlife species in the in park as they move in search for food like the zebras, antelopes, topis. You will also be able to see the rare elands that are only found in this national park in Uganda and also a number of different bird species. Leopards and bushbabies are visible once one decides to take up night drives. The park offers beautiful scenic views of the hills, lakes and more.
Boat cruise: cruising along lake you will be able to have a look at animals like crocodiles, hippos, water birds like the African fish eagles, pelican, king fishers, herons, cormorants, rare shoe bills and hammer kobs. During the peak season which normally occurs during the drier seasons, some wild life can often be seen near water sources in search for water to drink.
Horseback riding; In Uganda, Lake Mburo is the only place where one can go for adventure in the park while riding on the horse. This activity carried out by Mihingo lodge meaning for one to be part, you have to be a Mihingo lodge client. With the help of a guide and a well-trained staff of the lodge, you’ll be able to explore the wild, view the beautiful scenery and also have a close look to wildlife animals like the elands, antelopes, zebra, etc. the activity does last for 1-3hrs.
Fishing: This is yet another activity carried out in the park. the national park has about six fish species of fish with tilapia the dominant. Other fish species caught in the park include: cat fish, lung fish, tiger fish, Angara fish and barbell. The main fishing point in the park is located at Mazinga and for one to carry it out, you need a permit from the Uganda wildlife authority.
Cultural tours; While at lake Mburo you will interact with the locals, learn how they live their lives and how they associate with each other and get to wear their beautiful local costumes. You will also get to see how the native Bahima rare the Ankole long horned cows, process ghee locally and how they milk. There’s also an opportunity for one to visit the Igongo cultural centre where a tourist will get to see ancient works of the people of Ankole and learn more about the culture. While on the tour you will get to see some other activities done that includes cooking of the traditional millet bread as well as the process of Eshabwe and also the traditional dances from the community. You will also get to see the Rwammuhuka hand craft makers who make beautiful traditional necklaces, wrist bands and more and these crafts are always for sell at an affordable amount.
Birding: The park has over 350 bird species making one of the destinations in the country to have a memorable birding experience. Bird species one should expect to see include the rarely seen African finfoot and white-backed heron, papyrus gonolek, shoebill, grey crowned cranes breed and more.
Hiking and nature walks through the park is another activity carried out in the park. The guided walks through the park are soothing and totally worth being part of. You will be able to come across new plant species and wildlife species, the beautiful scenery. Imagine looking at a distant lake while on top of a hill.
Rubanga forest exploration; Situated within the park, this forest hosts a number of species from trees like gigs, Platycaluz Markhamia, palm and acaciato, wildlife and also home to over 40 bird species which are usually termed as forest birds: harrier hawk, the narina trogn, double toothed barbet and more.
Another tourist activity found in the park is the saltlick that’s in the middle of the national park. here a number of wildlife converge to taste the salty soils giving tourists a chance to see them. These wild life creatures include the zebras, antelopes, water bucks, elands etc.
Other activities that can be found in the park include Bicycle tours and more.
Best time to visit lake Mburo national park
The park is located near the equator meaning it does receive rainfall throughout the year with April and November receiving the highest amount of rain. The best time to visit the park is between June to July and December to February because this is when the rains are less and drier season. However, tourism in the country has always been an all-year success.
Cost of permits: To access the park, there’s a fee that one has to pay for the permit at the entrances of Nshara and Sanga. Foreign nonresidents are charged with $40 per head, $30 for foreign residents per person and ugx20,000/= for East African citizens.
For children; foreign non-residents pay $20 per person, $10 for foreign residents and ugx20,000 for East African citizens.
How to get to lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo is the easiest national park in Uganda since it’s the closest to Kampala and Entebbe. Getting there can either be done by road or air. by road the best route to use is the Kampala-Mbarara high way. The park is 290km from Entebbe which is a 4hrs and 20 minutes’ drive while from Kampala which is 245km, it’ll take you 4hrs to get there.
The park can also be accessed using a chartered plane from Entebbe or Kajjansi airstrip to Mbarara airstrip which will take you less than an hour.
Accommodation in lake Mburo national park
While on safari to lake Mburo national park, there are plenty of accommodation services that range from luxury, mid-range to budget. Mihingo lodge is one of the best options here. Mantana is also semi-luxury lodge in the park with good facilities. Mburo safari Lodge is another lodge you should look out for. Its among the mid-range options. Eagle’s nest, Rwonyo rest camp are among the budget options. Others include include; Rwaboko rock, lake Mburo safari lodge and more.
Have the best experience in other Uganda’s national parks like Bwindi impenetrable national park known for the endangered gorilla, Queen Elizabeth national park known for tree climbing lions in the Ishasha sector, Murchison national park among others. Reach out to us today, we’ll help arrange you an itinerary.