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. It is the only park containing an entire lake and the only home of the Impala in Uganda. In spite of the small size, the park is one of the must visit Uganda safaris destination and is great for walking safaris, birdwatching tours and photography 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. It 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.
Wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park
Animals in Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo national park is home to over 68 mammal species that can easily be seen on the various trucks for game drives; Impala (only found here in Uganda), Topi, Eland, Zebras, Defassa waterbuck, buffaloes, hyenas and leopards and an only Lion. Crocodiles, monitor lizards, and Hippos are commonly sighted in Lake Mburo while on boat safari.
Birds in Lake Mburo national park
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 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.
Safaris and Activities in Lake Mburo National Park
Game drives in Kibale national park
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. There are various tracks that Uganda wildlife authority has made for game drives which lead to areas where 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 the animals in the park have access to water all through the year. It is rich with birdlife and animals that live in or on the banks of the Lake. A two-hour launch trip will allow you explore all its beauty of distant hills and vegetation. Look for monitor lizards, crocodiles, hippos, buffalos, and the shy bushbuck as you ride. For the birders you have amazing sightings of Pied and malachite Kingfishers, magnificent fish eagles, Hamerkop, African fin-foot and on rare occassions the sought after Shoebill.
Horseback safaris are offered from Mihingo Lodge. You 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 siting the Impala, Topi, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, duiker, eland, warthog and the Zebras – which are often fascinated by their relatives the horses.
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. You need to carry your own equipment if interested in fishing on Lake Mburo.
Bird watching in Lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo national park is home to over 315 species of birds. The experience birding the park is fulfilling because it is easy to watch the birds due to the vegetation. The best spots for birding are near the swampy places like Warukiri, Rwonyo jetty, viewing platform which overlooks the salt lick. The species to look out for include Bare-faced Go-away bird, White-headed Barbet, Red-shouldered cuckoo-shrike, white-winged tit, Long-tailed Cisticola, Brown parrot, Grey crowned crane, Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, and black – bellied bastard etc.
One can visit Rubanga forest on foot in company of a warden. There are higher chances of seeing the African fin-foot and Red-faced Barbet.
Nature and forest walks
Lake Mburo national park is open for walking safaris as long as the guests are in company of a ranger. The rangers will lead you to the areas with high allocation of animals like the salty rocks. The walk to the western side of the lake is done starting at 7 am and there are likelihoods of seeing the hyenas returning to the dens and hippos returning to the water. The woodlands and forest provide perfect opportunities of those interested in forest birds. The walk to the top of the hill will reward you with amazing views of 9 of the regions 14 lakes.
Community walks and Cultural experiences
There 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 to various by products. You can also engage in dance, storytelling, and craft making.
Routes to Lake Mburo National Park
Kampala – Masaka – Lake Mburo national park (Nshara Gate). If from Mbarara – take the Sanga gate.
Lake Mburo national park Safari Lodges and Camps
In the park
- Rwonyo Rest Camp
- Mantana Tented Camp
- Arcadia Cottages
- Mihingo Lodge
- Lake Mburo Safari Lodge
- Rwakobo Rock
- Eagles Nest Camp