In the middle of an extensive rich acacia, woodland lies one of Uganda’s most spectacular and breathtaking national game park in Uganda; Lake Mburo National park. Lake Mburo is a gem of a park, conveniently located close to the Western high way that connects Kampala to the parks of the Western Uganda. It is very special place with a medley of habitats ranging from dry hillsides, rocky out crops, Bushy thickets, open and wooded savannas to forests, lakes and swamps. Its sculptured land scape, rolling hills and idyllic lake shores, forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps and grassy valleys all support a wealth of wildlife in a tropical setting.
The park is remarkably different from other parks. It’s the best park to view the gigantic Eland, Impala, Zebras, and acacia associated birds. Common Mammals include; Warthogs, Buffalos, Oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Reedbucks, and Elands antelopes. Leopards and Hyenas are also present and lions have also returned to the park after years of poaching and near extinction.
The five lakes with in the park attract hippos and Crocodiles while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the Sitatunga antelope, and, papyrus gonalek. The park also has an impressive bird list with 332 bird species recorded including, Shoebill, Papyrus yellow warbler, African finfoot, saddle billed stork, Brown chested wattled plover, Caruther’s cisticola, Tabora cisticola, Great snipe, southern ground hornbill, and white winged warbler. Acacia woodland bird species are especially well presented.
Though just 371sq km in size, Lake Mburo has a varied land scape full of interest and color, the park is refreshing and full of life givenits strategic location near the Kampala- Mbarara highway.
Attractions in Lake Mburo National park;
Rwonyo Rest camp;
Rwonyo is the center of tourism activities in the park. The rest camp is the starting point for nature walks and game drives for those visitors staying nearby.
The eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be explored by boat, departing from the jetty at the lakeside campsite near Rwonyo. Watch out for crocodiles and hippopotamus during the two hour voyage .You can also sight a variety of birds including pelicans, Herons, cormorant, African fish eagle, and the rare African finfoot and possibly shoebill storks. Fishermen with their own equipment may fish in the Lake from the Campsite upon arrangement.
Guided walks explore the park around Rwonyo, culminating in a visit to a natural salt lick frequented by the wildlife. Viewing is facilitated by a timber observation platform.
The eastern hinterland of Lake Mburo is served by a network of game tracks along which a variety of savannah animals and birds can be sighted, Impalas are the most commonly seen along the Impala track while Zebras frequently seen in the grassy valley floors traversed by the Zebra track. This connects to the Ruroko track which passes rock kopjes, home to the elusive Klipspringer.
In the south of the park the lake side track passes through dense woodland that is the home to bushbuck and bush duikers, to Kigarama hill which provides a panoramic view of Lake Mburo. This lake and seven more can also be seen from the Kazuma lookout, close to Kazuma track.
Though small, this tract of forest on the western side of Lake Mburo provides a taste of the tropical high forest with closed canopy and is the home to a variety of forest bird species, Rubanga can be explored with ranger guide on board.
Conservation Education Centre;
The park has a Conservation Education Centre, 1km west of Sanga gate. This provides accommodation and an Education hall for school groups, visitors, seminars and workshops.
Activities in the lake Mburo Park
Several activities can be conducted while in Lake Mburo national park. These include;
Nature walks:These are conducted on foot with the help of an armed ranger guide who explains to the visitors about various flora and fauna.
Game drives: Game drive is driving around the park in search of game animals and this is done in the visitors own vehicle.
Boat ride: Boat ride is also another interesting activity in Lake Mburo, a visitor gets a chance to see a variety of wildlife such as crocodiles, Hippopotamus, and birds like African fish eagle, African finfoot, water cormorants and different herons.
Horse Ride: Horse riding is conducted by Mihingo lodge inside the park while quad bikes riding are conducted by African All-Terrain vehicles (ATV). It gives spectacular view of the parks terrain and wildlife. Visitors can ride closer without the animals getting scared.
Accessibility to the park
Lake Mburo National park lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara in western Uganda. It is 228km from Kampala, this is about 4hours drive.
There are two gateways to the park from Mbarara road. Approaching from Kampala then turning to Nshara, gate is 13kms past Lyantonde. The Junction for Sanga gate is at Sanga trading Centre, 27kms past Lyantonde.