LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK.
Lake Mburo National Park is strategically situated in the western region of Uganda, east of Mbarara town. The national park covers an area of 370km², making it the smallest national park in Uganda. 20% of the national park comprises wetlands.
This national park is elevated at an altitude of 1,220 meters and 1,828 meters respectively. It is located just 240 kilometers from Kampala City, with Mbarara city as its nearest town.
A Brief History and Geographical of Lake Mburo National Park.
Lake Mburo park is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, a government organization, whose main aim is to conserve wildlife in the national park for future generations.
In 1933, the national park was first established as a controlled hunting area. However, later in 1963 during the reign of President Milton Obote, it was named a game reserve. In 1983, Lake Mburo was declared a national park.
Lake Mburo National Park is an amazing safari destination that comprises 5 lakes, with a beautifully curved landscape, lush green hills and both seasonal and permanent wetlands. The national park is covered by savannah woodland due to the fact that it harbors no elephants that feed on it.
The western part of the national park is characterized by both savanna vegetation, rocky ridges, wooded savanna forests, patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of riparian woodland especially around its lakes. The park is also covered by a thicket of bushes, rocky outcrops, acacia savanna vegetation and a series of various plant species.
Lake Mburo Park lies within the rain shadow between Lake Victoria and Rwenzori mountains. There is an old folk tale from the Ankole Kingdom which tells of two brothers, Kigarama and Mburo. The brothers are said to have lived in the valleys within the national park; and on one dark night, Kigarama had a scary dream in which a flood covered the entire valley and killed him and his brother, Mburo. Shaken as he was, Kigarama decided to caution Mburo and convince him to leave his home in the valley.
Unfortunately, his warnings seemed to fall on deaf ears, as Mburo paid no attention to what Kigarama had to say. Legend has it that the valley indeed flooded with water, thus forming the current Lake Mburo. As a result of this old folk tale, the lake was named Mburo and the surrounding hills were called Kigarama, in remembrance of the two brothers.
There are 5 lakes in Lake Mburo park, containing 6 different fish species including the popular kinds like; tilapia, lungfish, mudfish and the haplochromes among others. This makes the national park an ideal spot for tourists to carry out sport fishing activities and tournaments.
Wildlife Species of Lake Mburo National Park.
Lake Mburo National Park is the one of the national parks in Uganda where a visitors can easy get the chance to spot a large number of impalas. This national park is home to 69 mammal species like; zebra, elands, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, warthogs, African leopard, Hyena, topi and the reedbuck among others.
The national park also has water animals that are crocodiles, hippopotamus and secretive papyrus animals including Sitatunga, antelopes, black and yellow papyrus ganalex to mention but a few.
Since 2005, Lake Mburo park has been considered as a lion conservation unit. The national park is also a habitat to over 313 bird species which include the rare white winged warbler, emerald spotted wood dove, crested francolin, brown parrot and the Nubian woodpecker to say but the least. This makes the national park an ideal destination for bird watching activities.
Tourists visiting Lake Mburo park in Uganda can get to see the cassia tree, which is a unique attraction in the national park. This tree is believed to have powerful aphrodisiac effects and it is mostly used by the locals as a herbal remedy. Tourists who wish to see the national park can do so around Kigambira loop crossroad.
What to do when visiting Lake Mburo National Park.
Tourists visiting Lake Mburo National Park can engage in the following activities while on safari;
Lake Mburo park is an excellent destination for tourists looking to enjoy a game drive. While on a game drive in the national park, tourist can see wildlife animals like; Impalas, warthogs, gira UWA guideffes, zebras, buffalos and elands among others. The park offers both morning and evening game drives, which begin at 6am and 6pm respectively. Evening/night game drives offer visitors an opportunity to view nocturnal animals in the park such as; bush babies, leopards and potto to mention but a few.
Lake Mburo park is home to over 313 species of birds. On a single bird watching safari, visitors can sight unique bird species like; the red-headed love bird, red-shouldered cuckoo shrike, the rare red-faced barbet, the emerald-spotted wood-dove and the brown parrot among others. This national park is the place to be for any bird lovers out there.
Visitors in Lake Mburo national park can now enjoy horseback riding activities. This activity was introduced in the park in 2008 and is operated by Mihingo Lodge. Horseback riding activities take between 2-5 hours and visitors can enjoy watching the wildlife as they graze in the park.
Hiking and guided Nature Walks:
Hiking and guided nature walks give tourists visiting the national park, an opportunity to explore the park’s wondrous beauty and wildlife, on foot. Visitors are usually accompanied by a well-trained and knowledgeable , who leads tourists to beautiful and scenic sites like the salt rocks, where animals gather to lick the nutritious salt. Hiking activities in the national park start at 7am every morning and these usually last 2 hours. Tourists can also take guided walks to view about 5 lakes out of the 14 lakes in the region.
Lake Mburo Boat Cruise:
The eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be explored by boat. The launch trips in the national park usually set off from the nearby Rwonyo Rest Camp, a lakeside campsite. While on a boat trip, visitors should look out for crocodiles and hippos in the water or on the shores of the lake. The boat trips in the national park take a duration of 2 hours. Visitors can also get the chance to sight birds like; the rare fin foot and shoebill stock among others.
Tourists visiting Lake Mburo national park can also get to enjoy mountain biking activities. The activity is operated by Rwakobo Rock and Leopard Tail Rest Camps, in the national park. All mountain biking activities in the park, commence at the Nshara gate.
Visitors in Lake Mburo national park are provided with the chance to visit the local homesteads outside the national park. While on these amazing community/ village visits, visitors get to learn about the historical and traditional lifestyle of the Banyankore, Bairu and Bahima people.
Other activities that tourists visiting the national park can enjoy include; forest walks and fishing.
Tourists visiting Lake Mburo national park can also visit other attractions within and adjacent to the park, which offer awesome activities to tourists. These include;
Masha Community Wildlife Forum, which offers tourist the traditional beekeeping tour and guided nature walks as well.
Rubale fishing community: This community offers visitors fishing adventure tours and also take them through the traditional fishing process.
Nshara Community Tourism Group: This tourism group operates an amazing handicraft shop and it provides tourists with guided nature walks, camping, cultural walks and also take tourists through the process of making handicrafts and artifacts.
Where to stay when visiting Lake Mburo National Park.
Visitors planning to visit Lake Mburo National Park can find accommodation in the following lodging facilities; Mihingo Safari Lodge, Rwonyo Rest Camp, Mburo Safari Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, Ssana Community Lodge and Eagles’s Nest among others.
How to Get to Lake Mburo National Park.
Lake Mburo National Park lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara, close to the main Southwestern road that links Kampala City to Bwindi Impenetrable national park, as well as Kabale and the Rwandan border.
Travelers will have to drive 228km from Kampala City, which takes about 3½ hours to get to the Lake Mburo national park. The park can also be accessed from Kibale national park via Ibanda and Rushere.
The national park can also be reached from Queen Elizabeth National Park via Ishaka and Mbarara. Lake Mburo national park has three gates which visitors can use to enter the park, and these are;
The Kyanyanshara gate which lies close to Mihingo Lodge, and is situated 18km south of Akagate trading Centre and 14km west of Lyantonde.
The Nshara gate which is located 9km south of the main road, about 500 meters west of Akagate trading Centre.
The Sanga gate is located 13km from Sanga and Akagate trading centers, and 27km form Lyantonde.
It goes without saying that Lake Mburo National Park is truly ‘a glance at a park.’ Tourists on a gorilla trekking safari should not miss including this amazing national park in your tour itinerary.
Do get in touch with us in case you have any inquiries and to book with us amazing wildlife safaris to this national park.