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Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park, Lake Mburo National Park is situated within western Uganda in Kiruhura district and about 30 kilometers of the big City of Mbarara. It was first established as a controlled Hunting Area in 1933, Game Reserve in 1963 and later a National Park in 1983. Lake Mburo National Park covers an area of 260 square kilometers, making it the smallest savannah National Park in the country.

It was named after Lake Mburo, the largest water body in the area and is characterized by different vegetation types that include acacia woodland, vast open grasslands and savannah plains which together with the numerous Lakes, forested gorges, rock kopjes, papyrus swamp and many others offer shelter to numerous wildlife and bird species as well as make the Park a must-visit wilderness Park.

Wildlife 

Lake Mburo National Park is a haven to over 70 species of mammals, which even makes it more interesting for a Park of its size. Popular species are zebras, Defassa waterbucks, Common elands, bushbucks, Impalas, leopards, buffaloes, Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, Topis, Oribis, Reedbucks, common duikers, vervet monkeys, bush pigs, Olive baboons, Roan antelopes, Hippos and many others.

Bird species 

There are about 350 species of birds in Lake Mburo National Park that include the shoebill storks, yellow-throated long claws, blue-napped mouse birds, bare-faced go-away bird, Lilac-breasted roller, Emerald-spotted wood dove, Black-billed barbets, Nubian woodpeckers, Red-necked spurfowl, Hairy-breasted barbets, African scops owls, African-wattled plovers, Papyrus yellow warbler, yellow-rumped tinker bird, red-necked spurfowl and Nubian woodpeckers among others.

Other attractions 

Rubanga Forest

Rubanga is a small tract of forest in the western edge of Lake Mburo National Park with unique tree species and over 40 forest bird species including the Narina trogon and Double-toothed barbets among others.

Lakes

There are 13 Lakes in this National Park with Lake Mburo being the largest and are shelter to diverse flora and fauna species that can only be seen during the boat ride. The animals are Hippos and Nile crocodiles as well as bird species such as the African fish eagles, herons and pelicans among others.

Fish species

There are about 6 fish species in Lake Mburo alone that include mud fish, Tilapia and lung fish among others.

Things to do

Boat rides

Boat rides in this Park are conducted within Lake Mburo lasting 2-3 hours and rewarding visitors with the views of the Nile crocodiles and Hippos relaxing on the eastern banks of the Lake as well as buffaloes and antelopes drinking water or cooling themselves. Also look-out for the aquatic and wetland bird species such as the kingfishers, Hammerkop, African fish eagles, shoebill storks and pelicans.

Game drives

Both day and night game drives are conducted in Lake Mburo National Park in the company of the Park ranger/guide who will identify the wildlife species and give detailed information on them. You will spot the Rothschild giraffes, warthogs, Topis, buffaloes, waterbucks and warthogs during day game drives while the leopards on the leopard rock, white-tailed mongoose, bush babies as well as the spotted hyenas can be seen during the night game drives.

Guided nature walks

Guided nature walks/hiking are conducted across the entire Park but one of the popular places for this activity is the salt lick where majority of the animals converge to lick the salty rocks. While here, you will see the Topis, Impalas, buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks and Reedbucks among others. Nature walks along the western part of Lake Mburo usually starts at 7:00am, lasting 2 hours and offering chances of spotting hippos, spotted hyenas and several bird species. Walks are also conducted at Rubanga forest where forest bird species and unique tree species are identified.

Horseback rides

Lake Mburo National Park is the only Park in Uganda where the fascinating horseback rides are conducted. Nothing is more interesting than viewing the animals through the horseback ride with species such as zebras, impalas, bushbucks, Defassa waterbucks and Topis being common. This activity is organized by Mihingo Safari Lodge and comes with bush breakfast and sundowners.

Quad biking

Hop into a quad bike during your trip at Lake Mburo National Park where you will slowly drive through the grazing animals especially zebras, giraffes, warthogs, waterbucks and Topis. Your Quad biking trip can be conducted within the surrounding local Banyankole communities to see how long-horned cattle are reared and how cows are traditionally milked among other interesting activities.

Sport fishing

With at least 6 species of fish in Lake Mburo, sport fishing is definitely one of the tourist activities that you will enjoy in this National Park. The designated fishing spot of this Park is “Mazinga” and all you need is your fishing permit and fishing equipment.

Birding

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the Important Bird Areas in Uganda with 350 species of forest, wetland, aquatic, savannah and grassland bird species. Expect to see the white-winged warblers, bare-faced go-away bird, Lilac-breasted roller, white-backed herons, Emerald-spotted wood dove, Black-billed barbets, Nubian woodpeckers, Emerald spotted wood dove, Red-necked spurfowl, Black-bellied bustard, Hairy-breasted barbets, African fin foot, Rufuous chested swallow, African grey hornbills, Greenwood hoope, the rare shoebill storks, blue-napped mousebirds, Nubian woodpecker, African scops owls, African-wattled plovers and many others.

Cultural tours are also conducted

Accommodation facilities 

Lake Mburo National Park has numerous accommodation facilities that include Mantana Tented Camp, Mihingo Safari Lodge, Rwakobo Rock Lodge, Rwonyo Bandas and Campsites and Lake Mburo Safari Lodge among others, Arcadia Cottages, and Eagle’s Nest among others.

Best Time to visit

Lake Mburo National Park can be visited at any time of the year but perfect experiences are achieved when you visit during the drier months. These months are January, February, June, July, August, September and December, where little or no rain is experienced making most of the Park dry with few water drinking points where animals usually converge. This offers perfect game viewing opportunities. The wetter months-March, April, May, October and November is when rains are heavy as well as park roads being muddy but is perfect for birding especially if you are interested in seeing the migratory bird species.

How to get there

Lake Mburo National Park is situated in western Uganda, about 260 kilometers/3-4 hours’ drive from Kampala City and between Masaka and Mbarara Towns. There are two main routes/entrance gates to the Park with the first involving branching at Sanga Town to the Park through Sanga Gate. The second route involves branching from Lyantonde Town to the National Park through the Nshara gate.

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