One of Uganda’s most spectacular and breathtaking wildlife park is Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo, also known as the home of the zebra, is conveniently located close to the highway that connects the capital, Kampala to South Western Uganda. Therefore, this makes it the perfect weekend getaway as it is a few hours’ drive away from the city.
Lake Mburo National Park lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara in Western Uganda. It is 228 kilometers from Kampala city, which is about a 4-hour drive road trip.
There are two gateways into the park. There is the Nshara Gate located at 13 kms from Lyantonde town. The second gate is at Nsanga, in Nsanga trading centre, 27 kms past Lyantonde.
The answer lies in its medley of habitats – it has an extensive and rich acacia woodland, dry hillsides, rocky outcrops, bushy thickets; open and wooded savannas; forests, lakes and swamps. The park’s sculptured scenery, undulating hills and tranquil lake shores; forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps and grassy valleys, all support a wealth of wildlife in a tropical setting.
There is a wide network of game tracks within the park along which animals and birds can be sighted. Impalas are mostly seen on the Impala track, while zebra frequent the grassy valley floors traversed by the zebra track. The rock kopjes which are home to the elusive Klip Springer are accessed by the Ruroko track. In the South is the lakeside track which passes through a dense woodland that is home to bushbuck and duiker. above all, don’t miss out the panoramic views of Lake Mburo and seven more at the Kazuma viewpoint.
Lake Mburo national park is remarkably different from other Uganda’s national parks – small in size but teeming with a variety of animal and bird species. It is also the best park to see the gigantic eland, zebra, impala, topi and buffalo. Other common animal species also include: warthogs, oribi, defassa, waterbucks, bushbucks, reedbucks and the giraffe. There have been a few reported sightings of the lion as well.
The five lakes within the park attract hippos and crocodiles, while the fringing swamps hide the secretive papyrus residents such as the Sitatunga antelope and the red, black and yellow papyrus gonolek.
Night game drives in search of hyena, bush babies and leopards can be arranged but prior notice is needed. As use of UWA guides is mandatory for all night game drives. A night game drive costs US$30 per person.
Due to the park’s extensive and rich woodland acacia, Lake Mburo has become a known hot spot for birders. There are over 332 bird species recorded. Acacia woodland species are especially well represented. Expect to see birds like the red-necked spurfowl, African wattled plover, Flappet Larks, Rufous chested swallow, Ruppell’s long tailed starling, Sacred ibis and Southern red bishop.
Others include: the iconic shoebill, papyrus yellow warbler, the elusive African finfoot; saddle billed stork, Carrutter’s cisticola, Great snipe, Abyssinian ground hornbill and the African fish eagle among others.
Guided nature walks explore the park around Rwonyo, which is the centre of tourism activities in the park. On these walks, do visit the salt lick. This is a natural salt lick frequented by wildlife and viewing is facilitated by a timber observation platform. This will certainly give you a chance to see the different animals of the park; as they come for their “salt treat”.
The Rubanga forest is a small tract of forest which provides a taste of the tropical high forest with closed canopy. It is also home to a variety of forest bird species. So, an avid bird watcher would have a great time here.
Please note these nature walks are best done with the help of an armed ranger guide.
This is another interesting activity on Lake Mburo. The eastern shores of the lake can be explored by boat in an amazing 2 hour voyage. You have a chance to see a variety of wildlife like crocodiles, hippos and birds like the African fish eagle, pelicans, herons, cormorants and so many others.
This involves visiting a local homestead of the Hima people, the traditional herdsmen that live on the periphery of the park. You will learn about their traditions and way of life with their most prized possession, the Ankole longhorn cattle. Get to experience the traditional methods of milking (by hand) and milk processing into different dairy products like ghee.
Accommodation options, with different levels of comfort to cater for both the budget and luxury travelers are available.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority provides a range of budget / backpacker accommodation. Permanent tents are also available at Rwonyo Rest Camp and there is a beautiful campsite by the lake shore.
The lodges that offer both budget and mid-range levels of comfort include:
A variety of tours and itineraries are available. Like earlier noted, Lake Mburo is a small national park and so activities here can be done in a day or two. However for a more varied experience, a tour to Lake Mburo can be combined with another activity, maybe Gorilla tracking. This would mean a longer but more enriching tour.
Cost of Activities in Lake Mburo National Park
The table below shows a summary of costs associated with the major activities in the park.
|Activity||Foreign Non Resident FNR($)||Foreign Resident FR($)|
|Park Entrance (per person)||40||30|
|Game Drive (Day) per person||20||20|
|Game Drive Night (Private) per person||30||30|
Uganda has 10 national parks which also offer different and exciting attractions and activities. This means endless adventure options available all year round! Read more about Uganda’s beautiful national parks here…….
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