Lake Mburo National park
Lake Mburo National park is one of the smallest national park in Uganda, it’s the most nearest national park to the Uganda capital city Uganda. The park is compact gem reserve that is located along the highway that connects Kampala with the Western part of Uganda. Its being in the higway has made it a complementary safari destination which can be used to break the long drives from Kampala to other national parks in the western part like Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Queen Elizabeth national park and others.
What is currently Lake Mburo National Park was first gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and later upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. The area was dominantly occupied by the Banyankore pastoralists (commonly known as Bahima) who continued to herd their cattle and other livestock in the reserve until it was granted a National park status in 1983 by the Obote regime.
Lake Mburo National park is a savannah national park that is dominated by the open savannahs dotted with the Acacia trees. The main feature at the park is Lake Mburo which takes the greatest percentage of the park area. t is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as different animals like Zebra, Eland, Impala, Buffalo, Defassa waterbuck, leopards, topis, Hyenas, hippos, giraffes and many more.
The park hosts 13 lakes that are found within the area with lake Mburo the largest lake around the area. The lake provides water to both the wildlife and people around the area. Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodlands as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.
Lake Mburo Nations located approximately 240 kilometers from Kampala and only 30 Kilometers from Mbarara – the biggest town in Western Uganda. From Entebbe airport to lake Mburo national park, its approximately 290km. The national park is neighboured by 4 big districts of Uganda which include Mbarara town, Lyandtonde, Isingiro North and Kiruhura. Lake Mburo national park also happens to be the nearest national park in Uganda that is close to the President’s Home town in Kiruhura district. From Lake Mburo, one can drive for about 2 hours a distance of about 99km toal Park i reach the president’s home in nyabushozi-kiruhura district.
Activities in Lake Mburo National Park
The park is one of the small national parks in the country but parked with wildlife action and experience. There are several activities that guests can enjoy while at this protected areas. However the activities can be done in a period of only one day Uganda safaris since its distance from the capital city is near.
Below are some of the key activities done
Most of Uganda safaris to any of the savannah grassland protected areas are for game viewing. Lake Mburo is not a home of the African big five but it’s a rare park on its own. Its among the few national parks in Uganda where guests can see rare species of Antelopes like Eland, zebras and others. The game drives at the park are much rewarding giving its small size its easy to explore all corners of the park. The game drives are done in the morning, evening and night game drives. The park has good clear game trails where game drives are done excellently. Its only through game drives that you can come close to wildlife. Some of the wildlife that can be seen in lake mburo include: leopards, buffaloes, hippos crocodiles, topis, hyenas, zebras, giraffes and others.
Lake Mburo national park has over 350 bird species with savannah grassland bird species dominating. The small size of the park makes it easy for the birders to get there long list of the bird species in shortest period of time. Some of the most notable bird species viewed at Lake Mburo national park include; coqui Francolin, emerald spotted wood, rufous bellied heron, crowned cranes, bare faced go away birds, ross turaco, white headed barbet, Nubian wood pecker, white parot, red-shouldered tit, African fin foot, black bellied bustard, yellow breasted apalis,long- tailed cisticola, king fisher, African fish eagles, king fisher, Herons, Cormorants and so many more.
Lake Mburo is among the few national parks in Uganda where Boat cruise is done. Like Murchison falls national park and Queen Elizabeth National park boat cruise is one of the best activity that guest enjoy in Uganda safari. The cruise on the lake equally guarantees one a view of the amazing flora and founa at the national park alongside wildlife such as crocodiles, hippos and bird species such as African fish eagles, pelican, king fishers, herons, cormorants, rare shoe bills and hammer kobs. The boat cruise is not only for game viewing or birding but also relaxing moments when cruising on top of the fresh water.
Horseback riding is one of the rare activity done only in Lake Mburo from Uganda. Exploring the wilderness using another animal is life time experience. This activity is pre-booked before the day its supposed to be done. Its privately arranged activity that is headed by the lodge at the park hence the booking is done directly from the lodge not Uganda wildlife Authority. You will be guided by the park ranger who is armed ahead of you as means of protection in case of any attack from the wildlife. The experience has so far recorded good recommendations with great success. The horseback ride in Lake Mburo can take 1-3 hours as you explore the beauty of the national park savannah coupled by the view of the wild game. This experience is quit breathtaking imagine you seated on a horse moving into the savanna to watch wild game.
The park is open to all visitors who intend to do guided nature walk and is usually conducted along with the ranger guide. From Rwonyo the park center, the guided walks take you to the salt lick presumably the candy place for numerous wildlife. At the salt licks, wildlife/ animals parade themselves to enjoy the taste of the salty licks made of up of water and soil. Another nature walk starts from 7:00am and runs for 2 hours, this takes place at the western part of Lake Mburo, guaranteeing you encounters with the hippos coming out of the waters as well as the hyenas returning to their dens. Another exciting walk is through the forest unearthing view of the birds that the forest accommodates, further walks woodland grants you opportunities to see other mammals and hikes to the hill exposes you view of the 9 sections topped up with the 14 lakes around the park.
Lake Mburo national park is a good destination for short safaris like One day Uganda safari, two days Uganda Safari and others. You can also visit the park as complementary as you aim as reducing the long drive to Bwindi Forest National park.