Lake Mburo National Park is located in the west of Uganda, in Kiruhura district, 240 kilometers (150 miles) west of the capital, Kampala, and 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the region’s biggest city, Mbarara. At 260 kilometers² (100 miles²), this is a relatively small park, but it harbors some animal and plant species that cannot be found anywhere else in Uganda and is an important place of biodiversity. Lake Mburo is at the centre of the park, and is a part of a wetland ecosystem consisting of 14 lakes, five of which are within the park’s boundaries. Alongside lakes, there are other types of habitat: forests, hills, woodlands and grasslands, which provide for a wide variety of wildlife. The park used to have an extensive savannah, but due to the absence of elephants and their grazing, this is now shrinking and is being replaced by wetland.
Of the three of the big five that reside within the park, herds of buffalo can be regularly seen, while lions and leopards are more difficult to spot. Burchell’s zebra and impala are specific to this park. Eland, Defassa waterbuck, oribi, topi and warthog all live here and are among the more commonly viewed species. Over 300 hippos dwell in the lakes so you are sure to spot them on a boat safari. Bird watchers can enjoy around 350 bird species, including the rare red-faced barbet, African finfoot and the shoebill.
Game Drives and game viewing
The network of game tracks in the east of the park passes a variety of landscape features; acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to roam the park in search of wildlife. Commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck, zebra, the shy eland and a variety of birds.
Lake Mburo is well-to-do with a variety of animal and plant species which can only be seen clearly if you take a boat trip. The Hippopotamuses, crocodiles and birds like Pelicans, Heron, Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Fin foot and Cormorants can be sighted on a during a boat cruise and you can opt for a private boat trip to enjoy more of what the park has to offer in a relaxed way.
Lake Mburo has about 350 bird species including White-winged warbler, Shoebill stork, Crested Francolin, Brown parrot, Red-necked Spur, Common quails, African grey hornbill, Nubian wood pecker, Trilling Cisticola, Coqui Francolin, Long-tailed Cisticola, Southern red bishop and so much more. The best birding spots in the park include the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, and the roadsides between Rwonyo camp, the shores of the lake and the Acacia and Research tracks.
While in the park you can experience nature by taking nature guided walk with a ranger. A forest walk in Rubanga Forest offers a diversity of supportive habitat for birds. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks.
You can get a chance to catch fish using hooks. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga. If you intend to fish, you are requested to obtain a fishing permit from Uganda wildlife Authority. Fish species in Lake Mburo include lung fish, tilapia and mud fish.
Horseback and cycling safaris in Lake Mburo
Horseback and cycling safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife in the park. The park has few predators making it possible to encounter and come close to wildlife. These activities are operated by Mihingo Lodge and Rwakobo Rock
Lake Mburo lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara close to the main south-western road that Links the Capital (Kampala) to Bwindi Kabale and the Rwandan Boarders. The park is 254km (3½ hours) from Kampala. Two gates enter the park from the Mbarara road: Nshara Gate is 13kms past Lyantonde from Kampala, while the junction for Sanga Gate is at Sanga trading centre, 27km past Lyantonde. Both junctions are clearly signposted.
It is about a 20-minute drive from either gate to the park offices at Rwonyo.