lake Mburo national park
Lake Mburo National Park is one of the 10 national parks that Uganda proudly calls her own. The national is also one of the smallest national parks in the country, covering an area of 370 square kilometer. The national park lies at an altitude of 1,220 meters and 1,828 meters above sea level.
The national park was previously a controlled hunting area back in 1933, and later named a game reserve in 1963 during the reign of President Milton Obote. Later in 1983, it was gazetted as a national park.
Lake Mburo National Park is located in the western part of Uganda and lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara. The national park is currently managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, a government agency responsible for managing all the national parks in Uganda. The national park derives its name from Lake Mburo. The park is also covered by a thicket of bushes, rocky outcrops, acacia savanna vegetation and a series of various plant species. It also has 5 lakes with narrow bands of riparian woodland.
The Park lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and Rwenzori Mountains and receives an average of 800mm of rain annually. Being near the Equator, the rainfall pattern is characterized by long rains which occur from February to June, while the short rains are from September to December. The park receives heavy rains in April and November.
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.
Activities in Lake Mburo National Park.
Guided Game Drives:
Guided game drives in the Park are the ideal way for visitors to explore the national park and view stunning wildlife. Among some of the wildlife animals that visitors can sight during a game drive in the park include; Impala, antelope, topi, giraffes, zebras, elands, buffalos, warthogs, bush babies, leopards, and potto among others. The park offers both morning and evening game drives, which begin at 6am and 6pm respectively.
Boat Cruise on Lake Mburo.
Boat Cruises in the national park are conducted on Lake Mburo. Launch trips in the 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 shoe bill stock among others.
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park.
Birding in the Park is one of the best birding experiences that any bird lover could ask for. The park has a record of 313 species of birds. Some commonly sighted birds in the national park include; the red-headed love bird, the rare shoebill stork, red-shouldered cuckoo shrike, the rare red-faced barbet, the emerald-spotted wood-dove and the brown parrot among others.
Hiking and Guided Nature Walks.
Lake Mburo National Park is an ideal place for hiking and nature walks in the wild. Visitors in the national park can get a chance to explore the park on foot, which is a great way for visitors to relax and unwind after a long day of activities in the park. Visitors on a hiking or guided nature walk in the national park are always accompanied by an experienced UWA guide at the park. Hiking expeditions in the national park begin at 7am every morning and last for about 2 hours.
Horseback Riding in Lake Mburo National Park.
Horseback riding in the Park is conducted by Mihingo Lodge and was first introduced in the park in 2008. Exploring the national park on horseback is one of the most memorable experiences that any visitor can have in the park. Horseback riding activities in take between 1½ to 5 hours depending on the rider’s experience.
Community Visits/Village Tours.
Visitors in Lake Mburo National Park have an opportunity to visit a local homestead outside the national park. Visitors on community visits can learn more about the traditional Banyankore lifestyles, cultural history, traditional cuisines and so much more.
Other activities offered in Lake Mburo National Park include; Mountain biking, Forest walks and Sport Fishing.
Accommodation in Lake Mburo National Park.
Visitors in Lake Mburo National Park can spend a night or two in accommodation facilities within and near the park like; Mihingo Safari Lodge, Rwonyo Rest Camp, Mburo Safari Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, Ssana Community Lodge and Eagles’s Nest among others.
Accessing the National Park.
Lake Mburo National Park is just a 3½ hours’ drive from Kampala City, covering a total distance of about 228 kilometers. The national park can also be accessed from Kibale National Park in southwestern Uganda via Ibanda and Rushere, and from Queen Elizabeth National Park in Kasese district via Ishaka and Mbarara.
The Park can be visited at any time of the year and visitors interested in visiting the national park can include it in their travel itineraries alongside a lion tracking or chimpanzee trekking safari in Queen Elizabeth National, Chimpanzee trekking tour in Kibale National Park or gorilla trekking tour in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.