Lake Mburo National Park
One of Uganda’s smaller National parks, Lake Mburo extends over 260Km of undulating territory with an altitude range from 1,200m to 1,828m above sea level. The park is bypassed by majority of independent travelers, despite its relative accessibility, is presumably down to the low ‘big five count, in particular the lack of Elephant and Lion, the latter not reliably observed in the area for several years now. Even in the absence of such heavy weights, however Lake Mburo offers excellent game viewing (watching), and you are likely to see as many different large mammal species over the course of the day as would be the case in any other Ugandan National Park. More Pragmatically, Lake Mburo is also ideally positioned to break up the long drive between Kampala and the National Parks along the country’s western border.
Lake Mburo harbors several species not easily observed elsewhere in Uganda. It is the only reserve in the country to support a population of Impala, the handsome antelope for which Kampala is named, and one of only three protected areas countrywide where Burchells Zebra occurs, the other two are being the far less accessible Kidepo and Pian-Upe. Other Antelope species likely to be seen by casual visitors are topi, bushbuck, common duiker, oribi, Defassa waterbuck and Bohor reedbuck, while the lake and lush fringing vegetation support healthy populations of buffalo, warthog, bush pig and hippopotamus, Roan antelope, one common are now locally extinct, but large herds of the majestic eland still move seasonally in the park.
The presence of Lake Mburo within the park is a blessing. The lake is rich with a diversity of animal and plant species, which can only be viewed clearly while on a boat trip. These include hippopotamus and birds like pelicans, black crake, heron, cormorant and fish eagle but you may also see the rare shoebill stork, all of which will furnish your visitor with pride.
The duration of each boat ride is 2 hours maximum, but arrangements for extra time can be made with management at an extra fee.
The best way to explore the park fully is by road. The park has a number of tourist tracks that are used for game drives.
Impala track exposes the visitor to a diverse species of animals. Impala is the most common species viewed along this track although one may sight a number of waterbucks, warthogs, topis and zebras. Zebra track leads to harems of burchell’s zebra (Equus burchelli) with other species like bushbucks, oribi and reedbucks. The zebra track leads to the junction of Roroko track, a drive through a wetland basin and thick acacia shrub and woodland with olive trees and eurphorbia species. Kopjes (rock outcrops) found along the Roroko track, are home to elusive klipsringers to which the rock is the habitat.
The Kazuma track passes through wooded grassland where black-bellied buatards often patrol the area. For visitors to experience a real exposure of Lake Mburo National Park, they should climb Kazuma hill, which is high enough to enable them see what they could have missed. The five lakes within the park and the rolling hills become more visible and attractive therefore it is better seen than read.
Kigambira loop takes you through a wooded wilderness with scattered thicket and while you are here, look out for bushbucks and bush duikers.
The Lakeside track is specially designed to facilitate viewing of water plants and animals. The park has a diversity of water birds and woodland birds, which can be sighted along these tracks.
One of the major attractions of Lake Mburo is that you are permitted to walk anywhere in the park in the company of an armed ranger. Near to the camp, the road to the jetty remains a good place to walk: rich in birds and regularly visited by the hippos. An eve better target is the viewing platform that overlooks a salt lich about 2Km from the camp-this is an excellent place to see a wide variety of animals. Of particular interest to walkers and birders is the Rubanga Forest, which lies off the Rwizi Track and can only be visited with the permission of the warden, who will provide you with an armed ranger. Visitors used to be allowed to walk unaccompanied along the 1Km stretch of the road between Rwonyo and the main campsite, but this practice was discontinued a few years ago after a tour leader was mauled by a buffalo.
This forest offers a variety of habitats, conducive for birds thereby making it a very attractive place for bird watchers (bird watching). There are over 40 species of birds recorded in Rubanga, 5 of which are forest “specialists”.
Some of the common species are the harrier hawk, green pigeon, narina trogn, Grey-backed cameroptera and double-toothed barbet. The forest, though small is a real high forest with closed canopy. Some common trees are markhamia platycalyx, Spain, erythriana and acacia.
Lake Mburo has about 6 species of fish, the common one being tilapia (oreochromis leucostictus). Visitors planning to enjoy sport fishing on Lake Mburo should carry their own fishing gear and fish at the designated point at Mazinga. A restaurant is available at campsite 2 to ensure maximum relaxation for visitors while at the lake.
Mantana Tented camp; This is a classic luxury camp. Set in one of Uganda’s most picturesque game parks; a classic camp in the grand safari tradition. Kimbla-Mantana’s camps have excellent dining facilities with kitchens preparing delicious food of the highest standards, complemented by the freshest vegetables and tropical fruit.
Mihingo Lodge; The lovely Mihingo lodge is spread across the side of Lake Mburo in the private wilderness of 238 acres. Accommodation is provided in a luxurious and well positioned tents on wooden platforms.
Accommodation is available at park headquarters at Rwonyo, where banda’s are available for single or double occupancy. Basic meals are available at the restaurant. Hurricane lamp lighting and warm water bucket bathing are provided. Sodas and beers are normally available but with few visitors to the park there is frequently no stock.
Camping is possible in and around the banda’s, however those with their own vehicles may prefer to camp at the campsite adjacent to the Education Center. There are 3 additional campsites off the Lakeside track. They are rarely used and plagued by insects and mosquitoes after dark. You will need to be totally self contained to camp here. Bore hole water is only available at Rwonyo. Jerry cans can be provided for those using any of the campsites. Treat or boil the water if you plan to drink it.
Getting there and away
Situated between Masaka and Mbarara in Western Uganda. The park is bounded to the north by the main Kampala-Mbarara road. From Kampala it is 230km (4 hours) to the Park headquarters and rest camp at Rwonyo. The left turn to the Park is signposted at 211km from Kampala. You will enter the park through Nshara gate.
From Mbarara it is 47km to the Park Headquarters. The right turn to the park is at Sanga. The park gate is at Rweshebeshebe, 12km from Sanga. A 4-wheeled drive is recommended where you will arrive at Sanga gate.
Access by public transport would mean alighting a public bus bound from Kampala or Mbarara at Sanga. Here transport to the main gate is limited and may mean a considerable wait.
Tour and Safari itineraries to Lake mburo National Park