Lake Mburo National Park is a compressed pearl, positioned appropriately adjacent to the highway that links Kampala to the parks in western Uganda. It is the least of Uganda’s savannah national parks and triggered by earliest Precambrian metamorphic rocks since 500 million years ago. It is habitat to 350 bird species together with wildlife such as buffalo, leopards,topi, zebra, hyna,impala, eland reedbuck, oribi and Defassa water buck.
Among the 13 lakes in the region, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system connected by a swamp. Five of these lakes are found within the park’s borders. Once enclosed by open grassland, Lake Mburo National Park currently comprises of woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is scattered with rocky edges and woodland valleys while coverings of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian forest line many lakes.
Lake Mburo was formerly established in 1933 as a preserved Hunting Area and promoted to a Game Reserve in 1963. The Banyankole Bahima inhabitants continued to graze their cattle in the Reserve until it was promoted to National Park status in 1983. The Obote government’s resolution to promote the Park was allegedly in part planned to weaken the Banyankole, who reinforced anti-Obote rebels. As the ejected pastoralists were not remunerated for lost grazing land or aided with resettling, many persisted being hostile to the Park’s establishment. The rangeland outside the park was successively split into small series and subsistence farming plots.
Around 1985 Obotes second regime, the establishment was unsuccessful l and the former inhabitants of Lake Mburo re-occupied the Park’s land, dismissing park staff, abolishing infrastructure and defeating wildlife. Less than half of the Park’s original land area was finally re-established by the NRM government in 1986.
Lake Mburo National Park is found between two districts of Mbarara and Masaka in western Uganda. The Park can be easily accessed on a good tarmacked high way from Kampala through Masaka to Mbarara which covers a distance of over 228kilometres and takes 3 and half hours drive.
There are two entrances as you enter the park, the first entrance/gate being Nshara gate that is 13kilometrs from Lyantonde to reach the park and Sanga gate that covers a distance of 27 kilometers from Lyantonde to reach the park. Both gates are clearly signposted showing you the direction to Lake Mburo national park. The drive from these gates takes only20 kilometers tp reach Rwonyo.
Two gates enter the park from the Mbarara road: approaching from Kampala, driving to Nshara Gate is 13kms past Lyantonde well as the junction for Sanga Gate is at Sanga trading centre, 27km past Lyantonde. All the gates are evidently marked.
It is about a 20-minute drive from either gate to Rwonyo.
Climate and When to Visit
Lake Mburo national park has a semi-arid climate with just a sole rainy season every year which starts from April to September. And the rain is also very light meaning that the park can be visited all the year throught. The valley of the Narus River in the south of the park gets about 890mmm of rain annually ,the perfect seasons to visit lake Mburo national park is months from October to March.
Areas of Interest
Rwonyo Rest Camp
Rwonyo is the focus for visiting the attractions activities in the park. It is the preliminary point for, game drives, quad biking, and forest walks. There is also a small art craft shop selling handmade items and books.
There are numerous pathways on the eastern locality of the park where a diversity of animals and birds can be viewed. A summit lookout gives panoramic scenes of the park and its five lakes.
Lake Mburo is a natural harbor for fauna and flora. The shores of the lake swarms with animals and birds such as Crocodiles and hippopotami are everlasting inhabitants, and buffalos come to drink water in the dry season. The extensive diversity of inhabitant birds are Shoebills, African Fish Eagles Malachite Kingfishers, , Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, Pied Kingfishers, Green-necked Doves, Blue-headed Weavers, Hammerkops Herons,, Pelicans, and the rare Cormorants can also be found here.
Though small, this tract of forest on the western side of Lake Mburo delivers a taste of tropical high forest with a barred canopy and a watching platform for tourists. It is household to a multiplicity of forest birds; commoner species include the Harrier Hawk, and Double-toothed Barbet Green Pigeon, Narina Trogon and Grey-backed Cameroptera. Rubanga can be sightseen with a ranger guide.
Activities carried out on Lake Mburo.
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
The perfect birding places within Lake Mburo National Park are the swampy gorges of Warukiri and Miriti, and the pavements between Rwonyo camp and the breakwater. There are also ideally-situated overlooking podiums at the salt thrash, in Miriti Valley, and in Rubanga Forest. Species witnessed at these places are conqui francolin, Emerald-spotted, the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitar bill, White-headed Barbet, Yellow-breasted Apalis Red-faced Barbet, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, White-winged Tit and Fin foot among others.
Rubanga Forest can be toured on either a vehicle or on foot. This is a actual draw for strong birders, and previous preparation should be made with the warden. The infrequent Red-faced Barbet can only be viewed in Lake Mburo National Park which is one of the of the forest’s featured species.
Launch Trips in Lake Mburo
The natural world in the eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be sightseen during a serene two-hour boat expedition. Have you eyes wide open to see wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes and colorful Kingfishers, wonderful Fish Eagles, Hammertoes and their massive nests and even the prehistoric eyeing Shoebill. Cruises leave from Rwonyo dock every after two hours staring from 8, and this depends on the demand.
Game Drives in Lake Mburo
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. An alternative view of the park, hopefully including sightings of animals rarely seen during the day, is provided by guided night drives. These start between 6.30-7pm and last two to three hours.
Hiking and Nature Walks in Lake Mburo
Remarkably, the entire park is exposed to hikers as long as they are escorted by a ranger guide. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt clobber where many animals are appealed to taste the salty rocks.
Treads on the western side of the lake starts at 7am and take 2 hours. During this time of day, you may meet hyenas returning to their lairs and hippos receding to the lake. Hikes through the forest provide a chance to view forest birds and mammals, while the tread to the top of the hill prizes tourists with a remarkable view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes.
Of specific awareness to walkers and birders is Rubanga Forest, which may be visited by previous preparation and in the company of a ranger.
All hikes should be reserved in advance.
Sport Fishing in Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo comprehends about six species of fish, with tilapia being the most famous. The selected fishing spot is found at Mazinga; tourists preparing to carry out fishing here should move with their own equipment and secure a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo
Horseback safaris are an exhilarating way to outlook wildlife, comprising of eland and buffalo. Also normally viewed are topi, warthog, duiker, impala, bushbuck, zebra and waterbuck. The 4 hours hacks take tourists up to top of the hill lookouts with the alternative of bush breakfasts or sundowners. This activity is organized at Mihingo Lodge.
Rwonyo Rest Camp
Conservation Education Centre (Sanga)
Mantana Tented Camp
Lake Mburo Safari Lodge