In the middle of an extensive rich acacia woodland lies one of Uganda’s most spectacular and breathtaking game parks. Lake Mburo national park is a very special place with a medley of habitats ranging from dry hillsides, rocky out crops bushy thickets, open and wooded savannas to forest, lakes and swamps. Its sculptured landscape, rolling hills and idyllic lake shores, forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps and grassy valleys all support a wealth of wildlife in a tropical setting. At only 370KM2, Lake Mburo National Park is small in comparison with many other East African parks but is home to a surprising diversity of plants and animals and harbors several species of mammals and birds found nowhere else in Uganda. These varied habitats support an impressive variety of wildlife including 68 mammal species. This is the only park in Uganda that inhabits Impalas and the only one in the rift region with Burchell’s zebras and the eland, topi are only found in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Parks. Common mammal species include warthogs, buffalos, oribi, defassa, waterbucks, reedbucks and the eland antelopes. Leopards and hyenas are also present and lions have returned to the park after years of poaching and near extinction. The five lakes within the park attract hippos and crocodiles while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the sitatunga antelope and papyrus gonolek. The park also has an impressive bird list with 332 species recorded including shoebill, papyrus yellow warbler, African finfoot, saddle-billed stork, brown-chested wattled plover, Carruther’s cisticola, Tabora cisticola, great snipe, Abyssinian ground hornbill and the white-winged warbler. Acacia woodland bird species are especially well represented.
The eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be explored by boat, departing from a jetty at the lakeside campsite near Rwonyo. Watch out for crocodiles and hippopotamus during the two hour voyage. You can also sight a variety of birds including pelicans, herons, the cormorant fish eagle and perhaps the rare fin foot and shoebill storks. Fishermen with their own equipment may fish in the lake from the campsite by arrangement.
Guided walks explore the park around Rwonyo, culminating in a vist to a natural salt lake frequented by the wildlife. Viewing is facilitated by a timber observation platform.
The eastern hinterland of Lake Mburo is served by a network of game tracks along which a variety of savannah animals and birds can be sighted. Impalas are the most commonly seen along the impala track while zebras frequent the grassy valley floors traversed by the zebra track. This connects to the Ruroko track which passes rock kopjes, home to the elusive Klipspringer. In the south of the park, the lake side track passes through dense woodland that is home to bushbuck and bush duiker, to Kigarama hill which provides a panoramic view of Lake Mburo. This lake and seven more can also be seen from the Kazuma lookout close to Kazuma track.
Though small, this tract of forest on the western side of Lake Mburo provides a taste of the tropical high forest with closed canopy and is home to a variety of forest bird species.
Conservation education centre
The park has a conservation education centre, 1 km west of Sanga gate. This provides accommodation and an education hall for school groups, visitors, seminars and workshops.
Nature walks, bird watching, boat cruises and game drives
HOW TO GET THERE
Lake Mburo National Park lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara, in South-Western Uganda and is a three hour drive (228kms) from Kampala. Two gates enter the park. From Kampala past Lyantonde to the Nshara gate is 13kms, while the junction for Sanga gate is located at Sanga trading centre, 27 kms past Lyantonde.
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