Wildlife Safaris In Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is increasingly becoming a popular overnight stop along the route to Bwindi Forest Impenetrable National Park and Queen Elizabeth for those travelling by road from Kampala capital city. The national park is situated in Kiruhura district in Southwestern region of Uganda about 30km from Mbarara the sub region’s biggest city approximately 240km from the capital Kampala in the Northeast. The park was originally gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and it was upgraded to a game reserve in 1963 and finally gazetted as a National Park in 1986 by the new government of National Resistance Movement. The park occupies a hilly area of 1,220m to 1,828m made of pre-Cambrian granitic rocks and sandy soils. 20% of lake Mburo’s surface area is covered by wetland habitats surrounded by lush riparian woodland and papyrus swamp. The park was named after Lake Mburo in its heart alongside other four within its boundaries. A wildlife tour to lake Mburo national park is an amazing experience which reward travelers with a fantastic pre trekking experience on their way to Bwindi for gorilla trekking.
The national park is a home to a variety of animals some of which are hardly found else where in the country. Among these are the white handsome antelope for which Kampala the capital is named and is also one of the only two National parks where Burchell’s zebra occurs. Other animals that can be spotted in lake Mburo national park include Topi, Common duiker, Oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck and Bushbuck. Other antelope species include the sitatunga antelope found in swamp interiors, klipspringer on rocks of hills and the majestic eland. The presence of these unique mammals in the park has compensated its low ‘big five’ count. Also, Lake Mburo National Park also is a habitat to over 300 bird species including martial eagles and red-faced barbets. The park is also well endowed with vegetation varieties for nature walks including the acacia-wooded savannah, papyrus yellow warblers and African fin foot.
Tourism activities in Lake Mburo national park
The East of lake Mburo has numerous game tracks ready to take you for game viewing in the park lie-savannah around Rwonyo where zebra, impala, waterbuck, topi and buffalo can be seen. Another good area for game viewing is at the relatively open savannah along the Kazuma and Ruroko tracks where pairs of klipspringer are always observed. The park recently introduced giraffes, which are mostly seen in the vicinity of Kazuma and research tracks.
Well-situated birding spots in the park like the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti plus roadsides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty. The salt licks in Miriti valley and in Rubanga forest are also good viewing platforms. These platforms enable you to observe the Park’s rich variety of bird species.
Horseback riding Safaris
Uganda’s first horse riding safari was done Lake Mburo National Park introduced in the East of the Park by Mihingo Lodge. Safari to lake Mburo without horseback riding is undeniably incomplete. Horse back riding gives travelers a great opportunity to get near animals like zebra and buffalo, which are more comfortable when they are near horses than cars. Rides are tailor-made to individual’s requirements and their experience
Guided Night Drives
The night guided drives present an opportunity to see nocturnal and other hard to see animals such as leopard the increasing leopards, which are often quiet, relaxed around vehicles. Hyena groups can also be observed regularly. Night game drives begin at 6:30pm to 7:to 2:30pm enabling travelers to also enjoy a night life in the national park.
Motorboat trips on Lake Mburo have much to offer ranging from the beautiful sceneries to amazing bird species that always flock around the Lake. While on this boat trip, nice views of hippo, crocodile, buffalo, waterbuck and bushbuck are un interrupted. The three species of the resident otter are also worthy looking out for. Water birds that can be observed include the African fish eagle, marabou stork, pied kingfisher, egrets, herons, ross’s turaco and narina trogon. The still waters below overhanging branches are associated with the rare African fin foot.
The designated fishing spot at Mazinga allows visitors to do sport fishing using hooks. There is a chance of catching some of the six fish species found in Lake Mburo with Tilapia being the most common. Visitors interested in this exciting activity are allowed to carry their own equipment after obtaining permission from the Uganda Wildlife Authority offices at the Park.
Guided walks with an armed ranger lead you to the road to jetty, which is regularly visited by hippos. There is a better viewing platform that overlooks the salt lick for viewing a variety of animals. The Rubanga forest found off the Rwizi track that can only be visited with the permission of the warden is of particular interest to walkers and birders. The warden provides with an armed ranger to escort you through the forest to guarantee your safety.
How to get to Lake Mburo National Park
From Kampala, four dirt access roads run south to the Park from the surfaced Masaka-Mbarara road. From Kampala or Masaka it’s better using the 8km road, which is about 1.5km West of the village of Akegeti to Nshaara gate.
There is also a good approach branching off at Sanga to Sanga gate with 10km and 35km East of Mbarara.
The approach from Biharwe to Rwonyo through Katengyeko gate is the roughest and least used route. All these approaches are signposted apart from the most easterly approach with relatively poor conditions though it has plenty of game along the way and it can a better option if you are heading to either Mihingo Lodge or Mburo safari lodge.
Accommodation/Where to stay in Lake Mburo national park
There is a variety of small-mid-range and upmarket camps and Lodges inside and out of Lake Mburo National Park. Rwonyo Rest Camp is a budget option within the Park and a good number of cheap hotels in Lyantonde town along Masaka-Mbarara road about 16km east of the junction for Nshaara gate.
A Uganda safari at Lake Mburo National Park offers great nature exploring opportunities in game drives, boat cruise, sport fishing, horseback safaris together with guided walks and guided night drives. All these exciting tourist activities bring visitors closer to the Park’s wildlife diversity of numerous and unique mammal and bird species together with the Park’s vegetation and aquatic varieties.