Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a compact gem, perfectly suited close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. The Park is an exceptional protected area; every part of it is alive with diverse and colorful features. It consists of an expansive area of wetland and also natures various mammal species and birds found nowhere else in Uganda. Its unique landscape characterized by rolling hills and idyllic lake shores has a miscellaneous mosaic of natural habitats; seasonal and permanent swamps, forest galleries, Savannah grassland as well as   rich acacia-woodland and grassy valleys which all undergird a wide range of wildlife.

In spite of the fact that Lake Mburo National Park is small, only 370km², in juxtaposition to other protected national parks in Uganda, it has an aggregate total of five lakes that lie within the park borders. The five lakes together with the other nine form an expansive lakes and wetland areas acting as natural habitat to unique wildlife and birdlife species. In addition, it’s small size also comprises of green hillsides, bushy thickets, rocky outcrops, open and wooded savannahs, lush forests, all of which form an disputable natural home to an amazing variety of fauna and flora.

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The great diversity of natural habitat in the park is enhanced by the presence of unique wildlife species like the impala, eland and klipspringer. It is also home to the largest population of zebra in Uganda estimated at about 5,000 and probably contains the highest concentration of leopard found anywhere in Uganda. Buffalo, waterbuck, topi and warthog are also very common. Reedbuck and oribi can also be spotted in the open valleys of the park. Hyena, genet, bush pigs and white tailed mongoose are often seen on night game drives.  The park’s diverse habitat favors the survival of around 350 bird species. These include the Red-faced Barbet, only seen in Lake Mburo, the endemic African Finfoot and the rare Shoebill. Other key species are the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Saddle-billed Stork, Brown-chested Lapwing, African-wattled Lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Tabora among others.

In terms of climate, Lake Mburo National Park is strategically suited in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the famous Mountains of the Moon-Rwenzori Mountain, and receives an average of 800 mm of rainfall annually. Being close to the equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the long rains occurring from March to June, and the short rains from September to December. The rains are rather erratic and unpredictable, but most rain tends to fall in April and November.

  • Wildlife as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
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    Lake Mburo’s miscellaneous habitats support the living of an approximated total number of 68 mammal species. The unique wildlife mainly found in this park than other protected parks of Uganda include the species of impala, Burchell’s zebra,eland. The other famous wildlife species in the park involve the warthog, oribi, buffalo, Defassa reedbuck and waterbuck. The park also houses some few species of the hyena and Leopard but these are not easily seen. Lake Mburo waters are natural home to the crocodile as well as over 300 hippos which are water inhabitants and of recent some lions have been seen roaming in the park territories.

    Birds-as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
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    The famous Lake Mburo is birding destination in Uganda and the park boasts of an approximated number of 350 bird species. Among these include the rare species of the Red-faced Barbet, which is only resident of Lake Mburo national park, the other endemic species include the African Finfoot , the species of the rare Shoebill which occupies the wide swampy areas of the park. Other key bird species commonly watched in the park include the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Brown-chested Lapwing, Saddle-billed Stork as well as the African-wattled Lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Long-tailed Cisticola as well as the African Scops and White-winged Warbler, Owl plus the species of Abyssinian Ground Hornbill.

    The rare acacia woodland bird species which are easily sighted and well represented in the park territories include the Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinker bird, Blue-breasted Kingfisher among others.

    Lake Mburo as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
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    Lake Mburo is a natural habitat and haven for distinctive species of fauna and flora. The bank of the lake is teemed and full of unique wildlife species and bird’s species. The permanent residents and occupants of this lake are the species of the Crocodiles as well as large numbers of hippopotami and sometimes buffalos come to drink water in the lake especially during the dry season. The wide-range of different bird species which are residents of Lake Mburo includes Pied Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers as well as the Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, African Fish Eagles and Hammerkops plus the Blue-headed Weavers, rare Shoebills, Cormorants, Green-necked Doves, Herons, Pelicans.

    Rwonyo Rest Camp-Rwonyo is the center for tourism activities in the park. It is the where most of the tourism activities begin form ,for instance nature hikes, game drives ,quad biking, and forest walks. There is also a small shop selling handcrafts and books.

    Rubanga Forest-Though small, this tract of forest suited on the western side of Lake Mburo offers a taste of tropical high forest with a closed canopy and a viewing platform for visitors. It is habitat to variety of forest birds; the regularly seen bird species include, Green Pigeon, Narina Trogon, the Harrier Hawk, Grey-backed Cameroptera and Double-toothed Barbet. Rubanga can be explored with a ranger guide.

    Ankole Cultural Centre -The Banyakole community living in the areas adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park have created the ‘Ankole Cultural Centre’ to highlight the customs and history of their kingdom. The Cultural Centre is positioned few kilometres outside the park near the Sanga gate. A visit to the Centre will introduce you to the traditional culture of the area and the local way of life. Typical village houses can be visited and Ankole guides will explain their people’s history and lifestyle. Distinctive Ankole handmade crafts can be purchased as souvenirs.

  • Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
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    With an estimated number of 350 bird species, Lake Mburo is safe birding heaven in Uganda. The best birding spots in the park include the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, and the roadsides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty. There are also ideally-situated viewing platforms at the salt lick, in Miriti Valley, and in Rubanga Forest. Species which can be observed at these locations include the Coqui Francolin, rare Shoebill stork ,Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit and Finfoot among others.

    Rubanga Forest can be visited using a vehicle or on foot. This is a real draw for keen birders, and prior arrangement should be made with the warden. The rare Red-faced Barbet – only seen in Lake Mburo National Park.

    Game Drives in Lake Mburo
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    The best way to explore the park is by undertaking game drive through a well-connected game tracks found in the eastern part of the Lake Mburo National Park. The interesting early morning drive takes you through a variety of beautiful landscape features such as the prominent acacia woodland which acts as habitat to different wildlife, wetlands vegetation and areas which are home to distinctive wild life and bird species, grassy hillsides as well as rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. The appropriate time of carrying out game drivers in the park is during early morning as well as late in the afternoon. Guided night drives can be done and this can enable one to watch some nocturnal animal species and birds and this usually starts at 6:30-7:00pm and it takes roughly 2 to 3 hours.

    Hiking and Nature Walks in Lake Mburo

    One of the most fascinating and unique activities in Lake Mburo National Park are Hiking and Nature walks. The whole park is open to visitors who would wish to explore the park. These are done with direction of experienced guide who usually accompanies the hikers. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks.

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    Nature Walks carried out on the western part of the lake begin at 7am and take two hours. At this time of day, one can have an encounter with the hyenas returning to their dens and hippos retreat back to the lake. Hikes through the woodland provide an opportunity to sight forest birds and mammals, while the nature walk or hike organized to the top of the hill rewards visitors with a spectacular view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes. Visitors interested in these walkers should book in advance and the most frequented place for nature walks and birding is Rubanga Forest, Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo -Horseback safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife, including eland and buffalo. Also commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck and zebra. The four-hour hacks take visitors up to hilltop viewpoints with the option of bush breakfasts or sundowners. This activity is arranged at Mihingo Lodge.

    Launch Trips in Lake Mburo
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    The wildlife-rich eastern banks of Lake Mburo can be explored during a tranquil two-hour boat voyage. Keep an eye out for crocodiles, buffaloes and hippos as well as colorful Kingfishers, magnificent Fish Eagles, Hammerkops and their enormous nests and even the prehistoric-looking Shoebill. Voyages depart from Rwonyo jetty every two hours (subject to demand) starting at 8am.

    Horseback safaris
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    Horse safaris are an awesome way to enjoy the views of the wildlife around Lake Mburo. Without the noise of an engine you can hear so much more and you really feel part of nature. Riding a horse means you often get the chance to see the more timid animals. If you are very lucky you may encounter the eland and buffalo wildlife species. You may see a combination of different wild game like warthog, duiker, topi, impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, and zebra. Of course the time of year and the weather do affect the number and variety of animals that you see, as the animals graze where the grass is the most delicious. Watching animals from a horse is so peaceful and a totally different experience from being on a game drive; zebras come towards you to check out the strange relative without stripes. Even the eland that are usually very shy, look curiously at the horses without running away, but keep their distance.

    Sport Fishing in Lake Mburo

    Lake Mburo contains around six species of fish, with tilapia being the most common. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga; visitors planning to fish here should carry their own equipment and obtain a permit from Uganda Wildlife Authority

    Cultural tour to Ankole Cultural Centre
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    The Banyakole community surrounding Lake Mburo National Park have created the ‘Ankole Cultural Centre’ to highlight the customs and history of their kingdom. The Cultural Centre is situated just outside the park near the Sanga gate. A visit to the Centre will introduce you to the traditional culture of the area and the local way of life. Typical village houses can be visited and Ankole guides will explain their people’s history and lifestyle. Distinctive Ankole handmade crafts can be purchased as souvenirs.

  • Lake Mburo National Park lies between Masaka and Mbarara in western Uganda, 240kms about 3-4hours drive from Kampala.

    Two gates enter the park from the Mbarara road: approaching from Kampala, the turning to Nshara Gate is 13kms past Lyantonde while the junction for Sanga Gate is at Sanga trading Centre, 27km past Lyantonde. Both junctions are clearly signposted.


  • Mihingo Lodge -Luxury
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    Mihingo Lodge is a wonderful, peaceful and an exclusive lodge located just adjacent to the famous Lake Mburo National Park. It has total of ten rooms and these are permanently constructed on wooden platforms with stilts. The roofs of the lodge are covered by a thatched roof. The temporally placed comfortable and spacious tent in the thatched roof is availed with en-suite bathrooms full of attractive views and sights.

    Each and every luxury tented room of the lodge is built on the Lodge’s private piece of land and these offers the visitors an opportunity to enjoy the serene calm environment in complete solitude. Placed in varied settings, some rooms are situated in a forest, some with a lake view, and some on rocky outcrops.

    The main dining area in the lodge is a big thatched structure constructed out of rocks and the wood of dead weathered olive trees which were got on land plus native grasses. Below the dining area, there is beautiful swimming pool that extends out from the permanent rocks and tends to disappear into the vast landscape beyond.

    In the Lodge’s dining and pool area, visitors can freely have the beautiful sights and views of a westward positioned valley and its stunning, attractive, magnificent evening sunsets over the wonderful Lake Mburo National Park.

    Aside from lounging by the pool, enjoying the sounds of nature, or watching nearby wildlife, guests can also avail themselves of the numerous activities offered by Lake Mburo National Park and Mihingo Lodge. Diversions include boat trips on Lake Mburo, savannah walks, game drives in Lake Mburo National Park, and horseback safaris.

    In terms of responsible travel, Mihingo Lodge is an environmentally friendly accommodation and the buildings are built in such a way that it melt into the rocky outcrops and savannah landscape around them. Electricity as well as hot water, and water pumps are powered by the help of solar energy and there is a natural water catchment system to take advantage of the rains.

    Accommodation Rates:

    Room Type  Rates for Residents Rates for Non-Residents
    Single $175 $281
    Double $135 $195
    Extra Bed $81 $148.20
    Child:3-12 $54

    Matana Tented Camp-Luxury

    Situated high up on a hillside off the main route to the park headquarters is this tented camp with views stretching far and wide. Each of the 9 tents is on private decks with spectacular view and caters for two people. They have their own bathroom area with hot “bush” showers provided, eco-friendly toilet systems and a dressing area. A central area provides dining and bar facilities.

    Lighting is by solar power. Meals are generally of a high standard with several courses for most.

    Lake Mburo Mantana Tented Camp provides guests with the perfect combination of seclusion and exclusivity in enchanting surroundings.

    The rooms all offer great views out over acacia woodland and the lake below. The large ‘Larsen-style’ tents are simple but comfortably furnished with an en-suite bathroom.

    The rooms do not have running water but hot and cold water is provided in flasks next to the wash-basins and hot water is always available for a bucket shower. The dining and bar area is a large open-sided tent and you can enjoy your pre- or post-dinner drinks in the chairs set around the camp-fire every evening.

    Accommodation Rates

    Room Types East African Residents Non-Residents
    Single $245 $250
    Double $330 $330

     

    Arcadia Cottages Mburo-Mid-Range
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    Arcadia Cottages is located  just 2km from the park headquarters at Rwonyo, It’s  an ideal base point from which visitors can base to explore the park on a game drive, spot crocodiles and hippos on the launch trip or really get close to nature on a guided walking safari.

    The cottages are built on stilts and have clear views of the surrounding national park. The lake can be viewed while guests dine at the restaurant. Hippo’s that live in the lake walk up to the

    The lodge offers the accommodation in the eight self-contained cottages which are arranged around a central lodge building; guests can enjoy the tasty of different dishes served in the lodge restaurant or relax and take in the stunning view from the lodge’s newly built deck.  In the evenings, guests can wind down from a long day’s safari around the lodge’s open fire, sipping a cold drink from the bar while enjoying the views and sights of impala, warthog and the occasional hippos.

    Accommodation rates;

    Accommodation Rates

    Room Type B$B H/B F/B
    Single $115 $130 $145
    Double $225 $245 $265
    Twin $225 $245 $265
    Family $425 $455 $485
    Triple $330 $355 $440

    Eagle`s Nest-Budget

    This budget accommodation facility is Located on a high hill bordering Lake Mburo National Park, this tented camp has not only one of the best views in Uganda; it is also offers the ultimate African canvas experience.

    Eagles Nest consists of 12 safari tents with verandas overlooking Lake Mburo National Park. Each room has two separate beds and is decorated nice. The bathrooms offer the real African bush experience: we fill your shower upon request and we invented a new toilet system.

    For dinner, visitors chill in a wood fire that is prepared each and every evening and the lodge offers real African experience.

    Accommodation rates:

    Room type B&B HB FB
    Tent single 60 72 82
    Tent double 70 95 115
    Extra bed 30 42 52

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