Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda Wildlife safari tours in Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda wildlife safari game drives,boat cruises, nature walks,when to visit, how to get there & where to sleep in Lake Mburo 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.
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.
LAKE MBURO NATIONAL GAME PARK
Welcome to The “Whispers of The Wild”
Park at a Glance:-
Name : Lake Mburo national park.
Location: continent- Africa, region -Eastern Africa, country- Uganda, district- Kiruhura, direction- west of Kampala city Uganda’s capital
Geographical co-ordinates: 00o37’40”S 30o58’00”E.
Size: 370sqkm Year of designation:1993
Responsible Governing body: Uganda Wildlife Authority
Elevation of lake Mburo National Park: highest elevation is 1607m while lowest elevation is 1239m above sea level
Climate of Lake Mburo National Park: tropical savanna climate with short wet seasons of 15-25in of rainfall and long dry seasons with high temperatures between 27-32oC
Attractions in Lake Mburo National Park: mammals like zebras, hyenas, topi, reedbucks, deffassa waterbucks, impala, elands, leopards, hippos and oribis, about 350 bird species and a complex of 5 lakes and swamp vegetation with various fish species.
Activities in Lake Mburo National Park: game drives, horse riding, nature walks, birding, sport fishing, launch cruise
Accommodation in Lake Mburo National Park: mantana tented camp, mihingo lodge, lake mburo safari lodge, acadia cottages lake mburo lodge, rwonyo rest camp, eagle nest camp, rwonyo camping grounds
Access to Lake Mburo National Park: the park can be accessed by both road and air transport means
Travel distance and time to Lake Mburo National Park: 250km or 3-hour drive away from Kampala city Uganda’s capital.
Best time to visit Mburo National Park: its easily accessible throughout the year with the best time coming in the dry months of January-March and June- September when all murram roads are dry and easily navigable.
Location And Historical Background of Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo national park is located in Uganda which is found in the east African region on the African continent on the geographical co-ordinates of 00o37’40”S 30o58’00”E.
Lake mburo national park lies 277 km or 3 and ½ hour drive from Kampala city Uganda’s capital in the western district of Kiruhura and covers about 370 sq. km of land making it Uganda’s smallest savannah plains national park.
Lake Mburo national park occupies relatively flat lands with its highest elevation point being 1,828m above sea level and lowest elevation point being 1,220m above sea level.
The park consists of a number of hills that are dotted in the park and large basins that comprises of a chain of 5 lakes that are interconnect by a large swamp system, it also has varying vegetation types that range from tropical forests, to tropical savannah plains and lowland wetland swamps.
The park experiences a tropical savanna type of climate with low amounts of rainfall- this is evidenced by short summer wet seasons where the area receives between 15-25 inches of rain per month and very long dry or winter seasons with less 5inches of rain per month, scattered umbrella trees, open savanna grasslands with short grass and relatively high temperatures which can rise to between 27-32oC
Tourist’s Attractions in Lake Mburo national park
Lake mburo is endowed with various attractions and these include mammals like zebras, hyenas, topi, reedbucks, deffassa waterbucks, impala found only here in Uganda, elands, leopards, hippos and oribis, about 350 bird species and a complex of 5 lakes and swamp vegetation with various fish species.
Wildlife as a Tourist Attraction in Lake Mburo National Park–
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.
Zebras: Zebras are black and white striped pattern animals that belong to the equine tribe which they share with their close cousins the horses and donkeys.
Each of these zebras has a unique pattern of stripes that is used to identify it alone just like finger prints do in humans.
Originally, it was believed that zebras were white animals that had developed black stripes due to presence of white underbellies but this was disproved by further research on the animals as it was revealed that these animals were rather black originally and the white stripes came in later on.
Various theories have been forwarded to explain the occurrence of stripes in these animals and the most common theories state that the stripes are a defensive mechanism that zebras use to elude their predators like lions but this theory has been highly contested as it’s known that the lions eye sight is poor especially during day from long distances hence they highly rely on their hearing and smell senses during daytime zebra hunting missions.
The other theory believes that zebras use these stripes to protect itself from horseflies and tsetse flies by creating a blurred vision.
Zebras have a shoulder length of 1.2-1.3m or 47-51in and the body length of zebras ranges between 2-2.6m or 6.6-8.5ft.
Their average weight is 350kg or 770Ib and they have sexual dimorphism as males are usually larger than females. Zebras have a gestation period of about 13 months with a 20-30year lifespan.
Impala: Lake Mburo National Park is the only park in Uganda with this iconic species of wild game. Impalas have a reddish brown coat with tan flanks.
Male impalas grow lyre slender horns while female impalas are hornless. Impalas stay in either female or male herds and only come together during mating seasons.
Facial features include white rings around their eyes and a light chin. This is a medium sized antelope with an average body length of 130cm or 51in.
The males have a shoulder height of 75-92cm or 30-36in while females reach 70-85cm or 28-33in at the shoulder. The males weigh around 53-76kg or 117-168Ib while females weigh in between 40-53kg or 88-117Ib hence showing sexual dimorphism. They have a gestation period of about 7 months.
Elands: These belong to the antelope family and they are also commonly referred to as the eland antelopes. These are commonly sighted animals on the savannah plains of Africa.
The coat colors of elands differ depending on their geographical location. The elands of eastern Africa have a smooth coat with females having a tan coat color while males have a darker coat with a bluish grey tinge.
Both male and female elands have horns with steady spiral ridges, the females have longer horns with a tighter spiral than those of males which are shorter and thicker.
Elands live in herds of up to 500 individuals. Male elands have a shoulder height of 150-183cm or 59-72in, the male elands weigh about 400-942kg or 882-2,077Ib while females have an average weight of 300-600kg or 660- 1,320Ib with a body length of 200-280cm or 79-110in and a shoulder height of 150-183cm or 59-72in. They have a gestation period of about 274 days and a lifespan of about 15-20 years.
Hyenas: Hyenas feature in many of our savannah plains national parks and Lake Mburo National Park is no exception to this canine hunter.
Hyenas are closely related to canines in terms of behavior and body structure as both hyenas and other canines kill most of their prey using their teeth than their claws.
They have a wolf like body structure with their fore limbs being longer than the hind limbs and the entire hind quarters are visibly lower and the back slopes downwards towards their rumps.
There are two different species of hyenas i.e. spotted hyenas and striped hyenas. Hyenas can be identified from their body structure that is they have large ears, they have thick fur that is coarse and sparse and poorly developed on their underbelly.
Spotted hyena exhibit sexual dimorphism with males being large than females while striped hyenas exhibit reversed sexual dimorphism with females being larger than males.
Spotted hyenas are more of hunters while striped hyenas like to scavenge from kills made by other predators.
Even though in human society, hyenas are depicted as cowardly animals, this isn’t entirely true as these animals have been widely documented chasing off big and fierce predators like lions and leopards from their kills and have the kill for themselves, this doesn’t strike as an act of cowardice by any means.
Usually hyenas are nocturnal animals but they have can also be seen in the morning hours doing their hunting and stocking rounds. Hyenas have a set of 9 teeth comprising of mainly canines.
Cape buffaloes: The cape buffalo is also referred to as the African buffalo. It is usually mistaken to be a close relative to domesticated cattle but its rather related to actually other bigger bovines.
Cape buffaloes are usually found in the great plains of African savanna and they have a coarse black coat unlike their close relatives the forest buffaloes which have a reddish coat.
As the male buffaloes grow older, the bases of their horns grows closer and it can even unite forming a feature called a “boss” which is very had to penetrate even with a gun bullet of less 16mm.
You can differentiate a male buffalo from a female one by observing the structure of their horns, the male buffalo horns grow while curving outwards while the ones of the female grow while curving inside.
The African buffalo is a big animal with a shoulder height of 1.0-1.7m or 3.3-5.6ft. it has a body length of 1.7-3.4m or 5.6-11.2ft and its tails has a length of 70-110cm or 28-43in. an adult male African buffalo can weigh as much as between 500-1000kg but the females usually weigh less than this.
Buffaloes usually stay in large herds that consist anywhere from 5-1000 individuals and this is primarily for protection purposes from their predators.
They have a gestation period of 11.5 months and a life span of over 25 years in their natural habitats.
Hippopotami: In Lake Mburo National Park, hippos are found wondering around lake Mburo areas. Hippos are large animals only behind the African elephant that can weigh anywhere between 1300-1500kg or 2870-3310ib for both sexes.
The hippos are semi aquatic as they both live on land and in water. Hippos are herbivores animals can come on land in the evening to graze, they can be easily identified basing on barrel shaped body, short legs and long muzzles or mouths, their body is hairless with a purplish gray to blue black color which is also thick about 2in or 6cm.
Due to lack of body hairs, hippos secret an element that is reddish orange to brown to act as a protective layer both from the scotching sun and bacterial infection.
This phenomenon is referred to as “blood sweating” hippos have a very powerful jaw which can open as wide as 180o and its filled with monstrous teeth with their incisors growing up to 40cm or 1ft4in and canines growing up to 50cm or 1ft8in. despite their short legs and big sizes hippos can burst to 30km/hr in short distances.
Hippos are highly territorial while in water but not on land, they have a gestation period of 243days and can live up to 40-50 years.
Leopards: Leopards are some of the big cat family predators that roam the plains of lake Mburo national park and they are at the top of the food chain together.
Leopards are usually taken to be the same with cheetahs but they are completely different as cheetahs have tear marks on their faces small round spots while leopards have no this distinctive mark on their faces and have larger rosettes on their body. the skin color of leopards ranges from pale yellow to golden or yellowish brown with rosettes and this enables these super predators to camouflage so that they can stalk their prey without ever being noticed.
Male leopards are muscular with short limbs and a broad head, the males have an average shoulder height of 60-70cm or 24-28in and weigh in at 37-90kg while the females have an average shoulder height of57-64cm or 22-25in and weigh in between26-60kg. the cheetah has a very long tail that’s white tipped with a length of 60-100cm or 24-39in and this enables the leopards make quick sharp turns at high speed while on a chase.
Leopards can sometimes have black color and this is caused by melanism which is a recessive gene in these animals and when a leopard is having this phenomena, it turns from being called a leopard to a black panther.
Leopards are usually solitary animals, they have a gestation period of 90-105 days and can live in their natural habitat for 12-17 years.
Other mammals that can be found here include: Topi, Deffassa, and Reedbucks. However, Lake Mburo doesn’t not have elephants and giraffes in it and as result the park has developed into tall grassland since these animals that tame the grassland are missing here.
Birds-as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
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.
The rare Shoebill: The shoe bill is also called the whale head given its large shoe shaped bill. The shoe bill has a height ranging from 110-140cm or 43-55in with also a body length of 100- 140cm or 39-55in and a wingspan 230-260cm or 7ft7in-8ft6in.
the male shoe bill is larger than its female counterparts with male having an average weight of 5.6kg or 12Ib while the females weigh 4.9kg or 11ib.
the shoe bill can be distinctively identified by its signature large bulbous bill that has greyish markings on it. This bill has a length of 18.8-24cm or 7.4-9.4in measured along the upper mandible.
The shoe bill mandible is very hard as it is made out of keratin and it has sharp edges which enable this bird to decapitate its prey.
The shoe bill also has long dark legs that have21.7-25.5cm of length with large feet as its middle toe can measure up to 16.8-18.5cm or 6.6-7.3in. and this enables to stand on water vegetation when it goes fishing. adult shoe bills have a blue grey color with darker slaty grey flight feathers.
The shoe bill stock is not known for flying long distances as it usually flies between 100-500m or 330-1640ft when flashed or scared.
Their wings are highly adapted to soaring and they have low flap rate that can only go up to 150 flaps per minute.
The shoebill has a lifespan of about 35 years in their natural habitat. Both male and female shoe bill participate in nest building, incubation and chick rearing. Their incubation period is 30 days and usually lay between 1-3 eggs per mating season.
White winged warbler: The white winged warblers have an average body length of 13-14.5and a body mass of 12g on average.
This species of birds has a distinctive grey head and upper mantle with blackish lores. Their eye crescents are narrow white and they also have whitish supraloral stripe.
The white winged warbler has a voice call with short series of high pitched squeaky notes that can accelerate sometimes at the end.
Crested francolin: The crested francolin has a body length of 300-35cm, males weigh between 270-417g while females weigh 220-375g hence sexually dimorphic.
They have a chestnut blotching on their necks and breast. Their bills are black while the legs are red in color, they have a white supercilium and a dark brown crown. The crested francolins have about 8 different voice calls they make.
Barefaced go-away bird: This bird species has a body length of 48cm. an adult bare faced go away bird has its fore head to behind the eyes, chin and upper throat with virtually no feathers but have a dark brown color.
This bird has a similar voice call to c.Leopoldii bird which makes a loud double “kow-kow” that can be related to a sheep bleating.
Brown parrot: This bird species has a body length of 21-25cm and weighs between100-165g. tis head, back, wingsand tail areof a dull brown color while its belly and rump are of a greenor turqiouse color.
The underparts have a washed yellow color while its flanks have variable amounts of yellow. It makes high pitched voice call with under or upslurred piercing and short whistles.
Emerald spotted wood dove: This wood dove species has 20cm of body length and weighs between 50-71g. its fore head is white or pale grey with a bluish grey crown.
It has a narrow black line from the gape to the eyes. The neck sides of the emerald spotted wood dove and its underparts have a pinkish mauve. This bird makes a plaintive cooing phrase with a distinct cadence that lasts for c.12 seconds.
The Nubian wood pecker has a body length of 23cm and weighs between 46-71gthe male Nubian wood pecker has a red fore head to nape color with a white supercilium, it has a streaky black stripe from just in front of the eye to the rear crown side with white ear coverts.
This bird makes a loud shrill metallic that accelerates “weee-weee-weee-kweek” dying away at the end. African grey hornbill– the African grey hornbill has a body length of45-51cm and the male weighs 172-258g while females weigh 163-215g.
These birds have a small dark grey or brown hornbill, their wing feathers are pale edged and they have a white stripe behind their eyes and a white back. The African grey hornbill makes a voice call that consists of a series of shrill piping whistles, with phrases shifting intermittently.
Lilac breasted roller: This bird species has 28-30cm of body length with a streamered tail of 8cm more.
It weighs about 87-135g. the male lilac breasted roller has aa whitish fore head and supercilia. This bird makes a loud guttural “rak-rak” voice call.
Southern red bishop: This bird species has 13cm of body length, male southern bishops weigh between 21-30g while female southern red bishops weigh 17-26g. males are brightly colored in red or orange colors with a black plumage while the females have a streaky brown plumage and have paler underparts.
The male southern red bishop has its forehead, face and throat in a black color while the rest of its head is red. Its upperparts are also red except for its wings and tail. This bird species usually sings in courtship flight or display a hissing prolonged sizzle.
Yellow throated long claw: The yellow throated long claw has a body length of 20-22cm, males weigh between 43.5-57g while females weigh between 43-51.7g.
This species of birds has a distinctive long claw and the males have a deep lemon yellow supercilium and underparts are yellow as well. This species makes a typical song either when perched on a tree branch or in flight of a rapid “tir-tri-tri-tri” sound.
Black billed barbet: This bird species has a body length of 16-18cm and weighs about 35-57g. this bird is chunky with a mostly black barbet plumageboth males and females have a red fore head while the face throat and upper breast are mainly black. This bird makes avoice call of chattering and grating with kek sound.
Lake Mburo as a tourist attraction in Lake Mburo national park
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.
Culture Encounters in Lake Mburo National Park
Historical background and current status: The Banyankole are people who belong to the Ankole tribe which falls under the bantu ethnic group.
The Banyankole are further sub divided into the Bahima- these are cattle keepers and the Bairu –these are agriculturalists.
Long ago, both the Bahima and the Bairu belonged to a kingdom of Ankole whose king was referred to as the Omugabe but in 1966 when the then president of Uganda Milton Obote abolished all cultural institutions in Uganda, the Ankole kingdom also suffered the same fate and until now it hasn’t been restored even though most of the other traditional institutions have been restored.
As of the last census in Uganda of 2014, the Banyankole people are the 2nd largest group of people with an estimated population of 3.216 million people of which 2.6 million lived in the Ankole kingdom region
Marriage among the Banyankole: Marriage was and is still up to now seen as an important institution among these people.
All children had to be appropriately brought up in preparation for this important stage of life. The boys had to be well groomed by their fathers and uncles on issues like how to build and rule a family, herding cattle, defending the homestead and providing for the family.
For the girls they had to be groomed by their mothers but mostly their aunties who had to pass on all the techniques that a woman was supposed to have in order to manage their marital homes.
The aunt was to ensure that the girl maintained her virginity until marriage and was aware of how to satisfy her husband’s to be sexual desires.
Courtship: There was no courtship among the Banyankole and it was the father’s role to look for a bride for his son. When the father found a suitable partner for his son, he used a go through person called katerarume, this person was supposed to advance the father’s wishes to the family of the potential bride and when the girl’s family accepted the proposal, bridal price had to be agreed on by both families.
The bride price mainly consisted of a number of cows about over 10 heads of cattle which had to be paid before the girl could leave her parents’ home.
“Kuhingira” or give away ceremony is the wedding ceremony among the Banyankole, this ceremony is organized at the grounds of the bride’s home and the entire community is invited to attend the girl’s send off.
There is a great feast to send off the bride and also bridal price is exchanged. Long ago, on the eve of the kuhingira, the bride’s aunt had to test and ensure that her niece was still a virgin and also had a mammoth task of finding out whether the groom was sexually potent or capable of satisfying the desires of her niece as well, this was done by either the aunt sleeping with groom or listening in as the groom had sexual intercourse for the first time with her niece.
After the kuhingira, the bride was escorted to her new marital home by a group of children both girls and boys called “enshangarizi”.
The bride stayed in doors for 10 days and at the end of these days a ritual called “okukoza omuliro” which means “help her make a fire in the kitchen” was conducted then she officially became part of the family.
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.
Tourists Activities in Lake Mburo national Park
Lake mburo national park has various activities like game drives, horse riding, nature walks fishing, boat cruise and birding.
For any activity to be carried out in this park, a separate park entrance fee has to be paid at the park offices and this fee is These game drives are conducted after payment of entry fees which are is 40$ foreign nonresidents adults while children 20$, 30$ foreign resident’s adults while children 10$, 20000ugx east African citizens’ adults while children 5000ugx, 5000ugx local university students and high school students and 3000ugx for local primary pupils.
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park
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 National Park
The park has developed various tracks to maximize the tourist’s chances of viewing most of the wild game within the confinements of this park.
From the dazzling zebras, to the impalas, buffaloes, relaxing hippos and a myriad of bird species like the southern red bishop, white winged warbler, yellow throated long claw, and the elusive shoe bill.
These are all waiting for you during the wild game drive and if you are lucky you might as well get to see leopards trying to catch an early morning breakfast or a late evening snack.
These dries can be carried out all day in Lake Mburo National Park but the night game drive have an edge over the day time drives as they present to you an opportunity to catch glimpses of nocturnal animals especially the leopards.
Day time game drives cost 30$ for foreign nonresidents, 30$ for foreign residents and 30000ugx for East African residents in a group but for a private daytime drive, it costs 20$ for foreign nonresidents, 20$ foreign residents and 20000ugx for East African residents.
Night game drives cost 40$ for foreign nonresidents, 40$ for foreign residents and 40000ugx for East African residents in a group while private night drives cost 100$ foreign nonresidents, 100$ foreign residents and 10000ugx for East African residents. Night game drives require you to go with a UWA ranger.
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.
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
With the presence of Lake Mburo, comes an opportunity to get off land and take to the water to continue viewing the animals that roam this park and also indulge in bird watching since this lake is also frequented by many bird species like the southern red bishop, white winged warbler, yellow throated long claw, and the elusive shoe bill, fish eagle and pelicans cormorants.
The launch cruise is operating daily daily between 10:00hrs and at 17:00hrs and is carried out on two boats, a small boat which costs 20$ per person for foreign nonresidents and foreign residents and 20000ugx per person for east African citizens.
There is also a big boat and a ride on this boat costs 30$ per person for foreign nonresidents and foreign residents and 30000ugx per person for east African citizens 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.
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.
This is done from the waters of Lake Mburo and the most caught fish species is tilapia. But other species that can be caught are lung fish and mud fish. This activity costs $15 for a single day and $25for four days or an annual fishing permit at $300
Cultural Tour to Ankole Cultural Centre
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.
Ecomonmic activities of the Banyankole: The Bahima are mainly cattle keepers and they kept long horned cattle called “Inyambo”. These were a darker brown coated species of cattle with long white horns.
These were the ultimate display of wealth among the Bahima and social classes were determined by the number of these cattle a man possessed.
The Bairu are mainly agriculturalists who grew crops like millet sorghum maize beans and cassava. These two tribes traded between each other in items like cow products like meat and milk and cow skins bought by the Bairu from the Bahima and the Bahima in turn bought food items from the Bairu.
They also traded with tribes around them like Baganda and Batooro or even far away people like Rwandese and Congolese
Roles played by women: The Bahima women did mostly work that revolved around the home and that included cleaning the home, cooking, looking after children and producing children.
A wife who couldn’t produce children was a considered disgrace to the man’s family and this usually forced the man to look for a second wife to have children with.
The Bairu ladies did more physically demanding labour on top of the regular roles of a wife in a home as they ploughed the gardens with their husbands, weeding the crop gardens, harvesting of crops and winnowing.
Religion and cultural practices: These people believed in a supreme being called “Ruhanga” who was considered the provider of everything and had the final say on.
Accessing Lake Mburo national park
This game park is accessing using both road and air transport
The major route is Kampala- Masaka- Mbarara via Sanga gate. This route is approximately 277km or 3.5-4 hours’ drive from Kampala. Kampala- Mbarara road is well tarmacked but branching off to Sanga 37 km way from Mbarara, the road is of gravel.
The other option is accessing the park via Nshara gate 20 km away from the main road branching off from the Kampala- Mbarara highway from Lyantonde 50 km away from Mbarara.
You can also access lake Mburo national park by public means and this will involve you buying a bus ticket to Mbarara city from any bus service provider from Kisenyi bus terminal in Kampala to Mbarara.
You will be able to get a bus enroute to Mbarara at any time of the day as there are numerous bus service providers who ply this route from kampala.
This ticket will cost you between 20000-25000ugx for a one-way trip. On arrival in mbarara town, you can easily find a private taxi for hire to link you to lake mburo national park via sanga at a cost of 50000-100000ugx depending on your negotiation abilities.
Air T ransport.
Although lake mburo national park doesn’t have an airfield of its own, it is tentatively served by Nyakisharara airstrip in Mbarara
This will involve driving you from mbarara town to lake mburo park via sanga gate which is 37km away from mbarara town.
Aerolink Uganda. Aerolink Uganda has flights operating from Entebbe international airport to Mbarara airstrip usually depart in the morning but the timing may change depending on the flight routing.
Aerolink Uganda uses an 11 seater and 2 flight crew Caravan aircraft equipment that is highly comfortable. The cost of this flight is determined on request and varies depending on the seasonal demand.
Fly Uganda. Fly Uganda operates private flight charters around Uganda from Kajjansi airstrip. The minimum number of passengers required is 2 passengers.
The flights usually depart from Kajjansi airfield in the morning hours but this is subject to flight routing and demand.
Accommodations in Lake Mburo National Park
Mihingo Lodge -Luxury
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.
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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.
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Arcadia Cottages Mburo-Mid-Range
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.
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.