Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest National Park in Uganda, covering approximately 370 square kilometres and is located in the South Western part of Uganda, between the towns of Mbarara and Masaka. This park is home to at least 350 bird species and about 68 mammal species.
It is possible to walk around Lake Mburo National Park accompanied by a ranger, rather than having to tour in a vehicle, and it is quite possible to get close to Zebras, Warthogs and Impala, Rothschild giraffe, elands, topi and Buffaloes, Water bucks, Reed bucks, hippos. Leopards are present but they are rare. The landscape is of open plains, acacia grasslands and marshes. Around the lake itself is thicker riverine woodland while much of the rest of the park acacia woodland.
Lake Mburo National Park is a popular tourist destination with a number of tourist activities that include;
Wildlife Game Drives
Wildlife Game Drives in Lake Mburo National Park offer tourists a chance to view several wildlife species. Game drives are best experienced in company of an experienced guide for safety purposes and to enjoy a wholesome experience. Animals in the park include: zebras, hyenas, topics, road antelopes, jackals, leopards lions, bush babies and porcupines among others.
Nature walks are also encouraged at Lake Mburo National Park, provided the participants are escorted by a professional ranger guide as a precautionary and educational measure. Such walks will usually cover the salt lick where visitors will experience several wild game that are licking on the salty residues. As one hikes further through the woodlands, they get to see several bird species, mammals, the spectacular view of all flora and fauna, the many lakes and of course wild game. It’s definitely an experience like no other.
At Lake Mburo National Park, fishing is carried out in all the thirteen Lakes, in and around the park but Lake Mburo, being the largest, attracts the biggest number of fishermen. Tourists are requested to acquire a fishing permit from Uganda Wild life Authority and also possess their own fishing gear if they are to enjoy the sport. Lake Mburo has six main fish types including: Tilapia, mud fish, lung fish and the haplochromes among others.
Lake Mburo National Park authorises and encourages bicycle tours as another adventurous means to explore the park and its surrounding areas. Please note that such tours are always guided by a tour guide to answer any questions one might have and keep the tourist out of harm’s way. Along the bicycle trails, one should expect to see Zebras, antelopes, buffaloes among others.
Bird watching is another important activity to enjoy at in the park. This park boasts of approximately 350 species including: the African Grey Hornbill, Nubian woodpecker, the rare white winged warbler, the Crested francolin and the trilling Cisticola among many others. Uganda birding tours take tourists to see the rare shoebill, harrier hawk, green pigeon, double toothed barbet, crested crane, saddle bill storks.
Boat cruises in the park are carried out in some of the five lakes located within the park. This cruise gives tourists a chance to enjoy flora and fauna as well as the several animals along the banks of the lake especially during the dry season where hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and buffaloes can be seen trying to rehydrate. Several bird species can also be seen from this point.
Horse Back Riding
Lake Mburo National Park is the pioneer park in the country to incorporate horse riding among it’s tourist activities where one can appreciate the park in it’s full beauty while riding on a horse. Horse back riding in Lake Mburo National Park is one of the major highlights of visiting this park. Take note that this is often an arrangement with some of the lodges on site that have stables, for example Mihingo lodge.
The National park authorities can also arrange forest walls through Rubanhga forest. Such walks are particularly ideal for birders and nature lovers. Rubanga forest has over 40 bird species and several tree species including the fig trees, platy caluz, palm, acacia and Markhamia among others. This forest also hosts the elusive shoebill stock, green pigeon and the grey backed cameroptera among others. For one to hike in this forest, they must first acquire special authorisation from the warden.
The park authorities identified about 13 local community groups whom they trained in eco-tourism and biodiversity and were empowered to make a living out of the different projects they are involved in. Cultural Tourism in Uganda is quite exciting. Visitors to this park often have an opportunity to interact with the local communities and learn their cultural practices. Such communities include the Rwenjeru campsite, Ankole cultural community group, the Igongo cultural institute, the Rwabarata drama group, which entertains through local dance and drama and entertainment, the Rwamuhuka jans craft makers who sell their products to tourists, the Shara community tourism group, the Rubale fishing community that offers fishing adventures and the Masha community wildlife forum.
How to get to Lake Mburo National Park:
Lake Mburo National Park Uganda is accessed from the Main Kampala – Mbarara road. There are 2 entrances. Nshara gate; Coming from Kampala, the turn -off to the is 10Km past the Lyantonde trading center. The park is 8 Km along an unsealed track. Sanga gate; coming from Kampala, turn off left at the Sanga trading center, about 35 km before Mbarara.
At African Pearl Safaris, we offer our clients game drives in the park and also hire a boat for them to go on the lake, with good views of fish eagles, hippos and the odd crocodile.