Lake Mburo National Park Uganda wildlife tour safari in Lake Mburo National Park
Traditionally, two brothers settled on the land that the park currently occupies. These were Mburo and Kigarama. One night, Kigarama dreamt of an area flooding and cautioned his intimate brother to relocate from the area. His brother (Mburo) disregarded the dream and refused to relocate to the adjacent hills like what Kigarama had done. Unfortunately, the dream came true and Mburo was drowned by mass floods the filled the valley to form the lake that was later named Lake Mburo while the adjacent hill was named Kigarama in reference to these two brothers. Before the gazettion of Lake Mburo as National park, the place acted as royal grazing area for king of Ankole vis-à-vis other Bahima pastoralists who refer the area to “Nshara – ensinungyi erikwera”. Lake Mburo National Park is located in Kiruhura District in Western Uganda. The park is situated about 30 kilometers, by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region. This location is approximately 240 kilometers, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. At 260 square kilometers, the park is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah national parks underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. Once covered by open savanna, Lake Mburo National Park now holds much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.
Attractions in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda wildlife tour safari in Lake Mburo National Park
Wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
Lake Mburo being a savannah park is gifted with a range of wildlife that have inhabited the area for centuries past. It is well known for its highest number of Burchells’ zebra in Uganda. Other species include; Eland, impala, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck. Though the vegetation is now getting dense, the park still has large open spaces that present opportunity for clear game viewing.
Lake Mburo National park contains both acacia dweller birds and forest birds making it a unique place for birding. Having 20% of its area covered by wetland and the existence of Rubanga forest renders this park habitat to a variety of bird species that a visitor on Ugandan safari would not postpone to encounter. Various bird species in Lake Mburo include; the rare Red faced Barbet which is endemic to this park, Brown-chested lapwing, Grey Crowned Crane, Black bellied Bustard, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Rufous-bellied Heron, Brown Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, White-headed Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Common Scimitarbill, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit, Finfoot among others.
Culture in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
Lake Mburo: The beautiful land of ‘beautiful cows’ is located in south western Uganda, within the traditional rangelands of the Bahima pastoralists. They call the land Kaaro Karungi, the Beautiful Land. The Bahima valued the landscape for raising long-horned Ankole cows, their own unique breed. Any other uses, especially farming, were prevented. The Lake Mburo area was of particular significance as the King, the Omugabe, kept specially selected herds of Enyembwa, or ‘beautiful cows’ there. Bahima have bred Ankole cows for centuries to mirror the beauty of the cows bequeathed to them by their mythical god-like ancestors. Owning Ankole cows, which are not highly productive, and breeding them for beauty, is central to Bahima identity. These people surround the park with their unique values which a traveler on this Ugandan tour should not attempt to miss.
Tourist activities in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
Birding in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
The best birding spots in Lake Mburo National 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 observed at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, 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 – is one of the of the forest’s featured species.
Game drives in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
The game drive in Lake Mburo is an exciting opportunity to encounter a variety of game on various park tracks.
Zebra tracks leads to harems of Burchell’s zebra alongside other species like bushbucks, oribi and reedbucks. The Zebra Track tips to the junction of Ruroko Track, a drive through a wetland basin and thick acacia shrub and woodland, with olive trees and eurphorbia species. Kopjes (rock outcrops) found along the Ruroko track, are home to elusive klipspringers to which the rock is the best habitat.
The Kazuma track trails through wooded grassland where black-bellied bustards often patrol the area. Climb Kazuma hill to experience a real exposure of Lake Mburo National Park, because of its great altitude. The five lakes within the park and the rolling hills become more noticeable and striking.
Kigambira Loop trails through a wooded wilderness with scattered thicket and easy to spot bushbucks and bush duikers.
The Lakeside Track is particularly intended to enable viewing of water plants and animals. The park has a diversity of water birds and woodland birds, which can be sighted along these tracks.
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to roam the park in search of wildlife. These start between 6.30-7pm and last two to three hours. Game Drives can be taken along numerous different paths, the best choice dependent upon weather and seasonality. During the dry periods, animals tend to assemble around the swamps and lakes; presenting an extraordinary photo occasion featuring a herd of wild animals on the shores of scenic water bodies.
Horse riding in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
Mihingo lodge provides a horse back safari in Lake Mburo National Park which helps the visitors to get closer to wildlife than when in a van. It’s exciting and memorable. The four-hour hacks take visitors up to hilltop viewpoints with the option of bush breakfasts or sundowners.
Nature walks in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
With the company of a ranger guide, a visitor can take a walk to the salt lick where animals gather to the salty rocks. Walks on the western side of the lake begin at 7am and take two hours. On this walk one may meet hyenas coming back to their dens and hippos receding to the lake. Hikes through the woodland act as a chance to view forest birds and mammals, while the walk to the top of the hill offers the visitors with an impressive view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes. Rubanga Forest is of interest to certain walkers and birders and may be visited by prior arrangement and in the company of a ranger.
Boat cruise in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
A two hour boat cruise presents an opportunity to explore the wildlife rich eastern bank of Lake Mburo. Magnificent birds like African fish eagle, colorful kingfishers, Hammerkops and their interesting nests, crocodiles, Hippos and other wildlife like Buffalos and elands taking water on the lake shores can be encountered on this single activity that starts at Rwonyo center. Voyages depart from Rwonyo jetty every two hours (subject to demand) starting at 8am.
Sport fishing in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
At Mazinga, visitors can experience memorable sport fishing and get themselves the common Tilapia species among other six fish species. Carrying own fishing equipment and authorization from Uganda Wildlife Authority is advisable for his activity.
Encounter the Bahima pastoral community around this park and have a chance to view the famous Ankole long horned cattle, Hima art and craft where one can get him/herself a souvenir to take home plus their general traditions. Ankole Cow Conservation Association (ACCA) site which is few kilometers outside park boarders is the home to this cultural experience.
Where to Stay in Lake Mburo National Park Uganda
Rwonyo Rest Camp
Rwonyo Rest Camp is a budget accommodation is found in Lake Mburo National Park. Rwonyo is under the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The place offers chances for game viewing with in the environs. The camp consists of bandas and tented rooms that are well furnished. The bandas are designed in form of wooden hats with shared showers. The amazing thing about this budget camp is a free camp ground where you can pitch your tent in the true wilderness of Lake Mburo. Rwonyo Rest camp is the perfect place for budget travelers and it’s advisable to come with your tent if you are to camp.
Conservation Education Centre (Sanga)
This is a conservation education center located at about 1 Km. from Sanga gate. It has a good accommodation and a 40 people capacity hall which caters for school groups, visitors, seminars or workshops.
Mantana Tented Camp
This tented camp has nine well-spaced rooms set in open woodland near the summit of a hill about 4 km from Lake Mburo. The rooms present a clear view of acacia woodland and part of the lake below. The large ‘Larsen-style’ tents are set on wooden platforms, with verandahs overlooking the park. Though tents are simple, they are comfortably furnished with twin beds and an en suite bathroom. The bathrooms have flush toilets, flasks of hot and cold water are provided next to the wash-basins and hot water is always available for a bucket shower. There is a lovely stone and thatch dining and bar area overlooking the lake with comfortable sofas and a little open fire, ideal enjoying your pre- or post-dinner drinks.
Arcadia Cottages is situated in the Lake Mburo National Park, very close to the water’s edge. This is an ideal destination for nature lovers and it offers a variety of simple, yet comfortable rooms. The categories of rooms include;
These cottages have a double bed each, as well as en-suite bathrooms.
Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. It has ten rooms set up on wooden platforms with stilts, covered by a thatched roof. Suspended under the thatched roof is a spacious and comfortable tent equipped with en-suite bathrooms with stunning views, including hot and cold running water, showers, and flush loos. 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 is a large thatched structure built of rocks, the wood of dead weathered olive trees found on the land, and native grasses. Below the dining area, an infinity swimming pool stretches out from the rocks and seems to disappear into the vast landscape beyond. From the dining and pool area, guests can enjoy the view of a westward oriented valley and its stunning evening sunsets over Lake Mburo National Park. On top of these facilities and services, Mihingo lodge also operates horseback safaris and offers body massage.
Lake Mburo Safari Lodge
Mburo Safari Lodge boasts of its excellent accommodation which comprises the main Lodge, cottages and honey moon house all raised on a wooden platform and covered by a grass-thatched roof, perfectly blending with the natural environment, stylishly and thoughtfully designed for your absolute comfort, convenience, and pleasure. Each is equipped with Clean private bathroom tubs, showers and toilets, private balconies, handcrafted wooden furniture, comfortable king-sized beds, mosquito nets and wardrobes all opening out to their private balconies. Some cottages have a full kitchen. All rooms are privately situated, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you. All cottages enjoy glass doors leading to a screened in porch and magnificent views of the national park.
Set on a massive granite outcrop, just beside Lake Mburo National Park, the accommodation at Rwakobo is a variety of thatched cottages, with solar lights, flush toilets, solar heated showers and filtered drinking water, which blend into the natural landscape. The rooms are dotted around the hill taking advantage of rocky ledges and private corners. Charging facilities and slow Wi-Fi are available at the main area.
How to get to Lake Mburo National Park Uganda wildlife tour safari in Lake Mburo National Park
The park can be accessed by road and it’s a 3 hour drive from Kampala and then branch off from the main Mbarara road at Sanga town and then drive on a rough murram to enter the park at Sanga gate. Nshara gate can also be used to access the park only 13 kilometers past Lyantonde town.
Murchison Falls National Park was established in 1952 and it is Uganda’s largest national park. Located in the north west of Uganda at the tip of the western rift valley also known as the Albertine rift, Murchison Falls National Park is in a distance of 311km about 5 hours’ surface drive from the city of Kampala. The national Park covers a surface landscape of 3,440km2 while the wider Murchison Conservation Area which embeds Karuma and Bugungu wildlife reserves combine to cover 5,308km2. . The Murchison Falls National Park is closer to Masindi town 85km about 2- 3 hours’ of surface drive. The Park is bisected by the River Nile which is the longest river in the world as it makes its way from Lake Victoria to Mediterranean Sea leaving a natural wonder famously known as Murchison falls which is the most powerful waterfall in the whole world. The feature derives its nomenclature after Sir Roderick Murchison who was the president of the Royal geographical society at the time of its discovery by Sir Samuel Baker. This feature is among the hotspots in Murchison National Park thus should not be missed while on safari in Uganda as it squeezes its self to make the way through an 8m ravine before plummeting 43m Read More About Murchison Falls Park
First established as Kazinga National Park in 1952, Queen Elizabeth National Park is situated in the west of Uganda nearing the Rwenzori Mountains with snowcapped peaks towering at 5,109m above sea level. The National Park of Queen Elizabeth covers a cross section of the western rift valley floor stretching for1, 978km2 land coverage. Queen Elizabeth National Park is currently the most visited park in Uganda and is listed as a world biosphere reserve. It has rich biodiversity concentration with 95 species of mammals, 600 species of birds which makes it the first in Uganda regarding the bird populations, ten (10) species of primate and 20 predator species. Queen Elizabeth is also a habitat for the tree climbing lions dwelling in its sector of Ishasha, the famous Kazinga channel stretching to 45km long connecting Lake Edward and Lake George, the amazing Kyambura gorge with counts of Chimpanzees not forgetting the range of explosion craters some of which are salty lakes while others contain sulphur. This conglomerate to make Queen Elizabeth National Park an ideal destination that can be encountered while on safari in Uganda. Read More About Queen Elizabeth Park
Located in the south west of Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park stretches for 321km2 at an altitude of 1,160 – 2,607 m above sea level. The area is among the East African areas with largest tract of Afromontane forest which existed since the pre historic era and endured through the last ice age forming the ground for great biodiversity concentration with highest number of trees in relation to other areas of its altitude stature. The park has enormous numbers of butterfly species some of which are endemic to the park and it is also holding great concentrations of mammal numbers. Containing about 400 out of 880 mountain gorillas that apparently thrive in the wilderness with none existing in captivity, the impenetrable forest of Bwindi holds the mantle as a great gorilla trekking safari destination. Surrounded by high population density with great agricultural attachment, it’s very interesting that Bwindi still has great biodiversity concentration including; 163 species of trees, 104 species of fern alongside other taxa. 16 species of trees are restricted to the Uganda’s south western region including Lavoa swynnertonii which is globally threatened. Read More About Bwindi Impenetrable Park
Gazetted in 1991, the park covers an area of 33.7 Sq.km making it Uganda’s smallest national park. It is a second refigium of the endangered mountain gorillas after Bwindi. It is also known for its golden monkey. The park has a strong cultural attachment to the pygmy community that inhabits the area. It has three conical features of extinct volcanoes which is part of the spectacular Virunga area. It shares boundaries with Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mgahinga is located about 15 kilometers, by road, south of the town of Kisoro and approximately 55 kilometers, by road, west of Kabale, the largest city in the sub-region. The entire park is located in Bufumbira County, Kisoro District the extreme south western corner of Uganda thus among the secluded destinations that a traveler can visit while on Uganda Safari. Read More About Mgahinga Gorilla Park
Kibale National Park is found in Western Uganda sharing the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge, approximately 320 kilometers, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. Fort Portal in Kabarole District is the nearest large city to the national park. It covers an area of about 795Sq.km and it one of the last surviving tropical forests in Uganda with over 351 tree species some of which are 200 years old and over 55m tall, 70 mammal species, 13 primate species including chimpanzee and over 375 species of birds. The park was gazetted in 1932 and formally established in 1993 to protect a large area of forest previously managed as a logged Forest Reserve. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park creating a 180 km wildlife corridor. It is a significant eco-tourism and safari destination, well known for its populace of habituated chimpanzees and 12 other species of primates. It also acts as the location of the Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS). The park is surrounded by two major tribes, the Batooro and Bakiga who rely on the park for food, fuel, and other resources with the assistance of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Read More About Kibale Forest Park
Traditionally, two brothers settled on the land that the park currently occupies. These were Mburo and Kigarama. One night, Kigarama dreamt of an area flooding and cautioned his intimate brother to relocate from the area. His brother (Mburo) disregarded the dream and refused to relocate to the adjacent hills like what Kigarama had done. Unfortunately, the dream came true and Mburo was drowned by mass floods the filled the valley to form the lake that was later named Lake Mburo while the adjacent hill was named Kigarama in reference to these two brothers. Before the gazettion of Lake Mburo as National park, the place acted as royal grazing area for king of Ankole vis-à-vis other Bahima pastoralists who refer the area to “Nshara – ensinungyi erikwera”. Lake Mburo National Park is located in Kiruhura District in Western Uganda. The park is situated about 30 kilometers, by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region. This location is approximately 240 kilometers, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city. At 260 square kilometers, the park is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah national parks underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more Read More About Lake Mburo National Park
The fabled mountains of the moon as described by Ptolemy in 150AD present the most exciting treasure that a visitor on a Uganda Safari would live to remember in his journey memoir. Gazetted as a national park in 1991 covering an area of about 996 Sq.km, received a designation status by UNESCO as World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding natural beauty with Margarita peak standing over 5,109m above sea level and without forgetting its coverage by snow throughout the year despite its closeness to the world latitude (Equator) makes it an attraction worth of encountering. Being a mountain range, it was once described as one of the challenging mountains to climb in the Africa travel magazine. The glaciers like Nyamwamba add spice to its scenic view and the park status assures the wild life of their safety making it their closest habitat. The park shelters 70 mammal species, 217 bird species including 19 Albertine Rift endemics as well as some of the world’s rarest vegetation that differ in its five zones including; montane forest zone, bamboo forest zone, tree heath vegetation zone and Afro-alpine moorland zone. Read More About Rwenzori National Park
Kidepo National Park is positioned in the north western part of Uganda in Kaboong district 220km north West of Moroto the biggest town in the sub region and 700 km from Kampala – the Uganda’s capital city. Kidepo National Park was established in 1962 and it covers 1,442km2 of land surface providing habitat to 77 mammal species along with 475 bird species which makes the second in ranking after Queen Elizabeth National Park. Interestingly to note is that 60 of these bird species are endemic to Kidepo on Ugandan standards. Besides Birds, Kidepo also contain 5 primate species including the including the localized patas monkeys; 20 predator species which include the Kidepo endemics such as the aardwolf, bat eared fox, black-backed jackal, caracal and cheetah. Kidepo National Park has 12 species of Antelope which include the Kidepo endemics namely; lesser kudu, greater kudu, mountain reedbuck and Guenther’s dik-dik. Other wildlife also exist in the park including; elephant, lions, buffaloes, lions, bush duiker, leopard among other wildlife. Formerly, the area where Kidepo National Park belonged to Dodoth pastoralists and indigenous Karimojong who practiced cultivation before the establishment of wildlife reserve in 1958 to ensure the protection of wild animals from poaching. The park is the most remote of all Uganda National Parks which Read More About Kidepo Valley Park
The park covers an area of over 1,121 Sq.km with the fourth tall mountain in East Africa which was the once the highest mountain in Africa far from Kilimanjaro but only to be reduced to 4,321m due to denudation forces. With the last eruption occurring 24 Million years ago, Mt. Elgon can be considered oldest and largest solitary volcano not only in Uganda but East Africa in general. It houses one of the world’s intact largest caldera stretching to over 42Sq.km supported by 4,000 Sq. km base which is the largest volcanic base in the whole world.It was first gazetted as a Forest Reserve in 1929 and in 1940 the area became the Mt. Elgon Crown Forest while in 1951 it became a Central Forest Reserve. Due to encroachment by the Benet-Ndorobo people, the government alloweda 6000 hectare portion of the Reserve for settlement in 1983 though more 1500 hectares were settled illegally and in 1993 the area received a national park status thus can currently be incorporated in your itinerary while planning your Safari to Uganda. Read More About Mount Elgon Park