Lake Mburo National Park is the closest National Park to Kampala in Kiruhura district and thus a popular park because it’s a home of impalas and zebras. It is located in western Uganda about 240km from Kampala, taking 3-4hours drive. The park covers an area of 370km2 making it the smallest savannah national park in Uganda.
The attractive 158 square miles’ acacia-dotted savannah of Olea and Boscia is home to 68 mammal species such as hippos, giraffes, African leopards, common eland, African buffalo, jackal, among others. The Park contains an extensive area of wetland and harbours several species of mammals not found anywhere else in Uganda. It is also a home of over 315 bird species include African Fin foot and the rare Shoebill Stork and also Grey-backed Cameroptera, Striped Kingfisher, Yellow Rumped Tinker bird, Fork-tailed Drongo and a Bare-faced Go Away Bird
The park contains 13 other lakes in the area apart from Lake Mburo which forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. The five of these lakes can be located within the park’s borders all over the park. Lake Mburo National Park contains much woodland as there are no elephants to feed the vegetation this means it is covered savannah grass land vegetation. The savannah is scattered with rocky ridges and forested gorges in the western part of the park while covers of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.
In 1933, Lake Mburo was initially gazetted as a controlled hunting area and promoted to a game reserve in 1963. The Banyankole-Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the reserve until it was upgraded to national park status in 1983. The government of Obote reformed decision was intended, in part to weaken the Banyankole who supported anti-Obote rebels.
As the evicted pastoralists were not compensated for lost grazing land or assisted with resettling, many remained hostile to the upgrade. The land outside the lake Mburo national park was later subdivided into small ranges and subsistence farming plots.
In 1985, the Obote two government fell and the previous residents of Lake Mburo re-occupied the park’s land, destroying infrastructure, killing wildlife and expelling park staff. This led to the time of the Operation Bonanza massacre of 300,000 people not. In 1986, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government re-gazeted less than half of the original land area of the park.
What to do in the park
Birdwatching, birding spots in the park include swampy valleys and viewing platforms near the salt licks and in the forest. Species found at these locations include the Rufous-bellied Heron, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin and Brown-chested Lapwing.
Launch Trips in Lake Mburo. The eastern banks of Lake Mburo I rich of wild animals and can be explored during a tranquil two-hour boat tour. Be keen enough to look out for buffalo, crocodiles and hippos as well as hammer kops, colourful Kingfishers and magnificent Fish Eagles with their enormous nests.
Game Drives, the two game drive that is early morning and evening game drives in the east of the park passes a variety of landscape features including rock outcrops, acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides and seasonally flooded valley floors. It will reward you with varsity wildlife such as impalas, zebras, buffalos, antelope family among others.
Hiking and Nature Walks in Lake Mburo. Regularly, the whole park is open to walkers as long as they are escorted by a park ranger guide. Places include the lake’s banks, the salt lick at Rwonyo, Rubanga Forest and a hilltop with gorgeous lake views.
Sport Fishing, the park contains over six species of fish, the most common being tilapia others are cut fish. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga.
Horseback safaris are an amazing way to spot wildlife such as eland, buffalo, warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck and zebra.
When to visit Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo National Park is open year around, but the Dry seasons are two in the year that is from June to August and December to February are the best time for common wildlife sightseeing as animals gather around the lake and other water sources. Wildlife viewing is still fine in the Wet seasons from March to May and from September to November though you maybe affect by slippery roads in the park, destruction from rain that can limit you from viewing the game and at this time the park lush and scenic.
Lake Mburo National Park lies between Masaka and Mbarara in western Uganda, 240 km from Kampala capital city of Uganda taking 4hours and 250km or 300km from Bwindi depending on the sector you are in which takes 6-7hours.
Enter the park from the Mbarara-Kampala road on the two gates, 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. It takes 20minute drive from either of the two gates to Rwonyo (park headquarters).