Lake Mburo National Park is a compact savanna park, Uganda’s most accessible wildlife park from the heart of Kampala capital city. The lush savanna and Lake-dominated protected area lies in Western Uganda and supports abundant wildlife species. Its shores features are forest-fringed and it is truly a hidden gem, offering the off-the-beaten path experiences.
Location & size of the park
Lake Mburo National Park (LMNP) is lying in Kiruhura District, Western Uganda. This natural wonder occupies over 370 sq.km of land area, sheltering over 68 mammal species, 350 species of birds and reptiles, etc. Lake Mburo National Park started as a controlled area since 1933 to 1963 when it became a Game Reserve.
The Banyonkole and Bahima local residents who occupied areas of the present Lake Mburo NP used the reserve as their grazing area. In 1983, it was designated as a national park.
Lake Mburo National Park contains a huge concentration of wildlife species, majority of which can be spotted on a guided game drive, horseback riding, cycling, and boat cruise or guided nature walks. The park’s animal species include impalas, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks, topis, Rothschild giraffes, waterbucks, striped jackals, klipspringers, mongooses, otters, buffaloes, reedbucks, warthogs, leopards, oribis, bush pigs, common duikers, sitatungas, and more.
Lake Mburo NP is a special birding location, home to more than 350 bird species. The park supports a variety of acacia-associated birds and aquatic species. On birding tour, the common birds to identify include the green-capped eremomela, black-throated barbets, Southern ground hornbills, endemic papyrus yellow warblers, papyrus gonoleks, blue-headed coucal, Ruppell’s long-tailed starling, black-bellied bustards, mosque swallow, bare-faced go-away, pelicans, shoebill storks, greater painted-snipe, African wattled lapwing, and others.
Lake Mburo N/Park is dominated by acacia trees, boscia and olea species. There are also fringes of swamps with papyrus where birds such as yellow, black and red papyrus gonoleks reside. The park’s distinct vegetation supports diversity of species including over 68 mammal species.
Top tourism activities in Lake Mburo National Park
Game drive in Lake Mburo NP is carried out in the savanna grasslands where visitors have higher chances of encountering a diversity of animal species. In a 4×4 safari vehicle, a game drive tour in this park allows you to come across wildlife species such as hyenas, zebras, topis, leopards, cape buffaloes, jackals, zebras, giraffes, birds and more.
Birding in this park is a must-do activity for tourists on Uganda safaris. Over 350 bird species reside in the park’s diverse habitats and include the crested francolin, Nubian woodpecker, African grey hornbill, cisticolas, shoebill storks, green pigeon, pelicans, crested crane, double toothed barbets, saddle bill storks, white-winged warblers, and many others.
The best way to closely interact with wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park is by embarking on a guided nature walk. Guests are led by a professional park ranger guide and there is a chance to navigate through the park’s woodland, see a variety of mammals, birds and floral species.
Fishing is an exciting water sport tourists visiting Lake Mburo NP should have. This is done on Lake Mburo where 6 fish species live (mud fish, tilapia, haplochromes, lung fish, and others). All anglers on fishing tour should have a valid Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
Cycling tours offer an unforgettable experience, a great opportunity for nature lovers to immerse themselves into the wild to interact with nature. With a tour guide accompanying you, you will embark on cycling trails in the park and as you ride through the park, expect to come across buffaloes, zebras, giraffes and plenty of antelope families.
Lake Mburo National Park is an amazing destination worth visiting for a memorable launch/boat cruise. The park has about 5 lakes within it and a boat cruise is done on Lake Mburo where you will be spotting animal species such as hippos, crocodiles as well as buffaloes, antelopes and aquatic birds.
If you enjoy horseback riding and you are planning a safari to Uganda, then Lake Mburo National Park is one location/destination you must include on your bucket-list of travel destinations. Horseback riding is a unique activity in Lake Mburo offering guests a chance to ride on the back of a horse while viewing wildlife rather than using a 4×4 vehicle.
Forest walks are among the numerous safari activities visitors can enjoy while on Uganda safaris in Lake Mburo National Park. Rubanga Forest does offer incredible walking safaris and holds over 40 species of birds, floral species and more.
Adjacent to Lake Mburo NP, about 13 local community groups have been trained in eco-tourism and biodiversity related activities. These projects are aimed at empowering local communities and include Ankole cultural community group, Rwenjeru campsite, and Rwabarata drama group. Besides cultural entertainment, there is also a chance to purchase some locally made products from residents’ craft shops.
Best time to visit, & weather
Lake Mburo N/Park experiences temperature range of 27 degrees and 14 degrees celsius. The best time to travel to the park for wildlife safari is during the dry or peak season: June to September or December to February- these are the months characterized by lesser rainfall. The park also records wet/rainy season also ideal for birding/bird watching if you are targeting to see migratory birds or when they are breeding. The recognized rainy/wet season runs from March to May and from September to November.
Top places to stay on a safari in Lake Mburo NP
Available luxury/high-end lodges in Lake Mburo N/Park include Mihingo Lodge, Kigambira Safari Lodge, Emburara Farm Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, and Hotel Triangle Mbarara. Midrange lodges: Arcadia Cottages Lake Mburo, Mburo Safari Lodge and Rwakobo Rock Lodge and budget: Rwonyo Rest Camp, Leopard Rest Lodge and Eagle Nest.
Getting to the park
Lying in Western Uganda, Lake Mburo NP is reachable by road/air. By road, set off from Kampala via Masaka-Mbarara route 4-5 hours’ drive and get to the park via its main gates –Nshara gate or Sanga gate. By air: fly in safaris can be arranged setting off from Entebbe airport/Kajjansi airfield to Nyakisharara airstrip.