Find ALL The Much-Needed Information About Lake Mburo National Park In Uganda Such As:- Wildlife Uganda Safaris, Attractions, Activities, Lake Mburo National Park Safari Lodges/Accommodation/Where To Stay, How To Book A Uganda Safari Permit, Uganda Safari Travel Tips/Advice, What To Wear, When To Go/Best Time To Go Visit Lake Mburo National Park For Safari.
Situated halfway between Kampala city and the Uganda gorilla trekking forests of the southwest, Lake Mburo National Park is often overlooked by travelers rushing to see the incredible Mountain Gorillas. However, Lake Mburo National Park Uganda is a perfect overnight stop-over if you’re making your way between the two Uganda safari destinations –national parks in Uganda.
Yes, it lacks heavyweights like Elephant, but Mburo’s great mix of wetland and woodland provides ideal habitat for 68 species of mammals in Uganda and over 350 birds of Uganda species, and its tranquil atmosphere and soothing views provide welcome relief after a long road safari in Uganda.
At just 370km2, it’s Uganda’s smallest savannah park, but it contains the greatest acacia woodland of any of Uganda wildlife safari parks. Also, Lake Mburo, along with 13 lakes in the area, is part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie inside the park.
Unique to Lake Mburo Park is the availability of horseback safaris, cycling tours, game walks, and amazing night game drives in the park which allows for closer viewing and exceptional photographs of the abundant plains game.
It is also the only Uganda safari park where you can see Impala and has the largest population of Zebras. Other animals in Lake Mburo National Park include Common Eland, Giraffe, Topi, Oribi, Reedbuck, Warthog, Hyaena, Leopard, and the mighty Buffalo.
The park is also famous for boat rides on Lake Mburo where you can see plenty of Hippos, King Fishers, Fish Eagles, and Crocodiles as well as rare birds such as the African Finfoot.
Lake Mburo National Park is located in southwestern Uganda about 240km from Kampala. From Entebbe International Airport to Lake Mburo Park, it’s approximately 290km. The drive from Kampala/Entebbe to the park takes about 3-4 hours. The park is neighbored by 4 districts of Uganda including Mbarara, Lyantonde, Isingiro North, and Kiruhura.
Lake Mburo National Park was first gazetted as a controlled hunting area in 1933, upgraded to a game reserve in 1963, and finally to a national park in 1983.
The name of this park is derived from a story about two brothers, Mburo, and Kigarama, who lived in the low-lying Savannah plains, thus making the region historically known as Kaaro Karungi. One night, Kigarama dreamed that they were going to have a lot of rain, which would bring floods and ruin their property.
Kigarama informed his brother about his dream, but Mburo dismissed it. Because dreams were revered in African tradition, Kigarama decided to leave the place and walked to the overlooking hills, leaving his brother behind.
Finally, the fantasy came true when the region was ravaged by rain, resulting in floods and the drowning of Mburo and his property, and thus the name Mburo and the hills were named after his brother. All this story can be narrated to you during your Lake Mburo safari.
Lake Mburo National Park is found in Mbarara district along Mbarara Kampala highway, a 3.5-hour drive from Kampala City. From Mbarara, turn left at/after 13 km (Akageti) past Lyantonde, which then brings you to Sanga gate. Both junctions have clearly labeled signposts to Lake Mburo National Park.
It is 13 kms from Sanga trading center to Sanga gate, 5 km from the main road to Nshara gate and almost 20 minutes drive from Rwonyo Park Head Quarters
Five lakes, wetlands, acacia woodland, forests, and a variety of Ugand birds and mammals of Uganda are only a sneak peek of what Lake Mburo National Park has to offer.
This scenic little park is located close to many other sites worth visiting like the Igongo Cultural Center & Museum, Biharwe Eclipse Monument, and the Equator line. Have you packed your bags and set out to this picturesque site as your chosen destination? Well then, here are the top attractions in Lake Mburo National Park:
Despite its small size, Lake Mburo National Park contains a diverse range of games, with over 68 Uganda animals – species recorded. The park is home to Uganda’s largest Zebras population and is the only national park in the country where you can see the graceful Impalas.
Aside from Impalas, Lake Mburo National Park is home to a plethora of other amazing antelopes such as Topis, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Reedbucks, Oribi, Sitatungas, and Klipspringers.
Large herds of majestic Common Eland (the second largest antelope in the world) move seasonally through areas of the park. The lake and its lush fringing vegetation also support a healthy population of Hippos, Crocodiles, Buffaloes, Warthogs, and Bushpigs.
Lake Mburo Park is also said to have Uganda’s largest number of Leopards, which are mostly spotted during night game drives.
Some 15 Rothschild’s giraffe from Murchison Falls National Park were introduced in Lake Mburo in 2015; the herds have since settled well into the savannah northeast of the park.
Only two diurnal primate species exist in Mburo National Park; Vervet monkey and Olive baboons, but this is one of the very few places in Uganda where you can see the nocturnal Greater galago/Bushbaby. The eerie, rising, nocturnal call of the spotted hyena is often heard from the camps and individuals can be observed crossing the road at night. Side-striped Jackal and several small predators are also present, most visibly White-tailed mongoose.
The birdlife in Lake Mburo National Park is outstanding – if you’re on a Uganda birding tour you’ll be knocked out by the number of sightings you have. More than 350 bird species have been recorded in the park.
The localized Red-faced Barbet is particularly the Lake Mburo National Park’s most sought bird species. Mburo is also the most reliable site in Uganda for seeing the elusive African Finfoot. The pre-historic-looking Shoebill may also be observed but is irregular in the park.
Rwonyo Rest Camp is a perfect place to search for likes of Mosque swallow, Black-billed bustard, Bare-faced go-away bird, and Rüppell’s starling. Several bird species in Lake Mburo National Park are essentially southern species at the very northern limit of their range, for example, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Black-collared barbets, Black-throated barbets, and Green-capped eremomela.
Also, of special interest to twitches are the swamps, in which 6 papyrus endemics are residents, such as the brilliantly coloured Papyrus Gonolek, the striking Blue-headed coucal, the highly localized white-winged warbler, and the Papyrus yellow warbler.
Five spectacular lakes lie within the boundary of Lake Mburo National Park. The most important of these is Lake Mburo from which the park derives its name.
Lake Mburo is also the largest of the five lakes. It extends over 13 square kilometers and is fringed by lush riparian woodland and significant areas of papyrus swamp.
Lake Mburo is a natural haven for fauna and flora.
The bank teems with Uganda animals and birds. Crocodiles and hippopotami are permanent residents, and buffalos come to drink during the dry season.
The wide variety of resident birds includes Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagles, Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, Blue-headed Weavers, Green-necked Doves, Hammerkops, Pelicans, Herons, Cormorants, and even rare Shoebills.
The lake is also endowed with 6 fish species, with the most commonly caught species being tilapia. Other species include catfish, lungfish, tiger fish, Angara fish, and barbell. For one enthusiastic about sports fishing in Uganda, it can be done here albeit with a license.
Lake Mburo National Park is located at the heart of the ancestral home of the Banyankole – Bahima people, the famed cattle herders who rear the beautiful and iconic long-horned cattle that can be seen grazing in the park.
At Enyemebwa Centre, near Lake Mburo, you can enjoy Ugandan cultural tours and learn about their Ugandan culture and traditions and even have a go at traditional milking of the cows or making some ghee.
A few kilometers from the park’s Sanga gate, you will find the Igongo Cultural Centre where you can learn about the history and traditions of the Ankole Kingdom. It is the embodiment of a true cultural experience; food, drink, artifacts, museum, traditional performances, and all.
At Biharwe hill overlooking the Igongo Cultural Center is found in the 1520AD Eclipse Monument, a beautiful 3-pillar memorial that reminds local people of the time when the Omukama (King) of Bunyoro had confiscated the entire cows of the Ankole Kingdom leaving people in complete starvation.
Lake Mburo National Park is an incredible, small park with a variety of thrilling things to do. It is a perfect place for a short Uganda wildlife safari of 2 or 3 days long, giving you a taste of the African wilderness in Uganda.
Here Are The Top Uganda Safari Activities In Lake Mburo National Park:
This is one of the most interesting game walks in Uganda, in a beautiful savannah landscape dotted with great Acacia trees. Unusually, the whole park is open for game walks and you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable local range guide.
The best locations for game walks include the salt lick at Rwonyo, the lake’s banks, Rubanga Forest, and a hilltop that offers gorgeous lake views.
The activity begins early in the morning at around 6:30 am. Another nature walk starts at 7:00 am and runs for 2 hours. At this time of day, you will have an opportunity to see a variety of unique birds, as well as encounter hyenas returning to their dens and Hippos retreating to the lake. You will also enjoy amazing sights of other Lake Mburo National Park animals including:
Lake Mburo Game Walking Safari Fees
The park has a network of game viewing tracks including Research Zebra, Impala, Kazuma, Rwizi, and Warukiri tracks. The tracks pass a variety of landscape features including acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops, and seasonally flooded valley floors.
On your day game drive, you will be assured of spotting hundreds of Plains zebras, Cape buffalo, Impala, Warthog, and Waterbuck.
You will also have the opportunity to see Giraffes, vervet monkeys, Baboons, Topis, Klipspringers, Oribi, Reedbucks, Sitatungas, Hippos, Crocodiles, Spotted hyenas, and Mongoose. Also available sometimes in large herds of over 100 are Common elands but they are quite shy.
Lake Mburo National Park game drives usually start early in the morning and late afternoon. They typically last between 3-4 hours.
Lake Mburo Day Game Drive Fees
Night drives in the park with a Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) range guide are also possible. Under the cover of night, the bush takes on a different character. Night game drives start between 6:30 pm-7:00 pm and last 2 to 3 hours. The expert range guide assigned may use spotlights to help you better see the animals.
You will have a great opportunity to see several nocturnal creatures that are active at night in Lake Mburo National Park including
Lake Mburo Night Game Drive Fees
A boat trip is another memorable recreational Uganda safari holiday experience you can enjoy on your Lake Mburo safari. Trips depart from Rwonyo Jetty, last around 2 hours, and leave every 2 hours between 08.00 and 16.00 as well as at 17.30.
Lake Mburo despite being a relatively small lake the amount of wildlife is pretty spectacular.
In addition to the spectacular scenery and simple pleasure attached to being on the water, this boat ride offers reliable and great sightings of hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, waterbucks, and bushbucks, and you can also lookout for the 3 otter’s species that inhabit the lake.
Several waterbirds including the striking African fish eagle, African Finfoot, marabou stork, pied kingfisher, and several egrets and herons can all be seen on the lake while Ross’s turaco and Narina trogon are frequently seen in lakeside thickets.
Lake Mburo Boat Trip Fees
Birding is one of the major Uganda safari activities in Lake Mburo National Park.
The best Uganda birding spots in Lake Mburo National Park are near the lake swamps at Warukiri and Rwonyo, dry hillsides, rocky outcrops, and dense savannah. Over 350 bird species have been recorded in Lake Mburo National Park. Birders can explore them on guided nature walks, game drives, or by boat.
Some localized Uganda bird species only occur in Lake Mburo Park and topping that list are Red-faced barbet, Tabora cisticola, Green-capped eremomela, Golden-tailed woodpecker, Spot-flanked barbet, and Grey penduline tit.
At the swamps around the lake, the main targets are African Finfoot, Papyrus Gonolek, white-winged warbler, African water rail, and white-backed night-heron.
Yellow-throated Leaflove can be spotted in dense, waterside thickets, and on the overhanging branches, you can see the Giant kingfishers.
Small numbers of the migratory brown-chested plover are regularly observed in the grasslands that access the park, in addition to the impressive Abyssinian ground-hornbill. Night drives may reveal African scops owl, marsh owl, Verreaux’s eagle owl, swamp, and pennant-winged nightjars.
Mixed woodlands are best for:
Lake Mburo Birding Fees
Lake Mburo National Park is the only place where you can enjoy a horseback safari in a national park on your Uganda safari tour. It is a unique option if you feeling a bit adventurous during your Uganda holiday.
Mihingo Lodge has a stable with well-trained horses that you can use to explore the bush. Horses offer a special advantage: since they’re four-legged creatures, other animals tend to allow you to approach them more closely without running away.
A horse ride can last from one to five hours based on your ability and often include sundowners or bush breakfasts. The maximum weight that you can be to ride our horses is 100 kg, but most of the horses cannot carry more than 85kg. All rides are accompanied by at least one experienced horse guide, but in most cases, 2 guides are accompanying each ride.
Aside from horseback safaris, Lake Mburo Park also offers the fun option of a cycling tour in Uganda. The rides are tailored to individual needs. Trails are ranging from 1 hour to as long you can ride. Trails are primarily along flat valley bottoms where abundant wildlife exist and visibility is good. For mountain bikers, there are plenty of challenging stretches and alternative routes possible. Cycling is much enjoyable during the cool hours of the day.
A bike tour guide will accompany you, while prime safaris will ensure you have a supply of drinking water and snacks for your biking excursion, which may have you passing among grazing herds of zebras, giraffes, impalas, warthogs, Topis, and waterbucks without causing a rustle.
Lake Mburo Birding Fees
Lake Mburo National Park features five lakes but most of the fishing is done at the largest of them all – Lake Mburo. The Mazinga spot is the best fishing place in Lake Mburo because it is free from crocodiles and hippos. After getting a permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), you can enjoy this sport at Maziga.
At this site, you are encouraged to carry your own fishing equipment. You’re likely to catch more than five fish species, however, the most common fish is tilapia.
Lake Mburo Sport Fishing Fees for 1 Day
Lake Mburo Sport Fishing Fees for 4 Days
Banyankole Cultural Exploration
The Banyankole Cultural Exploration takes place at Enyemebwa Centre near Lake Mburo Park. It is usually done in the morning during which you have an opportunity to participate in the traditional hand milking of the world-famous Ankole long-horned cattle.
You will also visit the traditional hut where you find the women churning milk in the churning gourd. You will explore the extensive banana plantations where you learn about various banana types and their respective use and participate in pruning and weeding using local methods.
Enjoy traditional performances including citations, dancing, and singing. It is a fascinating encounter that allows you to gain a deep immersion of the local culture.
Explore Igongo Cultural Centre & Museum
A few kilometers from the park’s Sanga gate, you will find the Igongo Cultural Centre. The few hours you will spend there will take you centuries back into Uganda’s rich heritage learning a lot about the Ankole people. The center is the embodiment of a true cultural experience; food, drink, artifacts, museum, traditional performances, and all.
A guided tour through the museum will place you in the footprints of the forefathers; their cattle keeping, cultivating, and hunting ways. You will also find out the different ways in which women in Ankole expressed beauty or sought it including how and where they wore their jewelry.
It would add delight to your cultural safaris in Uganda to view the ghee-making process, the traditional milking and churning process in Ankole.
Visit The 1520 AD Eclipse Monument
The 1520AD Eclipse Monument on Biharwe hill overlooking the Igongo Cultural Center. The beautiful 3-pillar monument reminds local people of the time when the Omukama (King) of Bunyoro had confiscated the entire cows of the Ankole Kingdom leaving people in complete starvation.
The tide of events turned when one day as he was from raiding those of Rwanda and reached Biharwe; the eclipse took place and the sky fell ominously dark during daylight hours.
This prompted the terrified Omukama to flee back to Bunyoro leaving behind several stolen cattle at the site and when the eclipse was over, the Banyankole found cows all over. They thought that they had come from heaven, sent by God for their rescue from starvation. They were able to repossess the cows again.
Lake Mburo has got one of the best and affordable Uganda Safari Lodges/accommodations. Lodges In Lake Mburo National Park are categorized in form of luxury, mid-Range, and budget lodges.
Here are the best places to stay on your Lake Mburo Uganda safari:
Mihingo Lodge has a wonderful location, on a rocky kopje with spectacular views over Lake Mburo NP. It is one of the finest properties in the park.
Guest accommodation at Mihingo consists of 12 tented rooms, positioned in a variety of locations across the site. Some are high up on the kopje, others are deep within the forest, and others still are close to the waterhole.
Mihingo offers an amazing assortment of activities. You can go horseback riding before spending a quiet afternoon around the swimming pool or watching the game from the hide positioned next to the nearby waterhole. The lodge features relaxing lounge areas, a thatched dining area, bar, craft shop, gardens, and massage rondavel.
Mburo Safari Lodge is an eco-friendly lodge, built on a hill, overlooking and bordering Lake Mburo National Park.
It boasts excellent accommodations which comprise the main Lodge, cottages, and honeymoon 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 bathrooms with hot 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.
Rwakobo Rock is set in the pristine area, just beside Lake Mburo National Park. It is nestled on a massive rock outcrop with breathtaking views. Animals such as zebra, warthog, impala, and bushbuck abound around the lodge and often congregate at the water hole beneath the dining area.
The lodge offers private thatched cottages, with solar lighting, flush toilets, and solar-heated showers, which blend into the natural landscape.
Rwakobo also has self-contained rooms available in the Hornbill House. This beautiful thatch building has 5 bedrooms each with its own en-suite and verandah. For more of a bush experience, there are ensuite safari tents.
Arcadia Lodge has situated about 2km from the park headquarters at Rwonyo. It is an ideal base from which 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 lodge has 8 self-contained cottages are arranged around a central lodge building, where you can enjoy the tasty dishes in the restaurant or relax and take in the stunning view from the raised deck. In the evenings, you can wind down from an exciting day’s safari around an open fire, sipping on a cold drink from the bar while impala, warthog, and the occasional hippo munch on the grass just yard away.
Mpogo Safari Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive facility conveniently located on top of a hill, in the outcasts of Lake Mburo National Park. The lodge has 16 rooms that offer midrange accommodation at affordable prices. It also has two very private luxurious grass-thatched cottages with two rooms each, inbuilt showers rooms and toilets, at the topmost of the hill, which gives you a very spectacular view of the park.
Eagles Nest is a tented camp that is situated on a high hill bordering Lake Mburo National Park. The camp consists of 10 African safari tents with verandas overlooking the park. Each room is furnished with twin beds. Eagles Nest also offers non-self-contained tents. These are comfortably furnished with 2 single beds with a bedside table and a power outlet for charging your electrical equipment. All tents are placed under a grass thatched roof which creates your private terrace and provides some welcome shade. The tents share a communal ablution block with showers and flushing toilets.
Leopard Rest Camp is the perfect budget campsite which is just one kilometer from Lake Mburo National Park Nshara gate. The camp is eco-friendly, family-friendly, and budget-friendly welcomes groups of all sizes, and has a spacious area for overland campers. It offers bush camping, lazy camping, safari tents, deluxe tents, and luxury tents.
Operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Rwonyo Rest Camp is a budget lodge that is perched on a hillside 1 kilometer from the lakeshore. Waterbucks, warthogs, and Bushpigs wander through the camp during nighttime. Travelers without transport will need to be walked there by a ranger.
Accommodation at Rwonyo Rest Camp includes 7 tents and 4 bandas, most of which use communal toilets and showers. You can self-cater or eat at the nearby Lakeside Restaurant. Overall, it’s a very nice set-up with a classic park feel.
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