Lake Mburo National Park
• Smallest of Uganda’s savanna national Parks measuring 370sqaure km, located in Kiruhura district in Western Uganda
• Has about 350 species of birds
• Altitude: 1,220m – 1,828m above sea level
• Wetland habitats comprise 20% of the park’s surface
• To do list: Nature Walks/ Hiking, Game Drives, Boat rides, Birding, Sport fishing
Lake Mburo, is Uganda’s smallest savanna National Park. It is conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. The park is underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. The park is home to over 350 bird species and has the biggest concentration of Zebras, impala, and eland in Uganda. Other animals are: buffalo, oribi, defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.
Lake Mburo National Park with 13 other lakes forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders. 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. In the mid-1980s, half of Lake Mburo National park was de-gazetted by the Government of Uganda to resettle some communities. Livestock ranches were curved out in some of the degazetted area. But the animals remained. About 50% of the wildlife is outside the park in the livestock ranches that were once their home range. It is common to see zebras and impalas grazing with livestock outside the not so obvious park boundaries.
The network of game tracks in the east of the park passes a variety of landscape features; acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to roam the park in search of wildlife. Commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck, zebra, the shy eland and a variety of birds.
Lake Mburo is well-to-do with a variety of animal and plant species which can only be seen clearly if you take a boat trip. The Hippopotamuses, crocodiles and birds like Pelicans, Heron, Fish Eagle, Black Crake, African Fin foot and Cormorants can be sighted on during a boat cruise. Birding:
Lake Mburo has about 350 bird species including White-winged warbler, Shoebill stork, Crested Francolin, Brown parrot, Red-necked Spur, Common quails, African grey hornbill, Nubian wood pecker, Trilling Cisticola, Coqui Francolin, Long-tailed Cisticola, Southern red bishop and so much more. The best birding spots in the park include the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, and the roadsides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty. There are viewing platforms at the salt lick, in Miriti Valley, and in Rubanga Forest.
Nature Walks / Hiking:
A forest walk in Rubanga Forest offers a diversity of supportive habitat for birds. At Rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks.
Fish species in Lake Mburo include lung fish, tilapia and mud fish. Tourists can get a chance to catch fish using hooks. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga. If you intend to fish, you are requested to obtain a fishing permit from Uganda wildlife Authority.
Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo:
Horseback safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife in the park.
People and Culture:
Lake Mburo is located in the heart of Ankole a region inhabited by the Banyankole tribe best known for keeping herds of the Ankole long- horned cow. Community experiences include activities centred on the cow.
The cultural adventures here take through the process of milk churning and ghee making plus making of local hand crafts, as well as the village walks. Some communities are engaged in tree planting and bee keeping as a way of conserving the environment. Other cultural experiences include traditional cattle watering, milking, processing of organic foods and juices and an ancient Banyankole traditional dance called Ekitaguriro which is danced during the festivities. To know more about the Ankole culture, Igongo cultural institute has a cultural museum, which shows the culture of the south western region of Uganda through culinary tours that include practical preparation of the traditional millet bread ( karo) as well as the process of making Eshabwe which is the local mayonnaise.
228km (3½ hours) from Kampala. Two gates enter the park from the Mbarara road: Nshara Gate is 13kms past Lyantonde from Kampala, while the junction for Sanga Gate is at Sanga trading centre, 27km past Lyantonde. Both junctions are clearly signposted. It is about a 20-minute drive from either gate to the park offices at Rwonyo