LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK
Situated in western Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park is one of the most spectacular safari destinations that you should include in your bucket list. The park covers an area of about 260 square kilometers making it one of the smallest protected areas. It is located around Mbarara district and a four hour drive and this makes it one of the most accessible safari destinations from Kampala city center compared to rest of other national parks in Uganda. It features the vast acacia woodland and comes with unique floral and faunal species like eland antelopes, topis, zebras, impalas; the rare acacia associated birds including the shoebill stork, giraffes and many more. Its remarkable landscape comes with rolling grassy hills and the stunning Lake shores refuges most of acacia tree valleys, forest galleries and permanent swamps and they come with distinct attractions.
A safari to Lake Mburo National Park rewards visitors with amazing sightings of the hippos, crocodiles and large numbers of water birds as well as the fringing swamps where there are most secretive papyrus wildlife species like the sitatunga antelope and red or black and yellow papyrus gonolek. It also features mosaic habitat; dry hillside, rocky outcrop, thickets, vast and wooded savannas, forests, bushes that make up the stunning Lake Mburo National Park.
Tourist activities in Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park offers visitors opportunity to sight wildlife species like impalas, zebras, topi, jackals, hyenas, eland, roan antelope as well as leopard and many more.
Lake Mburo National Park is exceptionally a bird watchers paradise and there are about 315 distinct bird species to be spotted in the park most of which include the African fin foot, saddle billed stork, shoebill stork, brown chested wattled plover papyrus yellow warbler, olea species and boscia, Abyssinian ground hornbill and white winged warbler, curruther’s cisticola, great snipe, tabora cisticola and many more acacia bird species. Lake Mburo National Park features mainly the vast water bird species, Lake Shore and papyrus swamp bird, season swamp birds, woodland, grassland and forest birds. The open water birds include the white winged black tern and great cormorant, yellow billed duck, long tailed cormorant, darter, pink backed pelican and many more.
This is another exciting water sport which takes you through Lake Mburo where you will have a chance to catch a glimpse of hippos, crocodiles and different water bird species especially the pelicans, black crake, heron, cormorant, fish eagle and many more. The boat cruise along Lake Mburo lasts for 2 hours.
Guided nature walks
Lake Mburo National Park also offers travelers opportunity to explore its rare natural wonders on foot with help of the park guide. Travelers walk in the circuit at their personal choice pace. Detailed information about this nature trail is well spelt out in most of park brochures both in English and Runyakole.
You can also take a walk to the nearby salt where you will have opportunity to sight about 4 distinct wildlife species at any time as they gather to lick the salty soil. Travelers view them without their knowledge and thus they are not disturbed while licking the salty soil.
Visit Rubanga forest
This forest comes with more than bird species which makes it one of the best places for birding while on safari to Lake Mburo National Parl. It comes in small size but rewards visitors with its unique canopy. It features tree species like the markhamia platy calyx also known as grey brown truck with regular flaky patches, divided leaves, yellow flowers stripped and spotted with red, brunches. Others include the palms, sapium, figs, flame tree erythrina abyssinica which is found at the edge of the swamp.
Lake Mburo National Park also offers visitors a chance to engage in exciting and adventurous sport fishing. There are about six fish species in Lake Mburo including the tilapia and interested visitors are required to come along with their own gear. This activity is conducted at Mazinga.
Other areas of interest may include the conservation education center which is about one kilometer from Sanga gate and it is open to travelers. It offers excellent accommodation and about 40 people can be accommodated in this area. It covers the interest of individual travelers, school groups, tourism, seminars and workshops. There is also interpretation centre which comes with literature about the national park’s history, wildlife and other resources including its stunning scenery.
The notable safari lodges for visitors on safari to Lake Mburo National Park include the 6 tents at Rwonyo park headquarters and 3 public campsites all of which are strategically situated and they offer remarkable scenic views of the area and Lake Side.
How to get to Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is located in Mbarara town through Mbarara-Kampala highway which is nearly 4 hours’ drive from the city center. From Mbarara, you turn left at or after 13 kilometers past Lyantode and then to Sanga gate. All the junctions have signposts to Lake Mburo.
In conclusion, Lake Mburo National Park is one of Uganda’s unique wildlife conservation areas. For travelers who are looking for the nearest national parks to visit while on safari in Kampala, then Lake Mburo National Park is the best choice for you.