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Uganda Wildlife Tours & Safaris to Lake Mburo National Park

Welcome to Lake Mburo National Park in Uganda. On this portal, you will find up-to-date important reliable, expert, and trustable information about this Park.

Find out where Lake Mburo National Park is located, activities, attractions, how to get to the park, Uganda safari information/advice, accommodations where you can stay, the best time to visit Uganda on safari, what to wear, and much more!

For our readers from world over, we have organized very important information on how to book Uganda safaris and choose the best trustable and professional Uganda tour operator/safari company.

Remember to check out our regular travel updates about this park and Uganda!

Lake Mburo National Park Overview

Lake Mburo National Park is an amazing Uganda’s smallest and closest Uganda safari park to its capital, Kampala. It is an ideal place to break up the long drive to the key safari destinations of the western circuit.

Lake Mburo safari park is famous and the only home for Impalas in Uganda. These animals have this park as their habitat.

It is a gently sloping grassland and open woodland among all Uganda wildlife safari destinations.

The park is also home to Hippos, Buffalos, Zebras, Giraffes, Waterbucks, Elands, Klipspringers, Oribi, Warthogs, and some Leopards.

The park also has 350 species of birds including the localized African finfoot and the elegant grey-crowned cranes.

Park Location

Lake Mburo National Park is found/located in Kiruhura District in Western Uganda, about 30 km/19 miles east of Mbarara. It is about 240 km/150 miles by road west of Kampala, the capital and largest city of Uganda.

It is the closest national park to Kampala, situated between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara, about 4 hour’s drive.

Mburo has got delightful activities that keep visitors on Uganda tours here always desire for more.

Game drives are the most popular safari activities here. Other things to do include boat cruises, bird watching, Nature walks, horse riding, fishing, cultural tours, and cycling.

How Big Is Lake Mburo?

Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest of Uganda’s Savannah parks. The park covers an area of 370 km² between an altitude of 1220m – 1828 m above sea level. Wetland habitats comprise 20% of the park’s surface. A mosaic of habitats includes rock outcrops, savanna, acacia woodland, bush, forest, swamp, and 5 lakes.

If you planning wildlife safaris in Uganda, birding safaris, or you want to enjoy game viewing then Lake Mburo is a possible destination for you.

The park has two gates, the Sanga gate from the Kampala side, and the Nshara gate from the Mbarara side.

What to do in Lake Mburo

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Travel infromation about Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park Map

Park Weather & Climate

This park experiences a mild climate. Daily temperatures are around 27°C/81°F, with nightly temperatures of 14°C/57°F on average.

Rain occurs throughout the year, although June and July get the least amount of rain. December through February also tends to be a period of lesser rainfall.

Lake Mburo has two recognizable wet seasons, from March to May and from September to November.

History of Mburo Park & When it Was Gazetted a National Park

  • Lake Mburo was originally gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and upgraded 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 Obote government’s upgrade decision was intended, in part, to weaken the Banyankole, which supported anti-Obote rebels.
  • It came at the time of the Operation Bonanza massacre of 300,000 people. As the evicted pastoralists were not compensated for lost grazing land or assisted with resettling, many remained hostile to the upgrade.
  • The rangeland outside the park was subsequently subdivided into small ranges and subsistence farming plots.
  • In 1985, the second Obote regime fell and the previous residents of Lake Mburo re-occupied the park’s land, expelling park staff, destroying infrastructure, and killing wildlife.
  • Less than half of the park’s original land area was eventually re-gazetted by the National Resistance Movement government in 1986.

How Lake Mburo Park Got Its Name?

Lake Mburo National Park was named so in honor of Mburo and the history has lived until today. The two brothers known as Kigarama and Mburo used to live in a big valley in the present national park.

One night Kigarama dreamt that they were to receive a substantial amount of rain which would cause flooding and their property destroyed. Kigarama told the dream to his brother but Mburo took it for granted.

Kigarama decided to leave the area and went to the overlooking hills leaving his brother behind because in African society dreams were respected.

Finally, the dream came true and the area was attacked by the rain which caused flooding, Mburo with his property drowned. This lake that was created by the floods was named Mburo and the hills were after his brother Kigalama.

Which Animals are Found here?

Lake Mburo National Park is home to more than 68 mammal species. Lake Mburo supports Uganda’s only substantial population of Impalas, a graceful antelope after which Kampala is named. The Park has one of only two populations of Burchell’s zebra (the others being in Kidepo Valley National Park).

Besides Impalas, the park hosts a variety of antelope species including Common Eland, Topi, Defassa Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Common Duiker, Bohor Reedbuck, Oribi, Sitatunga, Klipspringer, Buffaloes, Warthogs, Bushpigs, and hippos.

Large herds of majestic elands move seasonally through parts of the park. The semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes are confined to the interior of the swamps. The rock-loving klipspringer is occasionally observed on the hills notably on the grounds of Mihingo lodge.

Zebras

One of the highlights of a Uganda tour to Lake Mburo National Park is seeing the beautiful Zebras. Lake Mburo Park host a population of over 20, 000 zebras.

Nearly all the animals that share the yellow and green plains of Lake Mburo Park are the muted colors of dust and soil and blend easily into the waving savannah grasses which help them to escape the pursuers.

Common Elands

Lake Mburo is home to around 1500 elands. This ox-like antelope is the largest in the world. It is a member of the ‘spiral-horned’ subfamily, along with the kudu and bushbuck. There are two species of elands; the common eland and the giant eland (slightly larger).

The species of eland you will see during your Uganda wildlife safari in Lake Mburo Game Park is the common eland (Taurotragus oryx).

Elands are shy and quick to retreat from disturbance, so sighting them on Uganda safari in Lake Mburo is always something special.

Hippos

The Hippopotamus is one of the most powerful, heavy, and very impressive Uganda animals. Over 300 hippos are found in Lake Mburo Park.

Hippos love water, which is why the Greeks named them the “river horse.”  They spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in water to keep their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun but emerge at night to graze.

It is something of a safari cliché that the hippo is ‘the deadliest animal in Africa’. While there may be more than a little hyperbole in such a claim, it is nonetheless true that behind the friendly smile lies an aggressive disposition and mouthful of lethal teeth.

Warthog

  • Warthog is among the commonly seen Uganda animals in the bush in Lake Mburo Park. These funny little animals resemble pigs and are over 3000 residing here.
  • They kneel when feeding and run away with their tails sticking straight up in the air when startled.

Lake Mburo

Lake Mburo is the biggest and most important of the five lakes in Lake Mburo National Park, from which the park derives its name.

  • 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 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, even rare Shoebills.

Birds species in the park

Uganda’s Lake Mburo is one of the finest destinations for bird-watching safaris in Uganda. Over 350 species of birds have been recorded in Lake Mburo National Park. The park is one of the most reliable sites in Uganda for seeing the elusive African finfoot.

Lake Mburo National Park is also the best place in Uganda to see acacia-associated birds. Rwonyo Rest Camp is a perfect place to see Mosque Swallow, Black-Billed Bustard, Bare-Faced Go-away Bird, and Rüppell’s Starling,

Rubanga Forest

This forest on the western side of Lake Mburo provides a taste of tropical high forest with a closed canopy. It is a viewing platform for visitors and home to a variety of forest birds; commoner species.

People, Culture and Communities

Lake Mburo National Park is surrounded by a high human population. The Banyankole are the dominant tribe around the park, famously known for rearing long-horned cattle(Ankole cattle).

Traditional Bahima Homestead

Take a walk or a bike ride over to a traditional Bahima homestead to learn about their cultural traditions and their way of life.

Activities include learning about the Ankole long-horned cows with an opportunity to try your hand at milking, understand the ghee-making process, taste milk, and much more.

Game Drives in Mburo

Wildlife Game drives are one of the most interesting Uganda safari activities in Lake Mburo Game Park.  Game viewing in Lake Mburo is well scheduled because some animals are too shy to be seen any time one wants. The park offers both day and night game drives.

Day Game Drives

Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to roam the park in search of wildlife. Visitors on wildlife safaris in Uganda interested in day game drives in Lake Mburo National Park go to its eastern section.

The season as well as vegetation changes in the particular location of the park determine the quality of game viewing.

Guided Night Game Drives

Guided night game drives in lake Mburo park offer sightings of animals rarely seen during the day.

The number of nocturnal predators in this park including leopards and hyenas has been increasing. This is particularly in the northeast of Mburo due to increased conservation efforts.

Night drives out of Mihingo Lodge now come with a 50 percent chance of seeing Leopards and about 20 Hyenas.

Boat Cruises/Launch Trips on Lake Mburo

The Boat Cruise on Lake Mburo leaves from the jetty at the main campsite 1 kilometer from Rwonyo camp.

Boat rides on Lake Mburo offer reliable and spectacular sightings of hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, waterbucks, and bushbucks. Look out for the three otters species in addition to the attractive scenery and the magnificent Lake.

In this lake, many waterbirds are seen including the striking African fish eagle, marabou stork, pied kingfisher, egrets, and herons. Ross’s turaco and Narina trogon are frequently seen in the lakeside thickets.

Horseback Safaris In Uganda

Horse riding in Uganda safaris is one of the exciting ways to see wildlife in Lake Mburo. It is a great opportunity to get close to animals like Zebras and Buffaloes when relaxed around horses than cars. Travelers feel part of nature because even the shy elands come close to them.

Mihingo lodge operates horseback safaris are by in east of Lake Mburo. Rides are tailored to individual experience and requirements.

Kids can be led on good-natured ponies and extremely experienced riders can help a couple of retired racehorses.

Guided Nature Walks in the park

Visitors always carry out walks anywhere in Lake Mburo National Park in the company of armed rangers. The hilltop Interpretation Centre is derelict but has a good viewpoint Near the rest camp.

The road to the jetty is a good place to walk, being rich in birds and regularly visited by Hippos.

An even better target is a viewing platform that overlooks a salt lick about 2 kilometers from the camp, an excellent place to see a wide variety of animals.

Hikers and birders love Rubanga Forest lying off the Rwizi track. The warden offers permission and armed rangers, to walk into this forest.

Bird Watching safaris

Lake Mburo offers a great opportunity of seeing waterbirds, forest, and savannah birds for travelers on Uganda bird watching tours.

The main birds at the lake swamps are African finfoot, papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler, African water rail, and white-backed night-heron. Yellow-throated leaflove chatter loquaciously in dense, waterside thickets, and giant kingfishers wait patiently on

Sport Fishing in Lake Mburo

Travelers on a Uganda vacation shouldn’t miss Sportfishing at Lake Mburo for it is very exciting.

The most common fish found in this lake is Tilapia, together with about six other species. Mazinga is the designated fishing spot.

Visitors who want to do sport fishing are always advised to carry their own fishing gear. However, some companies and lodges can arrange for this gear and the fishing permits (at US$15 per person ). Uganda wildlife authority or their travel companies can also provide this gear.

Cycling in the game park

If you’re on Uganda adventure safaris and like to keep fit, grab a bike and explore Lake Mburo, National Park. Cycling in Lake Mburo Park connects you more intimately as you see much of the wildlife around you.

The rides are tailored to individual needs and all rides go with a guide. Trails are ranging from 1 hour to as long as you can ride.  Trails are primarily along flat valley bottoms where abundant wildlife exists and visibility is good.

Cultural Visits around the park

Visitors of a cultural Uganda safari to Lake Mburo can do village walks. Most of the lodges in and around the park provide local homestead visits for you to learn about traditional Banyankole life.

The Ankole cultural community tourism group takes visitors through the process of milk chumming, making ghee, local handicrafts, and village walks.

The local people in Rwenjeru campsite give the traditional cattle watering adventure, processing off the organic foods and juices.

Accommodation/Where To Stay

There are a variety of Uganda safari lodges at Lake Mburo Park where travelers can stay during their Uganda safari holidays. Lake Mburo park accommodation range from; Luxury safari lodges, Midrange safari lodges, to Budget safari lodges.

How to get to Lake Mburo

Entebbe International Airport (EBB) is about 46km/29mi from the country’s capital, Kampala. This will be your entry point into Uganda.

By Uganda Road Trip: Lake Mburo is located in western Uganda, 228km/142mi from Kampala and 250-300km/150-180mi from Bwindi.

The drive from Kampala takes about five hours and the drive to Bwindi about six to seven hours.

By Uganda Domestic Flights, your tour operator usually books domestic flights to multiple parks for you as part of your safari package. Fly Uganda can arrange scheduled/book flights to Mbarara.

Park Rules And Regulations

  • Do not feed wildlife.
  • Animals always have a right of way.
  • Do not camp or make campfires except at designated sites.
  • Do not drive off the tracks.
  • Do not disturb wildlife
  • Do not drive in the park between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am.
  • Do not bring dogs or other pets into the park.
  • Do not litter.
  • Do not bring firearms or ammunition into the park.
  • Do not pick flowers or destroy any vegetation.
  • Do not exceed the speed limit of 40km per hour (25mph).

Lake Mburo National Park Facts

  1. Lake Mburo national park Uganda was gazetted in 1983.
  2. Lake Mburo NP is the smallest savannah park in Uganda covering about 360km2 of land in western Uganda.
  3. The park boasts over 68 mammal species – Leopards, Spotted Hyenas, Zebras, Elands, Topis, Impalas, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, etc.
  4. Mburo National park has over 350 bird species recorded including the rare shoebill stork. Other birds in Mburo National Park include the African finfoot, Papyrus gonolek, African fish eagle, etc.
  5. Mburo is the only national park in Uganda holding the Impala population.
  6. Lake Mburo NP is the only convenient park on your Uganda tour to spot Zebras, the other being Kidepo Valley National Park, in far northeastern Uganda. Mburo park holds a viable population of zebras (over 5000 in total) thus, dubbed the “Land of Zebras”.
  7. Mburo national park does not have Lions and Elephants for some good years.
  8. On your safaris in Uganda, Lake Mburo national park Lyantonde is the best place to spot leopards. The park holds the highest concentration of leopards per square kilometer, best seen on night game drives.
  9. Lake Mburo National Park is the most convenient park in Uganda. It’s about 240km from Kampala, about a 3-4 hour drive along the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara highway.
  10. Uganda Mburo national park holds over 5 lakes and among these, Lake Mburo is the biggest.

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