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Attractions In Lake Mburo National Park – Best Things To See in Mburo

Top Tourist Attractions In Lake Mburo National Park – What To See?

There are a variety of things to see or tourist attractions in Lake Mburo National Park including;

  • Over 68 animal species
  • 350 bird species
  • Lakes
  • Rubanga forest
  • People and Community Culture

Below is a detailed description of all attractions in Lake Mburo National Park during your safari in Uganda.

A. Animals In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is home to more than 68 mammal species. It supports Uganda’s only substantial population of Impalas, a graceful antelope after which Kampala was named and one of the peculiar tourist attractions in Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo 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

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

The lake and its lush fringing vegetation also support a healthy population of Buffaloes, Warthogs, Bushpigs, and hippos.

Some 15 Rothschild’s Giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park were introduced in Lake Mburo National Park in 2015; the herds have since settled well into the savannah northeast of Lake Mburo where is often seen on game drives, and the first calf was born in 2018.

Only two diurnal primate species exist in the park; Vervet Monkeys and Olive Baboons, but Lake Mburo is one of the very few places in Uganda where the Greater Galago has been recorded. Up to eight of these cat-sized nocturnal primates make a nightly appearance at a feeding table at a Mihingo Lodge.

As for predators, the lions for which Lake Mburo National Park was once famed had been hunted to local extinction by the late 1970s, but odd individuals still find their way there. Leopards are quite commonly seen on night game drives out of Mihingo lodge.

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 and three otter species reside in the lakes.

1. Impalas In Lake Mburo National Park

One of the most elegant of all of Africa’s antelope is the impala, after which Uganda’s capital Kampala is named. Lake Mburo National Game Park is the only National Park in Uganda where you can see impalas. The park harbors a population of more than 30,000 impalas.

How Do Impalas Look Like?
  • The Impala is a handsome, slender antelope with a smooth coat that seems to shimmer in the sunlight.
  • The upper parts are rich reddish-brown, the lower flanks are light-tan brown and the belly is white.
  • There are distinctive black stripes on the back of each thigh and down the center of the upper side of the tail that form three vertical lines when seen from behind.
  • The edges of the tail are reddish-brown and the underside is white, the long white hairs flaring outwards when the tail is held up.
  • The ear tips are black, and little tufts of wiry black hair cover scent glands on the ankles of the hind legs.
  • Only males have horns, which are S-curved/lyre-shaped and heavily ridged (56-83cm long).
  • Impalas are medium-sized antelopes; reach 70-92cm at the shoulder and weigh 40-76kg.

2. Zebras In Lake Mburo National Park

One of the top Uganda safari attractions in Lake Mburo National Park is the beautiful Zebras. This park hosts 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.

Compared to their neighbors, zebras seem out of place. Herds of them match across the plains in a dizzying array of black and white stripes.

In fact, most of us know that the stripe pattern of a zebra is much like our fingerprints – no two are alike and even the left side is different from the right.

Different species also have distinctly different stripe patterns, in other words, you can tell their ‘nationality’, for example;

  • If you see a zebra with a gridiron pattern on its rump and stripes down its legs, you’ll be in Angola, Namibia, or South Africa looking at the Mountain Zebra
  • If you spot one with very narrow stripes and an apparent bull’s eye on its rump and you’ll be looking at the massive Grevy’s Zebra in the arid areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, or Kenya.
  • While on safari in Uganda’s Lake Mburo National Park, you will see Burchell’s Zebra. This zebra has shadow stripes that run between the black stripes on its torso.

3. Common Elands In Lake Mburo National Park

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.

Listen closely and you’ll hear a distinct clicking sound as they approach. This is thought to come from their hooves, which splay apart and click back together under the animals’ great weight.

How Do The Common Eland Look Like?
  • The common eland is a spiral-horned antelope.
  • It weighs up to 1000 kilograms and reaches up to 2 meters at the shoulder (6.5 feet).
  • Apart from the rough mane, the coat is smooth.
  • Females have a tan/light brown color while the coat of males is darker with a brownish-grey-tinge.
  • Bulls may have a series of vertical stripes on their sides.
  • The males have dense fur on their foreheads and large dewlap on their throats.
  • Both sexes have horns.
How Fast Can Elands Run?
  • Elands are the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40km per hour that tires them quickly.
  • However, they are great jumpers, capable of leaping up to 2.5m/8ft from a standing start when startled.

4. Hippos In Lake Mburo Park

The hippopotamus is one of the most powerful, heavy, and very impressive Uganda animals and one of the interesting things to see in lake Mburo National Park. 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.

In fact, besides mosquitos and the tsetse fly, hippos are the most deadly African animals. They are highly aggressive and unpredictable, especially when their calves are present.

Also, due to their sluggish appearance, many people take them for granted and always see hippos as gentle giants, but they are far from that. They can charge without a moment’s hesitation and do serious damage.

These massive creatures can bite you into two pieces or drown you by overturning your boat. They have huge mouths with super sharp teeth and tusks.  Despite their size and short legs, they are agile and can run fast.

Scientists once believed that the hippo’s closest relatives were pigs. DNA evidence has since established that the hippo shares a common semi-aquatic ancestor with whales and dolphins.  About 55 million years ago, they diverged from them.

Size Of Hippos
  • After the elephant and white rhino, this heavyweight herbivore is the third largest of the land animals in Africa.
  • Hippo measures up to 16.6 feet long, including a tail of about 1.84 ft in length.
  • They stand up to 5.4 feet tall at the shoulder.
  • The mean weight of adult male hippos is about 1,500 kg and 1,300 kg for females.
  • Large males reach 2,000 kg and exceptional males weigh 2,660 kg, 3,200 kg in the wild, and 4,500 kg in captivity.

5. Warthog In Lake Mburo National Park

  • The endearing Warthog is among the commonly seen Uganda animals in the bush in Lake Mburo Park; over 3000 reside here. These funny little animals resemble pigs.
  • They kneel when feeding and run away with their tails sticking straight up in the air when startled.
  • But don’t let their cute appearance fool you completely – the tusks on a male warthog can rip open a lion.
  • Warthogs have usually seen grazing or running in family groups with 2-4 young. Older male warthogs may become solitary over time.

B. Birds In Lake Mburo National 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 this park. These form one of the best attractions in Lake Mburo 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 search for the 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;

  • Southern ground hornbill
  • Black-collared barbets
  • Back-throated barbets
  • Green-capped eremomela

Of special interest to twitches are the swamps, in which 6 papyrus endemics are resident, such as;

  • The brilliantly colored Papyrus Gonolek
  • The striking blue-headed coucal
  • The highly localized white-winged warbler, and
  • The papyrus yellow warbler.

Other key bird species to look for during your Uganda birding safari in Lake Mburo National Park include;

  • African scops owl
  • Blue-breasted Kingfisher
  • Grey-crowned cranes
  • Saddle-billed Stork
  • Brown-chested lapwing
  • African-wattled lapwing
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Caruthers’s Cisticola
  • Greater painted-snipe
  • Red-faced barbet
  • Shoebill stork
  • Yellow-rumped tinkerbird
  • Narina Trogon

C. Lakes In Lake Mburo National Park

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 with 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.

The Lake has 6 fish species, tilapia is the most commonly caught species. Other species include catfish, lungfish, Tigerfish, Angara fish, and barbell. Sports fishing is done here albeit with a license.

D. Rubanga Forest In Lake Mburo National Game Park

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

  • Harrier Hawk
  • Green Pigeon
  • Narina Trogon
  • Grey-backed Camaroptera, and
  • Double-toothed Barbet

E. People And Culture At Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is surrounded by many people. The dominant tribe around the park is Banyankole, famously known for rearing long-horned cattle called Ankole cattle. These cows are one of the most amazing things to see/attractions in Lake Mburo National Park.

1. Igongo Cultural Center And Museum

Igongo Cultural Center and Museum, locally known as a ‘Eriijukiro’ are located about 4km from Lake Mburo National Park Sanga gate.

The center incorporates a modern and well-organized museum that achieves its goal of preserving and promoting the history of the Ankole kingdom and other traditional societies of western Uganda.

It houses several detailed and well-annotated displays covering everything from the development of currency in Uganda to traditional Ankole and Bakiga dresses, drums and other musical instruments, agricultural practices, and herbal medicine.

They are also several informative displays relating to the foundation and the history of the Ankole kingdom, and its rules, and the 19th-century warrior queen Kitami Kya Nyawera, whose murder by a rival king presage a series of local disasters and led to the establishment of the Nyabingi cult at her shrine in the vicinity of Lake Bunyonyi.

2. 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.

This experience includes a nature walk or bike ride across grazing land, where wildlife and livestock mingle together, to the homestead and back again. Alternatively, you can ride a mountain bike to a nearby fishing village and see how the people live.

To those interested in visiting this park, you have a great variety of attractions in Lake Mburo National Park for to see for a memorable safari in Uganda. For your wonderful adventure in this tourist destination, please contact us and we shall give you expert advice whenever you need it with ease and promptly at no cost!!

Want to visit Lake Mburo?

Want to visit Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda's smallest savannah park?