LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK.
About the park.
Lake Mburo National Park is in western Uganda in Kiruhura district in the western region of Uganda. the Park is about 30km by road East of Mbarara which the largest city in the sub-region is. It is the smallest savannah park situated 240km from Kampala city center. It has plenty of wildlife that roams freely with domesticated long-horned Ankole Cattle and goats. Most tour operators add it as a stopover en-route to South Western Uganda during their gorilla trekking Itinerary.
Animals in the Park
Lake Mburo has a variety of animals 68 species of mammals such as; Zebras, hippopotamuses, Impalas, warthogs, common elands, African buffalos, jackals, African leopards, and over 300 bird species like the rare shoebill stork, African Finfoot, Pelican, Heron, and many more. They are supported by a rich ecosystem with seasonal and Permanent swamps, Acacia trees, grasslands which are fed on by most animals in the Park. The rocky ridges, forested gorges form a unique landscape within the park which makes it so scenic. The park has no Lions and Elephants making walking safaris possible. The area is also related to the Cassine trees that have got powerful aphrodisiac effects.
History of the Park
Lake Mburo was originally gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. The Banyankole and Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the reserve until the reserve was upgraded as National Pak status in 1983 and this was due to weakening the Banyankole who supported the Anti-Obote rebels.
The park also contains five lakes within which always attract crocodiles, hippopotamuses, water birds as well as swamps that harbor secretive papyrus specialists like Sitatunga antelopes, black and yellow papyrus ganolex
Lake Mburo National Park originated its name from the Ankole myth, where the brothers namely; Kigarama and Mburo who used to live in a big valley. One day, Kigarama had a dream and decided to tell his brother that they had to move away and Mburo just ignored his brother's suggestion and so Kigarama decided to move up into the hills leaving his brother behind in the valley. The valley down flooded with water and the lake was formed which also drowned Mburo and so the lake was named after Him and nearby hills are called Kigarama after his brother.
Accessibility to the park.
One to get to Lake Mburo National Park is through Masaka-Mbarara road and will access the Sanga Gate using the distance of 37km East of Mbarara and another will enter the Park via the Nshara Gate which is 20km from Lyantonde and 50km to Mbarara.
Attractions in Lake Mburo National Park.
This is the hotspot for tourism in the park. Most activities start at this Point like the Nature walks, hikes, Cycling, and game drives. It also has a souvenir shop where visitors to the park can buy crafts to take back home.
It is the biggest amongst the 5 lakes in the Park. It has permanent residents besides its shores the Crocodiles and Hippos. Various water birds also can be spotted on a boat ride on this lake like Malachite kingfisher, pied kingfisher, African fish eager. Rufus long-tailed starlings. During dry seasons Buffaloes, elands also usually come to the lake to drink water.
It is a small portion of Tropica rain forest found on the Western shores of L. Mburo. It Has a canopy and viewing platforms for visitors to have a clear view of the park and its 5 Lakes. Several forests birds can be spotted during a nature walk in this forest-like green pigeon, Double-toothed Barbet. This forest can be explored with a ranger guide.
Several game tracks were paved for viewing the different animals in the park. They are designed in a way that they pass via water points because animals tend to visit these points to drink and cool off their bodies during dry seasons thus a high chance of seeing animals on a game drive.
Activities carried out at Lake Mburo National Park
There is both a morning and afternoon boat ride on Lake Mburo. This allows you to spot various water animals like Crocodiles and Hippos which are permanent residents of the shores of Lake Mburo. Besides those animals, various birds can also be spotted like the Malachite Kingfisher and pied kingfisher, and many others.
Morning, Evening, and night game drives are all available in the park depending on your time of convenience. Many animals are spotted during these game drives and they include the Zebras, Impalas, Elands, Buffaloes, Warthogs, and Giraffes which were currently relocated into the Park.
Guide Nature Walks:
They are usually organized by the Lodge where you stay, or you can contact the Headquarters for an armed Ranger to accompany you during these walks. You can experience the wildlife without the noise from the engine of the vehicles and feel the true feeling of the undisturbed wild.
Horse Back Safaris.
This activity is offered by Mihingo lodge one of the Luxury lodges in the Park. During the horse ride, you get a chance of interacting with the Zebras at a closer ranger because they come close to their strange relative without stripes thus giving you a unique experience you cannot easily forget, Even the shy Elands can be seen because they are not distracted by the sounds from the engines.
Accommodation Facilities within the Park.
The park has a wide range of Accommodation Facilities to Choose from ranging from Luxury to Budget tented camps. The Rwonyo Park Headquarters also has campsites that are budgeted and available to the public and under the management.
Some of the Accommodation facilities include the following.
- Mantana Tented Camp
- Mihingo Lodge
- Eagles Nest Lodge
- Rwonyo Rest Camp
- Arcadia Cottage
- Rwaboko rock
Some Bird species found in the Park
- Black crake
- Fish eagle
- Shoebill stork
- Emerald spotted wood dove
- The rare white-winged warbler
- Crested francolin
- The black billed barbet