Lake Mburo National Park


Size: 260 sq km

Location: Lake Mburo National Park, situated in the south, is Uganda's fourth national park, was designated in 1982, and is situated between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara. Lying in the one part of Uganda covered in extensive acacia woodland, Mburo has markedly different fauna to other reserves.
It is the only one to contain an entire lake.

The attractive acacia-dotted savanna (158 square miles) is home to huge herds of impala, as well as uncommon topi, eland, klipspringer and other antelope. Zebra and buffalo also graze these peaceful acres. At the lake there are hippo and crocodile and a wonderful diversity of birds.
Because of the different habitats of the lakeshore and the broad savanna, the variety seems endless. Catch a glimpse of waterbirds diving for fish, the maribou stork, bee-eaters and the cheeky bronze-tailed starling, as well as the majestic crowned crane.

Lake Mburo is the best place in the country to see the gigantic eland antelope, as well as zebra, topi, impala, and several acacia-associated birds. The five lakes within the park attract hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds, while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the sitatunga antelope and red, black and yellow papyrus gonalek. Two brothers, Kigarama and Mburo lived in a large valley.
One night, Kigarama dreamt that they were in danger. When he awoke the next morning, he told his younger brother Mburo of his dream and said they should move. Mburo ignored this advice, but Kigarama wisely moved up into the hills.
The valley flooded and a lake was formed, drowning Mburo. Today the lake is named after him, and the hills are called Kigarama after his brother. The word mburo is similar to the "mboro", the Runyankole name of the cassine tree which has a powerful aphrodisiac effect. One such tree, showing signs of bark and branch removal, may be seen close to the Kigambira Loop crossroads Lake Mburo is the largest of five lakes which, together with the surrounding wetlands, account for 20% of the park's surface of 260 km². This makes this small park very interesting for birding all the year round (310 recorded).

The rest of the park is covered with acacia savannah and notable for supporting a wide variety of antilopes. It is the only place where the impala still occurs and it is the best place to see the eland, Africa's largest antilope. Large herds of buffalo and zebra's are common in this park but there are no lions (they are extinct), elephants or giraffes. Accommodations: Lake Mburo Luxury Tented Camp Conveniently located in the heart of Uganda's Ankole district between Kampala and the attractions in the southwest of the country. There are ten fully furnished Selous tents with verandas, twin bedrooms, dressing areas and ensuite bathrooms.

There is a mess tent with bar and a full staff to take care of you. You may include Lake Mburo in your personalized Uganda Safari itinerary. Accommodation is available at park headquarters, where chalets are available for single or double occupancy. Meals are available or visitors may carry their own food that the camp staff can help to prepare. Hurricane lamp lighting and warm water bucket bathing are provided. Campfire may be organised on request.
The Lake View Hotel in the nearby town of Mbarara is a modern locally-owned hotel. All rooms have private facilities. The hotel has a bar, restaurant, terrace, swimming pool and sports centre. The hotel's own small lake is often surrounded by marabou storks. Mantana Camp, run by Mel and Paul has stunning vistas over 3 lakes, It offers good service whilst retaining the authentic safari spirit. Each tent has twin beds and a bathroom.
Each verandah is placed so as to take advantage of stunning African sunsets. The dining room is built on stilts so as to offer guests bird's eye views across the treetops to the lakes. Climate Lake Mburo National Park lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains, and receives an average of only 800mm of rain a year. Being near the equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the long rains occurring from February to June, and the short rains from September to December. Lake Mburo National Park has 4 tents at Rwonyo park headquarters.

There are also 3 public campsites, all strategically located to facilitate and enhance scenic viewing and easy access to water. Lake Mburo dining shelter provides meals on order. For luxurious accommodation: Agip Motel Mbarara, Hotel Classic Ltd. The rains are rather erratic and unpredictable, but most rain tends to fall in April and November. The average recorded temperature is 27.50C with daily variation ranging from 21.50C to 34,00C. July and August are the hottest months.

Meals: Neither the Rest Camp nor hostel stock food, visitors are therefore advised to carry sufficient food and drinks for the duration of their stay in the park. The Rest Camp staff can arrange for the cooking. However other supplementary diet such as chicken and goat meat can be arranged from the nearby community for visitors who intend to stay longer. Getting there: Road Transport: Lake Mburo National Park is found in Mbarara district, 3.5 hours drive from Kampala on Mbarara Kampala highway. Turn left at 13 km (Akageti) past Lyantonde, which then brings you to Sanga gate. Both junctions have clearly labeled signposts. It is 13 km from Sanga trading center of Sanga gate, 5 km from the main road to Nshara gate and about 20 minutes drive from Rwonyo Park Head Quarters.

What to do: Game Viewing is the major tourist activity in this Park, it is famous for its richness in biodiversity. It has about 68 different species of mammals. The common ones are Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Topi, and Eland as herbivores not to leave out the rare slightly of Roan antelope and leopard, Hyenas and jackals as predictors.

Boat Rides The presence of Lake Mburo within the park is a blessing worth mentioning. The lake is rich with a diversity of animal and plant species which can only be viewed clearly if you take a boat trip. The crocodiles, hippopotamuses and birds like Pelicans, Black crake, Heron, cormorant, fish eagle, you may also sight the rare Shoebill Stork and all these will furnish your visit with pride. The duration of each boat cruise is negotiable.

Guide walks The nature trail offers the visitor a chance to admire nature insitu. Visitors have the opportunity in walk in the circuit at his / her pace although in company of an armed guide. The trail is interpreted in form of a brochure in both English and Runyankole.

Salt Lick A walk to the near by salt is a summary of it all. Strategically located wooden hide (Observation point) offers a chance to see at least 4 different species of animals at any one time while they lick the salty soil. Most interesting to note is that this is done without the animal's conscience. Visitors may also walk to area of their own choice.
Note: Walks inside the park must be in company of an armed park official.

Rubanga Forest You can also explore this forest by making arrangements with the Park Management to have a Ranger accompany you. The Rubanga Forest is very small but a true forest with a closed canopy in places. A common tree is Markhamia platycalyx (grey-brown truck with irregular flaky patches, divided leaves, yellow flowers stripped and spotted with red; brunches of extremely long (up to 1.3 m podlike fruits). Palms, figs, sapium (a tall tree whose leaves turn red before falling) and the flame tree Erythrina abyssinica occur towards the edge of the swamp.

Birding First-time visitors to Lake Mburo National Park are fascinated by the variety of large mammals and colorful birds. For many people, birds are the most interesting to watch. As common species become familiar, you will begin to notice smaller, less spectacular birds; the real experts seem to get most excited by 'Little Brown jobs' ('LBJs') which are the hardest to identify. Although many birds are wild spread, others are more fussy in their choice of habitat.

For example, most of the park's 310 recorded species are 'generalist' and can be seen almost anywhere. However, they are 5 species of bird, which are found only in the forest, and 60 specialist water birds. Others prefer short or tall grasslands, or are found mainly in woodlands.
This Park has Open water birds, Lakeshore and papyrus swamp birds, Seasonal swamp birds, Woodland birds, Grassland birds and Forest birds. Birds of the Open Water in this Park include; Pink-backed pelican, Darter, White pelican, Yellow-billed duck, Long-tailed cormorant, White winged black tern and Greater cormorant Lakeshore and papyrus swamp birds
They are over 26 species of lakeshore and papyrus swamp birds recorded in this Park. Some of them include; Fish eagle, Pied kingfisher, African finfoot, Great white egret, Night heron.

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