Lake Mburo National Park is located in western Uganda conveniently close to the high way that connects Kampala to Mbarara and other popular national park in the west and southern Uganda. It is situated approximately 240km from Kampala; therefore, it is the only national park near Kampala city and Entebbe airport. It is easily accessible by road on about a 3-4 hour drive. The entry/entrance fees is $40 per person per day. The park has a number of budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options.
It is the smallest Savannah national park in Uganda covering a total area of 370sq.km but nevertheless contains up 5 lakes within its boundaries. It is underlined by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years, upon where most luxurious lodges are perched to offer stunning views to their esteemed residents.
Lake Mburo National Park is home of over 350 bird species, 6 fish species and over 70 mammal species including Impalas which are only found in this park.
The park was first declared a controlled hunting area in 1933 but later upgraded to a game reserve in 1963 with an aim of conserving a huge profusion of wildlife that inhabited the park. It was later gazetted into a fully-fledged national park in 1983 by the then Obote government to push away the Bahima pastoralists who were encroaching on the park land for grazing.
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 range-land outside the park was later divided into small ranges and given out to squatters as subsistence farming plots.
In 1985 when the Obote’s regime collapsed, Bahima reclaimed their land and chaos ensued; they expelled the park staff, destroyed the infrastructure and annihilated wildlife. Eventually only half of the park’s land was re-gazetted by NRM government in 1986.
Safaris to Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo national park provides the best birding spots such as the swamp valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, and the roadsides between Rwonyo and Lake Mburo jetty. There are also ideally situated viewing platforms at the salt lick and in Rubaga forest. Species observed in this park include Rufous-bellied Heron, grey crowned crane, black bellied bustard, red headed Lovebird Ross’s Turaco and much more.
The wildlife rich eastern banks of Lake Mburo can be explored during a tranquil 2 hour boat cruise. You will view a float of crocodiles, herds of buffaloes and school of hippos as well as bird species such as magnificent fish eagles, hammer kops, colorful kingfishers among others. The boat voyage departs from Rwonyo jetty every after two hours starting at 8:00 am.
These are of three types; morning game drive, evening game drive and night game drives. Each game safari taking 2-3 hours. The night game drive will give you a chance to view animals that are rarely seen during day such as Bush babies, Pottos, as well as leopards. During a game drive in this park, one is assured of spotting impalas, zebras, buffaloes, warthogs, waterbucks, Elands, Topis, etc. The recently introduced giraffes can also be encountered.
Hiking & Nature Walks
The whole park is open to avid ramblers and hikers as long as they are accompanied by a ranger guide. At Rwonyo, a guided walk will lead you to a Salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salt rocks. Nature walks in Lake Mburo National Park takes 2 hours and you may encounter hyenas going back to their den. Hikes through the woodlands provides an opportunity to sight the forest birds and mammals, while a walk to the top of the hill rewards visitors with a spectacular view of the 9 out of 14 lakes in the region.
Horseback Riding Safaris
Horseback riding will give you a chance to view wildlife including elands and buffaloes. Also commonly sighted are warthogs, topi, impala, bushbucks, waterbucks, zebras among others. This activity takes four hours and gives visitors an option to be treated to an exclusive bush breakfast or sundowner.
Lake Mburo contains 6 species of fish with tilapia being the most common. The designated sport fishing site is at Mazinga; visitors should carry their fishing equipments and obtain a fishing permit from UWA.
Accommodation in Lake Mburo
Accommodation in this park ranges from luxury to budget and include Mihingo Safari Lodge, Mantana tented camp, Mburo safari lodge, Arcadia cottages, Rwakobo rock and eagles nest, among others.
The park is located in western part of the country and it’s 240km from Kampala city and this takes 3-4 hours. You can embark on a fully guided tour or even a self-drive trip to reach the park. There are many routes you can take to access the park through respective gates, all branching off from Kampala – Mbarara highway. These include Sanga gate, 37km east of Mbarara town and Nshara gate – 50km from Mbarara town.
The other option is to use public executive buses from Kampala such as Global coaches and they can be got from Bakuri, Namirembe road in Kampala. Get off from Sanga town and then you will get a private taxi or a boda boda to take you to the Lake Mburo National Park.