Lake Mburo National Park, the closest national park to Kampala and also the smallest in Uganda, is a hidden gem awaiting your discovery. Nestled between Masaka and Mbarara districts, the park is just a scenic 4-hour drive away. Encompassing an area of 370km², it boasts five mesmerizing lakes, including the eponymous Lake Mburo.
Lake Mburo National Park is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true. It is the sole place in Uganda where you can still witness Impalas in large herds and Africa’s largest antelope, the Eland. Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for Leopards, Topis, Bushbucks, Sitatungas, Common Duikers, Klipspringers, Oribis, Defassa Waterbucks, hyenas, porcupines, warthogs, white-tailed mongooses, dwarf mongooses, Banded mongooses, hippos, crocodiles, Bohor Reedbucks, monitor lizards, Vervet monkeys, olive Baboons, and even the occasional male lion at night. The aquatic world of Lake Mburo is equally captivating, with fish, frogs, toads, and more.
Notably, Lake Mburo is now home to 15 endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, introduced in July 2015, adding to the park’s allure and offering thrilling sightings during horse safaris.
For bird enthusiasts, Lake Mburo National Park is a haven of avian diversity. Prime birding spots include the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti, as well as the roadsides between Rwonyo camp and the jetty. Additionally, strategically placed viewing platforms at the salt lick, Miriti Valley, and Rubanga Forest provide opportunities to spot an array of bird species. Among the highlights are the Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown Parrot, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-winged Tit, and Finfoot, among others.
Explore Lake Mburo’s wonders through guided nature walking safaris, typically accompanied by an armed park ranger guide. These walks, commencing from Rwonyo, the park center, lead you to the salt lick, known as one of the park’s prime wildlife viewing spots.
Lake Mburo, despite its small size, hosts an impressive array of wildlife, with 68 mammal species and 350 bird species concentrated within its boundaries. Encounter a growing giraffe family, a thriving hippo population, and numerous other wildlife species. Don’t miss the optional boat ride, an opportunity to spot crocodiles and indulge in prime birdwatching from the water. Please note that while there isn’t a safari vehicle onsite, we can assist you in arranging transportation if you don’t have your own; availability permitting.
Lake Mburo is renowned for its nocturnal wildlife, offering the chance to spot elusive creatures such as leopards, porcupines, white-tailed mongooses, and the evocative sounds of hyenas, zebras, buffalos, and bush babies.
An exceptional experience unique to Lake Mburo National Park is the chance to view wildlife while on horseback. This distinctive activity takes place at Mihingo Lodge, guided by trained staff and park rangers. Horseback rides in Lake Mburo can span 1 to 3 hours, allowing you to explore the captivating savannah while reveling in the sight of wild game.
For those seeking aquatic adventures, fishing is a rewarding tourism activity at Lake Mburo. The lake is home to six fish species, with tilapia being the most commonly caught. Other species include catfish, lungfish, tiger fish, Angara fish, and barbell. The primary fishing spot at Lake Mburo is Mazinga. To embark on a fishing safari, tourists must bring their own equipment and obtain access permits from Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Situated within Lake Mburo National Park, Rubanga Forest offers yet another fascinating attraction. Exploring the forest is one of the many activities available to park visitors, allowing you to delve deeper into the park’s diverse ecosystem.
One of the lodges near Lake Mburo National Park is deeply committed to preserving the local traditions and cultures of the Bahima people. In partnership with a local family near the lodge, they offer guests a glimpse into Bahima life. Learn about making local ghee while listening to women share their traditions and cultures. Depending on the tour’s timing, you may even have the chance to milk some Ankole cows.
A boat cruise is an essential activity in Lake Mburo National Park, guaranteeing captivating views of its remarkable flora and fauna. Encounter crocodiles, hippos, and a diverse range of bird species, including African fish eagles, pelicans, kingfishers, herons, cormorants, rare African finfoots, and hammerkops. During the dry seasons, you might even witness buffaloes and antelopes frequenting the water areas.
Lake Mburo National Park offers rewarding birdwatching experiences, particularly during boat cruises. Witness the park’s remarkable flora and fauna alongside wildlife such as crocodiles, hippos, and bird species like African fish eagles, pelicans, kingfishers, herons, cormorants, rare shoebills, and hammerkops. As an added bonus, during dry seasons, some wildlife species inhabit the water areas, including buffaloes and antelopes.
For a unique adventure, embark on bicycle tours around the park. These rides provide a distinctive way to explore the park and its environs. Guided by Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers, these bike rides guarantee sightings of zebras, elands, buffaloes, antelopes, bushbucks, and more. While some terrain challenges exist, including hills and slopes, the bike trails promise an unforgettable experience.
Lake Mburo National Park experiences a unique climate due to its location in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains. It receives an average of 800 mm of rain annually. Being near the equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the long rains occurring from March to June and the short rains from September to December. April and November are generally the rainiest months.
Aerolink, a local airline, recently introduced 45-minute flights to Mbarara airstrip, located 37 kms from the park. Travelers can opt for this quick and convenient flight, followed by a short 45-minute drive to the park.
Lake Mburo offers a variety of accommodation facilities, catering to all budgets, including luxury, mid-range, and budget options. There is also a student center and a well-maintained campsite.
Notable lodges include Mihingo Lodge, Rwakobo Rock, Kibla-Mantana Tented Camp, Arcadia Cottages, Mburo Safari Lodge, Eagles Nest, Leopard Rest Camp, and Mpogo Lodge. Trek Africa Expeditions is here to assist you in planning a remarkable wildlife safari to Lake Mburo National Park, ensuring an unforgettable adventure in this stunning Ugandan park.