Lake Mburo National Park is one of Uganda’s loveliest wildlife safari destinations. It is important for game viewing tours, Birding safaris, foot safaris (guided nature walks) as well as sport hunting.
Lake Mburo National Park is a gem of a park, conveniently located close to the western highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. Lake Mburo National Park situated in Mbarara district is about 3.5 hours drive from Kampala.
Though the park is just 370km2 in size, its landscapes are varied and even a short drive is alive with interest and color. Interesting mammal species in the park include impala, Burchell’s zebra, and eland that are not found elsewhere in western Uganda.
Animals & Birds of Lake Mburo National Park
A variety of vegetative habitats surround the open water of Lake Mburo. The lake’s western side is dominated by a grassy escarpment rising above a shoreline fringed with acacia forest and the closed canopy Rubanga forest.
To the north and east, grassy valley floors, made seasonally lush and soggy by rain, drain between undulating hills. These seep through expanses of wetland into the lake. Rock kopjes are found along the eastern margins of the park.
These varied habitats support an impressive variety of wildlife including 68 mammal species. These include some rarities. Lake Mburo is the only park in Uganda to contain impala and the only one in the rift region to host Burchell’s zebra and eland.
In Uganda, topi are only found in Lake Mburo and Queen Elizabeth National Parks. Commoner species include warthog, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck and reedbuck. Leopard and hyena are also present while hippo and crocodile are found in the lake.
The park also has a very respectable bird list with around 315 species recorded to date including the shoebill, papyrus yellow warbler, African finfoot, saddle billed stork, brown chested wattled plover, Carruther’s cisticola, Tabora cisticola, great snipe, Abyssinian ground horn bill and white winged warbler.
Acacia woodland bird species are especially well represented while forest species may be found in Rubanga Forest.
Lake Mburo National Park Highlights
Forest Walks through Rubanga Forest:
Though small, this tract of forest on the western side of Mburo provides a taste of a tropical high forest with canopy and is home to a variety of forest bird species. Rut can be explored with a ranger guide.
The eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be explored by boat, departing from a jetty at the lakeside campsite near Rwonyo. Watch out for crocodile and hippopotamus during the 2-hour voyage, as well as birds including pelicans, heron, cormorant and fish eagle and perhaps even the rare shoebill stork.
Salt Lick Guided walks
Explore the park around Rwonyo, culminating in a visit to a natural salt lick frequented by wildlife. Viewing is facilitated by a timber observation platform.
The eastern hinterland of Lake Mburo is served by a network of game tracks along which a variety of savanna animals and birds can be sighted. Impala are most commonly seen along the Impala Track while zebra frequent the grassy valley floors traversed by the Zebra Track.
This connects to the Ruroko Track which passes rock kopjes that are home to the elusive klipspringer.
Visitors can enjoy sport fishing on Lake Mburo, Which has about 6 species of fish, the common one being tilapia (oreochromis leucostictus). Visitors should however, carry their own fishing gear for the trip.
Fantastic routes through the park on horseback are available. The best ride is the 4 to 5 hour ride onto the 4km long grassy Warukiri Range situated in the middle of the park with stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding hills and valleys in the park.
At the end of this range is a waterhole, which often attracts buffalos and other animals combined with a magnificent view onto 9 of the 12 lakes surrounding Lake Mburo National Park. Rides also on offer are 1 to 2 Hour rides outside the park, full day rides with picnic breakfast and bush lunch or a 2 day ride fly-camping in the bush.