Lake Mburo National Park

Leopard In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park Uganda Safari Guide

Lake Mburo National Park is situated in the highly scenic western Uganda. It is the most accessible national park for wildlife safaris in Uganda.

This Uganda safari park is located about 3 hour drive from Kampala and a few hour-drives from the Uganda gorilla trekking forests of the south west. Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest savannah park in Uganda. It covers around 260 km2.

And lies on ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks that date back more than 500 million years. In spite of the small size, Lake Mburo National Park’s great mix habitats make for a wide range of mammals and birds.

And its tranquil atmosphere and soothing views provide welcome relief after long Uganda safaris. Unique to Lake Mburo National Park is the availability of horseback rides, walking safaris and cycling tours with in the park.

These unique Uganda safari activities allows for closer viewing and exceptional photographs of abundant plains game such as zebra, giraffe, buffalo, and antelopes. You can even take a boat cruise on Lake Mburo to see plenty of Hippos, Fish Eagles, and Crocodiles as well as rare birds such as the African Finfoot.

Zebras In Green Grass of Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda
Zebras In Green Grass of Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda

Lake Mburo National Park Weather

Lake Mburo National Park is located near the Uganda equator line.

The rainfall pattern is bimodal.  Long rains occur from March to June and the short rains from September to December. The rainfall is rather erratic. But most rain tends to fall in April and November. Lake Mburo National Park average recorded temperature is 26°C.

Daily variations range from 14°C to 32°C. The hottest months are July and August. In the evening or on a rainy day it can get quite chilly no matter which time of the year it is.

On a sunny day it will always be hot and feel even hotter in the rainy season because of the increased humidity. Generally Lake Mburo has nearly the perfect climate with warm, but not over hot days and slightly colder nights.

Lake Mburo National Park Landscape

Lake Mburo Park lies on an altitude of about 1219 m and 1828 m. The park has the most extensive acacia woodland of any Uganda parks. Lake Mburo, the largest of the 5 lakes with in the park is part of a 50 km-long wetland system that is linked by swamps

High hills and rocky, eroded ridges characterize the western part of the Park. Here, deep valleys support the forest found nowhere else.

In the eastern sector of Lake Mburo National Park, the rolling, wooded hills are intersected by wide, flat bottomed valleys, which are seasonally flooded and drain into the swamps and lakes. The Ruizi River flows in a south-easterly direction and forms part of the park’s western boundary.

Buffalos Grazing in Lake Mburo National Park
Buffalos Grazing in Lake Mburo National Park

Attractions In Lake Mburo National Park

1. Animals In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is known for plenty herbivores (animals which feed on plants). This is partially due to the presence of few predators to feed on them. Only one lion is known to live in the park. Other predators are in small numbers such as Leopard and Hyena.

Back to herbivores, Lake Mburo is the only park where you can see the Impala antelopes on a wildlife safari in Uganda. The elusive gigantic Eland antelopes can best be spotted here too, often found grazing in the woodland areas.

Other antelopes include Defassa Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Topi, Oribi, Bohor reedbuck, Statunga, and Klipspringer. The beautiful Plains Zebras which are found in only one other Uganda park (remote Kidepo National Park) live here in large number.

The mighty African Buffaloes are also easy to see in the open savanna and near water sources. Lake Mburo is home to many hippos and crocodiles. A group of Rothschild’s Giraffes was brought into the park in 2015 thus improving on the diversity of wildlife in the park.

The park is also home to Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, Galago/Bush baby, Genet and many types of mongoose.

Impala Breeding Herd In Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda
Impala Breeding Herd In Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda

2. Birds In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is a top spot for birding in Uganda. The park’s diverse habitats of wetlands, acacia woodland, lakes, and grasslands host over 350 bird species. Mburo is probably the best place to find the iconic Grey-crowned Crane (Uganda’s national bird).

Grey Crowned Crane in Lake Mburo National Park
Grey Crowned Crane in Lake Mburo National Park

 Other avian gems of Lake Mburo National Park include:

  • Papyrus Gonolek
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Red-faced Barbet
  • Rufous-bellied Heron
  • African Marsh Harrier
  • Lappet-faced Vulture
  • Lilac-breasted Roller
  • Brown Snake Eagle
  • African Hawk-eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Coqui Francolin
  • Black-bellied Bustard
  • Red-headed Lovebird
  • Ross’s Turaco
  • Narina trogon
  • Bare-faced Go-away-bird
  • Green Wood Hoopoe
  • Common Scimitarbill
  • White-headed Barbet
  • Nubian Woodpecker
  • African Finfoot
  • White-backed heron

3. People & Culture At Lake Mburo National Park

Aside with the wildlife attractions, Lake Mburo National Park is located at the heart of the ancestral home of the Bahima.

The park has a lot to offer in terms of cultural tours in Uganda. The Bahima people are famed cattle herders who rear the beautiful and iconic Ankole long-horned cattle that can be seen grazing on the drive to the park.

The Igongo Cultural Centre is located a few kilometres from the park and tells the story of the history and traditions of the Ankole King.

Lake National Park Entrance Fees

  • Foreign Non-Resident – USD 40
  • Foreign Resident – USD 30
  • East African Citizen – UGX 20,000

Activities In Lake Mburo National Park 

1. Day Game Drives

Lake Mburo National Park is a small park that’s easy to explore on a game drive and in such a short time you’ll have spotted plenty of wildlife. The early morning hours are most favorable for game viewing and to catch the magical sunrise over the breathtaking savannah landscape dotted with acacia and lakes.

With the early morning game drive you are chanced to catch the elusive leopard and hyena that are out on a hunt, and you could spot hippos before retreating to Lake Mburo. The herbivores are also very active by this time. The park has wide tracks for easy access to many areas of the park.

Day Game Drive Fees

  • Foreign Non-Resident – USD 20
  • Foreign Resident – USD 15
  • East African Citizen – UGX 20,000

2. Night Game Drive

A whole new world of animal species (nocturnal) awaits you on a night game drive in Lake Mburo National Park. The night game drive offers the best chance of spotting the elusive and solitary leopard, the most secretive of the big cats. You might also see genet, bush baby, white-tailed mangoes, spotted hyena, and nightjar.

Night Game Drive Fees

  • Foreign Non-Resident – USD 30
  • Foreign Resident – USD 15
  • East African Citizen – UGX 50,000

3. Lake Mburo Boat Cruise

Lake Mburo supports a variety of aquatic life like hippos, crocodiles, lizards, and water birds which are best observed from the boat trip. For birders, the best time for the boat cruise is definitely in the morning. The elusive African Finfoot is the most sought after bird there. Other includes species of Kingfishers and Herons among others.

To see animals, the hot afternoon is the better timing when the Hippos and Crocodiles are by the shores of the lake and other big game such as Buffaloes and Antelopes come to the drink and cool off. The boat ride is a scheduled activity and is normally 2 hours long.

Boat Cruise Fees

  • Foreign Non-Resident – USD 30
  • Foreign Resident – USD 25
  • East African Citizen – UGX 30,000

4. Game Walk

Travellers on Lake Mburo National Park walking safari in Uganda
Travellers on Lake Mburo National Park walking safari in Uganda.

Lake Mburo National Park offer one of the most interesting game walks in Uganda, in a beautiful area with a knowledgeable local guide.

The nature walk offers an opportunity to see various species of birds, antelopes, and primates, as well as Hyena, Buffalo, Giraffe, Zebra and Warthog. All this in a beautiful savannah landscape dotted with great Acacia trees. The game starts as early as 7 am and is a great way to get closer to wildlife and take great photos

Game Walk Fees

  • Foreign Non-Resident – USD 15
  • Foreign Resident – USD 10
  • East African Citizen – UGX 10,000\

5. Bird Watching

Lake Mburo National Park is home to over 350 bird species that birders can explore on guided nature walks or by boat. The closed canopy of the Rubanga Forest located west of the lake is home to a variety of bird species, including White-winged Warbler, Crested Francolin, Greenwood Hoopoe, Brown Parrot, Red-necked Spur fowl, Black-billed Barbet, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill and the Nubian Woodpecker.

The shores of Lake Mburo are especially good for birding, mainly for those interested in seeing the rare Shoebill Stork and the African Finfoot.

6. Cycling Tour

Visitors On A Cycling Tour In Lake Mburo National Park
Visitors On A Cycling Tour In Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the popular biking destinations in Uganda. Ride across the lush hills and through the game tracks to observe plenty of game and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. You’re very likely to see zebra, impala, warthogs as well as a variety of other antelope.

Cycling Fees

  • Foreign Non-Resident – USD 30
  • Foreign Resident – USD 25
  • East African Citizen – UGX 30,000

7. Horseback Riding

Tourist on a Horseback Safari in Lake Mburo National Park
Tourist on a Horseback Safari in Lake Mburo National Park

Other than taking a nature walk, the bush of Lake Mburo National Park can be explored on a horseback offering you another great chance to get closer to wildlife. You will ride for two full hours sighting zebra, giraffes, buffalo, while also enjoying the beautiful landscapes en route.

The horses are well trained and maintained by their German owners. There are horses available for riders of different levels of experience.

8. Cultural Tours

Community cultural tours around Lake Mburo National Park can be done on a bike or on foot. You will come across the grazing land where wildlife and livestock mingle and can learn about their culture and traditions and even have a go at milking the famous Ankole cows or making some cow’s ghee.

You can also visit the Igongo Cultural Centre which features one of the best museums in all of Uganda. Here you can learn about learn about the history and traditions of the Ankole Kingdom.

Lake Mburo National Park Accommodation

Lake Mburo National Park has got one of the best and affordable Uganda Safari Lodges (accommodation facilities). Lodges in Lake Mburo National Park range from of luxury, mid-range, and budget options:

  • Mihingo Lodge – Luxury
  • Mburo Safari Lodge – Luxury
  • Rwakobo Rock Lodge – Midrange
  • Arcadia Lodge – Midrange
  • Mpogo Safari Lodge – Midrange
  • Eagles Nest Mburo – Budget
  • Leopard Rest Camp – Budget
  • Rwonyo Rest Camp – Budget

How To Get To Lake Mburo National Park

You can easily get to Lake Mburo National Park by road. Lake Mburo National Park is found in Mbarara district along Mbarara Kampala highway, a 3-4-hour (240km) drive from Kampala City.

From Mbarara, turn left at/after 13 km (Akageti) past Lyantonde, which then brings you to Sanga gate. Both junctions have clearly labeled signposts to Lake Mburo National Park.

It is 13km from Sanga trading center to Sanga gate, 5 km from the main road to Nshara gate and almost 20 minute drive from Rwonyo Park Head Quarters.

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