Lake Mburo National Park safari | Travel guide

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This scenic little park in western Uganda, close to Kampala, is home to several wildlife species not easily seen elsewhere in the country.

These include Burchell’s zebra and impala. Although elephants are absent from the park, there is plenty of other wildlife to see, including Rothschild’s giraffe, buffalo and defassa waterbuck.

Lake Mburo NP has a vast ecosystem and nature prevails in its western region where there are rocky outcrops and forested gorges, narrow bands of lush, riparian woodland and much more.

The park harbors 68 mammal species though it does not have elephants and lions. The fact that there are no lions gives a chance to visitors to freely move close to the animals and have a close impact with them.

Why visit Lake Mburo National Park?

Lake Mburo National Park safari

A safari boat cruise gives travelers a chance to spot different bird species and wildlife like crocodiles, hippos among others.

This is the only place where Uganda safari visitors can find both impalas and giant bush rats and the park is endowed with several wildlife and bird species.

Other features to enjoy at the park include the alluring beautiful sceneries, the parent rocks and savanna. Unique wildlife that can also be viewed on a night game safari include leopards, bush babies and porcupines.

This amazing natural landscape is also home to Uganda’s largest population of Burchell’s Zebra which are often encountered grazing along with the fascinating Ankole longhorn cattle.

This indigenous cattle breed belong to Bahima pastoralists that used to graze this amazing rangeland long before the area became a national park.

Animals

The park has a good variety of wildlife. Several antelope species can be seen, including topi, duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck and klipspringer.

Elephants are absent, but herds of buffalo are quite common, and Rothschild’s giraffes have been reintroduced. A healthy population of leopards is present, although mostly seen at night. Hippo and crocodile can be found in the lake.

Burchell’s zebra and eland are only found here and in the less-accessible Kidepo Valley National Park. The rare and specialized sitatunga can sometimes be spotted in the marshes, and the park is the only place in Uganda where impala are resident. Bushbuck has a unique habit in the park of standing on the lookout on termite mounds.

Birds

More than 310 bird species have been recorded in Lake Mburo National Park. This park is the best place in Uganda for acacia-dwelling birds. Forest species are also present in Rubanga Forest.

A bonus for birders are the swamps, in which six papyrus specials are resident, including the spectacular papyrus gonolek and the blue-headed coucal.

Southern species at the northern limit of their range include the black-collared barbet and bare-faced go-away bird. Migratory birds are present from November to April.

Notable birds include the African wattled lapwing, bare-faced go-away bird, the greater painted-snipe,  the rare shoebill, stork, African finfoot, pelican and heron among others.

Trees

The woody vegetation of Lake Mburo is dominated by Acacia species, Olea species and Boscia species. The fringing swamps in the park also hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the red, black and yellow papyrus gonolek.

Lake Mburo National park is famous for its grassy escarpment fringed with acacia forest, the lake and the closed canopy. The varied habitants support a variety of wildlife comprising 68 different species of mammals.

Other activities at Lake Mburo National Park

The following are some other Ugandan activities that visitors to that visitors to Lake Mburo National Park can look forward to on their trip:

  • Guided Nature Walk: Conducted on foot with the help of an armed guide who explains to visitors about the various flora and fauna species like antelopes like oribs, sitatunga, eland, zebras, water bucks and many other species.
  • Boat cruise: Done on the eastern shores of Lake Mburo and can be explored by boat at lakeside campsite near Rwonyo Rest Camp. Tourists can be able to see crocodiles and hippos during the two-hour time and they can also sight a variety of birds like African fish eagles, fin foot, shoebill stork and many more other species.
  • Game drive: In the hinterland of Lake Mburo with an armed guide who takes you through the drive while explaining to visitors. Guests will spot a variety of savannah animals like zebras, buffalos, impalas, waterbuck and many other species.
  • Horse riding: Conducted around mihingo lodge inside the park and quad biking is conducted by African all-terrain vehicles and tourists are able to view the park’s terrain and wildlife floras.

How to get to Lake Mburo National Park?

By Plane

Entebbe International Airport (EBB) is how most most visitors enter Uganda and travellers should be aware of the latest Uganda visa requirements.

Visitors can opt to fly from Entebbe to Kajjansi to Mbarara airstrip which will take you less than an hour. This is the easiest means of transport and the quickest.

Your local tour operator will usually arrange for your pick-up from the airport or hotel and all further transportation as part of your safari package.

By Road

Lake Mburo is located in western Uganda, 228km/142mi from Kampala and 250km to 300km/155mi to 185mi from Bwindi (depending on which gorilla trekking base you are headed to).

The drive from Kampala takes about 5 hours and the drive on to Bwindi about 6 to 7 hours. Carrying a small amount of local currency, the Uganda currency (UGX) is advised for smaller purchases.

Tariffs & Regulations

Entrance fee

All Lake Mburo National Park fees are payable at the gate at time of entrance. Park fees are valid for 24 hours.

  • Foreign Adults: USD $40 per day
  • Children Under 16: USD $20

Carrying a small amount of local currency, the Uganda currency (UGX) is advised for smaller purchases.

Regulations

If you keep to park rules, you can stay with the animals as long as they are not disturbed by your presence.

Accommodation at Lake Mburo National Park

Tourists at Lake Mburo National Park can choose from a number of different options when deciding where to sleep with accommodation ranging from luxury safari lodges to lower budget camping.

Lodges

Lake Mburo Camp is ideally situated within Lake Mburo National Park set in a commanding position on the side of Rwamahungu hill, overlooking Lake Mburo and its surrounding ecosystems.

The camp is a classic tented camp in the grand safari tradition providing the only luxury accommodation inside Lake Mburo National Park.

Fitting perfectly with the environment, the luxurious and spacious tents on wooden decks with their large bedrooms, en-suite facilities and verandahs overlooking the lake and valley are complemented by a luxurious sitting room, bar and dining area.

Each of the nine guest tents stand on wooden platforms with veranda, twin/double bedroom, dressing room and en-suite bush shower and toilet. Hot water is provided in the dressing room and for the showers.

Camping

Mantana Tented Camp offers basic accommodation facilities and has a clear view of the lake and offers a superb view of hippos and crocodiles on the shores, having fun in the pure blue waters of Lake Mburo national.

Leopard Rest Camp is also one of the popular ones in Lake Mburo national park. It has a good location and has a great position for watching wildlife in the park where guests can watch animals grazing, resting and more.

Campervan

Guests on a self-drive wildlife safari with a campervan can make significant savings by sleeping in their vehicle.

Bars/restaurants/amenities

Lodges will typically have all meals and drinks included in the lodge package.

Useful information

Geography

On a Uganda safari tour, Lake Mburo National Park can be found in western Uganda and is usually visited on a tour, typically as an overnight break when driving between Kampala and Bwindi Impenetrable NP.

Trips to the park are often combined with tours of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Murchison Falls National Park

Weather

Lake Mburo National Park experiences a mild climate. Daily temperatures are around 27°C/81°F, with nightly temperatures of 14°C/57°F on average.

Rain occurs throughout the year – although June and July get the least amount of rain. December through February also tends to be a period of lesser rainfall.

There are two recognizable Wet seasons, from March to May and from September to November.

Best time to go

Understanding the best time to visit Uganda is important as this will impact accommodation, flight prices, availability and the weather that visitors can expect on their safari vacation.

Lake Mburo National Park is open year-round, but the Dry seasons from June to August and December to February are the best times for general wildlife viewing as animals gather around the lake and other water sources.

Wildlife viewing is still OK in the Wet seasons from March to May and from September to November and at this time the park is lush and scenic.

Health

It is recommended to visit a travel clinic before coming to Uganda. Several Uganda vaccinations are recommended and usually administered before your departure.

Antimalarials are advised, as well as covering up in the evening and using mosquito repellent (those containing DEET are most effective).

It is recommended to visit a travel clinic before coming to Uganda. Several Uganda vaccinations are recommended and usually administered before your departure.

FAQs

Where is Lake Mburo National Park located?

Lake Mburo National Park is located in western Uganda and is usually visited on a tour, typically as an overnight break when driving between Kampala and Bwindi Impenetrable NP.

What animals will visitors see at Lake Mburo National Park?

Visitors to Lake Mburo National Park will see various antelope species including topi, duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, buffaloes, Rothschild’s giraffes, leopards, hippo and crocodiles.