Lake Mburo National park is amazingly the closest national park to Kampala, it also doubles as the smallest national park. Situated between Masaka and Mbarara district taking approximately 4 hours’ drive time to arrive. The park covers an area of 370km² including the lakes ( 5 lakes).
Lake Mburo national park has got thrilling activities that keep its visitors always on the desire for more. Some of the most common tourism activities at Lake Mburo include; Game drive in the park, a boat cruise on Lake Mburo, birding/ bird watching, Nature walks, unique horse riding to view wildlife, fishing, cultural tours, and cycling among others. The park can be accessed in two gates, namely Sanga gate accessible when one is driving from Kampala side and Nshara gate accessible when one is coming from Mbarara side.
Lake Mburo National Park Wildlife
Lake Mburo is the only park that contains impalas and the only one in western Uganda with Burchell’s zebra and eland. Topi is only found elsewhere in Queen Elizabeth National Park. The species list was expanded in 2015 when a number of Rothschild’s giraﬀe were relocated to Lake Mburo from Murchison Falls National Park.
Leopards and hyenas are also present and, after years of absence, lions are once more sighted. Hippos and crocodiles live in the park’s 5 lakes, while the fringing swamps hide secretive wetland creatures such as the sitatunga antelope.
A network of game tracks explores the eastern hinterland of Lake Mburo, providing the chance to see a variety of savannah animals and birds. Night drives with a ranger guide provide the chance to see nocturnal animals such as bushbabys, pottos and perhaps even a leopard. Salt Lick Walk Guided walks explore the park around Rwonyo, culminating in a visit to a natural salt lake where wildlife can be viewed from a timber observation platform.
Horseback riding safaris
The grassy ridges in the eastern part of Lake Mburo can be explored on horseback. This activity is operated by Mihingo Lodge. Mountain biking Rwakobo Rock and Leopard Tail Rest Camp both operate mountain biking trips into the national park at Nshara Gate.
The horseback ride in Lake Mburo can take 1-3 hours as you explore the beauty of the national park savannah coupled by the view of the wild game.
The bird list contains more ‘swamp specials’ such as the papyrus gonelek, papyrus yellow warbler, white-winged warbler, and shoebill. Acacia woodland bird species are well represented around the rest camp at Rwonyo and in the lightly wooded grassland valleys east of Lake Mburo.
Prime areas for birding in Lake Mburo include the acacia woodland along the Acacia and Research tracks; the wooded shores of Lake Mburo as seen from the Rwonyo launch and the lake’s northern fringe of papyrus wetland.
Some of the most notable bird species viewed at Lake Mburo national park include; coqui Francolin, emerald spotted wood, rufous bellied heron, crowned cranes, bare-faced go-away birds, ross turaco, white-headed barbet, Nubian woodpecker, white parrot, red-shouldered tit,black-bellied bustard, yellow-breasted apalis, long-tailed cisticola, kingfisher, African fish eagles and so many more.
This small tract of forest on the western side of Lake Mburo is home to a variety of forest bird species. Rubanga can be explored with a ranger guide. It is suitable for travelers who have interests in birding and view of nature.
The cruise on the lake equally guarantees one a view of the amazing flora and founa at the national park alongside wildlife such as crocodiles, hippos and bird species such as African fish eagles, pelican, king fishers, herons, cormorants, rare shoe bills and hammer kobs. It’s also realized that during the dry seasons, some wildlife also are frequent habitants o the water areas some of which include buffaloes and antelopes.