What to do in Lake Mburo National Park
Looking for a safari trip but don’t like travelling for long? Visit Lake Mburo National Park, the closest and one of the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks. It is a 3.5 hours drive to get to Lake Mburo. Lake Mburo covers 370 sq. km and together with 13 other lakes in the area forms part of a 50km long wetland system linked by a swamp. There are 5 lakes that lie within the park’s boundary and Lake Mburo is the largest. Let’s discover this ‘Whispers of the Wild beauty’.
Top things to do in Lake Mburo National Park
Wildlife Game Drives
To the east of the park, the game tracks pass through a range of beautiful landscapes that include acacia woodlands, wetlands and grassy hillsides, rocky outcrops & seasonally flooded valley floors, and great habitats for savannah animals and bird species.
Lake Mburo is the only park in Uganda with Eland, impala and Klipspringer and its home to the largest population of zebra in Uganda estimated at about 5,000, look out for reedbucks, buffalos, warthogs, waterbucks, hyenas and of recently new additions the giraffes and lions.
Night Game Drives
This is one of the highlights in the park, after early dinner! A ranger guide accompanies guests and on a good night, nocturnal predators like leopards and lions lurking in the park can be sighted. Look out for Bushbabys, Pottos, bush pigs, genet cats and white-tailed Mongoose.
Boat Safaris On Lake
Boat rides are done along the eastern shores of Lake Mburo. The boat trip takes approximately 1½ hours and holds a maximum of fourteen people on the covered roofed boat. The boat trips leave at 8 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm and 5.30 pm. Look out for Nile crocodiles, buffaloes, antelopes and zebras and waterbird species that include, Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagles, Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, and Blue-headed Weavers among others.
Birding in Lake Mburo
National Park and Rubanga Forest.
Uganda is a birders’ paradise and Lake Mburo has over 350 species recorded. The favourite bird hot spots are acacia woodland along the Acacia and Research tracks; the wooded shores of Lake Mburo as seen from the Rwonyo launch (ideal territory for the African finfoot) and the lake’s northern fringe of papyrus wetland. The rare shoebill stork has also been spotted in the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti. Look out for prominent birds such as Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Black-bellied Bustard, Brown-chested Lapwing, Ross’s Turaco, and Green Wood-hoopoe among others. Rubanga Forest is a tropical high forest on the western side of Lake Mburo and has a recording of 40 bird species.
Walking Safari – Nature Walks
The walks are recommended early morning or late evening. All walks in the park must go with an armed UWA guide. The walks are done within or outside the park. The swamps bordering Lake can be explored for 2 hours and have raised platforms from where you can look over the swamps and you may spot a Sitatunga or Uganda’s famous Shoebill stork. The salt lick is great to explore as you get to view wildlife from a viewing platform. Look out for the Zebras, Giraffes, Eland, Topi & other animals.
Lake Mburo National Park is the only park in Uganda where one can indulge in the game drive from the back of a horse! Mihingo Lodge has trained staff that takes you out on a horseback riding safari of Lake Mburo. Get up close to nature on horseback and take in amazing views of the park as well.
Mountain Biking Safaris
What better way to enjoy nature than getting up close and personal! Take in the beautiful and varied landscape of Lake Mburo along the biking trails in and outside the park. Biking safaris take about 2-3 hours accompanied by a ranger guide. Take photos of zebras and antelopes among others. Outside the park, you can embark on a 2-3 hours ride and hike to take in sites amazing scenery around Lake Mburo.
Cultural and Community Experiences
For a culturally authentic experience, a visit to the local homestead of the Hima people will be worthwhile. The traditional herdsmen live on the periphery of the park and a visit gets one to learn about their traditions and way of life with their most prized possession, the Ankole longhorn cattle. Get to experience the traditional methods of milking (by hand) and milk processing into different dairy products like ghee.
Fishing – Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo is the largest of the 5 lakes within the park boundary. There are 6 species of fish that are found here. The fishermen indulge in the Tilapia as a dish, the most popular fish caught. Visitors can carry out sports fishing as well upon acquiring a license and the fishing gear to indulge in this particular activity at Mazinga spot.
Travelling with Kids in Lake Mburo National Park
If you are travelling with children, staying at Mihingo Lodge might be worthwhile as kids can indulge in bush experiences organized through the lodge. They get to learn more about park nature and its habitats and a bush meal can be set up for them.
The best time to visit Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park lies close to the equator hence the bimodal rainfall pattern experience. It lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains and receives an average of 800 mm of rain a year. The long rains occur from March to June, and the short rains from September to December. Most rain tends to fall in April and November.
Lake Mburo is open year-round, but the dry seasons from June to August and December to February are the best time for general wildlife viewing as animals gather around the lake and other water sources. Some people prefer to visit during the wet seasons from March to May and from September to November as the park is lush and scenic. The average recorded temperature is 28° C
with daily variations ranging from 14° C to 32° C. July and August are the hottest months, though December and January can also be very hot.
Where to stay at Lake Mburo National Park
Inside the park
Mihingo Lodge and Mantana Tented Camp luxury option
Outside the park
Rwakobo Rock, Arcadia Cottages, and Lake Mburo Safari Lodge mid-range options
Leopard Rest Camp, Mburo Eagles Nest, and Rwonyo Camp for budget / standard options.
Pack your bags and grab a camera, come explore Lake Mburo National Park.
It is recommended to take between a 3 -4 day safari trip in the park for perfect value during your stay in Uganda.