Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest park in Uganda located in Nyabushozi county in Kiruhura district western part of the country. Kiruhura District is 30 kilometers east of Mbarara and 240 kilometers west of Kampala. It is the closest park near Kampala, and it can be accessed through the Kampala-Masaka highway via Masaka which is a 4 hours’ drive by road.
Lake Mburo National Park was previously a controlled hunting area in 1933, and it was later turned into a game reserve in 1963 not until it was upgraded to a national park in 1983 by the Obote government. Turning it into a national park was a political move by the Obote government to weaken the Banyankole and Bahima tribe who were part of the rebel group that was opposing his government.
The Banyankole and Bahima were cattle pastoralists who used the land to herd their cattle and so their eviction of his land really affected their economic activity and so they continued to oppose its upgrade to a national park and encroaching on its land. Upon the fall of Obote II government in 1985, these raided the park land again and attacked park staff, destroyed the wildlife to resettle there, however, sanity was returned in 1986 by the National Resistance Movement when the park was re- gazetted.
Lake Mburo National Park can be accessed through a variety of entrances that can be used to access the park which include Nshara and Sanga gates. Nshara gate is 48km from Lyantode town when coming from Kampala and Sanga is 12 km from Kampala – Mbarara highway making it more favorable.
Lake Mburo National Park covers an area of 260 square kilometers with an altitude of 1,220 to 1,828 meters above sea level. Part of the terrain of the park consists of wetlands, scenic sceneries. The terrain of Lake Mburo National Park is covered in wetlands in the east, lakes, plateaus and rocky environment in the west. The dry rocky environment is a solid foundation of the park which makes it exceedingly difficult for it to be encroached on by human population. Small fully grown tropical forests may be found in the west of the park. The climate here is tropical in nature with two seasons in a year (dry and wet) just like other parts of Uganda.
Lake Mburo National Park is popularly known for its high number of bird species close to 350, but it’s also habitat for mammals like the zebras, elands, impalas, buffalos, waterbucks, hippos, leopards and reedbucks among others.
What to do in Lake Mburo National park?
Some of the major tourist activities in Lake Mburo National Park include;
Game drives and wildlife viewing.
The national park is a habitat for over 69 mammals, these can be viewed by taking rides on horsebacks, game walking or cycling. Lake Mburo National Park is one of the three parks with the Burchell’s zebra, Impala, Vervet monkey and baboons.
This is a popular activity in Lake Mburo National Park as it’s a common destination for migrating birds. The national park is also surrounded by close to 14 lakes, five within its boundaries and these are a common home for birds. Some of the bird species found here, include forest birds, water birds and savanna birds including migratory birds.
This is also a common activity here; the park is surrounded by 14 lakes and five within the park. Lake Mburo is the largest of all lakes and has been set aside as the designated sport fishing area as it is free from crocodiles and hippos.
The park has got several tracks that can be used for nature walks in the company of an armed Uganda Wildlife Authority guide. Nature walks are more favorable in the morning as you can get close views of spotted hyenas going back to their dens, colorful birds and butterflies flying all over the park. The park has got these outstanding landscapes that are good for viewing by ranging from rolling hills, lakes, ancient rocks and sweeping savanna.
Lake Mburo National Park is the only park where travelers take on horseback rides. The experience is privately arranged by Mihingo Safari lodge, and it presents a close encounter to the animals compared to vehicle drives.
With the traditional Bahima and Banyankole neighbors, present a variety of their traditions and cultures ranging from the long-horned cattle they herd, to the ancient Precambrian rocks that were used as a center of worship by the local people. Tourists can come, discover and learn about these cultures.
When to visit?
Just like other safaris, the best time to visit Lake Mburo National Park is during the dry seasons - December to February and June to September as this time animals flood the lakes to drink water.