Lake Mburo is one of Uganda’s smallest national park, covering an area of over 370Km2 but composed of surprising diversity of flora and fauna, with various mammals and avian species found nowhere else in the country. It enjoys the closest location to Kampala city, lying just about 4hours in western Uganda. It is a sparkling park centered on a series of swamp-fringed lakes famous for the astonishing birdlife.
It was gazetted a national park in 1983, with the government establishing its boundaries along with those of the original reserve. It then was opened to the public the following year.
The park is known for its extensive Acacia woodland hosting a miscellany of fauna including the highest concentration of Impalas.
The park has an altitudinal range of about 1220-1828meters above sea-level, its range of habitats is dominated by wetlands. It lies in a rain shadow between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Victoria receiving an average of 800mm annually. The rainfall pattern is bimodal due to its location near the Equator, long rains occur from February to June and the short ones from September to December. The average temperature range is 27.50C and varies daily between 21.5-340C with the hottest months being July and August.
Flora and Fauna
A beautiful wilderness park with a miscellany of habitats ranging from dry hillsides, rocky outcrops, Bushy thickets, open and wooded savannas to forests, lakes and marshes/ swamps offering refuge to variety of fauna. Its landscape is characterized by rolling hills and tranquil lakes, forest galleries, grassy valleys as well as seasonal and permanent swamps all support wealth of wildlife.
The park has over 68 species of mammals, including those only found here such as the Impalas. Apart from Kidepo, it is the only other park in Uganda with Burchells Zebra and Eland, Topis are found only here and in Queen Elizabeth. Other mammals such as Warthogs, Oribi, Buffalos, Defassa, Waterbucks, Reedbucks, Leopards, Hyenas and occasionally Lions can be seen in the park. The five lakes within the park are home to Hippopotamuses and Crocodiles while the swamp dwelling Sitatungas can also be seen.
Its bird list tallies to a total of over 332 recorded species including the papyrus specials like the Shoebill stork and Papyrus Gonolek, others like the Saddle-billed Stork, Tabora Cisticola, Carrutter’s Cisticola, Great Snipe, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, White-winged Warbler, Brown Chested Wattled Plover, Yellow Warbler, African Fish Eagle, Water Cormorants and notably the secretive African Fin-foot among others.
People and the Park
Lake Mburo National Park is one of the country’s parks surrounded by a good number of ethnic/ tribal groups. Overall, population density and intensity of cultivation is utmost around the southern boundary, although the park area is sparsely populated. The Ankole (Banyankole) make the dominant ethnic group around the park with the Bairu cultivators and Bahima herders accounting to over two thirds of the surrounding total population. The other include; the Bakooki a group from Baganda agriculturalists, Bakiga and Banyarwanda immigrants from southwestern Uganda and Rwanda respectively.
The park is just about 4hours from Kampala on a tarmac surface road to Mbarara town. This route offers access to most of the tourist attractions in Uganda's western tourism circuit with en-route stops at the Equator-00
Things to do
- Game viewing on safari drives
- Nature walks
- Boat cruise/ Launch trips
- Bird watching
- Quad biking and Horse riding.
Safaris to Lake Mburo
3 Days Wildlife viewing & Birding with Mabamba
8 Day Wildlife viewing with Queen & Murchison's