Self Drive Tour to Lake Mburo National Park-Uganda’s Smallest Savanna Park
Lake Mburo is Uganda’s smallest savanna park with an area of no less than 370 sq kilometers. It extends across the Masaka-Mbarara dry corridor and its environment is like none other in the whole of Africa. The rolling scenery is at its best in the rainy season when flowering plants are in plenty. The Park contains an extensive area of wetland and also harbors several species of mammals and birds found nowhere else in Uganda. Its sculptured landscape, with rolling hills and idyllic lake shores has a varied mosaic of habitats; forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps, and rich acacia-woodland, and grassy valleys which all support a wealth of wildlife.
Lake Mburo is wonderful for Walking and horseback safaris and, as well as more conventional 4×4 excursions. The lush vegetation attracts large numbers of antelopes from the diminutive impalas to waterbucks and eland. The park has one of the highest densities of zebras in east Africa and there are a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog and bush pigs. Buffalo are also commonly seen in the park but lions and elephants faced extinction.
For the birdwatcher, Lake Mburo national park has a lot to offer: over 350 bird species have been recorded. The rare Red-faced Barbet, only seen in Lake Mburo, the endemic African Fin foot, the rare Shoebill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Saddle-billed Stork, Brown-chested Lapwing, African-wattled Lapwing are among those to be seen
There is such a lot to see in the vast park: lakes, ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks, and wetlands are just some of the attractions. Accommodation facilities available include Mihingo Lodge, a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park with ten rooms which are built on wooden platforms with stilts, covered by a thatched roof, Mantana tented camp, Rwakobo rock lodge Arcadia cottages and lake Mburo safari lodge.
Things to Do
Enjoy game viewing in Lake Mburo national park, with types and numbers of wildlife varying, depending on the time of year. Expect to see unusual species such as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, Oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, Topi and reedbuck. The drives, in closed vehicles, can take 2-4 hours depending on your needs. During the dry season, animals tend to congregate around the swamps and lakes; this is a remarkable photo opportunity – a magnitude of wild African animals with the sparkling lakes in the background.
Take a nature walk with a professional guide around the park to experience the beautiful grasses, stunning flowers and creatures both usual and rarely seen. You are permitted to walk anywhere in the park in the company of an armed park ranger. This gives tourists the unique chance to get out and about and absorb the wonders of the African bush without the confines of a vehicle.
With many highly restricted distributions, Lake Mburo is a key birding destination in Africa. Varied habitats including forest patches, grasslands and wetlands are home to some 351 bird species.
When to Visit
Anytime of the year is good. The dry season is from June to September, rains fall between October/November and March/May. When the sun goes down, even in dry season, it gets chilly. Migrant birds also expand the bird population dramatically from November to April. Game viewing however is better in the dry season.
Access the park through Masaka Mbarara road-3.5 hours drive from Kampala city. It can also be accessed by charter to Mbarara airfield and then transfer by road to Lake Mburo National Park.
The fact that Lake Mburo National Park is located on the highway to western Uganda, depending on the number of days you have you can extend your safari to other tourist destination in Western Uganda such as Bwindi Impenetrable forest and Mgahinga National Park for mountain gorilla tours, Queen Elizabeth National park for more wildlife viewing including spotting tree climbing lions in Ishasha sector as well as Rwenzori mountains for adventurous hiking.