Self Drive Tour to Lake Mburo National Park 2023

Lake Mburo Self Drive

Self drive safaris are the most recommended for anyone considering a Uganda safari on a tight budget and tight time. Most of the national parks in Uganda are at least 250 kilometers from Kampala with the exception of Lake Mburo national park.

With this special distinction, there are a lot more distinct features and realities we desire to share with you regarding Lake Mburo national park

Park at a Glance

Lake Mburo is Uganda’s smallest savanna park with an area of about 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, rich acacia-woodland, and grassy valleys which all support a wealth of wildlife.

Wildlife Diversity

Lake Mburo is wonderful for Walking, horseback safaris as well as more conventional self drive 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.

Bird Watching

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

At this point you might feel like you already know what Lake Mburo national park is made up of in terms of diversity of wildlife, and the ecosystem. But do not get too familiar; because there are still a lot of things to do in Lake Mburo national park. These include but not limited to the following;

Game Drives

Enjoy game viewing in Lake Mburo national park with a self drive Rav4 or a Land Cruiser of your desired caliber though a pop up roof is often recommended. The types and numbers of wildlife vary 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. Though it is never a guarantee to see a leopard, you cannot ever miss out on spotting the antelopes.

The drives in closed vehicles can take 2-4 hours depending on your needs. However on a self drive safari; you have the whole day at your disposal. You can drive and stop whenever you wish without any hindrances. With a professional driver guide, you can easily make adjustments in your itinerary.

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 sparkling lakes in the background.

Guided Walks

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.

Getting There

The park is often recommended as the first or second stop in case you are considering a 3 days gorilla tracking safari. During a self drive or guided safari; the park is accessible through Masaka-Mbarara road. The park is about a 3 and a half hour’s drive from Kampala city.

In case you are the kind that cannot bare a 3 to 4 hours drive, the park can also be accessed by charter to Mbarara airfield and then transfer by road to Lake Mburo National Park. Though this requires an arrangement with a tour operator. It is also a bit more costly compared to self drive.

Possible Extensions

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 destinations 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.