Lake Mburo national park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and its conveniently located close to the highway that connects Kampala city to the parks in the west. It is underlined by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500million years. This park hosts 350 bird species and mammals like zebra, impala, buffalo, hyena, leopards, buffalos and topi. Lake Mburo is one of the 13 other lakes in this area and it forms part of a 50km long system linked by a swamp. Within the parks borders, lay 5 of these lakes. This park also has thick woodland since it lacks elephants to feed on it.
Mburo park also harbors bird species that are globally threatened and these include two of the endangered cichlid fish species which have gone extinct in the main lakes and its also the only area in Uganda were you can find the impala. Within the thickets and grasslands of this park, there 22 bird species of palaerctic and afro tropical migrant birds that’s during the adverse conditions.
AREAS OF INTEREST
Lake Mburo- This is the lake from which the park derives its name; Lake Mburo national park. The lakes banks host mammals and birds though crocodiles and hippopotami are the permanent resident’s whereas buffalos come to take water during the dry season. Various bird species here include pied kingfisher, blue headed weaver, malachite kingfisher, African fish eagles, herons, shoebills, pelicans and green necked doves.
Game tracks- A hilltop viewpoint provides panaromic vistas of the park and its five lakes. There are also numerous tracks on the eastern hinterland of the park where many animals and birds can be viewed.
Rwonyo rest camp- This is the center for tourists and it’s the starting point for nature hikes, quad biking, game drives and forest walks.
Rubanga forest- This forest is on the western side of Lake Mburo and it provides a taste of tropical high forest with an enclosed canopy and a viewing platform for visitors. It harbors numerous forest birds like the harrier hawk, Narina trogon, green pigeon and the double toothed barbet.
Over 350 different birds have been recorded till now and these include the red faced barbet only seen in this park, the endemic African fin foot and the rare shoebill. Others include the African scops owl, white winged warbler, papyrus yellow warbler, saddle billed stork, and the African wattled lapwing among others. Forest species birds may be found in Rubanga forest and these include hairy breasted barbet, yellow rumped tinker bird and blue breasted kingfisher.
The park's varied habitats support 68 mammal species. Rarities include impala, which, in Uganda, only lives in Lake Mburo, and Burchell’s zebra and eland which are found only here and in Kidepo.
Other species include warthog, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck and reedbuck. Leopard and hyena are also present while crocodile and over 300 hippos are found in the lake. Previously extinct in the park, lions have recently been sighted again.
Early mornings and late afternoons are the best time to wander around in the park. The game tracks in the east of the park pass a variety of landscape features, wetlands, rocky outcrops, acacia woodland, grassy hillsides and seasonally flooded valley floors. sightings of the animals rarely seen during the day is provided by guided night drives and these start between 6:30 to 7 pm and they last two to three hours.
These safaris are the most exciting way to view wildlife like buffalo and eland. Commonly seen during these rides are the bushbucks, zebra, waterbucks, impala, topi, warthogs and duikers. This is a four hour hack to the top hill view points with options of bush breakfasts or sundowners as arranged at Mihingo lodge.
The swampy valleys of Warukiri, the road sides between Rwonyo camp plus jetty and Miriti are the best birding spots in Lake Mburo national park. Also at the salt lick in Miriti valley and Rubanga forestry are the ideal viewing platforms at the salt lick. Observed species here are the grey crowned crane, brown chested lapwing, black bellied bustard, brown parrot, bare faced go away birds and green wood hoopoe among others. Rubanga Forest can be visited using a vehicle or on foot and it is a real draw for keen birders, and prior arrangement should be made with the warden. The rare Red-faced Barbet are only seen in Lake Mburo National Park as it is one of the forest’s featured species.
Tilapia being the most common, Lake Mburo national park contains 6 species of fish with Mazinga being the designated fishing spot. Intended fishing visitors are advised to carry their own equipments and obtain permit from Uganda wildlife authority.
Hiking and nature walks
This park is usually open to walkers as long as they are accompanied by a ranger guide. A guided walk at Rwonda leads to a salt lick where many animals are attracted to the salty rocks. Walks through the woodland provide an opportunity to sight forest birds and animals as well as to the top of the hill rewards visitors with a speculation of 9 of the regions 14 lakes. Walks should be booked in advance by prior arrangement and in the company of a ranger.
The eastern banks of Lake Mburo are rich in wildlife and can be explored during a tranquil two hour boat cruise as a view of crocodiles, hippos, buffalos plus the colorful kingfishers, magnificent fish eagles, hammer kops and their enormous nests and the shoebill is enjoyed. This cruise departs from Rwonyo jetty every two hours from 8am.
This park just as the rest of the national parks in Uganda, offers many different accommodation sites to its visitors. Some are within the park as some just outside. All these offer services to the tourist. These include Lake Mburo safari lodge, arcadia cottages, Mihingo lodge, Rwonyo rest camp and Matana tented camp.
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