Situated conveniently off the highway that connects Entebbe and Kampala to Western Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park is a must-visit wetland ecosystem brimming with flora and fauna. With several lakes and water bodies in the entire area, it forms a much-needed wetland that attracts a host of wildlife from the nearing area. At 260 square kilometers, it also stands as the smallest savannah national park existing in Uganda. With everything from game drives to various safaris on road, this national park is the ideal place for a one or two-day safari. Originally gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and had a topsy-turvy history of poaching and hunting until it was re-gazetted in 1986. The bounds of the national park consist of five lakes with a total of 13 other lakes in the area. This forms an extensive 50-kilometer long wetland ecosystem that house more than 300 species of birds along with antelopes and land mammals. The lakes are scattered in between vast expanses of woodland, which usually used to be savannahs.
Birds and Mammals in Abundance
With over 300 species of birds, this wetland ecosystem serves as a welcome source of water inland for a large number of species. They flock to these lakeshores during the wet season and it makes for some great viewing. Apart from the endangered Shoebill Stork and White-winged Warbler, there are several other species of birds that you get to see at the Lake Mburo National Park. These include the Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Rednecked Spur, common Quails, Black-billed Barbet, Greenwood Hoopoe, Blue-napped Mousebird, Lilac-breasted Roller as well as the African-grey Hornbill. Along with these birds, there are a lot of land mammals that are also present in that area such as the Zebra, Hippopotami, Impala, Warthogs, Elands, Buffaloes, jackals and even leopards. A lot of them are the mammals that are present all over the African continent, but the setting is very different from the usual Uganda safari experience in the savannahs.
The Lake Mburo Safari experience in Uganda is filled with different types of safaris that cover different parts of the national park. The Rubanga Forest is a treasure trove of bird species that are indigenous to Lake Mburo. Apart from this, there is the boat safari that allows you to laze through the waters of the lake and view wildlife from a completely different angle. You might chance upon everything from pelicans and fish eagles to crocodiles and hippopotami based on the location that you go on. Boat trips can be created and catered to specific requirements that are based on the customers’ preferences and timings. So make sure you find some time to take a dip in the waters. There is also a nature trail for visitors who want a glimpse of the offerings at the national park, while fishing is also a common activity. There are approximately 6 species of fish that are found in Lake Mburo with the Tilapia being the most common along with lung fish, mud fish and haplochromines. The Eastern side of the Lake has a two-hour boat trip that includes viewings of enormous Hamerkop nests as well as viewings of colorful kingfishers.
As is the case with any national park in Africa, the game drives as Lake Mburo national park are also very rewarding. Make sure there is a wildlife ranger with you during the drive to provide information on the various species of animals that you come across. The Rangers are also capable of spotting animals that you cannot see usually. Lake Mburo is one of the only parks where you will spot Elands, Impala, Antelopes, and Giraffe. Not only this, you might also be rewarded by viewings of Leopards. There have been reporting of lions also spotted in the vicinity of these parks which is highly likely. It is also the only park in Western Uganda where you can find the Burchell Zebras. Nocturnal game drives are also a very interesting experience worth having at the Lake Mburo national park. The park comes to life at night and besides the normal animals, you can also spot Bush Babies, Porcupines, and Leopards that are more active in the night. The rustling of the waters also adds to the feel.
A trip to Lake Mburo national park from Entebbe will also add other attractions along the way like a halt along the equatorial line that you will find along the highway. Not only this, a trip to Lake Mburo will certainly be memorable. The landscape with its rolling grassy hills and picturesque lakeshore makes for one of those getaways that rejuvenate you from within. You could mix it up with the several national parks that you would hit on Western and Southern Uganda, or even just do a separate day trip to Lake Mburo because of its relative proximity and ease of access from the highway. It is certainly something that will add to the flavor of complete Uganda safari experience because of how novel and dissimilar it is to many of the conventional national park safaris that you would come across in Africa. While Lake Mburo saw a lot of damage happen to the wildlife due to hunting and poaching in the few decades before the turn of the millennium, things have been looking better for the wildlife at Lake Mburo in the recent years. There have been spotting of Lions as well, most of whose roars are heard at night. Giraffes were also migrated from Murchison Falls national park making Lake Mburo even more of an attraction. So take a couple of days off and make a trip to Lake Mburo national park, it will certainly be remarkable and leave you with a very fond memory of Africa.