LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK

LAKE MBURO NATIONAL PARK

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Lake Mburo national park lies in the wesrtern region of Uganda in Kiruhura district bordered with other districts including Isingiro district in the east.

Lake Mburo National Park is a compact game, located conveniently close to the highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. It is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks and underlain by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is home to 350 bird species as well as zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.

Lake Mburo National Park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line many lakes.

The network of game tracks in the east of the park passes a variety of landscape features including acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to roam the park in search of wildlife.

The park’s varied habitats support 68 mammal species. On a game drive in this park one is assured of spotting 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. Recently introduced Giraffes are also sometimes encountered. Previously extinct in the park, lions have recently been sighted again.

Around 350 bird species have been recorded to date. These include the Red-faced Barbet, only seen in Lake Mburo, the endemic African Finfoot and the rare Shoebill. Other key species are the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Saddle-billed Stork, Brown-chested Lapwing, African-wattled Lapwing, Carruther’s Cisticola, Tabora (Long-tailed) Cisticola, African Scops Owl, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and White-winged Warbler.

Acacia woodland bird species are especially well represented, while forest species may be found in Rubanga forest. These include Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Hairy-breasted Barbet and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, among others.

Rwonyo  is the center for tourism activities in the park. It is the starting point for nature hikes, quad biking, game drives and forest walks. There is also a small shop selling handcrafts and books.

Lake Mburo is a natural haven for fauna and flora. The bank teems with animals and birds. Crocodiles and hippopotami are permanent residents, and buffalos come to drink during the dry season. The wide variety of resident birds includes Malachite Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagles, Rufous Long-tailed Starlings, Blue-headed Weavers, Green-necked Doves, Hammerkops, Pelicans, Herons, Cormorants and even rare Shoebills.

Rubanga Forest, though small, this tract of forest on the western side of Lake Mburo provides a taste of tropical high forest with a closed canopy and a viewing platform for visitors. It is home to a variety of forest birds; commoner species include the Harrier Hawk, Green Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Grey-backed Cameroptera and Double-toothed Barbet. Rubanga can be explored with a ranger guide.

Burchell’s zebra and eland are only found here and in the less accessible Kidepo NP. The rare and specialized sitatunga insometimes be spotted in the marshes, and the park is the only place in Uganda where impala are resident. Bushbuck has a quite unique habit in the park of standing on lookout on termite mounds.

Lake Mburo can be visited anytime, with wildlife viewing highlights year-round. In the dry seasons (from June to August and December to February), animals gather around rivers and waterholes, and during the wet seasons (March to May and September to November), large numbers can be seen in the open valleys.

Lake Mburo National Park has very beautiful lodges with in and around the park that range from budget to luxury that you can choose for your stay. These safari lodges cost between $40 to $500 per night.

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