The closest savannah national park near Entebbe and Kampala is Lake Mburo in Uganda. The best location in Uganda for wildlife viewing and birding excursions is Lake Mburo National Park. In western Uganda, near Mbarara, the Lake Mburo National Park is situated in the Nyabushozi County Kiruhura District. It is 240 kilometers by road west of Kampala and about 3 kilometers east of Mbarara.
Four significant districts of Uganda border the park, including Mbarara City Lyantonde, Isingiro North, and Kiruhura. The president’s house in Nyabushozi county, which is about a two-hour drive from Lake Mburo, is near to the park in the Kiruhura area.From Kampala or Entebbe, respectively, the park is a short 3 hour trip away by road. It is spread around 260 km2. Range of elevation above sea level between latitude 0.6000 and longitude 30.9500.
Lake Mburo was first designated as a regulated hunting area in 1933 and later changed to a game reserve in 1963. Banyankole, Bahima pastoralists who historically and today herd Ankole cattle, populated the area. The Obote regime raised the reserve’s status to national park status in 1983, and the locals were forced to leave their homes after being labeled “invaders” in 1981 for continuing to graze their livestock there. To punish and weaken the Banyankole who aided anti-Obote rebels, the Lake Mburo reserve was elevated to national park status.
Many of the pastoralists who had been uprooted during the upgrading remained in their hostels because they had not received compensation for lost grazing land or assistance with resettlement. The rangeland beyond the park was then divided into small parts and plots for subsistence cultivation during the 300,000-person Operation Bonanza massacre.
Wildlife of Lake Mburo.
Lake Mburo national park is the only park where you can spot impalas and only one in western Uganda with burchell’s, Zebras and eland. The park hosts about 69mammal species like zebras, hippopotamus, warthog, Africa buffalo, bush pigs, as well as various bird species including famous shoebill, stork, African fin foot, pelican, heron, crested crane. Acacia woodland bird species are well represented around the rest camp at Rwonyo and in the lightly wooded grassland valleys east of Lake Mburo and others. predators include the lions, leopards, hyenas, genets, civets, jackals and serval cats, among others. The park is famous for having large number of zebras.
Getting to Lake Mburo.
Since Lake Mburo is the park that is closest to Kampala, the capital city, The quickest and most usual way to reach the park is by car; you can opt to drive from Entebbe or Kampala, which is 228 kilometers away and takes 3 to 5 hours, respectively, to reach Lake Mburo National Park. Additionally, the park is accessible from the national parks of Queen Elizabeth and Kibale through Ibanda, Rushere, and Mbarara.
Kyanyanshara Gate, which is near to the upscale Mihingo lodge, is about 18 kilometers south of Akagate Trading Center, which is 14 kilometers west of Lyantonde. The 9 kilometers of dirt road heading to Nshara Gate makes a bend after nine kilometers.West of Akagate and 500 meters south of the main road. 13 kilometers from Akagate and 27 kilometers from Lyantonde, the dirt route to Sanga Gate departs from main roads at Sanga Trading Center.
Lake Mburo national park lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and Rwenzori Mountains and receives an average of 800mm of rainfall in a year. The park being near the Equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal with the long rains occurring from February to June and the short rains from September to December. Rainfall is relatively irregular and unpredictable but heaviest in April and November. Covering an average temperature of 27.50C to 34oC, July and August are the balmy months.
Activities and Attractions.
Lake Mburo boat cruise.
An opportunity to see various wildlife, such as crocodiles and hippopotamuses, as well as stunning birds, such as pelicans, herons, and fish eagles, as well as possibly rare fin foot and shoebill species, is provided by boat tours. Other fishermen with their own equipment may fish in the lake from the campsite upon arrangement. Game drives. Travelers must participate in game drives or game watching while on their trip. Visitors get the opportunity to see a variety of savannah creatures here, including zebras, eland, impalas, leopards, hyenas, and stunning birds. Travelers who take night game drives with a ranger guide have the chance to see nocturnal species like bush-babies, pottos, and possibly even a leopard.
Cultural tours Lake Mburo.
Here, visitors have the opportunity to engage with and learn about the locals. The Bahima show tourists how they rear their Ankole cow, prepare milk and yoghurt, live, and provide information about the national park. Visitors to Igongo Cultural Center can learn more about Ankole customs, attire, cuisine, and livestock. The Banyakitara, which consists of the Bakiga, Banyankole, Batoro, and Banyoro, live in the Centre, a historically significant place. Erijukiro is the name of the Center. Visits to a natural salt lake where wildlife may be watched from a timber observation platform are other must-do activities for tourists in Lake Mburo.
A variety of forest bird species can be seen living in the forests that border Lake Mburo on its western shore. Mihingo Lodge runs horseback safaris along the grassy ridges in the eastern portion of Lake Mburo. Rwakobo Rock and leopard tail Rest Camp both provide mountain riding excursions into the park through the Nshara Gate. The Acacia woodland along the Acacia and research trails, among other places, are popular spots for
birdwatching in Lake Mburo.
Accommodation in Lake Mburo.The lodging options at Lake Mburo are the best and most reasonably priced; they are divided into three price ranges: luxury, midrange, and budget. Mihingo Lodge and Lake Mburo Tented Camp are two of the lake Mburo area’s luxurious lodges. Rwakobo Rock Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, Arcadia Cottages, and Mpogo Lodge are examples of midrange lodges. Rwonyo Rest Camp and Eagle Nest Mburo Camp are two inexpensive inns. For visitors to the Lake Mburo National Park, none of these lodges provide a difficulty because they all provide excellent and pleasant services and are close to the park.
When to visit Lake Mburo.
Although the Lake Mburo National Park is open all year round, the best times to see wildlife in general are during the dry seasons, from June to August and December to February, when animals congregate near the lake and other water sources. Wildlife viewing is still acceptable during the rainy seasons (March through May and September through November), when the park is lush and beautiful.