Exploring the Untamed Beauty of Lake Mburo National Park: A Journey into Uganda’s Wild Heartland
Located near Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park is a beautiful park that boasts a variety of rare wildlife species in Uganda. Impala and Burchell’s zebra are among these species. Despite the absence of big game like elephants and lions, visitors can still enjoy watching Rothschild’s giraffe, buffalo, and defassa waterbuck.
In addition to its unique wildlife, Lake Mburo offers a tranquil and picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy. With its rolling hills, serene lakes, and expansive savannahs, the park is a true natural wonder worth exploring. So whether you’re a seasoned safari-goer or a first-time visitor to Uganda, be sure to add Lake Mburo to your itinerary for an unforgettable wildlife experience.
The small savannah park is an excellent addition to gorilla trekking tours since it’s located halfway between the Internation Airport in Entebbe and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, the gorilla habitat.
Best time to go
June-August and December-February
143 sq miles (370 sq km)
4,065-5,272 ft (1,239-1,607 meters)
- Water safaris to see hippos and many birds
- Game-viewing safari drives but limited driving circuits
- Guided walking safaris and horseback riding are available
- Good accommodation options
- Accessible stopover between Kampala and Bwindi Impenetrable NP
Wildlife in Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo National Park is home to diverse wildlife, making it a must-see destination for nature lovers. While you won’t find elephants or rhinos here, the park offers a unique chance to spot some of the lesser-known safari animals that call it home.
One of the park’s most elusive residents is the leopard, which you can sometimes spot on thrilling night drives. Meanwhile, the impala, an antelope species found nowhere else in Uganda, grazes peacefully in the park’s lush grasslands. The Rothschild’s giraffe, a rare and endangered species, has been successfully reintroduced to the park. You may also glimpse the Burchell’s zebra, only found here and in the remote Kidepo Valley.
Other animals that regularly make appearances on safari drives or nature walks include the graceful oribi and the comical warthog, as well as hundreds of hippos that laze in the sparkling lake. Several antelope species, such as the topi, duiker, bohor reedbuck, and klipspringer, can also be spotted in the park’s varied habitats.
One of the park’s most fascinating creatures is the sitatunga. This rare and specialized antelope is sometimes seen in the marshes. Meanwhile, the bushbuck has a unique habit of standing watch on termite mounds, providing a striking sight for visitors.
Lake Mburo National Park offers wildlife-viewing opportunities all year round, but the optimal time to spot animals is during the Dry seasons (June to August and December to February) when they congregate at rivers and waterholes. The open valleys are home to many animals during the Wet seasons (March to May and September to November).
Lake Mburo National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 310 recorded bird species visible throughout the year. From acacia-dwelling birds to forest species and papyrus specials, the wildlife park offers a diverse array of avian life that will captivate any nature lover.
In Rubanga Forest, visitors can spot forest species such as the African finfoot and green pigeon, while in the swamps, the papyrus gonolek and blue-headed coucal are among the six papyrus specials that make their home there. The northern limit of the park is also home to southern species like the black-collared barbet and the bare-faced go-away bird, seen at the edge of their range.
Visitors can enjoy excellent birdwatching opportunities year-round, although impassable roads and slippery hiking trails during the rainy season in March and April may limit your time. For the best experience, visit during June and July when rainfall is at its lowest. Additionally, migratory birds can be seen from November to April, offering a unique chance to witness the seasonal movements of these remarkable creatures.
But birdwatching in Lake Mburo National Park is not just about ticking off species from a checklist. It’s about immersing yourself in the beauty and wonder of nature and connecting with the rich diversity of life that thrives in this unique ecosystem. So whether you’re an experienced birder or a curious newcomer, come to Lake Mburo and let the birds captivate your heart and soul.
Here are some of the birding specials you might spot in Lake Mburo National Park:
- African finfoot: This elusive bird is known for its webbed feet and ability to swim underwater.
- African scops owl: A small, nocturnal owl with a distinctive call.
- Bare-faced go-away bird: Named for its loud, nasal call that sounds like it’s saying, “Go away!”
- Blue-breasted kingfisher: A brightly colored bird that feeds on fish and other small aquatic creatures.
- Blue-headed coucal: A secretive bird often heard but rarely seen.
- Brown-chested lapwing: A ground-dwelling bird commonly found near water.
- Carruthers’s cisticola: A small bird with a distinctive, cheerful song.
- Greater painted-snipe: A wading bird known for its intricate courtship displays.
- Hairy-breasted barbet: A colorful bird with a unique call.
- Mosque swallow: A small bird often found near human settlements.
- Papyrus gonolek: A bird that’s found exclusively in papyrus swamps.
- Papyrus yellow warbler: A small, brightly colored bird found in wetlands.
- Red-faced barbet: A striking bird with a bright red face (found in the northeastern part of the park).
- Shoebill: A large, prehistoric-looking bird that’s a top priority for many birders visiting the park.
- Southern ground hornbill: A large, striking bird with a distinctive call.
- Tabora cisticola: A small bird with a specific call commonly found in grasslands.
- White-winged swamp warbler: A small bird found exclusively in papyrus swamps.
- Yellow-rumped tinkerbird: A small bird with a distinctive yellow rump.
Remember to bring your binoculars and camera, and keep your eyes and ears open for these amazing birds!
Lake Mburo Scenery
Lake Mburo National Park is a natural wonderland with various features, making it a unique and captivating destination. The park’s main attraction is the stunning Lake Mburo, surrounded by four smaller lakes to form a 31-mile-long wetland area. For the best views of these beautiful waterways, head to the impressive Kazuma Lookout, where you can take in the breathtaking scenery and marvel at the park’s ecological richness.
The park’s vegetation is mainly open savannah, but it is also home to patches of forest and rocky outcrops that provide shelter and food for various wildlife. In the absence of elephants, the park is becoming increasingly covered by woodland, which adds to its charm and creates a more diverse ecosystem. The woodlands are home to various bird species and primates, such as the vervet monkey and baboon.
Surrounding the lakes are papyrus swamps, a vital habitat for various aquatic species, including the rare sitatunga antelope and several species of frogs. Woodlands encircle the lakes, creating a unique habitat blend that attracts diverse wildlife. Visitors can enjoy guided walks and boat tours to explore these areas and discover the fascinating flora and fauna that call them home.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful wilderness escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Lake Mburo National Park offers scenic experiences for everyone. So come and explore this hidden gem of Uganda and discover the beauty and wonder of this remarkable natural treasure.
Weather & Climate
Lake Mburo National Park experiences a tropical climate, with two main wet seasons and two drier periods throughout the year. The first Wet Season occurs from March to May, while the second occurs from September to November. During these periods, the park receives a good soaking, which helps to nourish the vegetation and support the park’s diverse wildlife.
The peak of the rainy season typically occurs in April, while the second half of the year tends to be less rainy overall. However, visitors should know that rain can occur at any time of year, so it’s always a good idea to come prepared with rain gear and appropriate footwear.
The drier periods of the year occur from June to August and from December to February, although they are still relatively humid and may experience occasional rainfall. These periods offer an excellent opportunity for visitors to explore the park’s savannah landscapes and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife viewing.
Overall, Lake Mburo National Park offers a pleasant climate throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). So whether you’re visiting during the wet or dry season, come prepared for a memorable and enjoyable experience in this unique and beautiful natural wonderland.
Best Time To Visit Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is open year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your priorities. The midyear dry period from June to August/September brings the most pleasant weather for exploring the park, but it is also the busiest time of year, and prices are generally higher. If you don’t mind a bit of rain and want to see the park at its greenest, consider visiting during one of the two wet seasons from March to May or September to November. However, be prepared for slippery hiking trails and occasional showers.
For general wildlife viewing, the dry seasons from June-August and December-February are the best times to visit, as animals often gather around the lake and other water sources. However, wildlife viewing is still possible during the wet seasons, and the park is lush and scenic at this time. Also, remember that migratory birds can be seen from November to April, and guided tours and boat trips are available year-round for those interested in birdwatching and aquatic wildlife.
Overall, Lake Mburo National Park offers something for visitors no matter what time of year they choose to visit. Whether you’re looking for dry weather, lush scenery, or wildlife viewing opportunities, this beautiful park has it all.
Accommodation at Lake Mburo National Park
Rwakobo Rock Lodge
Perched atop a rugged rocky outcrop, Rwakobo Rock Lodge offers a secluded oasis at the northern fringes of Lake Mburo National Park
Immersed in the breathtaking natural surroundings, this family-owned lodge seamlessly blends into its environment, offering guests a serene and tranquil retreat with unparalleled vistas of the park’s expansive savannah landscape.
Kigambira Safari Lodge
It is on the shores of Lake Mburo surrounded by lush greenery and offers a peaceful and tranquil setting and offers stunning views of the lake and the surrounding savanna.
Mburo Eagle’s Nest
Situated at the edge of the park, Mburo Eagle’s Nest is a rustic safari camp that offers budget-friendly accommodation without compromising on the awe-inspiring views of the park’s vast and picturesque plains.
Other accommodation options
- Arcadia Cottages
- Mburo Safari Lodge
- Mpogo Safari Lodge
- Mantana Tented Camp
- Rwonyo Rest Camp
- Rangeland Mburo Lodge
- Leopard Rest House
- Hyena Hill
Visiting Lake Mburo National Park is hassle-free as most visitors opt for guided tours or safari packages that include transportation. The park lies in western Uganda, around 142 miles (228 km) from Kampala and 155 mi-185 mi (250-300 km) from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, depending on your chosen gorilla trekking base.
The journey from Kampala to Lake Mburo National Park takes approximately 5 hours. In comparison, the drive from Lake Mburo National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park takes 6-7 hours. Alternatively, travelers can fly into Entebbe International Airport (EBB), located about 29 miles (46 km) from Kampala, and arrange transportation through their local tour operator.
On arrival, your Uganda safari package will typically include transportation from the airport or hotel. Lake Mburo National Park’s prime location and easy accessibility make it a top destination for anyone visiting Uganda.
As part of your safari package, your tour operator typically arranges domestic flights that connect to Lake Mburo National Park. While it is possible to fly directly to Mbarara, the closest town to the park, it is uncommon. If you prefer to fly, you can book scheduled flights directly through Aerolink. If you travel by road from Mbarara, the journey is about 56 miles (90 km) and takes approximately 2½ hours.
It is generally safe to visit most reserves and parks in Uganda, including Lake Mburo National Park. We highly recommend taking a guided tour for added safety. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information regarding safety in Uganda, refer to the government travel advisories.
Malaria & Vaccinations
We advise getting specific vaccinations beforehand to ensure your safety when traveling to Uganda. Additionally, it’s important to protect yourself against malaria by taking antimalarial medication. To avoid mosquito bites, remember to apply mosquito repellent in the evening, with those containing DEET being the most effective.