The whispers of the wild or call it Lake Mburo National Park is Uganda’s smallest savannah Park located in the western part of the country in Nyabushozi county, Kiruhura district near Mbarara covering an area of 370 square kilometers. It is 228 kilometers away from Kampala making it the nearest of all the 10 national parks.
Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50 kilometer long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lake lie within the park’s border, covered by open savannah which supports a good population of buffalos, hippos, warthogs and bush pigs. The park contains much acacia woodland because their no elephants to tame the vegetation. Other habitats include; savannah grassland, bush, swamps, rock outcrops and lakes that support a wealth of wildlife including species that is rare or even absent from other national parks in Uganda such as zebras, impalas and elands. 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 park is gifted with forests which act as a habitant to animals and also help in the influence and formation of rainfall that provides water.
Lake Mburo National Park consists of over 313 bird species including the papyrus and acacia species.
Historically, Lake Mburo derives its name from a story of two brothers; Mburo and Kigarama who lived where Lake Mburo is situated today which was a low lying area where the Bahima pastoralists used to graze their cattle back then. One night Kigarama had a dream whereby there was to come heavy rainfall which could drain and flood their area leading to loss of lives and destruction of property. When it reached in the morning, Kigarama shared this dream with his brother so that they can plan a way of vacating the place to the nearest hill in order to save their lives and property but unfortunately, Mburo denied even though dreams where seriously respected by the African tradition during that time. Kigarama decided to vacate to the adjacent hill leaving his brother behind. Just after Kigarama’s departure, the dream came true whereby the area was all flooded leading to the drowning of Mburo and his property in the lake which was formed by the floods in the valley hence the name Lake Mburo.
What to do at Lake Mburo National Park
During your game drives, you will see a variety of savannah animals such as the zebras, elands, impalas, topis, leopards, hyenas, Rothschild’s giraffes, oribis, wild pigs, buffalos, bush baby, pottos and many more not forgetting bird species like African grey hornbill, Common francolin, Nubian wood pecker, Red-headed love bird, Red-faced barbet to mention a few.
This birding activity is carried out in the prime areas for bird watching in the park which includes; the acacia woodland along the acacia and research tracks. Birds seen include
The eastern shores of Lake Mburo can be explored by water, and the trip will start from the lakeside campsite near Rwonyo rest camp. While on your trip, watch out for hippos and crocodiles plus birds like fish eagles, herons, fin foot, pelicans and other water birds.
Salt lick walk
You will enjoy the guided walks around Rwonyo by visiting the natural salt water lake where wildlife can be viewed from a timber observation platform.
These walks are led by a knowledgeable ranger to Rubanga which is a home to a variety of forest birds on the western side of Lake Mburo.
The grassy ridges in the eastern part of Lake Mburo National Park can be explored on horseback. This activity is operated by Mihingo Lodge; one of the luxuries accommodations in the park.
This activity is operated at the Rwakobo rock and Leopard Tail Rest Camp which are located at the Nshara gate of Lake Mburo National Park.
Best time to visit Lake Mburo National Park
The park is open and can be visited throughout the year but the best time to visit is during the dry seasons from June to August and from December to February. During this season, a number of animals gather around the lake and other water sources to quench their thirst thus making good wildlife viewing.
How to get to Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park is the closest of all Uganda’s national parks to the capital city Kampala; located between Kampala and Mbarara city. It’s a journey of approximately 228 kilometers and that’s about 4 hours.