Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National park is situated between the towns of Mbarara and Masaka, its an extension of the Tanzanian plains. The park is bounded to the north by the main Kampala-Mbarara road taking a 4 hour drive from Kampala. It is comparatively a small National park of 256km2 and the only National park in Uganda to contain an entire Lake in the rolling hills and open grassy valleys also composed of primarily grassland, wetland and acacia woodland. At the center of the park lies Lake Mburo, which together with 5 other small Lakes with in the park attracting the hippos, crocodiles and a variety of water birds, forming part of an extensive wetland area with different fauna to other parks and reserves.
Animals to be found in the park include the uncommon Topi, Klipspringer, Giant Eland, Impala, the gigantic land Antelope, Rock hyrax, Zebra, Water buck, Buffalo, Warthog, Leopard, Civet and Hyena. Rwonyo fishing village is part of Lake Mburo national park and the most common fish to be caught off the lake is the tilapia which is caught using traditional methods on traditional canoes. It is also a home to several acacia associated water birds species, the papyrus Gonolek and over 310 have been record, like the mosque swallows black bellied busterd, bare faced go away bird, marabou stork, bronze tailed sterling, bee eaters, Nubian wood pecker, swamp fly catchers and Rupp ell’s long tailed sterling, pennant winged night jar are often seen during its migratory period and the rare shoe bill stork. While it’s fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the sitatunga antelopes, red, black and yellow papyrus Gonalek.
Lake Mburo national park is the closest park to Kampala city and it takes 2-3 hours to get there and is quite accessible, offering a refreshing stop over when traveling to or from the western parks and reserves.
Lake Mburo however lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains, an average of only 800mm of rain a year. The long rains occur from February to June and the short rains from September to December with July and august being the hottest months.
Game drive/ Viewing
Lake Mburo National park has a number of tourist tracks with in the park and a game viewing/ drive is a rewarding activity for you. Impala track exposes the visitor to a diverse species of animals. Since game drive is the major activity in the park and it is famous for water bucks, impala, buffalos, zebras, topis, the elegant eland, numerous forest hogs, hyenas, jackals, as well as numerous hippos, and crocodiles gracing the shores of the lake to the northern side. A drive through the wet land basin and thick acacia shrub and woodland, with olive trees and euphorbia species. For visitors to experience a real exposure of Lake Mburo national park, should climb kazum hill which is high enough to enable them see what they could have missed. Here the five lakes with in the park and the rolling hills become more visible and attractive. Lake side track is specially designed to facilitate viewing of water plants and animals with a diversity of water birds and woodland birds that can be found along these tracks.
The Rwonyo fishing village and the most common fish caught off the lake is tilapia with about 5 other species which are caught using the traditional methods on a traditional canoe. However visitors who want to enjoy sport fishing on the lake carry their own fishing gear.
Boat trips/ dugout canoe
This is an interesting excursion due to the presence of the lake within the national park. A 2 hour motorized boat trip is organized at Rwonyo offices and this boat trip can help you view the rich diversity of animals like; papyrus Gonolek found in the giant sedge, Cyprus papyrus reeds and plant species that can be found on the shores of the lake. There are also other bird species like the pelicans, black crake, fish eagle, rare shoe bill stork and also the crocodiles, hippos these species can easily be viewed at this point on the boat trip.
These walking safaris are an exploration of Lake Mburo national park where one is able to view the numerous buffalos in the park and the chance to admire nature inside. The guided walks / nature trails also take you to have an opportunity to walk in the circuit at their own pace in company of an armed guide.
A walk to the nearby salt lick area is a highlight platform which is a strategically located wooden platform offering a chance to see at least four of the different species of animals at any one point while they lick the salty soil.
Birding at the park is the most interesting to view a wide variety of spectacular birds and many of these birds are wild spread and others are generalists and a variety of specialists’ water birds and woodland birds.
This park has open water birds like the white winged black tern;
it also has lake shore and papyrus swamp birds like the kingfisher, African fin foot, great white egrets.
This is a very small true forest with a closed canopy and the most common trees that can be seen here are the markhamia platy calyx, palms, figs, flame trees that are found on the edge of the swamp.
This forest also offers a variety of habitats, conducive of birds there by making it an attractive place for bird watchers