Lake Mburo Uganda Safari – What to See and Do

Lake Mburo is sited on Savannah type slightly undulating land of 260km and a number of Swamps which support bird life. Lake Mburo has a registered about 68 different species of mammals, approx. 313 different species of birds including Uganda’s national emblem, the crested crane lying in the one part of Uganda covered in extensive acacia woodland savanna 158 square miles, Mburo has markedly different fauna to other reserves. Rains here are rather erratic and unpredictable, but most rain tends to fall in April and November. Lake Mburo National Park lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains, and receives an average of only 800mm of rain a year July and August being the hottest months.

Lake Mburo is 3hrs and 30minutes from Kampala the capital city, found between Masaka and Mbarara in the South West of Uganda. The park lies between, 1,219metres and 1,828 metres above sea level.

There is a legend told of two brothers, Kigarama and Mburo who lived in a large valley. Kigarama dreamt the two were in danger, the next morning, he told his younger brother Mburo of his dream and told Mburo they should move. Mburo rejected this advice, Kigarama wisely moved up into the hills. The valley flooded, a lake was formed, that drowning Mburo. Today the lake is named after him, and the hills are called Kigarama after his brother. The word mburo is similar to the “mboro”, the Runyankole name of the cassine tree which has a powerful aphrodisiac effect. One such tree, showing signs of bark and branch removal, may be seen close to the Kigambira Loop crossroads.
Early 1060’s, the Bahima pastoralists occupied the “karo karungy” , literally meaning “good grazing land”. The area was thinly populated due to the presence of tsetse flies that would harm the wild animals and the local people. The Nshara was used by “omugabe/king of Ankole as a royal hunting ground, he there forbade the bahima, to graze their cattle from that area except during dry seasons. However, when the area was hit by the rinder pest epidemic, the pastoralists around the Mburo area relocated their herds to Nyabushozi area which lies on the Kampala-Mbarara road.


Game Viewing: This is one of the major tourist activities in this Park; it is famous for its richness in biodiversity. It has Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Topi, Eland, Roan antelope and leopard, Hyenas and jackals as predictors.

Boat Rides :Since one may not be able to track all the animals, a boat ride could aid one to view clearly , crocodiles, hippopotamuses and birds like Pelicans, Black crake, Heron, cormorant, fish eagle, you may also sight the rare Shoebill Stork and all these will furnish your visit with pride. The duration of each boat cruise is negotiable.

Guide walks: Visitors have the opportunity in walk in the circuit their pace in company of an armed guide .The nature trail offers a walk in Rubanga Forest though very small, has a closed canopy. A common tree is Markhamia platycalyx (grey-brown truck with irregular flaky patches, divided leaves, yellow flowers stripped and spotted with red; brunches of extremely long ,up to 1.3 m podlike fruits. Palms, figs, sapium, a tall tree whose leaves turn red before falling and the flame tree Erythrina abyssinica occur towards the edge of the swamp, the visitor a chance to admire nature insitu. The trail is interpreted in form of a brochure in both English and Runyankole. Summing the walk to the near by salt is a summary of it all. Strategically located wooden hide (Observation point) offers a chance to see at least 4 different species of animals at any one time while they lick the salty soil. Most interesting to note is that this is done without the animal’s conscience.

Birding: First-time visitors to Lake Mburo National Park are fascinated by the variety of large colorful birds common are the Pink-backed pelican, Darter, White pelican, Yellow-billed duck, Long-tailed cormorant, White winged black tern and Greater cormorant, most of which can be seen in the papyrus swamps and Rubanga Forest.

Fishing: Lake Mburo has about 6 species of fish, the common one being tilapia (Oreochromis leucostictus). Visitors planning to enjoy sport fishing on Lake Mburo should carry their own fishing gear and fish at the designated point at Mazinga. A restaurant is available at campsite 2 to ensure maximum relaxation for visitors while at the lake. However the local people too fish using the canoes, this can only be done in area that there are no hippos and crocodiles.


Rwonyo rest Camp is available at park headquarters, for single or double occupancy. Meals are not available for visitors, visitors may carry their own food that the camp staff can help to prepare or purchase from Tembo canteen. Hurricane lamp lighting and warm water bucket bathing are provided. Campfire may be organized on request.

Mantana Camp, stunning vistas over 3 lakes, offers good service whilst retaining the authentic safari spirit. Each tent has twin beds and a bathroom. Each verandah is placed so as to take advantage of stunning African sunsets. The dining room is built on stilts so as to offer guests bird’s eye views across the treetops to the lakes.

The Lake View Hotel in the nearby town of Mbarara is a modern locally-owned hotel. All rooms have private facilities. The hotel has a bar, restaurant, terrace, swimming pool and sports centre. The Hotel’s own small lake is often surrounded by marabou storks.

Mihingo Lodge: Luxury tented room is nestled on a private piece of the lodge’s property is a peaceful and exclusive retreat adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. . With en-suite bathrooms with stunning views, including hot and cold running water, showers, and flush loos. The main dining area is a large thatched structure built of rocks, the wood of dead weathered olive trees found on the land, and native grasses. Below the dining area, an infinity swimming pool stretches out from the rocks and seems to disappear into the vast landscape beyond, guests can enjoy the view of a westward oriented valley and its stunning evening sunsets over Lake Mburo National Park.

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