Lake Mburo National Park

Destination Guide

Lake Mburo

Imagine a mini-safari adventure in Uganda! That's what Lake Mburo National Park offers. This cozy park, Uganda's smallest, is a perfect introduction to African wildlife. Unlike giants like Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo feels intimate. You can go on foot safaris here, a fun change from jeep rides.

Located close to Kampala, the capital, and easily accessible, Lake Mburo is a great first stop. Spot zebras grazing the golden savannas, or watch hippos cool off in the lake. Birders, rejoice! Over 350 species call this park home.

Want to see gorillas too? Smart thinking! Lake Mburo can be cleverly combined with a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, famous for gorilla trekking. Talk to tour operators - they often create itineraries that include both! This way, you'll tick amazing wildlife encounters off your bucket list in one epic trip.

When to Visit

Lake Mburo National Park enjoys a unique location between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains, giving it a good amount of rainfall. Temperatures generally stay comfortable, averaging between 14-32ºC (57-90ºF).

Dry Seasons (July-August, January-February): These are the hottest months and the park's peak season. Wildlife concentrates around the lakes and swamps for water, making sightings easier – you might even spot some elusive species!

Wet Seasons (March-May, November-December): The park transforms into a lush haven. Animals disperse throughout the park, making for scenic game drives through the open valleys. This is the low season, so you'll enjoy fewer crowds. Just be mindful that wetland tracks may get muddy.

The Bottom Line: Lake Mburo is a year-round destination! The best time for you depends on whether you prefer easier wildlife viewing (dry season) or a quieter, greener experience (wet season).

Adventures in Lake Mburo

Safari Game Drives

Uncover the secrets of Lake Mburo National Park on a thrilling game drive! Crisscross the park's network of tracks, weaving through acacia woodlands, lush hillsides, and scenic valleys. This is your chance to spot those iconic Lake Mburo residents – the playful impalas and striking zebras.

The best routes for your game drive depend on the season. Lake Mburo's unique location means it gets good rainfall, so be prepared for changing landscapes.

During the wet season, explore open valleys where animals scatter in search of fresh grazing. But when the dry season hits, head towards the swamps and lakes – you'll find incredible wildlife concentrations and picture-perfect moments!

Tip: Talk to your guide about your wildlife wish list. They'll know the best routes to give you the greatest chance of seeing your favorite animals.

Nature Walks and Hikes

Want a truly immersive wildlife experience? Lake Mburo National Park is a hiker's paradise! Imagine walking alongside zebras, feeling the earth beneath your feet, and breathing in that fresh savanna air. Remember, for your safety, a knowledgeable ranger guide will always be by your side.

Here are two fantastic walking safari trails in Lake Mburo National Park:

Rwonyo Trail: This classic walking safari takes you to the famed salt lick, a hotspot for wildlife. Watch as animals gather to savor the mineral-rich rocks – a fascinating sight!

Western Lake Mburo Trail: Get those hiking boots ready for an early morning adventure! Start at 7 am and witness hippos returning to the lake after a night of grazing, or perhaps catch hyenas heading back to their dens.

Insider Tip: Nature walks let you appreciate the smaller details of the park: the buzzing insects, vibrant wildflowers, and the feeling of being truly a part of this ecosystem.

Boat Safari Cruise

Discover the magic of Lake Mburo National Park from a different perspective – a relaxing boat cruise! Glide across the calm waters of the lake and get up close to hippos basking in the sun, watch for crocodiles stealthily slipping into the water, and marvel at colorful kingfishers diving for their next meal. This is birdwatcher heaven, with incredible variety all around.

What makes these boat safaris so special? It's not just the amazing wildlife encounters, but also the breathtaking scenery. Imagine panoramic views of the park's rolling landscapes... a truly unforgettable moment on your Ugandan adventure.

Tip: Schedule your cruise during golden hour—either early morning or near sunset—for stunning light and even more memorable wildlife sightings.

Horseback Safaris

Imagine exploring Lake Mburo National Park on horseback! This thrilling 2-5 hour adventure takes you deep into the savanna grasslands. With no noisy engine to disturb the peace, you'll feel truly immersed in the wilderness. Spot zebras curiously approaching, and keep an eye out for the elegant eland – these shy creatures are more easily seen from horseback.

Important Notes:

  • To protect the horses, riders are weighed before mounting. Safety equipment is also provided.
  • This unforgettable experience is exclusive to Lake Mburo National Park, offered by Mihingo Lodge. It's the only place in Uganda's ten national parks where you can enjoy this kind of safari.

Birding 

Lake Mburo National Park is a haven for birdwatchers! With over 350 recorded species, it's a true avian paradise. Here's where to focus your binoculars:

Swamps: The Waarukiri and Miriti swamps teem with birds like the elusive African Finfoot, Rufous-bellied Heron, and the striking White-winged Tit.

Trails and Rubanga Forest: Explore routes between the Jetty and Rwonyo camp, venturing into Rubanga Forest for sightings of the vibrant Ross's Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, and the colorful Red-faced Barbet.

Look Out For: Other exciting finds might include the majestic Grey Crowned Crane, Brown-chested Lapwing, Black-bellied Bustard, and many more!

Why Go Birding at Lake Mburo? With such incredible diversity in a relatively small park, it's the perfect spot for both experienced birders and those just starting to discover the joys of birdwatching.

Community & Cultural Walks

Lake Mburo National Park isn't just about wildlife; it's also a place where you can connect with the vibrant communities that call this region home. Immerse yourself in the rich traditions of the Ankole people, known for their magnificent long-horned cattle. Here's how:

Cultural Center near Sanga Gate: Discover fascinating history and traditions. Learn about daily life, local crafts, and perhaps even try your hand at milking a cow!

Community Walks: Explore local villages, meet friendly residents, and learn about their way of life in harmony with the surrounding environment.

Cultural Performances: Be captivated by traditional storytelling, music, and dance. These vibrant expressions of culture create unforgettable memories of your Lake Mburo safari.

Sportfishing in Lake Mburo

If you are looking for a sport fishing adventure in Uganda, head to the designated sportfishing area at Mazinga within Lake Mburo National Park. These waters are home to around six exciting fish species, including the popular tilapia, as well as lungfish, mudfish, and more.

What you need to know:

Permits: Essential! You can get them from the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). They cost $15 for one day or $25 for four days (based on UWA 2020-2022 tariffs). Remember, this doesn't include your park entrance fee.

Gear: While some lodges and tour operators may provide equipment, it's always best to check in advance and bring your own if needed.

Best Spots: Ask your guide or lodge staff for tips on where the fish are biting!

Insider Tip: Combine a fishing adventure with thrilling wildlife viewing for a truly unforgettable Lake Mburo experience.

Night Game Drives

Experience Lake Mburo National Park in a whole new light – literally! Night game drives offer an entirely different adventure, revealing the secrets of the savanna under the cloak of darkness.

Imagine using a spotlight to pierce the night, seeking out the gleam of eyes belonging to elusive nocturnal creatures. Bushbabies scamper through the trees, mighty leopards may stalk their prey, and the thrilling roar of a lion could echo through the night.

Why Night Game Drives in Lake Mburo National Park Are Special: It's a chance to encounter wildlife that remain hidden during the day, making for a truly unique and exhilarating safari experience.

Uganda Wildlife Safaris

Accommodation at Lake Mburo National Park

Are you planning a tour of Lake Mburo National Park? The park offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from luxurious to budget-friendly.

Mburo Safari Lodge

This lodge, located in the Kiruhuru district within the park, features luxurious cottages that blend seamlessly with the natural environment. Enjoy comfort and convenience with spacious cottages, clean private bathrooms (including hot showers and flushing toilets), and king-sized beds with mosquito nets. Private balconies offer great views of the wilderness and the chance to spot impalas, zebras, cape buffaloes, and even leopards.
Renowned Luxury Experiences

Mihingo Lodge

Perched atop a rocky hill within the park, this lodge is built with local materials for an authentic feel. It boasts a swimming pool overlooking a nearby watering hole where animals frequently gather. Explore beyond the lodge with activities like guided nature walks into local communities (offering a glimpse of Ankole culture), bush biking adventures, and horseback riding for close-up wildlife encounters.

Kigambira Lodge

Discover another luxurious option in the southern section of the park, nestled between Lake Kigambira and Rubanga Forest. The lodge features 12 en-suite bandas, including nine deluxe options, a honeymoon suite, and two family bandas, all designed for maximum comfort during your adventure.

Mantana Tented Camp (Lake Mburo Camp)

Experience classic tented luxury on raised wooden decks overlooking Lake Mburo and the valley. Relax with a cold drink after a day exploring, and watch for zebras, impalas, warthogs, waterbucks, cape buffaloes, civet cats, and abundant birdlife.

Rwakobo Rock Lodge

Located just outside the Nshara gate, this mid-range lodge offers nine cottages (suitable for singles, couples, or triples) and a family unit. There are also five rooms in the hornbill house and three tents. Activities include biking, walking safaris, and relaxing by the waterhole or in a hammock with expansive plains views.
Arcadia Cottages: Situated on the lake's edge, this is an excellent base for exploring the park on game drives (look for hippos and crocodiles!) or taking guided nature walks. The lodge offers eight self-contained cottages and a central lodge building with a restaurant and raised deck for stunning sunset views.
Authentic Adventures on a Budget

Eagle's Nest Lodge

Get a true taste of Africa with immaculate safari tents perched on a hill bordering the park. Each tent has a veranda overlooking the wilderness. Enjoy authentic bush showers and eco-friendly toilets (hot water available upon request).

Leopard Rest Camp

Find your ideal budget-friendly tent, from basic camping to those with en-suite facilities.

Rwonyo Rest Camp

Managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), this camp offers budget-friendly tents, bandas, and camping. There's also a recently upgraded guesthouse with ten self-contained rooms and a lakeside restaurant.