Lake Mburo National Park is found in Kiruhura District in Western parts of Uganda, the park is about 30 kilometres (19 mi) by road, East of Mbarara the largest town in the region. The park is also approximately 240 kilometers (150 mi) by road, west of Kampala (Uganda’s capital and largest city). The park’s coordinates are 00˚37’40”S and 30˚58’00”E and also part of the Ramsar wetland system known as the Lake Mburo – Nakivale wetland system (Designated 15th/Sept/2006), the park also lies within the Shadow of Lake Victoria and the Mt. Its an awesome place for wildlife safaris in Uganda.
Lake Mburo was originally gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. Banyankole – Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the reserve until it was upgraded to a national park in 1983, this decision by the Obote government was to weaken the Banyankole who were supporting his rebels, and it came at the time the of operation Bonanza massacre of 300,000 people. As the chased pastoralists weren’t compensated for their lost grazing grounds or allocated another resettling land, many were not pleased with decision by the government at that time. The rangeland out the par was continuously subdivided into small plots of land.
In 1985, the second Obote regime was overthrown and the residents chased the park officials from the park hence re-occupying the gazetted land, destroying infrastructure and killing wildlife. Less than half of the park’s land was later re-gazetted by the National Resistance Movement in 1986. The park has got a variety of animals such as Zebras, impalas, reedbucks, warthogs, elands, buffaloes, hippopotamus, leopards, jackals and crocodiles lurking ashore and over 350 bird species with bill storks which are not found anywhere in the country.
This is the smallest park of all national parks in Uganda occupying 370 Km2 (100 Sq mi). This Uganda safari park has camp sites and permanent tent structures for tourists. Also hyenas, topis and recently the Rothschild’s giraffes were introduced in the park, lions are rarely seen thought it’s asserted that only one maybe left thus few canning predators. Lake Mburo has no elephants to balance the vegetation, in the Western part of the park, there’s savanna woodlands coupled up with rocky ridges and forested gorges whereas many of other 13 lakes that form up the park are covered up by the “Lush riparian woodland” at a 50km long wetland system connected by a swamp, five of the lake are on the lake borders.
The park has over 350 bird species like crested francolins, brown parrots, common quails, bare faced go-away bird, red necked spur, southern red bishop, black bellied bustard, African grey hornbill, green wood hoopoe, brown parrot, yellow throated long claw, blue-napped Mousebird, black billed barbet and many more other birds, this park has the hidden eye catching white winged warbler, African fin foot and the swampy Shoebill stork.
Lake Mburo offers an amazing experience to game watch Leopards hunting especially during the night game drives because they’re much more active than day (Nocturnal) but as well hunt during day time and hides its prey (hunt) up in the tree away from other predators and also to feed it with the young ones (Cubs) or eaten at a later time. With the absence of scary lions and giant elephants, the park gives an ideal sense of nature walks and horse riding through out in search for wildlife. Other activities include bicycle riding tours.
Lake Mburo can be visited annually; it’s not limited to tourists paving way for gaming viewing and sightseeing throughout the year. In the dry season (June to August and December to February), animals are mostly seen along river banks, springs and small drainages. During the wet season (April to May and September and November) animals are sighted in herds in open fields grazing on the fresh grass.
An important note is the main story of how Lake Mburo came up being linked to the “Ankole Myth.” It is believed that two brothers that are “Kigarama and Mburo” lived in the valley basin, one day, Kigarama dreamt and shared a dream with his brother Mburo telling him that they had to relocate or move. Mburo was adamant to his brother’s dream of moving, Kigarama relocated uphill and Mburo remained in the valley.
Mburo was one day drowned in water which flooded the valley because he failed to listen to his brother. From that day to present, the lake was name after “Mburo” and the neighboring hills were named after “Kigarama.” Before or after leaving the park, go through “Igongo cultural centre” situated just 4km at Sanga gate offers an exclusive display and review of the “Banyakitara people” who were once the occupants of the Western sub region in Uganda. Lake Mburo national park has around 6 fish species with tilapia being the dominant species and the fishing activity is mostly carried out at Mazinga fishing spot.
Visiting Rubanga forest is a must for a memorable trip to Lake Mburo national park, a guided nature walk through the park creates bondage between humanity and the flora and fauna in the park. Exploring the nature at its best with closed canopies from tall tropical trees, a breakthrough towards the salt licks with gatherings of many animals licking the salty soils. A boat cruise offers an extensive view of the aquatic animals on the shores like Hippos and crocodiles, lake birds such as great cormorants, pelicans, the fish eagle and the Shoebill stork (great links to ancient Egyptian history).
Lake Mburo is the first game park after crossing the Equator, this is also part of the amusements to approach before reaching the park. The Equator crosses through Uganda at latitude marked 0˚ and provision of gravity water (Souvenirs) at the site, taking photos at the Equator sign post. Accommodation in Lake Mburo is provided by luxurious facilities with excellent service at Mihingo Lodge and Mantana Luxury Camp. Also there are public three campsites found around the Rwonyo park headquarters. Lake Mburo can be accessed by air and road transport, by rod, it takes 4 hours to get to the park and 4 ½ hours from the park Kampala (the capital city).