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Lake Mburo National Park


This is one of Uganda’s smallest national parks, Lake Mburo National Park extend over 260km2 with an altitude range from 1220m-1828m above sea level. Lake Mburo National park is situated in the Ankole Sub-region in Mbarara district. It derives its name from one of its distinct feature Lake Mburo, one of the five lakes that lie within the park boundary and part of a cluster of 14 lakes that are fed by River Rwizi and connected by several permanent and seasonal swamps.

Before the area was gazetted, it was used as a hunting ground for the Ankole people who would graze their livestock from the area as well. It was gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting ground and later upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. However, the Bahima continued to graze their cattle from the area and in 1983 the area was transformed into a National park by the government of Milton Obote.

The Park mainly consists of open savannah and acacia woodlands, with some more common trees being acacia hockii, acacia gerraddii, and acacia sieberiana. The western part of the park is covered by savannah interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges with patches of papyrus swamp with narrow bands of riparian woodland lines on the verges of the lakes.

Lake Mburo is an underrated gem of park, dominated by the eponymous lake which is scenically reminiscent of the more celebrated Lake Naivasha in the Kenyan rift valley. The park is by- passed by the most of the travellers on safaris in Uganda and other independent travelers, though it’s relatively accessible. It presumably has low big five count, and in particular the lack of elephants and lions. Despite the absence of such heavy weights, Lake Mburo still offers some excellent game viewing opportunities for Uganda safari lovers as you are likely to see many Uganda wildlife species over the course of the day. Lake Mburo is positioned strategically on a break-up of a long drive between Kampala and national parks along the country’s western border that is Mgahinga national park, Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, Rwenzori Mountain national park and Queen Elizabeth national park.

Lake Mburo harbors several species that are not easily observed elsewhere in Uganda. Lake Mburo National Park is the only reserve in the country that supports large populations of impalas, from which the name Kampala Uganda’s capital city is derived and one of only three protected areas country wide where the Burchell’s zebra occurs, the other two being the far less accessible Kidepo and pian upe game reserve. Other antelopes likely to be seen are topi, bush back, common duiker, oribi and bohor reed buck. Two diurnal primates occur in Lake Mburo national park and these are the vervet monkey and the olive baboon.

Over 315 bird species have been recorded in the park and it is one of the best places in Uganda to see the acacia associated birds.

Uganda Safari Attractions in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Lake Mburo National Park

This is the most distinctive feature in the park. The lake derives its name from a myth that asserts that once there lived two brothers, Kigarama and Mburo. The brothers lived in a large river valley called Rwizi. One night Kigarama had a horrible dream about the valley. He told his brother Mburo about the dream and told him that they should move to the hills. Mburo refused and Kigarama left for the hills alone. One day, the valley flooded from heavy rains and Mburo was drowned; hence the name Mburo for the lake and Kigarama for the hills. Lake Mburo is the largest of the five lakes in the park.

Birds as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Lake Mburo National Park

Over 315 bird species have been recorded in Lake Mburo national park and it is one of the best places in Uganda to see the acacia associated birds. These include southern ground hornbill, Black-faced barbet, and Ruppell’s long tailed starling that are occasionally seen while in the park.

Wildlife as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Lake Mburo National Park

The unique wildlife in this park includes grazing animals such as the impala, and it is the only park that supports eco-tone species. The park is also home to the last population of the eland the largest African antelope. One is also in position to encounter hyenas, leopards, buffalos, hippos and warthogs that are all found in the acacia woods and savannah grasslands that surround the lakes of the national park. There is also a chance that the visitors will see crocodile, hippos, reedbuck as well as over 315 bird species that have been recorded to date including the elusive African fin foot.

Uganda Safari Activities in Lake Mburo National Park

Game Drive as a Uganda Safari Activity in Lake Mburo National Park

Wildlife in Lake Mburo national park is best enjoyed on a game drive and the guides in the park are experienced and knowledgeable at taking you to the best spots to sight the best like topi, bush back, bohor reed buck, oribi, defassa waterbuck and common duiker. The game drive is suitable in the east of the park where most of the wildlife is found. Also, good scenery of the woodland, wetlands and valleys is viewed.

Guided Nature Walk as a Uganda Safari Activity in Lake Mburo National Park

Guided Nature walks can be done in the swampy valleys of Warukiri and Miriti.

This is one of the most alluring and unique activities in Lake Mburo national park and this is mainly because visitors are permitted to walk around the park but in company of an armed ranger. This gives tourists a chance to get out and absorb the wonders of the African wilderness without the confines of a vehicle.

Horseback Riding as a Uganda Safari Activity in Lake Mburo National Park

This is now available at Mihingo lodge. Horseback safaris are an exciting way to see the wildlife around Lake Mburo national park. This is an exceptional safari experience just because there are no engine sounds and fumes which makes feel part of nature and often get a chance to see the more timid animals. Experiencing game from a horse back is so unique because zebras always come towards you to check out the strange relative without strips whereas the shy eland will curiously look at the horses without running away.

Boat trips as a Uganda Safari Activity in Lake Mburo National Park

This is the most popular activity in Lake Mburo and a journey on the lake will provide great opportunities to observe the hippo and basking crocodile populations. The water bird species are also so often seen for keen birders. These great wildlife encounters coupled with the stunning scenery and panoramic landscape views of the park will really impress upon you.

How to get to Lake Mburo National Park

Two different routes connect to Lake Mburo national park to the main surfaced road between Mbarara and Masaka. Coming from the west, the better approach road branches south at Sanga, 37km east of Mbarara town. While coming from Kampala, it is better to use the road branching south from the 50km marker for Mbarara about 20km past Lyantonde. The drive from Kampala should take about 4-5 hours and the approach roads are both rough so a 4×4 vehicle is recommended though not essential during a dry season.

Uganda Safari Accommodation in Lake Mburo National Park

Up market / Luxury

Mihingo Lodge

The lodge is located east of the park and has 12 luxury en-suite canvases tented rooms and a bush camp. The lodge has facilities such as wireless internet, modern swimming pool, dining area, relaxing area and a fully stocked bar.

Single 195
Double 150






Mburo Safari Lodge

The Lodge is situated west of the park and has 10 en-suite cottages, 2 being for family. .  It also has a camping ground were one can carry their own tent or be provided to by the lodge. There are facilities such as restaurant, swimming pool, wireless internet and a fully stocked bar

Single 130
Double 200
Triple 94pp
Family cottage 350


Budget Lodges

Eagles Nest Lodge

It is situated near the Sanga gate and has 12 safari tents each having 2 beds, a private veranda overlooking the park and an outside bathroom.

Single 60 72 82
Double 70 95 115


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