Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is located in Kiruhura District in Western Uganda. The park is situated about 30 kilometres (19 mi), by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region. This location is approximately 240 kilometres (150 mi), by road, west of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city. The coordinates of the park are: 00 36S, 30 57E (Latitude: 0.6000; Longitude: 30.9500)

Lake Mburo was originally gazetted in 1933 as a Controlled Hunting Area and upgraded to a Game Reserve in 1963. The Banyankole Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the Reserve until it was upgraded to National Park status in 1983. The Obote government's decision to upgrade the Park was reportedly in part intended to weaken the Banyankole, which supported anti-Obote rebels. It came at the time of the Operation Bonanza massacre of 300,000. As the evicted pastoralists were not compensated for lost grazing land or assisted with resettling, many remained hostile to the Park's formation. The rangeland outside the park was subsequently subdivided into small ranges and subsistence farming plots

In 1985 the second Obote regime fell and the previous residents of Lake Mburo re-occupied the Park's land, expelling park staff, destroying infrastructure and annihilating wildlife. Less than half of the Park's original land area was eventually re-gazetted by the NRM government in 1986

Lake Mburo national park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah parks and is underlined by ancient Precambrian metamorphic rocks which date back more than 500 million years. It is a home of 350 bird species, as well zebra, impala, eland, buffalo, oribi, Defassa, waterbucks, leopard, hippo, hyena, topi and reedbuck.

Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the border of the park. Once covered by open savanna, Lake Mburo national park now contains much woodland as there are no elephants to tame the vegetation. In the western part of the park, the savanna is interspersed with rocky ridges and forested gorges while patches of papyrus swamps and narrow bands of lush riparian woodland line. The park has campgrounds and permanent tent facilities for visitors. Kimble-Mantana African Safaris operate the only luxury tented camp inside the national park - Lake Mburo Tented Camp. In 2009, the Uganda Wildlife Authority which manages the park announced plans to introduce balloon tourism in the park


With a varied topography of marshland, acacia woodland, sweeping valleys, rock kopjes and rolling hills; Lake Mburo national park supports an impressive variety of flora and fauna including some unique wildlife. Covering just 260 square kilometres, the park is one of Uganda’s smallest, but this makes for some easy and exciting exploration into its unusual and diverse terrain. The five lakes for which the park is also renowned create an area of abundant birdlife and some of Uganda’s finest scenery. Once a game reserve was set up to protect wildlife from returning to humans displaced by the tsetse flies, Lake Mburo subsequently gained park status in 1983 and has since welcomed visitors to its range of habitats. The park's headquarters of Rwonyo is a good starting point for game walks or boat trips, and Lake Mburo itself sits in the centre of the park in the heart of the wetland system

Some of the unique wildlife in this park includes grazing animals such as the impala, and Lake Mburo is the only park in Uganda that supports this Eco tone species. It is also home to the last Ugandan population of eland, the largest African antelope. Hyenas, leopards, buffalos, zebras and warthogs are all found in the acacia woods and grasslands that surround the lakes of the park. There is a good chance you will see crocodiles, hippo, reedbuck and waterbuck here too, as well as some of the 315-strong bird species that have been recorded to date, including the elusive African finfoot. The wildlife is best enjoyed on a game drive or guided walk and the guides are experienced and knowledgeable at taking you to the sports. There is also the opportunity here for boat safaris down Lake Mburo, horse-back safaris and night drives, for the chance to see the more nocturnal animals, such as leopards, hyenas, civet and porcupine. The best end to the day is, of course, sundowners in the park, as the sun settles itself nearly below the horizon.


Game Drives/Horseback Safaris:

The network of game tracks in the east of the park passes a variety of landscape features; acacia woodland, wetlands, grassy hillsides, rock outcrops and seasonally flooded valley floors. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to roam the park in search of wildlife. An alternative view of the park, hopefully including sightings of animals rarely seen during the day, and can be seen clearly during the night is another storytelling experience.

This is an exciting way to view wildlife, including eland and buffalo. Also commonly sighted are warthog, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck and zebra. The four-hour hacks will take you up to hilltop viewpoints with the option of bush breakfasts or sundowners.

This activity can be broken into two, the night game drives and the day safaris drive which will give a chance to see all the wildlife in the jungle and all the rare  animals can be seen in the night like the lions

Bird watching

You will do the birding activity in lake Mburo and the best birding species in the park are the swampy valleys of warakiri and miriti, the roadsides between rwoyo camp and jetty. There are also ideally- situated viewing platforms at the salt lick, in mariti valley and in Lubanga forest. Species observed at these locations include the Rufous-bellied heron, bateleur, coqui francolin, grey crowned crane, black-bellied bustard, brown chested lapwing among others

Rubanga forest can be visited using a vehicle or on foot. This is a real draw for keen, and prior arrangements should be made with the warden. The rare red-faced barbet –only seen in Lake Mburo national park – is one of the forests featured species

Boat cruise

The wildlife –reach the eastern banks of Lake Mburo can be exposed during a two-hour boat voyage. Keep an eye out for crocodiles, buffaloes and hippos as well as colourful kingfishers, magnificent fish eagles, hammer kops and their enormous nests and even the prehistoric-looking shoebill. The cruise starts from Rwonyo every after two hours starting at 8 am

Lake Mburo is well-to-do with a variety of animal and plant species which can only be seen clearly if you take a boat trip. The Hippopotamuses, crocodiles and birds like Pelicans, Heron, Fish Eagle, Black Crake, and Cormorant can also be sighted here. And this boat cruise will also give you a chance to an additional activity of sport fishing though this will be done priors booking and on an additional cost and also the activity will give you a breathtaking experience on the lake and also the pictorial moments while sailing on the waters

Sport Fishing:

Species of fish are found on Lake Mburo include lungfish, Tilapia and mudfish. Tourists can get a chance to catch fish using hooks. The designated fishing spot is at Mazinga. If you intend to fish, you are requested to obtain a fishing permit from Uganda wildlife Authority and this is an exciting activity in that you take what you get from the lake; that is to say, if your are lucky enough you may catch the biggest tilapia but if your not that lucky that day you might move with tod, that's why you will need art and luck to do this activity but all in all you will manage to catch a fish at least

Lake Mburo contains around six species of fish, with tilapia the most common. The designated fishing spot is at mazinga; visitors planning to fish here should carry their own equipment

Hiking and nature walks

Forest walk in Rubanga Forest: This forest offers a diversity of supportive habitat for birds, therefore, a very eye-catching place for bird watchers with over 40 bird species recorded

Usually, the whole park is open to walkers as long as they are followed and guided by the park rangers. At rwonyo, a guided walk leads to a salt lick where animals are attracted to the salty rocks.

Walks on the western side of the lake begin at 7 am and take two hours. At this time of the day, you encounter hyenas returning to their dens and hippos retreating to the lake. Hikes through the woodland provide an opportunity to sight forest birds and mammals, while the walk to the top of the hill will reward you with a spectacular view of 9 of the region’s 14 lakes. All walks should be booked before coming to the national park to all the interest walkers and the birders atrubanga forest

Horseback safaris

Horse safaris are an exciting way to view wildlife, including eland and buffalo. Also commonly sighted are warthogs, topi, impala, duiker, bushbuck and zebra. The four-hour hacks take visitors up to hilltop viewpoints with the option of bush breakfast or sundowners. This activity is arranged at mihingo lodges and it will also make you feel like a cowboy in texas...


Cycling routes are available in lake Mburo national park. With the combination of exercise and game viewing, our guided cycle trips are hard to beat...we have 8 mountain bikes and a variety of short flat trails and longer hilly rides depending on your preference, or your own bikes but we always provide but at a cost. This is one of the most spectacular experiences you can ever have at the park because you get involved in order to make it happen and full of fun

Cultural encounters

This is a cultural exhibit close to rwakobo that is run by the park authorities. Visitors are able to see the traditional homesteads of the local bahima people and learn about the way of life in this area. And this activity can also be done around near Mbarara town at igongo cultural centre.


Lake Mburo national park is accessed by road from Entebbe/ Kampala driving south words for approximately five to six-hour drive. This drive takes you to the equator crossing where you can stop and have some coffee and take some photographs or participate in some experiments to prove that indeed, this is the equator. And then you will drive to the national park and a 4*4 W drive cars are advisable to use because some days roads can be slippery especially during the rainy season


There are a range of accommodation places ranging from budget to luxury lodges in the park and outside the national park in Mbarara town which are listed below

  • Mihingo lodge
  • Arcadia cottages
  • Rwonyo camp
  • Rwokobo rock
  • Mantana tented camp
  • Lake Mburo safari lodge
  • Eagles nest
  • Nshara and sangi community campsite
  • Igongo Country Hotel (Mbarara)
  • Lake View Resort (Mbarara)

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