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Lake Mburo Uganda Safari – What to See and Do
Lake Mburo is situated on 260 km of slightly undulating Savannah type land and a number of wetlands that support bird life. Lake Mburo has recorded about 68 different species of mammals, approx. 313 different species of birds including Uganda’s national emblem, the crested crane in a part of Uganda, covered in a vast 158 square miles of acacia forest savannah, Mburo has fauna distinctly different from other reserves. The rains here are quite erratic and unpredictable, but most of the 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 800 mm of rain per year in July and August, being the hottest months.
Lake Mburo is 3 hours and 30 minutes from the capital Kampala, found between Masaka and Mbarara in southwest Uganda. The park lies between, 1,219 meters and 1,828 meters above sea level.
A legend is told about two brothers, Kigarama and Mburo, who lived in a large valley. Kigarama dreamed that the two were in danger, the next morning, he told his younger brother Mburo about his dream and told Mburo that they should move. Mburo rejected this advice, Kigarama wisely climbed the hills. The valley was flooded, a lake formed, that Mburo drowning. Today the lake bears his name and the hills are called Kigarama after his brother. The word mburo is similar to “mboro”, the Runyankole name for the cassine tree that has a powerful aphrodisiac effect. One such tree, showing signs of bark and branches being removed, can be seen near the Kigambira Loop junction.
In the early 1060s, Bahima pastoralists occupied “karo karungy”, literally meaning “good grazing land”. The area was sparsely populated due to the presence of tsetse flies that would harm wildlife and local people. Nshara was used by the “omugabe/king of Ankole as a royal hunting ground, he forbade the Bahamians there to graze their cattle from the area except during the dry seasons. However, when the area was hit by the pest epidemic of sorghum, pastoralists around Mburo area moved their herds to Nyabushozi area which lies on the Kampala-Mbarara road.
WHAT TO DO:
Game Viewing: This is one of the main tourist activities in this park; is famous for its richness in biodiversity. It has as predictors Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Topi, Eland, Roan antelope and leopard, hyenas and jackals.
Boat Rides: Since one may not be able to spot all the animals, a boat ride can help one get a clear view of crocodiles, hippos and birds like Pelicans, Black Grebe, Heron, Cormorant, Fish Eagle , you can also see the rare shoe. Stork and all these will ensure your visit with pride. The duration of each boat cruise is negotiable.
Guided walks: Visitors have the opportunity to walk the circuit at their own pace in the company of an armed guide. The nature trail offers a walk in the Rubanga forest, although very small, it has an enclosed canopy. A common tree is Markhamia platycalyx (grey-brown truck with irregularly mottled, divided leaves, glabrous yellow flowers spotted with red; extremely long fruiting branches up to 1.3 m palm-like, fig, sapium, a tall tree whose leaves turn red before falling and the flame tree Erythrina abyssinica occurs towards the edge of the swamp, the visitor a chance to admire nature insitu. The trail is interpreted in the form of a brochure in English and Runyankole The salt walk summary is a summary of them all The strategically placed wooden hide (lookout point) offers a chance to see at least 4 different species of animals at any one time as they lick the salt ground Most interesting to note is that this is done without the help of the animal’s consciousness.
Birds: 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, Tern the white-winged black and the great cormorant. , most of which can be seen in the papyrus swamps and Rubanga forest.
Fishing: Lake Mburo has about 6 species of fish, the most common being tilapia (Oreochromis leucostictus). Visitors who plan to enjoy sport fishing in Lake Mburo should carry their fishing gear and fish at the designated point in Mazinga. A restaurant is available at campsite 2 to ensure maximum relaxation for visitors while on the lake. However, local people also fish using canoes, this can only be done in areas where there are no hippos or crocodiles.
Rwonyo Holiday Camp is available at park headquarters, for single or double occupancy. Meals are not available for visitors, visitors can bring their own food which the camp staff can help prepare or buy from the Tembo canteen. Hurricane lamp lighting and hot water bucket baths are provided. Campfire can be arranged upon request.
Mantana Camp, stunning views over 3 lakes, offers good service while maintaining the authentic safari spirit. Each tent has double beds and a bathroom. Each veranda is positioned to take advantage of the stunning African sunsets. The dining room is built on stilts to offer guests a bird’s-eye view 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 center. The hotel’s small lake is often surrounded by marabou storks.
Mihingo Lodge: The luxury tented room is located in a private part of the lodge 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 toilets. The main dining area is a large thatched structure built of stone, weathered dead olive wood found on the ground and native grasses. Below the dining area, an infinity pool extends from the cliffs and seems to disappear into the vast landscape beyond, guests can enjoy the view of a west-facing valley and its stunning evening sunset over Lake Mburo National Park.
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