Introducing Lake Mburo National Park
The 370-sq-km Lake Mburo National Park is an increasingly common stop on the safari circuit since it’s the only place in southern Uganda to see zebra. It’s also the only park in the country with impala, slender mongoose and giant bush rat, and is a great place to look for leopard, topi and eland. Furthermore, some excellent news is that a family of lions has retuned to the park after being absent for more than a decade. Some of the 325 species of bird include martial eagle and red-faced barbet in the acacia-wooded savannah and papyrus yellow warbler and African finfoot in the wetlands.
Animals are most abundant in the south in the dry season (as this is where the permanent water is) and the northeast in the wet season. Night drives (US$20 per person) are allowed. You can also take a boat trip (per person US$10; 8am, 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm & 5.30pm) on Lake Mburo, the largest of five lakes in the park, for something a bit more up close and personal with the hippos, crocodiles and waterbirds. Take note that if there’s fewer than four people, then prices rise to US$40 per person.
Lake Mburo has some good nature walks, particularly the early morning hyena walk (per person U$10) at 6.30am. The other popular pedestrian destination is an observation blind overlooking a salt lick. Both walks take two hours. Birdwatchers should enquire about the Rubanga forest, which has a closed canopy in some places and you may find birds not yet recorded on the park’s official list.
A more novel way of exploring the park is on horseback safari (one-hr/four-hr/overnight US$40/100/395), booked through Mihingo Lodge. Without the engine noise of a 4WD it’s a peaceful way to get around the park to see wildlife and the park’s lakes.
Fishing permits (US$15) are also available, but you’ll need to bring your own equipment.
Adjacent to the park are the ranches of people of the Bahima tribe, who herd the famed long-horned Ankole cattle, which are a common sight here (all too often inside as well as outside the park).
The best place for zebras; healthy population of hippos and crocodiles; lions have made a comeback; the most accessible park to Kampala.