Lake Mburo National park


Lake Mburo national park is Uganda’s closet safari park to Kampala – the capital city of Uganda is a wonderful destination for walking safaris as there are no known carnivores in the park thus the nickname “Whispers of the wild”.

Lake Mburo national park is located in western Uganda in Kiruhura district next to Mbarara district and it is approximately 4 hours’ drive from Kampala city.

At a size of 260 square kilometers, Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest Savannah Park in Uganda, because of its strategic location Mburo is an excellent stop for long drives to the far southwestern national park such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park among others.

Lake Mburo national park is dominated by 11 lakes with Lake Mburo being the biggest of the chain, the park has a stunning landscape that consists of flat grasslands, rolling hills, forests, bush thickets, rocky outcrops, lakes and swamps.  Elephants were eliminated from the park and this has led to the growth of vast woodlands in the park.  

Lake Mburo National Park lies in the rain shadow between the Rwenzori Mountains and Lake Victoria this the average rainfall of 798 mm per year.

History of Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park has a dark past that led to the near total elimination of wildlife through poaching and encroachment by the local tribes in the surrounding area. The park was initially started as a controlled hunting area in 1993, it was later upgraded into a game park purposely to remove away the local Banyakole pastoralists who were accused of supporting government rebels (led by the current President Yoweri Kaguti Museveni) opposed to the regime of Milton Obote. Once the Obote regime fell, the pastoralists raided the park and reoccupied it after chasing away the park staff, since that awful event, the park never regained its former size because the new government of Youweri Kaguta Museveni could only reclaim half of the park land for fear of hurting the locals.

With the Uganda Wildlife Authority working closely with the locals living around the park to protect the animals in park, things have changed and Lake Mburo National Park has now become an example of how human communities around the park can co-exist with wildlife in Uganda . This collaboration has also led to a successful reintroduction of lions, giraffes, elands, baboons and other wildlife in the park, Lake Mburo National Park is now a Lion Conservation Unit.

Wildlife in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park is rich with a diversity of animals and is the best and the only place to see large herds of Elands (Africa’s largest Antelopes), other antelope species in the park include Topi, Bushbuck, Sitatunga, Common Duiker, Klipspringer, Oribi, Defassa Waterbuck and Bohor Reedbuck. Lake Mburo National Park is also the only two Uganda national parks where Burchell’s zebra still occurs,other animals found in the park include hippos, buffaloes, lions, bush pigs, mongooses and white tailed mongooses among other.

Birdlife in Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo National Park hosts a series of swamp fringed lakes and savannah grasslands which are a great habitat for birdlife, the park hosts about 313 different bird species including 8 of the 12 species of the Lake Victoria Basin Biome that occur in Uganda, the elusive Shoebill stork and white – winged warbler. Other bird species to look out for include the Crested, Coqui, and the Red-winged Francolins, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Harlequin and Blue Quails, Common Button Quail, White-headed and Black-billed Barbet, Greenwood Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Blue-napped Mousebird, Blue-breasted and Shining-blue Kingfishers, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, the Nubian, Buff-spotted, Brown-eared, and the Grey Woodpeckers, Trilling, Stout, and Wing-snapping Cisticolas, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, African-wattled Plover, Rufous napped and Flappet larks, Rufous-chested Swallow ,Yellow-throated Longclaw, Black-winged Bishop, Chubb’s, Carruther’s and a number of other Cisticolas, the Lesser and Great Swamp Warblers, among others.

Safari activities to do in Lake Mburo National Park

Game viewing

Lake Mburo national park offers some of the best game viewing safaris in Uganda allowing visitors to spot animals and birds inhabiting in the park. The game drives are done on several trails running through the park, with the help of a Uganda Wildlife Authority you will be able to see many animals including Burchell Zebra, occasional lions and leopards, impalas, Elands, bush babies, porcupines which are normally seen on night game drives.

Game drives normally last about 2 -3 hours and are offered as morning, afternoon and night game drives, on this experience you will not only enjoy sightings of animals but also the beautiful scenery of the rolling hills, swamps and lakes offering you the true African experience.

Bird watching

Lake Mburo National park is one of the best places for birding in Uganda, birding in this scenic park is mainly done along the swamps of Warukiri and Miriti. Some of the birds you will spot include African grey hornbill, barefaced go-way bird, black-billed barbet, blue-napped mousebird, brown parrot, common quails, crested francolin, emerald spotted wood Dove, greenwood hoopoe, Lilac-breasted Roller, Nubian woodpecker, Rednecked Spur, trilling cisticola, white-winged warbler and the rare Shoebill stork. While at the Rwonyo camp, birders can also spot the African-wattled plover Rufous, Black Bellied Bustard, Coqui francolin, Flappet larks, red-necked spur fowl, Rufuos chested Swallow, southern Red Bishop, temminck’s courser and yellow-throated long claw among others. 

Boat cruise

Boat cruise in Lake Mburo National Park are done on Lake Mburo the biggest of the long chain of lakes in the park offering you an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful of the park.

During the boat cruise , you will spot several animals include zebras, antelopes, crocodiles, hippos, otters and buffaloes and the commonest birds to see include African Fish Eagles, Blue-headed Weavers, Cormorants, Green-necked Doves, Hammerkops, Herons, Malachite Kingfishers, Pelicans, Pied Kingfishers, Rufous Long-tailed Starlings and Shoebill Storks among others.

Horseback riding

Horseback riding in Lake Mburo National park is offered by The Mihingo Lodge done in the east of the park, Lake Mburo National park is the only park where this ecologically friendly activity can be done.

Horseback safaris is a great activity to do as a family during your Uganda safari as children can enjoy a good ride on good – natured ponies. Horseback riding offers visitors an opportunity to get closer to the wildlife and enjoy scenic views of the rolling hills.

Quad biking

Quad biking is one of the most exciting activities in Lake Mburo National park and is offered from the Mantana Tented Camp and operated by All Terrain Adventures.

Quad biking is a fantastic and fun activity lasting for 2 hours, usually leaving at 09:00 to explore the Eland Track, a Four – hour trip departing at 2 pm covering the Ruroko Circuit. Each trip has a maximum group size of five people.

Guided nature walks

Lake Mburo National Park is one of the few national parks in Uganda where guided nature walks are possible, this thrilling activity is done in the company of an armed ranger guide. There is a road to the jetty which is an excellent place to walk, this site is rich in birds and regularly visited by hippos.

There is a viewing platform that overlooks a salt lick about 2 kilometers from the camp, the platform is an excellent place to see a wide variety of animals.

The Rubanga Forest which lies off the Rwizi Track is fascinating to walkers and birds, this can only be visited with a permission from the warden who woll provide you with an armed ranger guide.

How to get to Lake Mburo National Park

Lake Mburo national park is known for being the stopover to many parks, the park is situated approximately 228 kilometers from Kampala and it is drive of over 3 to 4 hours. One can access the park using Sanga gate 37 kilometers east of Mbarara or via Nshara gate which is 20 kilometers from Lyantonde and 50 kilometers to Mbarara.

From Kampala city the park is reached via Kampala – Mbarara Highway.

Where to stay in Lake Mburo National Park

There is a limited accommodation facilities in Lake Mburo National Park and the available ones range from luxury and midrange to budget camping style.

Luxury camps or lodges

  • Rwakobo Rock
  • Mihingo Lodge
  • Acadia Cottages

Midrange lodges and camps

  • Mburo Eagle’s Nest
  • Kimbla Mantana Camp
  • Lake Mburo Safari Lodge
  • Hyena Hill Lodge


  • Lake Mburo Campsite
  • Rwonyo Rest Camp