The Lake Mburo in Uganda
The Lake Mburo in Uganda : It derives its name from a local story in Ankole of two brothers Kigarama and Mburo. The lake is located in western part of Uganda in kiruhura district, about 30km east of Mbarara Western Uganda’s biggest town. It is said that one night Kigarama who lived in the low-lying savanna plains had a nightmare that the area in which they lived was going to flood, he warned his brother of his dream but Mburo refused to take heed. Kigarama on the other hand took caution and climbed up a hill leaving his brother mburo behind, indeed true to his dream the area was plagued by floods that swept Mburo and all his property. Kigarama in honor of his brother then named the lake that was formed due to the floods Lake Mburo. Owing to the wildlife that adorns the lake’s surrounding it was first gazetted in 1933 and later established as a national park in 1982. The park covers 370km2 thus making it the smallest national park in Uganda and nearest park to Kampala the capital city as it is about 228km apart from the city.
What to do in Lake Mburo
The activity can be carried out in Rubanga forest that harbors over 313 bird species. So pick up your camera and binoculars and go bird spotting. Get a chance to capture the Ross’s Turaco, Nubian wood pecker, pelicans, white winged terns, brown parrot, Grey crowned crane, fin foot, African grey hornbill, Jackson’s hornbill among numerous others.
During these walks, you get to view the different bird species, butterfly species, primate species like baboons, vervet monkeys among others and different plant species and learn about their healing properties for example the acacia tree has been found to heal wounds faster and may even be soother for ulcers. The educated guides will be able to keep you will be able to keep you well informed.
At Mazinga on the lake one can go for sport fishing. This though would require you to carry your own fishing material and a permit from the Uganda wildlife Authority. If this activity is to be done you will be required to inform your tour operator in advance such that they can get a fishing permit in time. While fishing you may be able to catch any of the species in the lake like the tilapia, mudfish, lung fish, tiger fish and Nile perch to mention a few.
Note: The Lake has mainly six fish species and tilapia being the commonest fish type in the lake.
Boat cruise / Launch
The cruise would take one around the lake enabling you to catch sight of water animals, the crocodiles, spotted necked otters, tortoises, hippopotamus, buffaloes, waterbucks, impalas and much more. Along with various bird species that dwell near the water like; pied kingfisher, African fish eagle, whistling ducks, herons, Egyptian goose and so on. Drinks are provided on the two hour cruise for refreshment as you kick back and relax.
Activities that can be done near the Lake Mburo
It would be advisable to do these at night as that is when most of the animals are looking for a cozy spot to retire for the night thus giving you an advantage of easily spotting them. A guide of course will go on along with you during these drives to answer all your questions and tell you where to turn. Enjoy the park on wheels as you get a glimpse of the different mammal species in the park like the warthogs, hyenas, buffaloes, bushbucks, impalas, duiker elands, zebras, bush pigs, oribis, Topis, buffaloes and much more.
The activity is offered by Mhingo Lodge specifically and during this you are able to ride around and observe the different butterfly species, mammal species, tree species along with bird species. All while following different trails, you could even get to watch the sunset on horseback and after exploring to your heart’s content you are led back.
Perhaps the horseback riding is a bit too expensive for you. Instead you could hire a bike and go for an up close wild experience in the park. This is not only thrilling but also heart lifting as you see zebras and other park animals marvel at you as you ride amongst them.
Ankole cattle experience
Ever seen a cow with long horns? Well the Ankole cattle will definitely leave you shocked. The cattle that were almost going to be extinct are being conserved in the park. Visit the site and get a feel of the life of the average Ankole pastoralist and gaze upon the cattle’s explicitly long horns.
Stopovers on your way to Lake Mburo
- Drum makers at Mpambire
As the name suggests, the traditional African drums are made here at Mpambire and you could visit and get a chance to see firsthand how they stretch animal skin to make the drums so tight and maybe take one home.
- The Equator
Uganda is one of the countries where the passes through, there are souvenir shops at the equator and a restaurant where you can rest and have a nice meal. Here you can also experience the different experiments carried out at the equator like;
- Loss of weight by 1 kg when you stand on the equator.
- Disappearance of one’s shadow when you stand at the equator
- The water at the equator rotates anti clockwise
- One can balance with one foot in the northern hemisphere and another in the southern hemisphere.
- Igongo cultural centre
The centre is a plethora of historical artifacts from the past of the people of south-west Uganda, spears, shields, and drums among other countless items that are being preserved in this facility. It was opened on Christmas in 2011 by His Excellence President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
How to get there
- Getting to Lake Mburo is very simple and easy because it is near to the Capital city Kampala.
- Taking the route from Kampala to Masaka to Mbarara to the Nshara gate the drive would take about 4 hours to cover the 228km. it is the commonest way of accessing Lake Mburo.
- Another way of accessing the Lake is by Air transport, one can fly from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Mbarara airstrip which will take you less than an hour. It is the quickest way of accessing the Lake Mburo.