Lake Mburo National Park’s location makes it a gooden route destination before the parks in the west such as Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is located in a convenient area along the Masaka – Mbarara high way. It is relatively small in size of about 370sq.km. It is also listed among the small national parks in Uganda. An area, about 20% of the park’s land is covered or dominated by wetlands; this is strongly attributed to the number of water bodies found in Lake Mburo national park.
This national park lays astride an altitude of 1220m to 1828m above sea level. The protected are is not as populated with wild animals as the other national parks like Queen Elizabeth national park and Murchison falls national park. This is basically attributed to rampant poaching by the local communities living near the national park where a lot of wild animals are poisoned by the pastoralists claiming that they were killing cattle. Also, the parkland is greatly encroached on by the pastoralists to make an area for their farms.
History of Lake Mburo National Park
Originally, Lake Mburo was gazette in1933 and it was controlled as a hunting area. In 1963, the gazetted area of Lake Mburo was later upgraded to a game reserve. The upgrading of the area of Lake Mburo to a game reserve did not stop the banyankole and the bahima pastoralists, who are also the residents of the nearby communities, from grazing their cattle from the protected area of Lake Mburo. The pastoralists were only stopped when the game reserve was upgraded to a national park in 1983.
The upgrading of the game reserve to a national park by the government under Obote during the time, it was not fully aiming at conservation, but to weaken the banyankole pastoralists who were giving support to the rebels against Obote’s government. The eviction of the banyankole was forceful and they were not compensated at all or even assisted with the resettling. This unfair act by the government, which was the park manager then, caused resisted to the conservation programs from the unsatisfied pastoralists.
In 1985, when the regime of Obote fell, the former residents of Lake Mburo national park reoccupied the area and expelled all the park staff, destroyed a lot of infrastructures and killed a lot of wildlife. Almost half of the park’s land was lost to the pastoralists and it was warm to gazette the area back to the national park. However, a small land was re-gazetted in 1986 when the national resistance movement government assumed power, it is the current land on which the park sits.
Wildlife of Lake Mburo
Lake Mburo national park is a nature’s gem of natural wonders; it is the only national park in Uganda where a nature walk got no limits, it can be done in any part of the park. The park has a variety of special wildlife species such as mammals, birds, reptiles among others. You have a full opportunity to spot a lot of animals in Lake Mburo national park including, zebras, hippos, impalas, warthogs, African buffaloes, common eland, jackal, leopards, et cetera. Lake Mburo is also a home of about 350 bird species including, bate Lear, coqui francolin, and grey crowned crane among others.
Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest savannah national park in Uganda, it was once a full cover of savannah grassland, but now it much contained by woodlands since there are no elephants to tame them out. The western side of the national park is where you can find a mixture of savannah grassland with forested gorges. However, the park also contains patches of papyrus swamp and narrow bands of lush riparian lines of woodland along the water edge of lakes.
Besides Lake Mburo, the national park contains of other lakes summing up to 13; they are home for the awesome water birds like the African fish eagles. However, Lake Mburo is the largest and forms about 50km of the wet land system in Lake Mburo national park. Some lakes are found in the national park, and about 5 lakes are found on the border of Lake Mburo national park.
Activities in this National Park
The national park is famously known for the zebra community is harbors. You can spot a number of zebras in grazing in Lake Mburo even before leaving the main highway to Mbarara. However, the game drives in Lake Mburo national park will expose you to almost all the wildlife in the area. Lake Mburo national park is supplied with a good network of game tracks; concentrated in the east where there is a variety of landscape features such as wetlands, grasslands on sloppy hills, acacia woodland, seasonal flooded valleys, rocky outcrops among others. All the different landscapes are ecosystems that act as a home for a different wild animal in the national park. The early morning hours and the late evening time id the best for game drives in Lake Mburo national park.
Another activity is birding which is favorably done in the swampy valleys and near the salt licks in the national park. The forests in the national park also harbor a lot of forest bird species; can be quite interesting to watch. Also, the boat cruise can get you a chance to see a lot of water birds along the shoreline of Lake Mburo national park. The bird species in the national park include fracolins, grey crowned crane, black-bellied bustard, rufous bellied heron, bateleur, brown- chested lapwig and coqui, among others.
The launch trip is another interesting activity for visitors to Lake Mburo national park. The boat cruise along the eastern shoreline of the national park is an opportunity for you to see a lot of crocodiles, buffaloes, hippos wallowing in water and water birds such as African fish eagle, kingfishers, and hammerkops among others.
Other activities in Lake Mburo national park include sport fishing in Lake Mburo which is hides over six species of fish, including tilapias among others. You can also enjoy hiking and nature walks in Lake Mburo national park, hiking in Lake Mburo national park can be done in the whole national park. Make sure that you did not forget to book for lake Mburo national park any time you visit Uganda for a safari.