Lake Mburo National Park is a very special place; every part of it is alive with variety, interest and colour. It contains an extensive area of wetland and also harbours several species of mammals and birds found nowhere else in Uganda. Its sculptured landscape, with rolling hills and idyllic lake shores has a varied mosaic of habitats; forest galleries, seasonal and permanent swamps, and rich acacia-woodland, and grassy valleys which all support a wealth of wildlife.
At 260 km², Lake Mburo National Park is small in comparison with many other East African parks, but with its mosaic of habitats – dry hillsides, rocky outcrops, bushy thickets, open and wooded savannas, forest, lakes and swamps – are home to s surprising diversity of plants and animals.
At the centre of the Park is Lake Mburo, which together with 14 other lakes in the area forms part of a wetland system. This system is linked by a swamp some 50 km long, fed by the Ruizi river on the western side. Five lakes, of which the larges is Lake Mburo, occur within the Park’s boundary. Almost a fifth of the Park’s area consists of wetlands – both seasonally flooded and permanent swamps. The various types of swamps are hoe to a wide variety of wetland birds, and the shy, rare sitatunga antelope. Lake Mburo’s surface and is fringing vegetation are always changing, and it is a delightful to take a boat out and experience the lake’s moods.
Lake Mburo National Park lies in a rain shadow between Lake Victoria and the Rwenzori Mountains, and receives an average of 800 mm of rain a year. Being near the equator, the rainfall pattern is bimodal, with the long rains occurring from February to June, and the short rains from September to December. The rains are rather erratic and unpredictable, but most rain tends to fall in April and November. The average recorded temperature is 27.5°C with daily variations ranging from 21.5°C to 34.0°C. July and August are the hottest months.
The Park lies between 1219 and 1828 m above sea level. High hills and rocky, eroded ridges characterize the western part of the Park; here peep valleys support the forest found nowhere else. In the eastern sector, the rolling, wooded hills are intersected by wide, flat bottomed valleys, which are seasonally flooded and drain into the swamps and lakes. The Ruizi river flows in a south-easterly direction and forms part of the western boundary of the Park. Lake Mburo and its associated wetlands eventually drain into Lake Victoria.
WHAT TO DO:
is the major tourist activity in this Park, it is famous for its richness in biodiversity. It has about 68 different species of mammals. The common ones are Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Topi, and Eland as herbivores not to leave out the rare slightly of Roan antelope and leopard, Hyenas and jackals as predictors.
The presence of Lake Mburo within the park is a blessing worth mentioning. The lake is rich with a diversity of animal and plant species which can only be viewed clearly if you take a boat trip. The crocodiles, hippopotamuses and birds like Pelicans, Black crake, Heron, cormorant, fish eagle, you may also sight the rare Shoebill Stork and all these will furnish your visit with pride. The duration of each boat cruise is negotiable.
The nature trail offers the visitor a chance to admire nature insitu. Visitors have the opportunity in walk in the circuit at his / her pace although in company of an armed guide. The trail is interpreted in form of a brochure in both English and Runyankole.
A tour to the near-by salt lick is a summary of it all. Strategically located wooden hide (Observation point) offers a chance to see at least 4 different species of animals at any one time while they lick the salty soil. Most interesting to note is that this is done without the animal’s conscience. Visitors may also walk to area of their own choice.
Note: Other tours inside the park must be in company of an armed park official, whatsoever.
The tourists can explore this forest by making arrangements with the Park Management to have a Ranger to accompany you. The Rubanga Forest is very small but a true forest with a closed canopy. Markhamia platycalyx is the common tree (grey-brown) truck with irregular flaky patches, divided leaves, yellow flowers stripped and spotted with red; brunches of extremely long (up to 1.3 m podlike fruits). Palms, figs, sapium (a tall tree whose leaves turn red before falling) and the flame tree Erythrina abyssinica that occurs at the swamp towards the edge.
The first visitors to the Lake Mburo National Park are fascinated by the variety of large mammals and colourful bird species. For most of the people, birds are the most exciting species to watch. Therefore as they become common species thereby becoming familiar, you will begin to notice smaller birds, less spectacular birds and the real experts that seem to get most excited by ‘Little Brown jobs’ (‘LBJs’) which are the hardest to identify.
However many birds are wild spread and others more fussy in their choice of habitat. Most of the park’s 310 recorded species are ‘generalist’ and can be seen almost anywhere. There are other 5 bird species, found only in the forest, and 60 specialist water birds. Others prefer short or tall grasslands, found mainly in woodlands of the savannah.
The Park has Open water birds, Lakeshore, papyrus swamp birds, Grassland birds and Forest birds, Seasonal swamp birds and Woodland birds. These Birds include in the Park include; Darter, White pelican, Yellow-billed duck, Long-tailed cormorant, White winged black tern and Greater cormorant and Pink-backed pelican.
Lakeshore and papyrus swamp birds. They are over 26 species of lakeshore and papyrus swamp birds recorded in this Park. These papyrus birds include; African finfoot, Great white egret, Night heron, Fish eagle, Pied kingfisher among others.
The Common Species in Lake Mburo National Park
4. Common Duiker
7. Hare (nocturnal)
8. Porcupine (nocturnal)
10. Aardvark (nocturnal)
16. Bushpig (nocturnal)
20. Banded Mongoose
21. Dwarf Mongoose
22. civit (nocturnal)
23. Leopard (nocturnal)
24. Galago (Bush baby) (nocturnal)
25. Vervet Monkey
27. Egyptian Swamp Mongoose
28. Jackal (nocturnal)
29. Hyena (nocturnal)
30. Jenet cat (nocturnal)
3. Monitor lizard