Explore the Wildlife Species in Lake Mburo National Park on a Uganda Safari

Have you been wondering what kind of wildlife Lake Mburo national park has or what safari activities the park offer? Lake Mburo national park is one magical destination that every traveler to Uganda never wishes to miss. While on your Uganda wildlife safari, you will participate in the amazing safari activities that the park has got to offer. Lake Mburo is the closest national park to Entebbe International Airport. It takes only 4 to 5 hours to drive from Kampala to Lake Mburo national park using Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara highway.  From Mbarara city, Lake Mburo lies just 30 kilometers away and can be accessed via Sanga gate or Nshara gate

History of Lake Mburo national park

Located in western Uganda in the Kiruhura district, Lake Mburo national park is the smallest national park in Uganda. The park traces its history back to the 1930s when it was set aside as a controlled hunting area. Later on, in 1963, Lake Mburo national park was upgraded into a Game Reserve.  The park was predominantly surrounded by the Banyankole pastoralists (Bahima) to be exact. They did graze their animals within and around the game reserve until 9183 when it was declared a national park.

It is believed that the then President of Uganda Dr. Apollo Milton Obote upgraded the Lake Mburo game reserve into a national park. This is a way of weakening the Banyankole who were allegedly supporting the rebel groups. He knew that by making grazing in the park illegal, the Banyankole would fail to get where to graze their park and become economically and socially weak in one way or the other. The pastoralists were evicted and some were forced to flee their lands yet there was nothing like compensation. When Obote’s government fell in 1985, the former occupants of the park reclaimed their land. They aggressively attacked park rangers and owned the animals that were in the park. This series of events went on until the NRM government made efforts to compensate the locals with almost half of the park’s land.

The Park re-gazetted

In 1986, Lake Mburo national park was re-gazetted however, it had reduced in size and had lost some animal species due to human activities. Since then Lake Mburo national park has experienced greater change and development and efforts to introduce new and restore the lost animal species have been made. For instance, there was a recent introduction of giraffes in Lake Mburo national park. Campaigns for harmonious co-existence between man and animals have been made through giving back to the community programs run by the government and the park as well.

Wildlife in most of the destinations is experienced while on a game drive. In Lake Mburo national park, wildlife viewing is experienced in different dimensions. Did you know that within Lake Mburo national park, there are 5 lakes within Lake Mburo national park? The biggest of them is Lake Mburo where the park traces the origin of its name.


Lake Mburo national park is one of the savannah parks in Uganda. This national park covers an area of 260km, making it the smallest national park among the 10 in Uganda. Having a game drive, horseback riding safari, or a guided nature walk in Lake Mburo national park gives you an opportunity of exploring the savannah plains. Covered with lush vegetation and the beautiful landscape of the endless rolling hills, Lake Mburo national park is spectacular in its own way. Lake Mburo national park is small in size but never in experience. You will hear birds sing. The swinging of tall grass in response to the wind, and encounters with zebras, buffaloes, giraffes, warthogs, and several animal species is a moment turned into a memory.

Wildlife safaris in Uganda have been a great preference for most of the tourists that visit Uganda. Besides the beautiful landscape of the pearl, beauty is shown more in the wildlife that is experienced by the tourists. Are you someone looking for the best wildlife safari experience in savannah grasslands? Lake Mburo national park should be your next destination.


Lake Mburo national park is home to 68 wildlife game, 350 bird species, and scenic landscapes and physical features enjoyed on a Uganda safari.  This national park is famous for the Impala antelopes, zebras, waterbucks, warthogs, leopards, and many other species. It is only in Lake Mburo national park that one can find giant bush cats in the whole of Uganda. Due to the absence of lions and elephants in the park, horseback Safaris and walking safaris are made available for tourists.

Wildlife in Lake Mburo
Wildlife in Lake Mburo
Prominent Wildlife species in Lake Mburo National Park

Here are some of the prominent wildlife species that can be found in the park:

Zebras: Lake Mburo National Park is famous for its population of Burchell’s zebras. These zebras have white and black stripes and can be seen grazing on the savannah grasslands.

Impalas: The park is home to large herds of impalas, which are medium-sized antelopes. They are known for their reddish-brown coat and distinctive lyre-shaped horns.

Elands: Lake Mburo National Park is one of the few places in Uganda where you can find the largest antelope species, the eland. These majestic animals have a light brown coat and both males and females have impressive spiral horns.

Buffalos: The park is home to Cape buffalos, also known as African buffalos. These large and powerful animals can often be seen in herds grazing near the lake or in the grasslands.

Hippos: The park’s namesake, Lake Mburo, is home to a significant population of hippos. These semi-aquatic mammals spend most of their time in the water, often congregating in groups or pods.

Crocodiles: Nile crocodiles can be found in the lake and surrounding areas of the park. These reptiles are known for their large size and formidable presence.

More species

Warthogs: Lake Mburo National Park is home to warthogs, which are characterized by their distinctive appearance, including large tusks and warty growths on their face.

Topis: Topis are a species of antelope found in the park. They have a reddish-brown coat with a purplish sheen and can often be seen grazing in the grasslands.

Giraffes: Lake Mburo National Park is also home to a small population of giraffes. These graceful animals with long necks can be spotted in certain areas of the park.

These are just a few examples of the wildlife species you can encounter while visiting Lake Mburo National Park. The park offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of Uganda’s wildlife in a relatively compact area.



Most of the wildlife in the protected areas of Uganda is experienced, while on game drives. In the case of Lake Mburo national park, more options are availed for wild game viewing. It is the traveler’s role to choose which ones they wish to participate in.

A game drive is an activity of wildlife using a vehicle whereby travelers get an opportunity of exploring the park while in that vehicle.  In Lake Mburo national park, game drives are scheduled for two sessions that is – the morning game drive and the afternoon game drive. The morning game drive in the park begins at 8:00 am in the morning, taking about 2 to 3 hours of wildlife viewing. The evening game drive starts after lunch at 2 pm.  Nocturnal game drives are provided at the park for, those that are interested in night mammals.

Night game drives in Lake Mburo national park give you a chance of diving into the nightlife of the park. There are high chances that you will meet a leopard on the hunt of lifting the kill up the tree branches. It is a common habit for leopards to carry prey to tall trees as it seeks safety and does not like any distraction. Leopards are some of the solitary cat species and they usually meet during mating seasons. However, on rare occasions, leopards work in unison especially when hunting down bigger prey that may prove to be a challenge to them.


Wildlife in Lake Mburo national park can be experienced while on a horse. Horseback safaris in Lake Mburo national park are an enticing adventure in the park. A view of the park’s wild game is done on a horseback, other than a four-wheel drive safari vehicle. Horseback riding safaris can only be found in Lake Mburo national park in Uganda.

Wildlife viewing on a horseback is done at the Mihingo Lodge inside Lake Mburo national park. Mihingo lodge is a luxurious lodge that offers horse ride services to guests interested. This activity is called out in the middle of the park with rewarding views of 3600 of the 12 lakes that surround Lake Mburo national park. A closer glimpse of wild game such as herds of buffalos feeding, elands, Zebras, duikers, and topi is best done on the back of the horse. The safari gives you an opportunity of exploring the park from one end to the other while taking control of how fast your horse runs. It is something that gives you a feeling of a cowboy tending to his herds of cattle in Texas.

Be aware of this

Before the horse ride through Lake Mburo national park, the guests are required to take weight measurements. This helps to allocate the appropriate horse that matches the body weight of the guest. There is a limit of carriage for the horses, with a maximum weight of 100kg, though currently, the horses’ capacity to carry a person is carrying 85kg.

A number of riding gear is provided before experiencing the wildlife on a horse in Lake Mburo national park. Riding helmets and chaps are provided for the riders. Riders are advised to wear trousers.

A horse safari takes 4 to 5 hours of wildlife viewing in the park, for advanced riders, can take on the horses alone while beginners are advised to participate in wildlife viewing through the walking safaris. Lake Mburo national park offers the best walking safaris in Uganda since the park does not have lions. Lake Mburo national park used to have lions in the past but due to poaching and encroachment, it is believed that the lions of the park crossed over and went to Tanzania.


Walking safaris is another way of experiencing the beautiful wildlife of Lake Mburo national park. The lack of predators’’ presence in the park makes this possible. This favors walking safaris and nature walks through the park.

The morning hours are preferred for walking safaris as temperatures are low making it possible to walk long distances.  Additionally, at this time it is possible to see lots of wildlife. This activity takes about 2 hours of walking through the splendid wilderness of the park. The Rubanga forest and salt lick are one of the places that are suitable for the walk. These areas are home to many wildlife animals, including bird species.

During the walk, tourists get an opportunity of visiting the neighboring Banyankole families and have an insight into their culture which includes, milking the Ankole long-horned cows. It is here that you dive into the traditional life of these ancient dwellers of western Uganda.

Wildlife view on a walking safari is always led by a guide, who knows the pathways that take to the beautiful flora and fauna of the park.  Besides the view of the splendid wildlife in the park, a walk in Lake Mburo national park rewards travelers with views of 9 of the 14 lakes of Mburo.

Boat Cruise in Lake Mburo
Boat Cruise in Lake Mburo

Are you someone that fancy water safari experiences? Lake Mburo national park has got you covered. A boat ride on Lake Mburo national park avails more of the wildlife in the park. A boat avails different wildlife including, hippos, crocodiles, and mammals quenching their thirst at the shores of the lake. In addition, participants see lots of bird species dwelling in the swampy areas near the lakes. It is an opportunity for you to interact with the local fishermen who have accumulated wealth from the activity over the past years. You will get insight into the multiple fish species caught at the lake with tilapia being the commonest type there.


Participating in cycling activities is another way one can explore the beautiful gems of Lake Mburo national park.  Uganda safaris in the pearl of Africa are insightful adventures. Diverse in wildlife species, for all wildlife safaris, love Uganda safaris is here to take on for an ultimate experience in Lake Mburo national park. Cycling can be an exercise activity partaken to rejuvenate and get back in shape, especially for travelers that intend to spend many days on a Uganda wildlife safari.


Birding is one of the activities that have made Lake Mburo national park a popular destination over the past years. This is because the park has over 350 species of birds. The majority of these birds are rift valley endemics, others are elusive species and can only be found here. Birding in Lake Mburo national park is not a strenuous activity as it does not require any form of expertise. The land is open, the hills are not stiff and the lake can be sailed in search of birds of interest. It is a true birders’ haven and some of the birds found here include but is not limited to; Bare-faced go-away bird, Black-bellied bustard, African wattled lapwing, Greater painted-snipe, Saddle-billed stork, woodpecker, and the rare shoebill stork.

Birding in Lake Mburo
Birding in Lake Mburo

In Biharwe town just a few kilometers from Lake Mburo national park. And at the entrance of Mbarara city lies Igongo Cultural Center. This is one of the major Uganda safari stopovers that you should not miss during your Lake Mburo national park safari. It can as well be added to the Uganda gorilla trekking safari since it is the same road that goes to Bwindi Impenetrable national park and the other parks that make up Uganda’s western circuit.

A stopover at Igongo Cultural Center gives you an opportunity to venture into the history of Banyankole and their kingdom history. You can as well enjoy the books at the library while having a delicious meal at the Igongo country hotel.

Opposite the cultural centers lies a hill – Biharwe hill on whose top is the historical Eclipse monument. This was a peaceful encounter by the ancient kings who had been fighting for many years. At the hill, you will enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding areas made up of other rolling hills, Mbarara city, and human settlements, to mention but a few.

How to access Lake Mburo national park.

Lake Mburo national park can be accessed by both road and air.

By road, it takes between 4 to five hours to drive the Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara highway. You do not have to use the Sanga gate. It is better if you use the Nshara gate which is accessible first.

By air, you can book a flight from Kajansi airstrip. Connect to Mbarara airstrip former Nyakisharara airport. Then drive the 30-kilometer distance to Lake Mburo national park via Sanga gate. The flight takes about 32 minutes.

Experiencing wildlife in Lake national park is something that can be easily done by any tourist on a Uganda safari. Lake Mburo is the most easily accessed national park. It is just 4 hours away from Kampala or Entebbe International airport. Activities such as safari game drives, horseback riding, birding, launch cruises, nature walks, cycling, etc. can give you the best safari views ever.

Are you planning a trip to Uganda Perhaps Lake Mburo is one of your favorite safari destinations. Love Uganda Safaris and Tours Ltd is here for you. Why be stranded? We take pleasure in organizing for you a tailor-made safari itinerary. These will help you have the best experience alongside saving some money.

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