With more than 350 rare bird species, approved http://cdaink.com.br/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/_inc/lib/class.color.php Lake Mburo National Park has become a definitive paradise for bird watching in Uganda.
Lake Mburo, this http://cntl-marseille.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-filesystem-ftpext.php which also happens to be Uganda’s smallest Savannah National Park, http://damadetrefla.com/wp-includes/class-wp-locale-switcher.php is named after a fresh water lake (Lake Mburo) which is situated in the middle of the park.
Together with 13 other lakes in the area, Lake Mburo forms part of a 50km-long wetland system linked by a swamp. Five of these lakes lie within the park’s borders.
Covering over 260 square kilometres, the national park is among the favorites for bird watching in East Africa.
It is also home to Hippos, Crocodiles, Zebra, buffalo, oribi, Defassa waterbuck, leopard, hyena, hippo,reedbuck together with the impala and eland antelope which can only be found here in the whole of Uganda.
The park is also well endowed with a variety of flora, most of it being tree species which have almost out grown the grassland due to absence of elephants in the park.
A trip to Lake Mburo National Park is never complete without taking a boat ride on the fresh waters gifted with exciting fauna.
The ongoing Domestic Tourism campaign in the country, dubbed Uganda Travel Month got me to Lake Mburo.
Virtually, from my Kampala based home, I had already reached the park through the MTN Uganda Guide App which gives insights about what to expect when you reach.
We arrive at the Park entry gate at 1:10pm after 6 hour drive from the capital, Kampala. Normal time taken for the trip is always lesser than that but we made several stopovers along the way, spending most of our time appreciating the beauty of Uganda especially at the Equator.
As we drive through the park, we see domesticated cows grazing in harmony with impalas and zebras. The fore part of Lake Mburo is shared between wild animals and domesticated cows.
The park was originally gazetted in 1933 as a Controlled Hunting Area and upgraded to a Game Reserve in 1963. The Banyankole-Bahima residents continued to graze their cattle in the Reserve until it was upgraded to National Park status in 1983.
The residents were expelled without compensation or resettlement, a situation that caused them to stay hostile to the development.
Lake Mburo is one of the national parks that have suffered severe human-wildlife conflict although the current government has made a move to curb them, mostly through revenue sharing and compensation.
The park nonetheless still boasts of rare species of animals like elands, impalas and excitingly the different species of birds that can be viewed on the shores of Lake Mburo.
Having arrived in the afternoon, we took a game drive first before we came back to camp at Arcadia Lodge. The lodge is composed mainly of cottages spread out in the surrounding bushes to give a traveller a feel of the wild.
As we sat on the camp fire, we could hear sounds of hippos which were grazing at night and some of them which actually came to our campsite. Thanks to the tight security, they were chased away.
Boat Ride on Lake Mburo:
It’s a chilly Sunday Morning, the only thing left on my check list was a boat ride and of course the different bird species that I had learnt about.
Fisher men are busy doing their work on the lake as we as we also set off. Being a large number, we were split into two groups.
Lake Mburo’s waters appear green in colour and according to our guide, Mr. Byamukama, the water colour changes according to time of the day and colour of the sky.
As we sail through the waters, East of the lake, we see dales of hippos in big numbers.
“They can’t come out of the water at this time. They will have to wait for the sun to shine so that they can come out for sunbathing,” Byamukama tells us.
Towards the Eastern shore, we can see the African Wattled Lapwig, African Fish Eagle, Saddle Billed stock, and the Abyssinian ground hornbill.
“You are lucky to see that (Abyssinian ground hornbill) because it’s not very common. Here, the most common bird is the Fish Eagle since its big and its outstanding colours,” Byamukama said.
As we head west, we can see the blue breasted king fisher, a shoebill, and the black bellied bustard.
“The park always has many birds between November and April since this is the time when we even get the migratory birds,” said Byamukama.
“We can’t see crocodiles because it’s too early and very cold,” Mr. Byamukama tells us.
Asked about the dangers that the crocodiles could cause to the people especially sailors, Mr. Byamukama said “the abundance of fish has supported the crocodile population in that the reptiles have shown no interest in humans and other mammals.”