Lake Mburo National Park is a gem of a park, conveniently located close to the western highway that connects Kampala to the parks of western Uganda. Though the park is just 370km2 in size, its landscapes are varied and even a short drive is alive with interest and color.
Youu’ll pass gallery forest, open savannah and acacia woodland, rock kopjes, seasonal and permanent swamps, and open water, as you search for the wealth of wildlife they support. This includes species such as impala, Burch ell’s zebra, and eland that are not found elsewhere in western Uganda.
Lake Mburo National Park lies between the towns of Masaka and Mbarara in western Uganda, 228km from Kampala – about 3 hrs drive. Two gates enter the park from the Mbarara road. Approaching from Kampala, the turning to Nshara gate is 13kms past Lyantonde. The junction for Sanga gate is at Sanga t rading centre, 27kms past Lyantonde. Both junctions are clearly signposted. It is about 20 minutes drive from either gate to Rwonyo.
Lake Mburo 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 Obote government’s decision to upgrade the Park was reportedly in part intended to weaken the Banyankole, who supported anti-Obote rebels. As the evicted pastoralists were not compensated for lost grazing land or assisted with resettling, many remained hostile to the Park’s formation. The rangeland outside the park was subsequently subdivided into small ranges and subsistence farming plots.
In 1985 the second Obote regime fell and the previous residents of Lake Mburo re-occupied the Park’s land, expelling park staff, destroying infrastructure and annihilating wildlife. Less than half of the Park’s original land area was eventually re-gazetted by the NRM government in 1986.