History of Lake Mburo National Park

Want to learn the history of Lake Mburo National Park? Lake Mburo National Park is Uganda’s smallest national park and the closest park to both Kampala and Entebbe. It is situated approximately 240 kilometers from Kampala and only 30 Kilometers from Mbarara – the biggest town in Western Uganda. The park is easily accessible by road with about 3 or 3 and half hours’ drive from Kampala or Entebbe respectively. The coordinates are: 00 36S, 30 57E (Latitude: 0.6000; Longitude: 30.9500).

What is currently Lake Mburo National Park was first gazetted in 1933 as a controlled hunting area and later upgraded to a game reserve in 1963. The area was dominantly occupied by the Banyankore pastoralists (commonly known as Bahima) who continued to herd their cattle and other livestock in the reserve until it was granted a National park status in 1983 by the Obote regime. The decision to upgrade Lake Mburo reserve to a National park status was in one part targeted to punish the Banyankore who were believed to be supporting the anti-Obote rebels.

The evicted pastoralists were not given any compensation for the lost grazing land and neither were they helped with the resettlement and many of them thus protested the park’s formation. This was at the time of Operation Bonanza massacre of 300,000 and as a result, the rangeland outside the park was divided into small pieces and subsistence plots. When the Obote 2 regime collapsed in 1985, the former occupants re-claimed their land and chaos ensued; they expelled the park’s staff, destroyed the infrastructure and annihilated wildlife. Eventually, only less than half of the original park’s land area was re-gazetted by the NRM government in 1986 thus, becoming Uganda’s smallest national park.

The Park is composed of different mosaic habitats ranging from forests, rich acacia tree valleys, grass lands and seasonal and permanent swamps. The 370 square km safari park is the smallest of all Uganda’s Savannah national parks. Despite its size, Lake Mburo National Park is a uniquely interesting place; every area of this park is filled with variety, interest and a great deal of sights. The 158 square miles of interesting acacia-dotted savanna of Olea and Bosciaprovides shelter to 68 mammal species. This safari Park contains a vast area of wetland and is home to different and unique species of mammals some of which are endemic including the Impala and Zebra. It is also home to 315 bird species including the rare African Finfoot and Shoebill Stork.

The main lake of the park is Lake Mburo. Here you can see many hippos wallowing in the water and the large crocodiles lurking on the shores. Birds include cormorant, fish eagle, pelican, heron and many more.