Lake Mburo National Park

Named, according to folklore, after one of two brothers – the one who, to his cost, did not listen to his brother’s dream inspired prophecy regarding their valley suffering a catatrophic flood – Lake Mburo is one of five lakes that constitute the wetlands of Lake Mburo National Park.

Beyond the lakes, home to hippo, crocodile and a great variety of fish, and the surrounding swamps – which, in their turn, harbour specialists such as the gonalek – lies a rising savannah, which is where one is likely to find eland, impala, topi, klipspringer and buffalo. Overlooked by Rubanga Forest, the savannas are strewn with acacia: no longer regulated by large migrating animals, the tree is currently being removed so as to return the land to its original grasslands. This will in turn affect species that rely on the tree, particularly birds.

It is also worth noting that the droughts affecting East Africa (2010) are taking their toll. Certain species – zebra, for example – are particularly vulnerable to dry conditions, and deaths are increasing. Local communities are also affected. The authorities have had to accede to farmer’s demands to be allowed to water their cattle inside the park, leading to the possibility of domestic animal diseases crossing over into wild populations, and to the possibility of an imbalance in herbage species.

This said, Lake Mburo remains a fantastic destination. Beautiful, relaxing, the lake itself is excellent for guided boat trips, fishing and birding, while the park’s forests offer the excitement of chimpanzee treks. Well provided for by a number of good lodges and by three excellent campsites, it works well as something of a break in an otherwise more challenging itinerary.

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