The Myth of Lake Mburo
Welcome to Lake Mburo National Park. Naming in an African setting has origins and purpose associated with it and names most times are an explanation of an event that happened or is expected to happen.
For this particular case, two biological brothers; Mburo and Kigarama lived in a valley in the present national park. One night Kigarama dreamt of a calamity befalling their homestead; many Africans believed in what they dreamt and could predict the near future events. In the morning he alerted Mburo about it and in a way expected them both to shift their homesteads to another location; they had vast communally owned land. Mburo hesitated and did not shift immediately but Kigarama took the dream as a forewarning of doom about to happen and swiftly shifted his family to a nearby hill. That very night there was a hailstorm and the valley flooded engulfing the entire Mburo household. Kigarama family survived to narrate the ordeal. There is a location in the park called Kigarama where he is believed to have settled and the flooded valley was named Mburo in memory of the drowned family.
Exciting interests in safaris to Uganda are not limited to such tales. The park averaging an elevation 1200m-1800m above sea level is an absolute gem in Uganda and on the brink of bursting with breathtaking natural scenery. The flat terrain of the area has a wetland system spreading beyond the park boundaries in a 50km radius comprising 14 lakes, 5 of them inside the park. 20% of the park is a wetland with aquatic vegetation that rises to open grassland and woodland savannah, bush thickets and dry hillsides. This unique ecosystem supports the biodiversity of mammals, birds, insects, fish and plant species that attract many tourists.
Lake Mburo is in the rain shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains and has two low rainfall seasons 500mm-1000mm. It is in the tropics with very high temperatures averagely 230c-250c leading to high rates of evaporation. This leads to low plant and grass growth rates and conducive conditions for pest survival and undesirable habitat for humans and livestock. This is one of the reasons that forced the government to evacuate settlers as a pest and disease control method and gazetted the place into a protected area.
Lake Mburo National Park is one place that caters for adventure travellers with several tastes. The park is a favourable habitat for more than 60 mammal species that are rare in other protected areas like an Impala antelope, zebra that can only be found in this park alone in Uganda. Eland; the largest of all antelope species and beautifully striped zebra are found only in this park and Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda. Giraffe; the tallest land mammal was recently reintroduced as a biological weapon against acacia tree species that are overlapping other species and altering the ecosystem.
Other resident mammal species are buffalos and leopards two of the Big 5 of Africa’s most sought after mammals, warthog, oribi, waterbuck and the lake shores are dotted with big schools of huge hippopotamus and yawning crocodiles. For enthusiastic bird lovers on safari to Uganda, Lake Mburo is a prime destination.
The park’s rich ecosystem of wetlands, open grasslands, grassy woodlands and bare hilltops boasts more than 350 recorded bird species; a high bird population density in a park 370km2. Some notable permanent resident species are Red-faced Barbet, Shoebill, Pink-backed pelicans, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Papyrus yellow warbler to mention a few. Just carry a pair of binoculars and keep ticking your favourite bird checklist.