LAKE MBURO: 10 best places to stay on Safari to the Virgin Rolling Hills of the Eland

I may be a pen pushing wallah but when the wild calls, I will surely be there to remind you of the top tourist hot spots in Uganda. Today, allow me take you through the virgin rolling hills, to traditional game drives, walking safaris, boat trips and hiking that all combine to make Lake Mburo National Park a very special place. It is one of those parks that you will find something for everyone.

Gazetted in the year 1933 as a regulated hunting area, the area was upgraded to the status of a game reserve in 1963, and later transformed into a National park in 1983.

Located in Kiruhura District, in the Western Region of Uganda, Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest of Uganda’s savannah national parks with an area of 370km². It is about 30 kilometres, by road, east of Mbarara, the largest city in the sub-region and is approximately 240 kilometres, by road, west of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

The park has a combination of acacia woodland, open grassland and wetland making it the ideal place for many species of wildlife.

Famous for its richness in biodiversity, the park has 357 different species of birds including the crowned crane, the papyrus yellow warbler and the rare shoe bill stork, 68 mammal species including zebras, elands and buffalos.

Predators, though rarely seen, are still known to be roaming the virgin rolling hills. These include the camouflaged leopards, hyenas and jackals. The best time to spot one is early in the morning or late evening. As for the lions, they were said to have been hunted out in the 1970’s, though the buzz around the park is that some have recently been spotted again.

Hippos and crocodiles are also easily seen in Lake Mburo with the surrounding papyrus swamps being a hideout for the sitatunga. On some occasions it is also possible to find herds of the famed Ankole long horned cattle freely feeding with zebra and the impala.

Arrangements for game drives on the impala and zebra tracks will help visitors spot wildlife like zebras, warthogs, topis and waterbucks while hikes up Kazuma hill will enable guests get a better view of the virgin rolling hills and the different lakes in the park. Boat trips and birding can also be arranged at Rwonyo park headquarters where ranger guides as well as interpreters are provided.

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As is always the case, it’s a tough call making a decision on the best places to stay while on a tour to Lake Mburo National Park — this however shouldn’t bother you as, Africa Tembelea conducted a mini survey amongst select tour operators and safari guides on what they considered as the best places to stay this festive season. The recommended places of stay include those within and outside the park but ideal for family too.

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Mihingo Lodge

Mihingo is a luxurious, family owned lodge in a magical setting adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. Perched high on a rocky kopje, whose pre-Cambrian granite boulders were formed over 500 million years ago, it has spectacular views over a vast savannah landscape. Designed to blend in with its fragile surroundings, this environmentally friendly lodge offers comfort, relaxation and the experience of being at one with nature.

An infinity pool overlooks the valley below where buffalo, eland, impala, warthogs, bush buck and zebra can be seen at the waterhole.  On the rocks you may have the rare chance of seeing the resident family of Klipspringers.

The only regret that many of Mihingo Lodge’s guests have is that many a time, they wish they had booked to stay longer than only a night or two.

Reservations can be made by calling +256752410509 or by email to reservations@mihingolodge.com

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Emburara Farm Lodge

Located along Mbarara-Ibanda road, this eco-luxury lodge is built on a farm of long-horned Ankole Cattle. The lodge has 27 en suite spacious and uniquely designed rooms, a bar and lounge, restaurant and 2 gazebos, a spa which includes a swimming pool, salon, gym, steam room and sauna, beautiful green lush gardens and 2 conference rooms sitting 40 -170 people.

The lodge offers its guests a Life on the Farm experience with the Long Horned Ankole Cattle being at the centre of it. Some of the activities guests to the lodge can engage in include; “okukama” –Milking, “okweshera”- taking the cows to water, “okuhembera”- lighting a small camp fire for the cows, “okwagaga” – massaging the cows to create friendship, “Okucunda”- the process of churning ghee and yoghurt. Aside from the cattle, you can participate in cycling on the farm or enjoy the luxury of the swimming pool and health club.

Reservations can be made via email reservations@emburarafarmlodge.com or alternatively call +256 776 210 872

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Igongo Cultural Centre & Hotel

Located 12km from Mbarara town along Masaka – Mbarara highway, Igongo Cultural Centre & Country Hotel captivates.

Igongo has one of the best museums in Uganda, Eriijukiro (the museum of South Western Uganda), a traditional restaurant, bar and great hotel amenities. It is the ultimate destination for lovers of history, art, culture and comfort.

A staple of ultimate African luxury, Igongo merges comfort, relaxation and recreation in an environment offering great scenery and beautiful gardens that capture the imaginations of both the young and the old. The complex is an attraction to a diversity of people and cultures both local and international.

Reservations can be made via email reservations@igongo.co.ug or alternatively call +256 392 722828 / +256 392 722829

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Mantana’s Lake Mburo Camp

Ideally situated within Lake Mburo National Park, this facility is a small and intimate luxury camp, in a beautiful setting with a relaxed atmosphere. It is an ideal place to enjoy the African wilderness and to start or finish a safari to Uganda.

Fitting perfectly with the environment, the luxurious and spacious tents on wooden decks with their large bedrooms, en-suite facilities and verandahs overlooking the lake and valley are complemented by a luxurious sitting room, bar and dining area.

Each of the camps nine guest tents are set on wooden platforms with veranda, twin/double bedroom, dressing room and en-suite bush shower and toilet. The dining and bar facilities are also set on a raised wooden platform that provides stunning views of Lake Mburo.

This facility is indeed an ideal place to relax with a cold drink after a hot and dusty game drive, a walking trip or a visit to the lake with its various activities.

Reservations can be made at Kimbla-Mantana, Entebbe Office, Email: info@kimbla-mantanauganda.com or call directly +256-41-4-320152 / +256-772-401391

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Hotel Triangle Mbarara

Lying a few metres above the new Mbarara Southern by-pass is the recently opened Hotel Triangle – an imposing gem with 106 rooms. This hotel has facilities that include a presidential suite, conference centers, three swimming pools, children play centre among others.

Sitting on 160 acres, Hotel Triangle Mbarara that is approximately 25-minutes’ drive to Lake Mburo National Park also offers wedding and honeymoon services.

Reservations can be made via email info@hoteltrianglembarara.co.ug or alternatively call +256 393 240 502

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Lake View Hotel

Lake View Resort Hotel Mbarara offers accommodation in 70 tastefully designed rooms with adjoining Rooms for Families, air-conditioning and ensuite Bathroom.

Among the other hotel facilities are; a swimming pool, health club, conference facilities as well as a tennis court.

Reservations can be made at Lake View Resort Hotel Mbarara, Plot 159 Fortportal – Kasese Road or via email: Email : info@lakeviewresorthotel.co.ug

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Rwakobo Rock

Set in the pristine Ankole ranchlands surrounding Lake Mburo National Park, this eco-friendly, family run hotel is nestled on a scenic outcrop at the edge of Lake Mburo National Park.

It has 8 comfortable and spacious cottages, dotted around the hill, all very private and offering great sunset views. The main dining area overlooks an expanse of rock that adjoins the park.

Rwakobo offers a variety of both easy and challenging walks offering the chance to get close to nature. It also offers mountain biking and caters for night drives, while the park can be discovered by vehicle, foot or boat.

Every night (weather permitting) the friendly Rwakobo staff stoke up a camp fire so you can watch the sunset explode into a brilliant starlit sky.

Reservations can be made via email info@rwakoborock.com or alternatively call +256 755 211771

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Mburo Safari Lodge

Nestled on a hill, overlooking and bordering Lake Mburo National Park, has cottages and honeymoon house all raised on a wooden platform and covered by a grass-thatched roof, perfectly blending with the natural environment.

The lodge’s 10 luxury and spacious cottages (suites) have furniture in distinctive African style and luxurious bathrooms with hot water and a flushing toilet. Each cottage has its private balcony where you can sit and enjoy the scenery.

There are also honeymoon cottages that enable guests a romantic hideaway with greater privacy and space perfect for that extra special treat.

Two family cottages are also available and are located near the restaurant and ideal for people with children.

Reservations can be made via email; info@mburosafarilodge.com/ or direct call to +256701433744

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Arcadia Cottages

Located 2km from the park headquarters at Rwonyo, Arcadia Lodge is an ideal base from which to explore the park on a game drive, spot crocodiles and hippos on the launch trip or really get close to nature on a guided walking safari.

The lodges eight self-contained cottages are arranged around a central lodge building, where guests can enjoy stunning views of the park from the newly built raised deck.  In the evenings, guests can wind down from an exciting day’s safari around the lodge’s open fire, sipping on a cold drink from the bar while impala, warthog and the occasional hippo munch on the grass just yards away.

Reservations can be made directly from Arcadia Lodges Uganda Head Office, Crane Plaza, 1st Floor, Room 19, Acacia Avenue, Kisementi, Kampala or alternatively call +256 785 623 366 / Mobile: +256 772 727 955‬

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Mpogo Safari Lodge

Mpogo Safari Lodge is a peaceful and exclusive facility conveniently located on top of a hill, in the outcasts of Lake Mburo National Park, western Uganda.

This 16 room facility offers midrange accommodation at affordable prices. Originally a family farm house, Mpogo Lodge has two private grass thatched cottages with two rooms each, in built showers rooms and toilets, at the top most of the hill, which gives guests a spectacular view of the park.

The safari lodge is designed to make you feel at home in the neighboring wild. From the main dining area, guests can enjoy the view of the stunning evening sunsets over Lake Mburo National Park.

Source: Africa Tembelea