Last weekend the diocese was gracious enough to let us borrow a diocesan car and driver to visit Lake Mburo National Park, near Mbarara. The tourist guides say that this park is often passed over by tourists, in favour of other National Parks like Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls, or Bwinidi Impenetrable. We found this to be true, as there were very few other tourists visiting the park that day.
Despite being less popular, it is an excellent park to visit, especially if you are a small group. Our guide for the day explained that we would see very little on a game drive, since we arrived too late in the morning. However, for small groups you can go for a game walk in the forest with an armed guide. This was the option we chose and we weren’t disappointed. Although we didn’t get as close to the animals as we did in Queen Elizabeth, we saw them in a more natural environment. It was amazing to see how so many species of animals, Impala, Topi, Warthogs, Bufflo, and Zebra all lived so close to each other. They would take turns using the watering holes and the salt lick and none of them tried to horde or exclude other species from these precious resources. If only we humans could learn to do the same!
We also went for another boat trip. The boats at Lake Mburo are much smaller than the ones at Queen Elizabeth, which meant we could get a lot closer to some of the animals. We got some excellent views of some of the birds, which we could not get close enough to in Queen Elizabeth. The kingfishers are particularly interesting to watch. When they are fishing they can hover almost like a humming bird, then they arch their backs and dive straight down for their fish. Considering the size of our boat we were quite careful to stay away from the hippos though. Although Hippos are herbivores, hippos with little ones can be particular and have been known to kill humans and animals alike who get too close with their powerful jaws.
Again it was a good break for us and we enjoyed it thoroughly. Unfortunately I think it will be our last trip to one of the National Parks. All the rest are too far away for a one or two day trip. At the same time I am thoroughly looking forward to getting into our canoe in May when we don’t have to worry about getting eaten by crocodiles or hippos.