Lake Mburo National Park

Roughly halfway between Kampala and Bwindi, Lake Mburo National Park is underrated; its unique variety of game and birdlife, plenty of opportunities to get out of the car, and excellent lodges means it offers far more than just a convenient stopover en route to the gorillas.

This little park is made up of wetlands (including the eponymous lake itself), open savanna, and acacia woodland, studded with rocky outcrops. Its range of habitats supports around 315 bird species, including certain southern varieties for whom the park is the most northerly part of their range. Bird-watchers will appreciate the Lake Mburo boat cruise, a shoe-in for the elusive African finfoot.

For wildlife-lovers, the park delivers a wealth of smaller herbivores: large gatherings of impala not found anywhere else in Uganda mingle with zebra, topi, oribi, and bushbuck; herds of the largest living antelope, the eland, take up seasonal residence; and dainty klipspringers hide out on rocky koppies. Local leopard and hyena populations are on the increase, with plenty of smaller predators, such as genet and white-tailed mongoose, also present. This makes for interesting nocturnal viewing, as the park is one of the few places allowing such game drives. Other novel activities include horseback safaris and nature walks that offer a different perspective on wildlife-viewing and allow you to appreciate the peaceful serenity of the bush.

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Fodor's The Complete Guide to African Safaris: with South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Victoria Falls

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