After gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, time-poor visitors fly back to Entebbe. However, as time-rich Silver Travellers, we returned overground with our guide and vehicle. We broke the 10-hour journey with two nights at Mihingo Lodge in Lake Mburo National Park. Not only is it one of the smaller of the country’s parks, but it is also the closest to the capital, Kampala and is said to be a popular weekend break for those wanting to escape the city.
One of its biggest attractions is that it has species not seen in the country’s other parks and we were looking forward to seeing zebra, impala and topi. Although there are no lions or elephants, we had already seen many of both.
To get to our lodge, we drove through the park, and whilst paperwork was being completed, we spotted a vervet monkey diving down into a litter bin and retrieving a plastic bottle. Although the lid was still on, he managed to make a hole at the bottom to enjoy the contents, a non-alcoholic drink made from sorghum.
During our stay, we had one morning game drive and two in the afternoon.
On our first afternoon drive, we drove along appropriately named Eland Track searching for the animal which we thought would be easy to spot bearing in mind it’s the world’s largest antelope. But we hadn’t bargained for the fact that they are notoriously shy, and our only spotting was two in the distance.
Unlike many other parks we’d visited, the proximity of our lodge to the entrance meant very early starts were reduced to simply early. New sightings included topi in the distance, large groups of female impala surrounding a dominant male, and Ankole cattle with their huge, huge horns. At the side of Lake Mburo, the starting point for boat trips, we ensured the vehicle was secured from the prowling vervet monkeys and saw a large boat getting readied for the day. Hippo were in the water, but none were opening their mouth for us. Other sightings included more eland which this time, we managed to photograph, groups of giraffe, zebra walking down the road to the watering hole, guinea fowl, and an African grey hornbill.
In 2015, 14 giraffe were relocated to Mburo from Murchison Falls National Park. This had obviously been a big success as they have increased to 42 and having already seen a group of around a dozen, on our final drive of the trip, it was wonderful to see over half the park’s giraffe population in one area. Along with five other vehicles we watched fascinated in particular by two teenage males who were learning to ‘neck fight’ with each other.
On leaving the park, I spotted smoke and was told they were making charcoal. As we’d frequently seen large white bags for sale on the roadside we went to investigate. Cut wood had been built into a mound, covered with soil and set alight through holes which were then covered up and left for up to two days. The man tending the pile told our guide, it would fill around 30 bags which he would sell for 30,000 Ugandan shillings or around £6.50 each.
Optional activities available from our lodge included a boat ride on Lake Mburo, horse riding, walking safaris and night drives.