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Steve and Emma's Travel Tales

Camping at Lake Mburu

UGANDA | Sunday, 30 November 2014 | Views [734]

Sun set on Lake Mburu.

Sun set on Lake Mburu.

As our time in Uganda is starting to dwindle we wanted to make the most of it and visit as many places as possible in the time left. As Lake Mburu is one of our favourite places we just had to have one last trip, plus we still had time on our UWA passes so it was almost free! To keep the costs down further we decide to camp by the lake and hoped that the monsoon rains would let up for a couple of days. Would our luck be in?

We set off from Kampala early doors and were well on our way as the sun was rising along with the residents of Kampala. After a quick brew stop at the Equator Café, I sat in the Northern hemisphere and Emma in the South, we hit the dirt road into Lake Mburu National park in 4 hours. This park never lets us down and even before we got to the gate we had seen zebra, impala, waterbuck and lots of birdlife including a yellow-billed duck and a rufous-bellied heron which is quite uncommon and a first for us.

After getting into the park and paying the camp fees (30,000 UGX), Emma set about putting up the tent. As per usual the wind got up and rain started to fall but Emma carried on unperturbed while I put up the camp chairs and made a brew under the shelter of the campsite huts. Luckily the rain soon blew over and we enjoyed our picnic looking at the lake and watching the warthogs munching what little grass was left in the campsite and guarding our sarnies against the attack of vervets and baboons.

After lunch we took a game drive around the park and saw the usual suspects, but this is what we love about Mburu, you are not chasing around the park before light in search of lions, however you see animals all the time. What you do not see is people. Not another vehicle in the park all afternoon and no one else at the campsite too. Just our sort of thing. By now the sun was beating down so we decided to take advantage of the private campsite and we headed back to enjoy the rest of the afternoon by the lake. We had a couple of cold beers by the lake and watched the pied kingfishers waste their energy hovering over the lake and the hippos grunting at each other. A rare treat was an African fin foot swimming close by. This rare bird is on a ‘twitchers’ wish list and although we have seen them here before they usually stick to the undergrowth of the bank.

We had our evening meal at the very pleasant Zebra restaurant right by the lake. We tried to eat here once before 5 years ago, but after ordering our meal hours in advance they gave it to someone else! Luckily this time there weren’t any other customers to eat our food and it arrived only 1 hour late even though we had ordered 6 hours in advance! The waiter had the football on the radio but the commentary was in Luganda, he kept us updated with the scores however. It took us back to the days of listening to the world service in Sri Lanka before satellite TV became omnipresent.

We slept pretty well in our tent despite the honking of the hippos and the herd of grazing impala all around the tent. After a breakfast of chapatis we admired the lake one last time before doing a slow game drive out of the park. On the way out we spotted a heard of eland and headed towards them down a side track. Now although eland are the biggest antelope in the world they are also the shyest and we had only seen them in Mburu at a distance. So it was a real surprise and a highlight to get close up to them. A fantastic way to end our last trip to Lake Mburu National Park. 


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