The first thing that strikes you about Lake Mburo National Park is how young all the trees are. Back in the 1950s, the British colonial authorities were determined to rid the area of tsetse fly. Their first plan was to kill all the animals in the area, and thus starve the flies to death. This turned into a disastrous and expensive blood-bath that failed to eliminate the tsetse as it proved impossible to kill all the smaller and more elusive animals.
Plan B was to eliminate all the trees and bushes around which the flies lived, and hundreds of square kilometres of bush were stripped, cut and burned, until barely any trees were left. Then came the rains — and a thick cover of scrub quickly grew up and provided enough cover for the flies.
The next year they implemented their third plan, which was to soak the entire area in insecticide. That got rid of the tsetse — as well as virtually every other insect species, and all the insectivorous birds and small mammals.
It is a tribute to natureʼs ability to recover that, despite its appalling treatment in the 50s and the subsequent unrest during the Obote and Amin years, Lake Mburo is now a prime wildlife reserve supporting Ugandaʼs only population of impala (afterwhich its capital is named), and one of only three populations of Burchellʼs zebra.
Beautifully situated, but a bit odd, Mihingo Lodge has obviously had a lot of money spent on it and truly deserves the sobriquet, "luxury tented accommodation". But having a floor to ceiling un-curtained window right by the loo is just wrong.
Itʼs not that I am particularly prudish, or that I was that worried about someone appearing on the rock 20m away and being able to see in, itʼs just there are times when you want to look at the view and times when you want to concentrate on more intimate matters.
There was one hut where the path to the door goes past a room with a floor to ceiling un-curtained window that looks straight into the similarly un-curtained shower, and thatʼs very wrong.
Fabulous swimming pool built on to the living rock, an interesting menu (a mixture of indigenous and English nursery food) all beautifully cooked, but you have to be escorted back to your rooms as there are no permanent guards, as there are at most other lodges. Odd, to say the least.