Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Night Drive - Lake Mburo NP

It was the night of the supermoon and we had scheduled a night drive in Lake Mburo National Park.  Unknowingly, we were in for a super night!

We picked up our Uganda Wildlife Authority guide Lawrence just before sunset.  He had a large spotlight with him which wired directly to our car battery.  Lawrence decided to perch himself on the roof of the Land Rover so that he had a good vantage point.  We were all set and started driving towards the Research Track.  By this time the sun had set and darkness was setting in.  From inside the Land Rover we watched as Lawrence moved the spotlight quickly from left to right looking for animals.  It was Kevin that heard Lawrence say "leopard, stop!"  I was driving.  I quickly pressed on the brakes and started looking around "where?"  A male leopard was in front of us and just off of the road to the right.  We turned off the engine and watched as he walked through the grass towards a thicket.  For over 30 minutes we watched the leopard as he slowly made his way from thicket to thicket, pausing at each one to look around and survey his surroundings.  Eventually he walked off into the darkness leaving us with adrenaline pumped bodies and big grins.  Fantastic!!  This sighting was enough for me, I was so happy to have had such a good spotting of a leopard that I was prepared to head back to Mihingo lodge where we were staying and revel in our night drive experience.

As we drove back, we saw buffalo, zebras, a white tailed mongoose and a genet cat. We were not far from the  lodge when Lawrence asked us to turn onto a small track to look for hyena as he knew of the general location they hang around at night.  Close to the road, we saw a figure dart away from an anthill and into the thick bushes nearby.  We shone our lights and could see two eyes staring back at us.  As we crept the vehicle closer to the bush, we realized it was a leopard!!  Another one!  How exciting was this?!  Another male, this time never leaving the protection and cover of the bush.  We admired his beauty, his large golden eyes resembling giant glass marbles, his long whiskers and rosette patterned coat.  After about 30 minutes we decided to leave him and let him get back to his leopard business.  As we drove back to Mihingo, we giggled at our fortune of seeing two separate leopards on one night drive.

If you are visiting Lake Mburo National Park, I can highly recommend this exciting activity. Although there is no guarantee of seeing leopard, a guided night drive gives you the chance to experience the animals in their habitat at night as well as giving you an opportunity to spot nocturnal species.  For us, it was a super night!


  1. your photos are absolutely amazing!! great job!!!

  2. Wow, Lake Mburo looks amazing, I have always wanted to go there, looks like you had an amazing time