Lake Mburo-Nakivali wetland system lies in Mbarara District in south central Uganda close to the borders with Tanzania and Rwanda. The System lies southwest of Mbarara District, in the shallow valleys of various tributaries of the Kagera River. The lakes constitute areas of open water in an extensive papyrus swamp. The system is located 60 kms from Mbarara town.
Lake Mburo-Nakivali wetland system comprises of open and wooded savanna, seasonal and permanent wetlands and five lakes of which Lake Mburo is by far the largest. From west to east these lakes are: Mburo, Kigambira, Mutukula, Kazuma and Bwara. Most of the wetland system lies in a National Park, which was gazetted in 1982. The other part lies outside the National Park and covers Lake Nakivali and the surrounding swamps in the sub counties of Rugaaga, Kashumba, Ngarama and Kabingo.
The park contains a wide variety of habitat types, which gives it a surprisingly high diversity of animals and plants for its size. The system is a unique habitat, which lies at the convergence zone of two biological zones. It supports globally threatened species of birds, supports two of the endangered cichlid fish species which have gone extinct in the main lakes and it is the only system
in Uganda in which the Impala is found. The system also provides refugia to 22 species of Palaearctic and Afro-tropical migrant birds during adverse conditions.
The Lake Mburo wetland system is of immense socio-economic value. It is a source of water for domestic use, livestock and wildlife. The system is source of pasture for the local herds during droughts, a source of fish and source of materials for crafts and thatching. The park’s location near the Masaka-Mbarara highway makes it easily accessible from Kampala.
The Red-faced Barbet (Lybius rubrifacies) is an extremely rare species but occasionally seen around Rwonyo camp (Lake Mburo National Park Headquarters). It is a restricted – range species, whose distribution defines the dry woodlands west of Lake Victoria secondary area. It is not known anywhere else in Uganda. The Papyrus Gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) has also been recorded in the park. It is a common and frequently heard bird in the papyrus swamps, especially at the mouth of River Ruizi. It is also a Lake Victoria biome species, which is rare in other Important Bird Areas in Uganda.
Others include the Lake Victoria biome species such as White-winged warbler (Bradypterus carpalis) and Carruthers’s cisticola (Cisticola carruthersi), which are rare in other Important Bird Area’s of Uganda. The site also supports one Afrotropical highlands biome species, the Baglafecht Weaver (Ploceus baglafecht).