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Riding in the Pearl of Africa

Lake Mburu National Park’s diverse landscape is home to plentiful plains game and birds. Laura Griffith-Jones dodges warthogs and termite mounds on an exhilarating horseback adventure in this undervalued jewel

I am galloping across a wide-open valley in Lake Mburu National Park. Water droplets spray up from beneath the horses’ thudding hooves, refracting the light like a prism. Nostrils flared, our mounts draw heavily on the hot, damp air. It is May and the emerald season is in full swing: the wild grasses in this miniature Ugandan jewel are luscious and tall, the vividness of the greens breath-taking.

This 370sq-km reserve is usually passed through en route to the country’s better-known tourist hotspots in the south-west, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park, but it has much to offer as a destination in its own right. “Lake Mburu is a very special place; every part of it is alive with variety, interest and colour,” says Eric Edroma, Director of Uganda National Parks. “It contains an extensive wetland area and harbours mammal and bird species found nowhere else in the country. Its landscape has a varied mosaic of habitats, including rolling grassy hills, lakeshore, forest, swamps and rich acacia-wooded valleys, which all support a wealth of wildlife.”

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About Travel Africa

50 Secrets about Botswana • Riding in the Pearl of Africa • Walking with camels in northern Kenya • Diving Lake Malawi • Portraits of Addis Ababa • Tanzania's Lake Natron • Lions in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park • Namibia's Etosha National Park • South Africa's wild flower route in spring... and much more!