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UGANDA: Uganda Birding

Overview

Regular Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Entebbe

    Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and welcomed by our representative who will transfer you to your hotel in Entebbe.

  • Day 2

    Mabamba Wetlands

    Today, we drive to the Mabamba bay, the only place and site where the elusive shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) can be spotted at any one time of the day.

  • Day 3

    Entebbe – Ziwa Sanctuary – Masindi

    We head for Budongo Forest and make a stop en-route at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.

  • Day 4

    Budongo Forest (Royal Mile)

    You get to spend the entire day birding in the Budongo Forest Reserve.

  • Day 5

    Murchison Falls National Park

    Today includes an early morning boat excursion to the Nile Delta and an afternoon game drive to the "top of the Murchison Falls".

  • Day 6

    Albertine Rift Valley and Fort Portal

    We will head for Fort Portal via Lake Albert and the Rift Valley escarpments on our drive to Kibale Forest National Park.

  • Day 7

    Kibale Forest National Park

    We go chimpanzee trekking in the forest in the morning and birding in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary in the afternoon.

  • Day 8

    Semiliki Reserve

    Today you get to take a drive to Semiliki Reserve where you go on a boat ride on Lake Albert.

  • Day 9

    Semiliki – Queen Elizabeth National Park

    Today we proceed to Queen Elizabeth National park where you will go birding in the evening.

  • Day 10

    Queen Elizabeth National Park

    You'll go on a morning game drive then on a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon.

  • Day 11

    Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    After breakfast you go on a game drive as well as birding in the Ishasha Sector and then proceed to Bwindi National Park in the afternoon.

  • Day 12

    Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    You get to go an an optional gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest or alternatively, go birding with your guide in the early morning.

  • Day 13

    Bwindi National Park – Ruhija Sector

    After breakfast, you'll go birding the whole day in the Ruhija sector of the park.

  • Day 14

    Bwindi – Lake Bunyonyi

    Today you'll depart Bwindi and head for Lake Bunyonyi as you go birding along the way.

  • Day 15

    Lake Bunyonyi – Lake Mburo

    Today you'll start by taking a morning boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi for your birding pleasure the n proceed to Lake Mburo in the afternoon.

  • Day 16

    Lake Mburo National Park

    Enjoy a morning drive that also happens to include birding in the park then go on a boat ride on Lake Mburo in the afternoon.

  • Day 17

    Entebbe

    Today is reserved for flights out of Entebbe International Airport.

Regular Itinerary

Day 1

Entebbe

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and welcomed by our representative who will transfer you to your hotel in Entebbe.

Depending on your time of arrival, you can be go birding later on at the Botanical Gardens. The most common bird species are ruff, wood, common, marsh sandpipers, common green shank, long-tailed and great cormorants, the Madagascar bee-eater, green crombec, orange weaver, Entebbe weaver (an endemic to Uganda
that was recorded at the site only once), white spotted fluftail.

An overnight stay is arranged at one of the lodging options available.

Lodging

Bed & Breakfast options available.

Activities

Day 2

Mabamba Wetlands

After breakfast we drive to the Mabamba bay, the only place and site where the elusive shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) can be spotted at any one time of the day. Other bird species to watch out for include; grey-headed gull, white winged terns, Madagascar bee-eater, yellow billed egret, and the long toed plover.

After lunch, you could take a walk along the tracks on the main road in search of more birds. Expect to see the black crake, the African fish eagle, the African jacana, malachite and pied kingfishers, the cape wagtail, swamp flightier, winding cisticola, the blue-breasted bee-eater, the red-chested sunbird, and many more.

Dinner and overnight at the select lodging.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Mabamba bay

Activities

Day 3

Entebbe – Ziwa Sanctuary – Masindi

After an early breakfast at the hotel we will drive to Budongo Forest, one of the main birding sanctuaries in Uganda. Budongo lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift valley to the south of Murchison Falls National Park. We make a stopover at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary – a breeding project that saw the re-population of the endangered white and black rhinos. You may watch them at close proximity while under the supervision of a guide in the reserve.

Alternatively, we can organize a canoe trip in Ziwa for birding and sighting of the shoe bill stork.

After lunch we will then proceed to Masindi for dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Budongo Forest
  • Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Masindi

Activities

Day 4

Budongo Forest (Royal Mile)

You'll get to spend the entire day birding in the Budongo Forest Reserve. It boasts an impressive bird list at over 350 species and is the best site in Uganda for a number of sought-after birds as Nahan's francolin, Cassin's spinetail, Ituri Batis, chestnut-capped flycatcher, white-crested turaco, Ross's turaco, white-crested
helmet-shrike, bat hawk, black-shouldered nightjar, white-crested turaco, crowned eagle and african wood-owl. This birding hot spot is also home to Uganda's largest population of chimpanzees. An excellent network of trails and a wide track known as "The Royal Mile" provides access to the forest.

The Royal Mile is considered by some as the country's premier forest birding locality. chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and African dwarf kingfishers are remarkably common and this is definitely the best place in Uganda to see these three species.

We then proceed to Murchison Falls National Park. Dinner and the overnight will be at one of the lodging options provided.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Budongo Forest Reserve
  • The Royal Mile

Day 5

Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast, you will go on a morning boat excursion to the Nile Delta on Lake Albert.

In the afternoon, we will go on a game drive that will include birding and a journey to the "top of the Murchison Falls". You will get to see a variety of water birds such as the African fish eagle, the African skimmer and the rare shoebill stork which may be spotted on the river banks. Other bird species include the silver bird, the blue-napped mouse birds, the grey-crowned crane, the bluff-bellied warblers, the goliath heron, the black-headed batis, the black-headed gonolek, the green-winged ptyilia, the chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, the long-toed plover, the vitelline masked weaver, the saddle-billed stork, the spotted mourning thrush, the spotted and Verreaux's owls, the long-tailed and pennant-winged nightjars, the standard-winged nightjar, the white-backed night heron and Pel's fishing owl.

Dinner and the overnight at your preferred lodging option.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Murchison Falls

Day 6

Albertine Rift Valley and Fort Portal

We head out of the park after an early breakfast heading south-west along the Lake Albert and Rift Valley escarpments which feature breathtaking panoramic scenery with plenty of opportunities for birding.

After lunch that will be take en-route, we proceed to Kibale Forest National park .The 795 sq Km Kibale National Park contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of tropical forest in Uganda. This is home to the highest number of primates in Africa with 13 species of Chimpanzees. On top of this, there are up to 325 bird
species including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region to be found here.

Dinner and the overnight at your preferred lodging option.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Hoima
  • Fort Portal

Activities

Day 7

Kibale Forest National Park

After breakfast we set off chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park. Along the way, you get to see a number of bird species which include: the black-capped apalis, the blue-headed sunbird, the collared apalis, the dusky crimsonwing, the purple-breasted sunbird, and the red-faced woodland warbler. Other Kibale specials include, the African pitta, the green breasted pitta, the black bee-eater, the yellow spotted nicator, the yellow rumped tinker bird, the little greenbul, the black-eared ground thrush, the brownchested alethe, the blue-breasted kingfisher, the Abyssinian groundthrush, and the crowned eagle.

In the afternoon go birding in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary that is 5 Km after Kibale Forest National Park on the road to Kamwenge. Birding is a major activity around the swamp, with paths cut into it and areas board walked to give access to areas that would be otherwise inaccessible. Specialties of Bigodi include the great blue
turaco, the black billed turaco and the white spotted crake.

Dinner and overnight at the select lodging options.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Kibale Forest National Park
  • Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Day 8

Semiliki Reserve

Today you get to take a drive to Semiliki Reserve where you go on a boat ride on Lake Albert. Here, you will get the chance to see the enigmatic, swamp-dwelling shoebill and other water birds.

You will then have a picnic lunch and go on for a game drive in search for more birds including the Congo serpent eagle, the rail (Nkulengu & grey-throated), the spot breasted ibis, the yellow-throated nicator, the red-rumped tinker bird, the black-winged oriole, horn bills (black dwarf, red-billed, piping, white-crested, white-thighed, the black-casqued wattle), the western bronze-napped pigeon, the capuchin babbler, the white-bellied king fisher, the black-collared love bird, the zenkers honey guide and many more!

You will then have your overnight and dinner at one of the select lodging options on offer.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Kibale Forest National Park
  • Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Day 9

Semiliki – Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today we proceed to Queen Elizabeth National park, home to a total of 604 different bird species. There are also good chances of elephant and Hippo sightings here.

Lunch in the aftrenoon is followed by birding in the evening. The key bird species found here are the African skimmer, the black-rumped button quail, Verreaux's eagle owl, the red-footed falcon, lesser flamingoes, the grey-capped warbler, White's and Abdim's storks (when in season), the amur falcon, the Ovampo sparrowhawk, the wooly-necked and saddle-billed storks, as well as numerous classes of raptors, vultures and plovers.

Overnight stay and dinner served at your preferred lodging option.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Queen Elizabeth National Park

Activities

Day 10

Queen Elizabeth National Park

You'll get to spend the entire day birding in the park while on a morning game drive. Other wildlife to see include lions, hippos, buffaloes, leopards, spotted hyenas, elephants and the elusive giant forest hog – all regularly sighted around the Mweya Peninsula.

In the afternoon, you'll go on a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. Here, the concentration of water birds and sights afford brilliant opportunities for photography. A variety of birds grace the grasses on the channel's edge that include the great white and pink-backed pelicans, great and long-tailed cormorants, the open-billed
stork, the African jacana, malachite and pied kingfishers. There is also a bird observatory here, which was set up with the aim of studying both migratory and resident birds. Since its inception in 1997, many new bird species have been sighted, including Uganda's first recorded bar-tailed godwit.

Overnight and dinner at Ishasha Jungle Lodge.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Mweya Peninsula
  • Kazinga Channel

Activities

Day 11

Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

After breakfast you get to go on a game drive as well as birding in the southern region of the park – the Ishasha Sector. Here, you get to see tree climbing lions that enjoy perching atop fig trees during hot hours of the day.

After lunch, we will proceed to Bwindi National Park. While gorillas are its most famous inhabitants, Bwindi is also noted for its biodiversity and the richness of its flora and fauna. The diversity of birds is extremely high, representing one of the forest's avifauna in Africa with a bird list of up to 334 species (67 non-forest-dependent species, and 182 forest-dependent species). Thirteen of these species occur nowhere else in Uganda, seven are not known to occur anywhere else in East Africa, and 17 are known to inhabit only Bwindi and one or two other East African forests. Rare species include the spectacular globally threatened endemics like the African green broadbill and Shelley's crimson wing.

Overnight and dinner at your preferred lodging.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Ishasha Sector

Activities

Day 12

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

You get to go an an optional gorilla tracking in Bwindi Forest; a most exciting wildlife experience. The activity starts with a briefing from the ranger guides, after which you proceed with the trekking. Bwindi forest in Uganda has a population of about 420 gorillas, which is half the world population according to 2012
gorilla population surveys. The time you'll take before encountering the gorillas varies but normally, it would take between 2 to 6 hours. You then have an hour to observe the primates and their behaviors, while taking photographs. Do not forget to carry your lunch boxes and drinking water.

If you aren't interested in gorilla tracking, you can go birding in the forest with your guide in the early morning.

Return later for dinner and an overnight stay at your preferred lodging option.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Ruhija

Day 13

Bwindi National Park – Ruhija Sector

After breakfast, you'll go birding the whole day in the Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park that is located in it’s southern extents.

Ruhija is likely to be one of the highlights of any trip to Uganda offering excellent birding in spectacular surroundings. Birds are both plentiful and easy to spot; many species associating in mixed feeding flocks that are active throughout the day. An early start offers the best chance of finding the striking handsome francolin, the cinnamon-chested bee-eater, the western green tinkerbird, the mountain and yellow-streaked greenbuls, the mountain marked and chestnut-throated apalises, the red-faced woodland warbler, the Rwenzori batis, the white-tailed crested flycatcher and many more.

Overnight and dinner in your preferred lodging option.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Ruhija
  • Lake Bunyonyi

Activities

Day 14

Bwindi – Lake Bunyonyi

Today you'll depart Bwindi and head for Lake Bunyonyi as you go birding along the way.

Lake Bunyonyi is one of the most popular destinations for birding and the guide will help you spot birds by stopping over on different islands. Bird species include, the pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, cinnamon chested bee-eater, bronzy sun bird, the knobed coot, the pied wagtail, the black clake, the common stone chat, the grey shrike, the grey crowned crested crane, Hadada ibis, the swamp fly catcher, the black heron, the great commrant, the fan-tailed widow bird, the streaky seed-eater, the speckled mouse bird, the pin tailed whyder, the bronze manikin, and the black-headed weaver.

Overnight and dinner in your preferred lodging option.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Ruhija
  • Lake Bunyonyi

Activities

Day 15

Lake Bunyonyi – Lake Mburo

Today you'll start by taking a morning boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi for your birding pleasure. The lake is one of the most popular destinations for birding and the guide will help you spot birds by stopping over on different islands. Bird species include, the pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, cinnamon chested bee-eater,
bronzy sun bird, the knobed coot, the pied wagtail, the black clake, the common stone chat, the grey shrike, the grey crowned crested crane, Hadada ibis, the swamp fly catcher, the black heron, the great commrant, the fan-tailed widow bird, the streaky seed-eater, the speckled mouse bird, the pin tailed whyder, the bronze
manikin, and the black-headed weaver.

You have lunch in Kabale and from there, proceed to Lake Mburo where you will take a game drive as you enter the park.

Overnight and dinner at you preferred lodging of those on offer.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Lake Bunyonyi
  • Kabale
  • Lake Mburo

Activities

Day 16

Lake Mburo National Park

Enjoy a morning drive that also happens to include birding in the park with about 313 different bird species to see. Some of the birds include the rare shoebill stork, the white-winged warblers, the black-billed barbet, the crested francolin, the brown parrot, the red-necked spur, the emerald-spotted wood dove, Temminck's courser, common quails, the greenwood hoopoe, the blue-napped mouse bird, the barefaced go-away bird, the African grey hornbill, the nubian woodpecker, Trilling Cisticola, the lilac-breasted roller, Coqui Francolin, the red-necked spur fowl, the black-bellied bustard, the African-wattled plover, rufous napped and flappet larks, rufous-chested swallow, southern red bishop, and the yellow-throated long claw among others. The fringing swamps in the park also hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the red,
black and yellow papyrus gonalek.

In the afternoon, you go on a boat ride on Lake Mburo.

Dinner and overnight will be at one of the lodging options on offer.

Lodging

Full Board options available.

Places

  • Lake Mburo

Day 17

Entebbe

After breakfast you go on a game drive while exiting the park. We then have a stop over at the Royal Drum Makers, and stand in both hemispheres at once while on the Equator

Finally you'll proceed to the airport for your flight out.

Lodging

Bed & Breakfast options available.

Places

  • Entebbe

Activities