Our first birding in Uganda will be to the Mabamba wetland the fringes of Lake Victoria as we search for the Shoebill. We will bird Mabira forest, the biggest rain forest closest to Kampala before beginning the long trip to the national parks. Our first national park to bird is Murchison Falls National Park which was voted No. 9 best birding spot in Africa, home to over 450 bird species and 76 mammal species. Budongo Forest protects the largest natural forest area in East Africa with over 350 bird Species and home to several primates including Chimpanzees. Semuliki National Park protects an eastern extension of the vast Ituri Forest of Democratic Republic of Congo; it is one of the richest areas for forest birds in Africa. Our birding in Uganda tour continues to Kibale National Park, a large block of rain forest that offers great birding and harbors the highest concentration of primates in East Africa with over 300 bird species and opportunity of tracking Chimpanzees. We then proceed to Queen Elizabeth national park known for its varied biodiversity and over 600 bird species. Bwindi impentrable forest has a record of 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics. Mgahinga National Park is the smallest national Park in Uganda hosting over 180 bird species including the Albertine Rift Endemics. Lastly will bird Lake Mburo national park for more key species and great nature walks.

Key Species

Shoebill, Papyrus gonolek, Malachite Sunbird, Purple-breasted sunbird, Regal sunbird, Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, Rwenzori Turcaco, Black billed turaco, White crested turaco, Archer’s Robin Chat, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Puvels Illadopsis, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, African Green Broadbill, Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Batis, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow-billed Barbet, Bar-tailed Trogon, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Waller’s Starling, Dwarf Honey-Guide, Oriole Finch, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Red-headed Malimbe, Grey-headed Sparrow, Dusky Twinspot, Green-bakced Twinspot, Think-billed and Streaky Seedeaters, Rwenzori Nightjar, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Black Bee-eaters, white faced Go-away birds, African Finfoot.

Habitat

Forest, Acacia Savanna, grassland, agricultural lands, Riverine Forest, Moist woodland, Borassus Palm Savannah, Papyrus Swamps, Lakes and rivers

Optional Activity

Golden Monkey, Chimpanzee & Gorilla Trekking

Day 1: Arrive in Uganda for the Ultimate Uganda Birding Safari

On arrival at Entebbe international airport you will be received by a representative of Kagera Safaris to start your Uganda birding tour and there after transfer to your hotel in Entebbe. Depending on your time of arrival, you have an opportunity to bird Botanical gardens in case you have a morning flight. Otherwise you check into your hotel and prepare to start your Uganda birding tomorrow.

Journey time –  1 hour

Meal plan – Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Kampala Serena
  • Mid-range – Cassia Lodge
  • Budget – Casa Miltu

Day 2: Birding in Mabamba Wetland Swamp

shoebill-in-mabamba-swampAfter an early breakfast we drive to Mabamba Swamp Wetland in Kasanje which is located on the fringes of Lake Victoria – 2nd biggest fresh water body in the world. The drive can take about an hour or more depending on the birding engagement en route which leads to several stopovers.

In Mabamba swamp, you will take a motorised canoe with the area site guide in search of the incredible Shoebill which is often seen standing in the mashes waiting to hunt or flying in the air above the papyrus plants. There are also other variety of water birds like; African Jacana, White-winged Terns, African Purple Swamphen, Purple Heron, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Winding Cisticola, Red-billed Fire-finch, White-faced whistling duck, Long-toed Lapwing, African Pied Wagtail, Saddle billed Stork, Cape wagtail, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-billed Duck Long-toed plover, African Fish Eagle and African Marsh Harrier, Swamp Flycatcher etc

Day 3: Birding in Mabira Forest

Mabira forest is the biggest forest reserve closest to Kampala city. It boosts of 315 bird species record with 74 of the 144 species of the Guinea–Congo Forests that occur in Uganda. The forest is home to a variety of birds and primates. Some of the bird species include; Jameson’s and Chestnut Wattle-eyes, Red-tailed Bristle bil, Yellow-throated Tinker bird, Yellow-billed Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, White-bellied Kingfisher, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Grey Parrot, Speckled Tinker bird, African Pied Hornbill, Forest Wood hoopoe, Blue-throated Roller among others.

Day 4: Birding Tour to Murchison Falls National Park

rhino-ziwaAfter an early breakfast at your hotel, your bird guide will pick you and you start your birding journey to Uganda’s largest and oldest National Park – Murchison falls national park with some stops in key areas along the way. On the way to Murchison falls national park, Our first major stop over will be at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary which is an excellent birding area and home to Rhinos in Uganda. After briefing from the ranger guide, you will start the Rhino trek. This may require short drive before the trek depending on where the Rhinos are located at the moment. The Rhino trek can take about 1 hour in total from the walk and sighting them as they nap or feed.

We hope to sight some birds even as we track Rhinos, look our for the white-crested Turaco which is often seen here. After the Rhino trekking experience we will leave for lunch before proceeding to our lodge for overnight.

Journey time –  5 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Paraa Safari Lodge
  • Mid-range – Fort Murchison
  • Budget – Heritage Lodge

Day 5: Birding Murchison falls national park

We have an early morning breakfast and then go birding on a game drive. We will look out; Secretary Bird, Northern Carmine and Red-throated Bee-eaters, Giant, Pied, Stripped, Chestnut-bellied, Blue-breasted, Woodland and the African Pygmy Kingfishers, African Rock Martin; Lesser Stripped, Ethiopian, Angola, Red-rumped and Rufous-chested Swallow, Nightingale, Rock Thrush, Pied Wheatear, Whinchat, White-fronted Black Chat, Sooty Chat. Common Bulbul, Cameroon Sombre and Yellow-throated Greenbul, the Black, White-breasted, and Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrikes, the Black and Penduline Tits,  Black-lored, and Brown Babblers, Nubian Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide, Scaly-throated Honeyguide,and many more.

Day 6: Boat tour and Birding  to Budongo forest

birding-on-boat-murchison-falls-parkToday morning after breakfast, we take a boat tour birding the  Victoria Nile towards the Delta in search of the many water birds that enjoy this habitat along the Nile. Some of the birds we aim for in this area include; the Shoebill, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, African Water Rail, Allen’s Gallinule, Black Crake, African Crake, Grey-crowned Crane, Southern Pochard, The Egyptian, African Pygmy, and the Spur-winged Goose, Saddle-billed stork, Open-billed stork, Yellow-billed stor and Marabou stork. More birds include;  the Little and Dwarf Bitterns, Night Heron, Black Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Green Backed Heron, Little Grebe, Common Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, African and Eurasian Spoonbills, the Lesser Flamingo, Lesser Jacana, African Finfoot, Painted Snipe, Wattled Plover.

After this we leave for Budongo forest birding our way to the hotel.

Journey time –  3 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Mid-range – Masindi Hotel
  • Budget – New Court view hotel

Day 7: Birding in Busingiro sector in Budongo forest

Today morning we bird the busingiro sector of Budongo forest right after an early breakfast. Some of the bird species we search for include; African Dwarf Kingfisher, chestnut capped flycatcher, western black headed oriole, Sabine’s spine tail, white breasted negro finch, Yellow crested woodpecker, Yellow footed flycatcher, Lemon bellied crombec and Piping hornbill etc.

Day 8: Birding the Royal Mile in Budongo forest

birding-royal-mileToday we continue birding safari in the rich Budongo forest. Part of the forest is located in Murchison falls national park at Kaniyo Pabidi and the other part is located outside of the national park as a forest reserve known as Budongo forest. This forest is home to various primates including Chimpanzees and several tree species. For our safari our interest is the many bird species we will look out for in this forest. After an early breakfast and with packed lunch (to maximize our time in the forest) we will leave for the royal mile – a stretch of 1 mile that the King of Bunyoro enjoyed to spend time at hence the name – Royal mile.

Here we shall enjoy a full day’s birding along the forest road and ending at the forest Bridge depending on the activity of the bird species. The place is ripe with lots of bird activity especially in early morning in late afternoons. Together with the site guide and your bird guide, you will look out for some of these exotic bird species; Ituri Batis, Nahan’s francolin, Chocolate backed Kingfisher, Brown twin spot, White spotted fluff tail, Jameson’s wattle eye, white breasted negro finch, Grey headed sunbird, Red headed bluebill, Green sunbird, Little green sunbird and the list goes on.

Day 9: Birding to Kibale forest National Park

Leave early for Kibale forest National Park after a morning of birding. We aim to arrive at our lodge later that afternoon for evening birding around the lodge. Kibale forest is home to 13 primate species with the highlight being the chimpanzees which are easily seen while on chimp trekking. You have an option of chimp trekking while on this safari.

Journey time –  7 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Papaya Lake Lodge
  • Mid-range – Primate Lodge
  • Budget – Chimpanzee Guesthouse

Day 10: Kibale forest birding for Green breasted Pitta

birding-kibale-forest-Great-blue-TuracoWe will have an early morning breakfast and leave the lodge with our packed lunch so that we have maximum time in the forest. Our morning focus while birding will be to search for the elusive Green breasted pitta. This a sought after bird can also be rather difficult to sight in the forest but with guidance of the site guide and rangers we hope to increase our chances of sighting the Green breasted Pitta.

In the meantime as we search for the Green breasted Pitta we shall continue birding and equally search for many other bird species which include Western bronze-napped Pigeon, Great blue Turaco, Yellow-throated Nicator, White-headed Wood hoopoe, Red Headed malimbe, Yellow-spotted barbet, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Grey-winged Robin, Blue shouldered Robin Chat, Yellow-spotted Barbet, White-naped Pigeon, Green-breasted Pitta, Red-chested Flufftail, African Pitta, Joyful Greenbul, Cabanis Greenbul, Grey-throated Flycatcher, Masked Apalis, Nahan’s Francolin, Tiny Sunbird, White-collared Oliveback and many more.

Day 11:  Chimpanzee trekking and birding Bigodi swamp 

This morning have an opportunity to trek the chimpanzees deep in Kibale forest for an experience of a life time. In addition you will sight several butterflies, plants and many other primates. In the afternoon, we bird Bigodi wetland for species we might have missed in the forest. This is a community initiative conserving the buffer zone to the forest, proceeds go to different community programs.

Day 12: Birding to Semuliki national park

Today after breakfast we bird our way to Semuliki national park for an experience searching for central African species found only here in East Africa. We shall have several stopovers birding nearby forest patches and swampy areas for different bird species as we drive to Semuliki forest.

Journey time –  3 hour

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Semuliki Safari Lodge
  • Mid-range – Mountains of the Moon
  • Budget – Rwenzori View Guesthouse

Day 13 & 14: Birding Kirumia trail in Semuliki national park 

birding-Semuliki-national-parkWe shall spend two full days birding in Semuliki forest for central African species of Congo’s Ituri forest. Semuliki forest is a continuation of Congo’s ituri forest and some of the species we will look out for include the; Congo Serpent Eagle, Grey-throated Rail, Nkulengu Rail, Long-tailed Hawk, Spot-breasted Ibis, Yellow-throated Nicator, Northern Red-chested Owlet, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, White-bellied Kingfisher, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Zenker’s Honeyguide, White-throated Blue Swallow, Bate’s Nightjar, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Black-winged Oriole,  Lemon-bellied Crombec, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Icterine Greenbul, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Crested and Blue-billed Malimbes, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Pale-fronted Negrofinch, Piping, Red-billedWhite-crested, Black-casqued, Wattled and White-thighed Hornbills.

You have an opportunity of visiting both the ‘female’ and ‘male’ hot springs found within the park.

Day 15: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park

crater-lake-kibale-forestToday after an early breakfast we start trip to Queen Elizabeth national park birding along the way. You will have stopovers for both birding and photography moments of the beautiful scenery in this part of the country. You will drive past several crater lakes, homesteads, farms and later with the Rwenzori mountains ahead as you drive.

The road through this crater lakes regions is not tarred therefore sometimes it is very difficult during the rain season. In case it rains right before your set off, your guide may advise a different route on a more stable road. Because you will be having several stopovers for pictures and birding, you can expect to arrive at your lodge later that afternoon. Have some rest and prepare to start the next day very early for a whole days birding.

Journey time –  5 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Kyambura gorge lodge
  • Mid-range – Park view safari lodge
  • Budget – Bush Lodge

Day 16: Birding in Imaramagambo forest

We start early for a whole day birding in the park leading to Maramagambo Forest. Bird species we expect to sight include Whinchat, Common Redstart, White-fronted Black Chat, Sooty Chat, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-throated Greenbul, the Black, White-breasted, and Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrikes. The Black and Penduline Tits, Nubian Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Brown-backed Woodpecker, White-tailed and Red-tailed Ant-thrushes, Brown Illadopsis,  Shining-blue Kingfisher, Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Least Honeyguide, Grey Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, and many others.

Day 17: Birding to Bwindi Impenetrable forest

Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable national park, we have stopovers birding until we arrive at our lodge later that afternoon. We will drive through Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth national park where you have chances of sighting the tree climbing lions.

Journey time –  3 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Buhoma Lodge
  • Mid-range – Buhoma Haven Lodge
  • Budget – Buhoma Community Rest Camp

Day 18: Gorilla trekking and Birding in Buhoma Sector

gorillas-in-bwindi-forestMountain Gorilla trekking – a once in life opportunity and highly recommended.

Otherwise for those not interested in trekking gorillas, you have a full day bird watching. Look out for ;  Stuhlmann’s Starling, Narrow-tailed Starling, Waller’s Starling, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Strange Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Magpie Mannikin, Yellow-crowned Canary, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, African Green Broadbill, Oriole Finch, Mountain Buzzard, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Handsome Francolin, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Wood Owl. More species; Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, (Western) Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, African Green Broadbill, Lagdens Bush-Shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Toro Olive-Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, White-bellied Robin Chat, Olive Thrush, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Grauer’s Rush-warbler, Neumann’s Warbler and Red-faced Woodland Warbler.

Day 19: Birding to Ruhija via ‘the Neck’ of the forest

Early morning make your way towards ‘the neck’ of the forest linking Buhoma to Ruhija. We look out for; Yellow-billed Waxbill, Black Saw-wing, Chubbs’ Cisticola, Grey Apalis, Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike, Black Bee-eaters, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Cuckoo Shrike, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Little Grey Greenbuls, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Red-throated Martin, Yellow White-eye, Yellow-bellied Kite, Speckled-rumped Tinkerbirds. African Stonechat, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Stripe-breasted Tit, Montane-masked Apalis, Red-faced Woodland, Montane Yellow Warbler, Regal Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Crested Guinea Fowl, Lead-colored Flycatcher, Black-necked Weaver, Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-spotted Barbet, African Harrier Hawk.

Journey time –  2 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Mid-range – Ruhija Gorilla safari lodge
  • Budget – Broadbill forest camp

Day 20:  Birding Mubwindi Swamp trail in Ruhija Sector

birding-in-bwindi-forestToday prepare to bird the entire day in Ruhija sector of Bwindi impenetrable national park – Mubwindi swamp trail. Birds in Ruhija are generally easy to see but the area is also considerably steep with lots of hiking even as you search for the birds. You will carry a your picnic lunch take a trail to Mubwindi swamp that promises some of the most difficult of all rift endemic species, We will look our fot the beautiful Regal Sunbird, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Grauer’s Rush warbler, African green broadbill, Caruther’s cisticola, Handsome francolin, African Hill babbler, Banded Prinia, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Dohertys Bushrike, Collared Apalis and others.

Return to the hotel later that evening, hopefully you will sight some of the Rwenzori night jars on the forest roads as you drive back.

Day 21: Birding to Mgahinga Gorilla national park

Transfer to Kisoro early morning after breakfast birding along the way; Papyrus areas at Lake Bunyonyi out flow and Echuya forest for some Albertine rift endemics that we might have missed in Bwindi impenetrable forest. Birds in Echuya forest include; Dwarf Honeyguide, Red-throated Alethe, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Collared Apalis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Strip-breasted Tit, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Strange Weaver etc.

Journey time –  3 hour

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Mt Gahinga Lodge
  • Mid-range – Bwindi Jungle lodge
  • Budget – Mucha Lodge

Day 22: Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla national Park

birding-mgahinga-gorilla-national-parkMgahinga gorilla national park is home to over 180 bird species recorded including some Albertine rift endemics. This park with beautiful vegetation will reward you with more than birding. You shall traverse a variety of montane habitats along the excellent Gorge trail as you bird your way in the bird. This is the smallest national park in Uganda and was predominately protected to conserve the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

Some of the bird species we look out for include the Rwenzori Turaco, Dwarf Honeygude, Kivu Ground Thrush, Rwenzori Double-collared, Regal and the Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Archer`s Robin chat, cinnamon Bracken and Mountain Yellow Warblers, the Dusky and much Sought after Shelley’s Crimson-wing and many more.

Day 23: Birding to Lake mburo national park

After breakfast, we bird to Lake Mburo National Park. We shall have several birding stopovers at forest patches, swampy areas and water patches before finally arriving in Lake Mburo national park. We will then take an evening bird walk with an armed ranger guide to explore the various bird species in this park. We will also have opportunities for sighting a variety of mammals like, Warthogs, Zebras, Eland, Uganda Kob, Bush buck and many others.

Journey time –  4 hours

Meal plan – Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation

  • Up market – Mihingo Lodge
  • Mid-range – Rwakobo Rock
  • Budget – Eagles Nest

Day 24: Birding in Lake mburo national Park 

Fish-eagle-lake-mburoHave an early morning breakfast before we start our birding for the day. Today we will take a boat ride on Lake Mburo and look out for the elusive African Fin foot. Other bird species to look out for in the park include; Red-winged Francolin, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Blue Quails, White-headed and Black-billed Barbet, Greenwood Hoopoe, Blue-breasted and Shining-blue Kingfishers, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, Grey Woodpeckers. Wing-snapping Cisticolas, Red-necked spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, African-wattled Plover Rufous napped and Flappet larks, Rufous-chested Swallow ,Yellow-throated Longclaw, Black-winged Bishop, Chubb’s & Carruther’s Cisticolas, the Lesser and Great Swamp Warblers, Black Crake, Common Squacco, Striated, Black-headed,  Herons, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans,  and the famous African Fish Eagle which is usually by the tress along the lake shores, etc.

Day 25:  End of Uganda birding and Gorilla safari

Today marks the end of your Uganda birding safari. After an early breakfast, we exit lake Mburo national park to Entebbe international airport via the Equator monument. We hope you had an amazing time birding Uganda in the various national parks and forest. We look forward to hosting you again for another region in Uganda.

What to bring

  • Long trouser and long sleeved tops
  • Insect repellent
  • Garden gloves (for gorilla trekking)
  • Sun hut
  • Rain jacket
  • Waterproof hiking shoes
  • Day pack to carry lunch and water
  • Binoculars
  • Camera

Tour includes

  • Ground transport
  • Park entrances
  • Birding fees
  • Boat trips
  • Bottled water in the safari vehicle
  • Full board accommodation for two nights
  • Service of an English-speaking driver guide
  • All mentioned activities except for the optional ones

Tour excludes

  • Extras at the accommodation i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc.
  • Tips to porters and driver/ guide
  • Insurance

Other Uganda Birding safaris 

One Day Bird Uganda Safaris

8 Days Uganda Birding in Murchison falls NP and Budongo Forest

13 Days Uganda Savannah Birding Safari

15 Days Uganda Forest Birding Safari


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