You will start with a short visit to Mabamba wetland to search for the Shoebill after which we leave for Lake Mburo national park for an introduction to Uganda birding. But our interest will be the rift endemics in Uganda. Mgahinga National Park is the smallest national Park in Uganda home to over 180 bird species including the Albertine Rift Endemics. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the best birding spot is Africa with a record 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics.
Malachite, Purple-breasted, Regal, Scarlet-tufted Sun birds, Rwenzori Turaco, Archer’s Robin Chat, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Grauers’ 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, Think-billed and Streaky Seedeaters, Rwenzori Nightjar, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Black Bee-eaters.
Forest, agricultural lands, Riverine Forest and Papyrus Swamps
Golden Monkey Trekking
Day 1: Arrival for the Uganda Birding Tour
On arrival at Entebbe international airport, you will be received by a representative of Kagera Safaris and transferred to your hotel in Entebbe. Depending on time of arrival time you have an opportunity to bird the Entebbe botanical gardens as an introduction to Uganda birding for a variety of species.
Journey time – 15 minutes
- Up market – Hotel No 5
- Mid-range – The Boma
Day 2: Birding Mabamba Swamp and transfer to Lake Mburo national park
After early breakfast, drive southwards to Mabamba Swamp Wetland located on the fringes of Lake Victoria. You will take a motorised canoe in search of the Shoebill. The incredible Shoebill which is usually found patching in the floating vegetation or flying in the air on some occasions. There is a variety of water birds in this area which include, herons, egrets, ducks, plovers, gulls, Kingfishers, warbler, swallows. Mabamba Swamp is the best place to see the shoe bill in Uganda.
After this we transfer to Lake Mburo national park to continue birding. You will have some evening birding before retiring for the day.
Journey time – 4 hours
- Up market – Mihingo Lodge
- Mid-range – Rwakobo Rock
Day 3: Birding to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Today, after an early breakfast we will bird to the south western corner of Uganda in the beautiful Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This park is Uganda’s smallest national park but by far the most scenic. You will have several stopovers birding in specific swampy areas and agricultural lands for unique bird species. Eventually you will arrive at your lodge in the evening and prepare for the next day’s birding of Mgahinga gorilla national park for the Albertine rift endemics.
Journey time – 5 hours
- Up market – Mt Gahinga Lodge
- Mid-range – Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge
Day 4: Birding in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park
Mgahinga gorilla national park has about 180 recorded bird species, which include Albertine rift endemics. Today we traverse a variety of montane habitats along the Gorge trail seeking out the different bird species unique to this region.
The species to search for include; The Dusky Turtle Dove, Cape Robin-chat, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bronze Sunbird, Black-headed Waxbill and Streaky Seedeater. At 2500m, we may encounter the Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, White Starred Robin, Greater Double collard Sunbird, Rwenzori Turcaco, Rwenzori Batis, Archer’s Robin Chat, Olive Pigeon, and Black headed waxbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, Malachite Sunbird, Cape Robin. More species include; White-starred Robin, Brown Woodland Warbler, Striped breasted Tit, Malachite and Scarlet-tufted Sunbirds also found in this forested area.
Day 5: Birding to Ruhija sector in Bwindi impenetrable forest
Bwindi Impenetrable forest is the richest forest in East Africa in relation to its trees, butterflies and birds. It is home to over 450 Mountain Gorillas. The bird list for the park currently totals 347 species. The forest has 10 of the 26 globally threatened species in Uganda, five of which are vulnerable and boasts of 24 of Uganda’s 25 Albertine Rift endemics.
In Ruhija the birds we hope to sight include the; Rwenzori Batis, Collared Apalis, Montane Sooty Boubou, Banded Prinia, Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbul.Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Mountain Illadopsis, Archer’s Robin-chat, White-starred Robin, Strange Weaver, Blue headed, Purple-breasted and Regal Sunbirds, Northern Olive Thrush, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Black headed Waxbill, Dusky Crimsonwing, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Sharpe’s Starling and many others.
We will have stopovers at Echuya forest for good birding opportunities and possible sightings of Albertine rift endemics.
Journey time – 3 hours
- Upmarket – Kiho Gorilla Lodge
- Mid-range – Bakiga Lodge
Day 6: Birding in Ruhija Sector – Bwindi forest
Today we bird towards Mubwindi Swamp where the trail drops steeply through the dense forest and then winds through swampy forest. Initially the birds on the trail are similar like those encountered before but more time spent will provide opportunities for the rare and localized Grauer’s Broadbill.
Other birds to lookout for are; Yellow-billed Barbet, Black-billed Turaco’s, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-headed Hoopoe, Montane Oriole, Pink-footed Puffback, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Waller’s Starling, localized Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Dwarf Honey-Guide, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Oriole Finch, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Red-headed Malimbe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Dusky Twinspot, Think-billed and Streaky Seedeaters, Rwenzori Nightjar etc.
Day 7: Birding to Buhoma via ‘The Neck’ in Bwindi forest
After an early morning breakfast, we leave Ruhija Section of Bwindi to Buhoma for Gorilla tracking and more birding opportunities. On our way, we bird “The Neck” – this is an important habitat and offers high chance to see the Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Black Bee-eaters, Bronze-napped Pigeon, the rare Chapin’s Flycatcher, Cassin’s grey flycatcher, pink footed puffback, Mountain wagtail etc. Depending on how busy the Neck is – we shall have our packed lunch and continue on to Buhoma sector.
Journey time – 3 hours
- Up market – Bwindi lodge
- Mid-range – Haven Lodge
Day 8: Gorilla trekking and Birding at Buhoma
Buhoma section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has tracks that run through the forest offering excellent viewing points. The bird species to look out on these trails include; Brown, Blue-headed, Northern Double-collared and Grey headed Sunbirds, Black Bee-Eater, Kivu Ground Thrush, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Common Stonechat, Black throated Robin chat, Barred Long tailed Cuckoo, Black throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Chin spot Batis, Rwenzori Batis, African broadbill, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, Handsome Francolin and White-bellied Robin-chat, Cape wagtail, White-chinned Prinia, Olive Green and Grey-backed Camropteras etc.
You can choose to instead spend the day gorilla trekking to see these magnificent apes. You would have to make this decision at the point of booking so that gorilla permits are purchased in advance.
Day 9: Birding to Kampala/Entebbe
Today we start the journey to Entebbe after the many days seeking the Albertine rift endemics. We shall have birding stopovers at different points on our journey back to Entebbe.
This marks the end of your Uganda safari for Albertine Rift endemics. We hope you had an amazing time watching the birds of Uganda and enjoying the scenery and people of this country including the fresh organic fruits and foods.
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