12 Days uganda birding safaris

SUMMARY

Uganda has a remarkable bird checklist of over 1,061 species of which are endemic. This birding tour takes you to the top Uganda bird watching sites and offers you stunning sceneries. This Uganda safari starts with birding in Mabamba wetland, Game drive and launch cruise, Wildlife safari at Murchison falls, Budongo forest, kibale for chimpanzee tracking and Bwindi impenetrable national park for bird watching and other primates.

TRAVEL SCHEDULE

Day 1: Transfer to Mabamba Wetland

Day 2: Game Drive and Launch Cruise

Day 3: Wildlife safari at Murchison Falls

Day 4: Budongo Forest-Royal Mile

Day 5: Budongo Forest-main road past Nsingiro

Day 6: Transfer to Kibale Forest

Day 7: Chimpanzee tracking

Day 8: Birding in Kibale

Day 9: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Day 10: Ruhija-Bwindi

Day 11: Mubwindi Swamp-Bwindi

Day 12: Bwindi-Kampala

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Transfer to Mabamba Wetland

Early morning after breakfast our tour guide will pick you from your hotel, head to Mabamba Swamp, 15km west of Entebbe which extends across the Northern shore of the Lake Victoria and marked as one of the best ornithological sites associated with excellent water- associated bird species and the best place to see the most popular shoebill. Look out for pygmy goose, lesser jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Yellow-backed Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Blue-headed caucal, and other swamp specialties. At the swamp, most of the birding is on a canoe, paddled by our local site guides. It is truly a life-changing moment looking at this bizarre bird as it preens, showing off its huge grinning, and wooden-looking, clog-like bill. You may also have marvelous views of it as it soars on broad wings. Watch out for the Swamp Flycatcher, African Purple Swamp-hen, African Water Rail, Common Moorhen, White-faced Whistling-duck, Squacco, Rufous-bellied and Purple Heron, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Winding Cisticola, Goliath Heron, Black Crake, African Marsh Harrier, Hamerkop, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Common Waxbill, Yellow-billed Duck, Blue-headed Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Intermediate Egret, to mention a few. Dinner and overnight will be at the Lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Sophie’s Motel

 Day 2: Game Drive and Launch Cruise

After early morning breakfast at your hotel of residence our tour guide will pick you and drive towards to Murchison Falls National Park starting in Kampala via Bombo road which should take you about 5 hours. On your way, you will see the legendary Luwero triangle, today which has turned out into a small town with a trading center known for its agonizing history of the Baganda massacre. Continue and branch off at Masindi Hotel for lunch then pass through Budongo forest and Kaniyo Pabidi. When you reach the park, drive directly to the Top of the falls, such a pretty site for relaxing and adventure. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Sambiya lodge

Day 3: Wildlife safari at Murchison Falls

After an early morning breakfast, go for an early game view drive on the North of the Nile. Lions, buffaloes, waterbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest, oribi and baboons are some of the animals you will spot.  After we go back to the lodge for lunch as you prepare for a launch cruise on the Murchison falls in about 2 hrs. Spot schools of hippos, large crocodiles, small herds of buffalo. There’s rich birdlife on the papyrus banks, watch out for the shoebill stork, the most sought after bird in Africa. Go to the Top of the falls; such a lovely scene for viewing the falls and park as well relaxing. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/Lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Sambiya lodge

Day 4: Budongo Forest-Royal Mile

After early morning breakfast head to Budongo Forest; this is one of most extensive and ecologically diverse forest in East Africa with 465 plant species, a dense concentration of buttresses giant mahoganies up to 60m height. Has the largest chimp population and above all is of great ornithological significance with over 366 bird species. The best spot to do superb birding is the Royal Mile (the single best birding site in Uganda). You can check out a long list of African dwarf, blue breasted, White-shouldered Black Tit, African Penduline Tit, Black Scimitar bill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-Shrike, Rattling Cisticola, the extremely shy Foxy Cisticola, Black-faced Waxbill, and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and savannah raptors like Whalberg’s Eagle, Bateleur and Martial Eagle, Grey-crowned Crane, Cassin’s hawk eagle, Black-headed Oriole and Carruther’s Cisticola, Greater Swamp Warbler, White-winged Warbler, Tropical Boubou, the colorful Papyrus Gonolek, Vieillot’s Black Weaver and Grosbeak-Weaver and the black-capped Apalis. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Court view hotel

Day 5: Budongo Forest-main road past Nsingiro

After early morning breakfast, walk along the main road past Nsingiro which is another exciting venture altogether as it is easier to locate the birds. Some of these species to look out for include; the Red-tailed bristle bill, Cameroon somber, Slender-billed, Hone guide, Speckled tinker bird, Yellow-crested woodpecker, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, and both White-breasted and Grey-headed Negrofinches. More species include White-spotted fluff tails, Crested guinea fowl, Tambourine dove, Grey parrot, African Emerald and Dusky long-tailed cuckoos, Yellow bill, White-throated bee-eater, Yellow-throated tinker bird, Western nicator, blue-shouldered robin-chat, Forest robin, Sabine’s and cassin’s spine tails, Wilcock’s honey guide, Yellow and grey longbills, Rufous flycatcher thrush, Yellow-mantled weaver, Red-headed malimber among others. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

 

MEALS: breakfast/Lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Court View Hotel

Day 6: Transfer to Kibale Forest

After an early morning breakfast, we shall drive to Kibale Forest National Park. This is a long drive and we will bird at a few key spots along the way. Kibale is particularly alluring to nature lovers known for its excellent chimp tracking and birding also having the highest concentration of primates in East Africa of about 13 primates and such include; Chimps, Vervet, Red-tailed and blue monkeys. It also has bird species beside the primates. Kibale Forest birds include Grey-winged robin, Blue-shouldered robin chat, Yellow-spotted barbet, Black-billed turaco, White-throated flycatcher, White bellied crested flycatcher, Masked apalis to mention a few. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/Lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Ndali lodge

Day 7: Chimpanzee Tracking

This morning, go in search for chimpanzee near Kanyanchu. Chimps live in communities of about 100 individuals; learn about the physical and behavioral aspects we share in common. Check out for more primates such as the golden monkey, olive baboons, red colobus, white and black colobus monkeys, grey checked mangabey and blue monkeys. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Ndali lodge

Day 8: Birding in Kibale

After an early morning breakfast, we will go for full day birding to Bigodi Sanctuary (Magombe Swamp), which offers an array of birdlife, butterflies and tree species and has one of the best guided trails in East Africa. The Great blue Turaco and Papyrus Gonolek are the most popular in the swamp. Committed birders admire this sanctuary for its “quality rather than quantity” birds easily spotted include; the Tinker-barbets, Blue-throated roller, White-headed wood hoopoe, Crowned hornbill, Yellow bill, Honey guide bulbuls, Cassin’s honey bird, Masked Apalis, White-chinned Prinia, pink-footed puffback, black and white Flycatcher, Superb Sunbird, Mountain wagtail, purple-headed starling, Black-necked weaver, Dark-backed weaver and Red-headed bluebill and there are butterflies as well. Do not be surprised to see the sitatunga antelope as well as primates in the vicinity. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Ndali lodge

Day 9: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

On your way, you will notice various Albertine bird species. Bwindi is unique among other parks because of the presence of the mountain gorillas but it has more to offer for committed birders. Watching in the evening around the forest margins of the forest is productive. Bwindi is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine rift endemic like black-faced rufous warbler, Grauer’s warble, Black-throated Apalis and Mountain masked Apalis to mention a few. Do a guided walk along the Munyanja River trail from Buhoma following Bizenga River and here the shinning blue kingfisher can easily be spotted. Along the waterfall trail, you will be able to spot over 40 species such as Yellow-eyed black-flycatcher, Ashy flycatcher, Dusky-blue flycatcher, Chapin’s flycatcher, Luhder’s and Doherty’s bush-shrikes. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Gorilla Resort

Day 10: Ruhija-Bwindi

Ruhija has unique Albertine endemic species which has ranked Bwindi to be one of the best ornithological sites in Africa. As we move up to this high altitude section of Bwindi, you will notice not only the difference in avifauna but also rare bird species. In Ruhija you can spot the four crimson-wings, handsome francolin, Red-throated wryneck, Collared Apalis, Bronze sunbird, Scarce swift, Black saw-wing, Cassin’s grey, Browned Tchagra, Toro Olive Greenbul, Black-faced rufous warbler, Red-faced woodland warbler, Yellow-crested helmet shrike, Stripe-breasted tit, Yellow bishop, Collared Apalis, Purple-breasted sunbird, White-naped raven, Strange and Baglafecht weaver. Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Trekkers Tavern

Day 11: Mubwindi Swamp-Bwindi

After breakfast, we hike to the Mubwindi Swamp for a whole day of birding. The 4kam trail to Mubwindi Swamp drops from 2,350m to 2,050m and is the best place for some of the most elusive rift endemics like the beautiful Regal sunbird and Archer’s robin chat. Others include; Rwenzori Apalis and African hill babbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, African Green broadbill, Blue-headed, Archer’s Robin, White-headed wood hoopoe, Bar-tailed trogon among others.

MEALS: breakfast/lunch/dinner

ACCOMMODATION: Trekkers Tavern

 

Day 12:  Bwindi – Kampala
After early morning breakfast we will check out with the lodges and then transfer back to Kampala so as to reach when it is still early. Our tour guide will drop you at your hotel of residence.

END OF BIRDING TRIP

Tour includes

  • Ground transport
  • Bottled water
  • Meal as per itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Service of an English-speaking bird guide
  • All mentioned activities except for the optional ones
  • Chimpanzee permits

Tour excludes

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses: alcohol, laundry services and souvenirs
  • Tips