Bird watching safari experience
Uganda is a world birding destination boasting of over 1000 recorded bird species compared to the whole of Europe having about 700 bird species…
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Extreme
Uganda is a world birding destination boasting of over 1000 recorded bird species compared to the whole of Europe having about 700 bird species. Uganda’s climate and habitats attract migratant’s from the northern and southern hemisphere making it the richest country for bird watching in Africa’. Birding is done in most swamp areas like mabamba swamp which gives clients to enjoy the commonly attractive birds the shoe bills camflaging in the air and viewed in the swamp water marsh on the ground. Times like in swamps, birding is done on canoes local people working as boat men and guides. Main key birding areas are mabamba swamp, Entebbe botanical garden, Lake Mburo, mabira forest and many more areas in Uganda such as in all national parks in Uganda.
Long Entebbe Botanical Gardens, watch out for the Golden backed weaver, Yellow backed weaver, Grey headed gull, Long tailed cormorant, Common squacco heron, Yellow billed duck, Pied kingfisher, Giant kingfisher, Swamp flycatcher, Broad billed roller, Black and white casqued hornbill, Splendid glossy starling, Black headed gonolek, Orange weaver, Red chested sunbird, Slender billed weaver, Ross’s turaco, Pied hornbill, Crowned hornbill, Open billed stork, Great red warbler, Sedge warbler, Grey caped warbler and many other species. We have Swamp flycatcher, African purple swamp hen, African water rail, Common moorhen, lesser jacana, African jacana, African pygym Goose, White-faced whistling duck, Squacco heron, Blue reasted Bee-eater, Winding cisticola, Goliath Heron and black crake. Other Special birds include White-winged warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Yellow-backed weaver, Northern brown throated weaver, Blue headed coucal and other swamp dwellers
What has this trip to offer?
- Spend the night in simple but good accommodation (standard tour) or stay in the best accommodation available (luxury tour).
- Stay in the famous Travellers Rest Hotel in Kisoro.
- Transport in our own 4WD Toyota Land Cruisers with pop up roof, adapted for optimal visibility during game drives.
- Travel in small groups (6-12 people) with a window seat for everyone in the Land Cruiser.
- Guaranteed to visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda and / or Rwanda (gorilla permit not included).
- Chimp tracking in Kibale National Park and Kyambura Gorge.
- Looking for white rhinos in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
- Visit the savannah parks Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Mburo National Park.
- Game drives in the aforementioned parks and a memorable cruise on the Nile and the Kazinga Channel.
- Chance of 13 primate species in the tropical rainforests of Kibale National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
- Optional climbing of the famous Virunga volcanoes.
- Hundreds of species of birds, a true bird paradise.
- Transfer to and from the airport.
- Single-Friendly! Singles pay the same price as those who travel in pairs; singles always have their own room or tent. Through our unique partnership with Nature Lodges and our own accommodation we can make this offer.
- Guides in the parks
- Vehicle 4*4 WD
- Ground transportation Fuel
- Gorilla permit
- English speaking driver
- Park entrance
- Birding watching fees
- Breakfast and breakfast
- Bottled water
- Rangers in the parks
- Bird watching equipments
- Laundry services
- Gorilla permit (we organize it for you)
- Any other activities of interest in Kisoro
- Visa (Uganda/Rwanda)
- Any other personal interests
Early arrivals may have optional birding in afternoon at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the Entebbe Botanical Gardens are virtually on the Equator, and covers an area of 40.7hectares. The gardens house a collection of species of plants of the tropical, sub-tropical and temperate zones, besides several shrubs and other plants which regenerated naturally over the years. The habitat has attracted a diverse array of birds (206 species) and monkeys. We shall look out for; Orange Weaver, Golden and Yellow-backed Weavers, Superb Sunbird, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Ross’s and Great blue Turaco, etc. Later transfer to Entebbe Travellers’ Inn.
After an early breakfast, we bird to Mabamba Kamengo Wetlands about 50km west of Entebbe area on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the few remaining swamps in Uganda protected by the local communities – an extensive papyrus swamp with its labyrinth of channels and lagoons, classified as an IBA (Important Bird Area) and home to several pairs of Shoebills, Uganda’s most famous avian resident. This charismatic species, the only representative in its family, is certainly amongst the most sought-after birds in Africa and we’ll make special efforts today to find it by paddling through the channels by boat. There will of course be a good selection of classic East African water birds: Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, African Fish-Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, Yellow-billed Duck, African Water Rail, Allen’s Gallinule, and Malachite Kingfisher along with slightly more local species such as Long-toed Plover, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Swamp Flycatcher, White-winged & Papyrus Yellow Warblers. Other areas in and around Entebbe/Kampala may produce; African Open-billed Stork, Grey Kestrel, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, African Green Pigeon, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher maybe the rare Weyn’s Weaver.
After breakfast, we will depart for Murchison Falls National Park, stopping over in Masindi town for lunch. Murchison falls National Park is one of the most popular of our Uganda national parks. We will drive through the beautiful country side arriving in the evening. Special birds include; Cliff Chat, Yellow fronted Tinkerbird, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Singing Cisticola, Namaqua dove, Green Winged Pytilia, Red-backed Shrike, Crested Francolin, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, Northern and Black winged Red Bishops, Black-bellied Fire finch, Black-faced Waxbill and March Tchagra.
After an early breakfast, we will have a morning game drive. In the lush Borassus grassland, you may be able to encounter Elephant, Buffalo, Giraffe, and a variety of antelopes, Lions and Leopards. After enjoying lunch, we will then have an afternoon boat trip to the Bottom of the falls. There are chances that you will also be dazzled with a variety of water birds including species like; the Secretary Bird, Abyssinian Roller and Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Senegal Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Black-headed Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Little Bittern, Osprey, Red-necked Falcon, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Vinaceous Dove and Grosbeak Weaver. Other specialties include; Buff-bellied Warbler, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Marabou Stork, Red-throated Bee-eater, Silver bird, Beautiful Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Golden-backed Weaver, White-rumped Seedeater, Pels Fishing Owl, White Crested Turaco, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver, Carmine Bee-eater, Night jars(Pennant-winged &Standard-winged), White-rumped Canary etc
Depending on the road conditions, there are chances of either birding through the escarpment or through Kanio Pabidi. The escarpment area is well known for its panoramic view of Lake Albert and the Rift Valley, and also being an open area it has quite a number of bird species. Kanio Pabide forest section is well known for its rare bird species including; the Puvell’s Illadopsis. Budongo forest is the largest natural forest area in East Africa. We can expect to find a wide range of other bird species such as; the Crested Guineafowl sporting their punk “hairdos”, White Crested Turaco, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Olive-bellied Crombec, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Little Green Sunbird, and Red-headed Blue Bill among others. There are also many other special birds with a West African origin: White-thighed Hornbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Blue-breasted, Dwarf & Chocolate-backed Kingfishers, Yellow-crested & Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Yellow bill, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted & Yellow-billed Barbets, Green Hylia, Buff-throated, Black-throated & Black-capped Apalises, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, the elusive Lemon-bellied Crombec, Crested & Red-headed Malimbe and also various forest starlings among others. We will also be in a prime area for a wide range of primates such as Blue & Red-tailed Monkeys and Black-and-white Colobus – and if lucky Chimpanzees. There is also a wide variety of butterfly species in the forest. Budongo forest has recorded over 200 butterfly species hence you will also be in for a treat as we look out for these butterflies.
A short bird watching drive from the Hotel at dawn will take us to one of the best of Uganda’s bird watching spots, the Royal Mile. This is Uganda’s historically known leisure spot for the traditional King, hence the name Royal Mile. Here the forest has been cut back a few meters along the sides of the main trail, which makes it a particularly good viewing area in this excellent forest. Uganda Special Bird species here include White-thighed and Black-and-white-Casqued Hornbills, Yellow-spotted and Yellow billed Barbets, Western Black-headed Oriole, along with Red-tailed and Blue Monkeys. Overhead, Sabine’s and sometimes Cassin’s Spinetails soar over the clearings. As we walk quietly along the trail, Red-tailed Ant-Thrushes skulk in the shadows, as do Red-tailed Bristle bill, Scaly-breasted, Pale-breasted and Brown Illadopsis. Greenbuls are always a challenge and include; Cameroon Sombre, Slender-billed, Honey guide and Spotted Greenbuls, whilst other regular species are; Speckled Tinker bird, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, and both White-breasted and Grey-headed Negro finches. Lower down we should see Chocolate-backed and African Dwarf Kingfishers, White-spotted Flufftails and the elusive Nahan’s Francolin, believed to be one of the most handsome of all Ugandan birds. Other possibilities here are Great Sparrowhawk, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Crested Guinea fowl, Tambourine Dove, Grey Parrot, African Emerald and Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoos, Yellow bill, White-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-throated Tinker bird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Dusky Tit, Western Nicator, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Forest Robin, Black-throated and Black-capped Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Sabine’s and Cassin’s Spine tails, Wilcock’s Honey guide, Yellow and Grey Long bills, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Blue-throated Brown and Little Green Sunbirds, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, the Uganda Woodland Warbler and the Ituri Batis.
After breakfast, we will drive to Kibale forest arriving in Fort Portal in the late afternoon. Kibale forest national park is the best safari destination for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa. It contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of all tropical forests in Uganda. It hosts 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee. It has 1450 chimpanzees and these represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. It is also home to the rare L’hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened Red Colobus Monkey. Other primates that you may see include; the Black and white Colobus, Blue Monkey, Grey cheeked Mangabey, Red-tailed Monkey, Olive Baboon, Bush baby and Pottos. Kibale forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park. Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip which stands at 1590m above sea level. The park also boasts 325 bird species, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region. They include; the Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Red-faced Woodland Warbler. If you are lucky you may also see the; African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Black Bee-eater, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Black eared Ground-Thrush, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, and the Crowned Eagle.
After an early breakfast we drive to Kibale National Park visitor center for briefing and chimp tracking. The activity may last from a few hours to several hours. Kibale forest is home to 13 primates of Uganda. Birding in the afternoon along the main road may be productive. Depending on the weather predictions, birding Bigodi wetland is also productive with riverine forest birds including; Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis’s Greenbul and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Fluff tail, Dusky and Olive Long tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honey guide, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, White-chinned Prinia, Grey Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera and White-collared Oliveback.
The Park which is named after the Queen of England who visited it in 1954 is the second largest national park in Uganda. In terms of diversity this park ranks among the best birding destinations in Uganda with over 610 species recorded, and a one day record of 296 species and these include; Harlequin Quail, Blue Quail, Small (Common) Buttonquail, African Crake, White winged Warbler, Martial Eagle, African Skimmer, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Papyrus Gonolek, Amur Falcon, Ovampo Sparrowhawk, Lowland Akalat, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Shoebill, Black Bee-eater, Caruthers’s Cisticola, Terek Sandpiper, Secretary Bird, and Temminck’s Courser. Mammals include; African Elephant, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Lion, Ugandan Kobs, Side-striped Jackal, Baboons, Chimpanzees, Bush and Water Bucks, Warthogs, Giant Forest Hogs to mention but a few.
After breakfast, we will have a morning game drive around the park. The fact that Queen Elizabeth National Park has got a diverse eco system of savannah to rain forest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward is a major contribution to the fact that it boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world. Therefore, while on the game drive, with the massive Rwenzoris as a backdrop, you will have excellent opportunities to see; the Lion, Leopard, Giant Forest hog, Cape buffalo, Elephant, Deffassa Water buck Uganda Kob, Topi, and Bush buck.
Today we head further South to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Depending on the season we may choose to go through the southern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, where there are chances of encountering the Tree-climbing Lions at Ishasha sector. Packed lunch will be arranged in advance to enjoy later as we travel. Depending on the time of arrival, we may enjoy birding on the self-guided Munyaga trail. Forest Birding at Bwindi provides some of the best bird watching in Uganda and Africa as well, having been voted as the Number One Hotspot in Africa by African Bird Club Members. It is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics.
After an early breakfast, you will report to the park headquarters for briefing prior to the gorilla tracking excursion. This activity may take anywhere between 1 hour and 8 hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required. It is a wonderful experience to stare in to the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that you must never miss. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display.
Bwindi is generally at a higher altitude and therefore is cooler. Temperatures range between 10 and 18 degrees centigrade. Forest birding at Bwindi ranks the best in Uganda. It is home to over 23 highly localized Albertine Rift endemics. Specialty birds include; Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black-flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill-Babbler, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Pink-footed Puffback, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, White-naped Raven, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Narrow-tailed Starling, Waller’s Starling, Strange Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Magpie Mannikin, Yellow-crowned Canary, Thick-billed Seedeater, Streaky Seedeater, African Green Broadbill, Shelly’s Crimsonwing, Oriole Finch, Mountain Buzzard, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle, Handsome Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Wood-Owl, Rwenzori Nightjar, Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, (Western) Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Elliot’s Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Archer’s Ground Robin, Toro Olive-Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Robin chat, Olive Thrush, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Grauer’s Rush-warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Neumann’s Warbler and Red-faced Woodland Warbler.
After breakfast, we will transfer to Lake Mburo arriving in the late evening. Lake Mburo National Park is 260 sq. km and it has markedly different fauna from other reserves. It is the only national park that contains an entire lake. Situated in rolling hills and open grassy valleys, the park also consists of 4 other smaller lakes. Lake Mburo National park is covered in extensive open and wooded acacia savannah. This park is home to the largest diversity of both plant and wildlife of all Uganda’s national parks. It is also the best place to see the gigantic eland antelope as well as well as Zebra, Topi, Impala, the more uncommon Klipspringer, Burchell’s Zebra, Buffalo, Hippopotamus, and several acacia associated birds.
After breakfast, we will have a morning game drive. You will have greater chances of viewing several animal species including; Zebras, Impalas, Elands, Topi and Buffalos. You will also view the park’s sculptured landscape with rolling grassy hills and idyllic shorelines. We will then have a boat ride where you will be able to spot hippos, crocodiles and a variety of water birds like; the Great White Egret, Pied Kingfisher, and brilliantly colored Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warblers, African Finfoot, African Fish Eagle, the Night Heron and many more.
After breakfast, we will transfer to Entebbe via Kampala arriving in good time for your departure flight. Overnight at Entebbe Travelers’
Evening departures will have an opportunity to bird in the Botanical Garden.