Uganda Birding Safari


Shoebill

Uganda must be one of Africa's best birding destinations and offers fantastic biridng, scenery and wildlife. This 14 Days Uganda Birding Safari takes you through the Mabamba wetland with counts of shoebill stork, Kibale National Park with sightings of green breasted pitta, Queen Elizabeth National Park with great bird counts in Uganda (600 species), Bwindi Impenetrable National Park considered the best birding spot on the African continent with Afromontane forest and savannah landscapes of Lake Mburo National Park with sightings of the endemic Red faced Barbet. Other famous birding sites featured in the itinerary include; Budongo Forest Reserve, Semliki Valley National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. 

Grey-crowned Crane

Day 1: Arrival in Uganda

On arrival at Entebbe International Airport you will be met by a company representative and transferred you to your Hotel. But depending on your time of arrival we may go for optional birding in either the botanical gardens or the Uganda Wildlife Education centre which will give us a great overview of the more common and widespread species found in Uganda.

Red-faced Barbet

Day 2: Murchison's Falls National Park

We will embark on the transfer to Murchison Falls National Park after breakfast. The drive takes about 5 hours excluding en route stops to cover about 311km distance traversing the flat countryside of Nakasongora before crossing River Kafu to Masindi. We will do several birding stops en route and have lunch in Masindi town before proceeding to Murchison Falls National Park. On arrival we will depart for an afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. The Nile launch cruise offers you an opportunity to explore the calm waters of Nile River where we should encounter Crocodile and Hippo and even Shoebill if we are very lucky (although this will be our main focus later in the trip). The boat stops at the bottom of Murchison Falls – the world’s most powerful waterfall and arguably the most spectacular sight in Uganda. We will hike to the top of the falls exploring the Nile River as it squeezes itself to pass through an 8m ravine forming a plume of spray marked by a thunderous roar and the trademark rainbow as it falls 43m below to the Devils Cauldron. We will continue to bird and might encounter birds like Cliff Chat, Grey headed Bush Shrike, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Singing Cisticola, Namaqua Dove, African Moustached Warbler, Green-winged Pytilia, Crested and Scaly Francolin, Red-backed Shrike, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Black Bellied Firefinch, Northern and Black-winged Red Bishops, Marsh Tchagra and Black-faced Waxbill

Puvel's Illadopsis

Day 3: Murchison's Falls National Park

Uganda’s largest park offers a big diversity of habitats with 451 species recorded. The list includes the incredible Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – Uganda’s National bird. Other species seen on the banks of the Nile include Swamp Flycatcher, Blue-headed Coucal, Squacco Heron, various Sandpipers, African Jacana, Denham’s Bustard, Black-billed Barbet, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Weaver Birds, Pied, Piapiac, Silver bird, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Red-throated Bee-eater, African Quail-Finch and Speckle-fronted Weaver. Our birding in Murchison Falls National Park will start with an early morning boat ride to the Delta Area. This offers us the opportunity to see various wetland species including the Shoebill. This will be followed by a morning and afternoon birding game drive where we might encounter wildlife that include elephants, Rothschild Giraffes, Buffaloes, the Jackson’s Hartebeest, Oribi, Uganda Kob, Lions, and Leopards.

Great Blue Turaco

Day 4: Birding Budongo Forest

Our day will begin with birding in Budongo Forest and will include birding along the famous royal mile road that lies under the lush forest canopy. Here we will focus on birds like; Nahan’s Francolin, White-thighed Hornbill, Sabine’s and graceful Cassin’s Spinetail, Blue-throated Roller, Forest Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Cameroptera, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Lemon Bellied Crombec, Ituri Batis, Tit Hylia, Forest Robin, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Grey Throated, Yellow Billed, Yellow Spotted and Hairy Breasted Barbet, Black Billed and Great Blue Turaco, Plain, Spotted, Slender Billed, Little Grey, White Throated and Little Greenbul, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black-capped Apalis and Red Tailed Bristlebill among other species. We might encounter various primate species including Black and White Colobus Monkeys as well as Red-tailed and Blue Monkeys. From here we will make our way to Hoima where will spend the night.

Chimpanzee

Day 5: Kibale National Park and Chimpanzee Trekking

After breakfast we will make our way to Kibale National Park and will bird the low-lying waterlogged environments in Kagadi as well as the Kagorro forest reserve near Kyenjonjo. Upon arriving in Fort Portal Area, you settle for lunch after which we will proceed to Kibale Forest National Park for an afternoon of Chimpanzee trekking. We will gather at Kanyanchu tourism Centre for briefing at 2pm by the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers after which we will head to the prehistoric forest in search these incredible primates. Kibale National Park also offers incredible fauna diversity with more than 350 Species of trees, some of which are more than 200 years old and over 55m tall. The park also supports 70 species of mammals and 13 species of Primates which include the common chimpanzee, Black and White Colobus and Red-tailed Monkey. The 375 Species of birds that thrive in the park include the impressive western green tinker bird, two species of Pittas (African and Green-breasted), Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Grey Parrot and the endemic Ground Thrush (Turdus kibalensis). Upon encountering the chimps we will enjoy a lengthy period of time with them after which we retreat to the lodge for a relaxing dinner and overnight

Green-breasted Pitta

Day 6: Birding Kibale National Park

This day is dedicated to explore the birdlife of Kibale Forest National Park. Amongst others we will try to find Green-breasted Pitta, African Pitta, Afep Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, White-naped Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Western Nicator, Little Greenbul, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Brown-chested Alethe, African Grey Parrot, Brown Illadopsis, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Blue-headed Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Little Greenbul, Abyssinian Ground-thrush and Black-eared Ground Thrush. The evening extension to Bigodi swamp which is home to 138 species including the Great Blue Turaco.

Black and White Colobus Monkeys

Day 7: Birding Semliki National Park and off to Queen Elizabeth National Park

After an early breakfast we will make our way to Semliki Forest National Park. The forest of Semliki is an extension of West African jungle that stretch from Equatorial Guinea through Congo forming a habitat for Guinea Congo biome species that do not exist in other areas of East Africa. Here we hope to find Congo Serpent Eagle, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Bate's Nightjar, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Rufous-sided, Black-winged Broadbill, Black-throated Coucal, Icterine Greenbul, Nkulengu Rail, Spot-breasted Ibis, Long-tailed Hawk, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Yellow-throated and Western Nicator, Red-chested Owlet, Black-collared Lovebird, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, White-bellied Kingfisher, Zenker's and Lyre-tailed Honey guides, White-throated Blue Swallow, Crested Malimbe, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Blue-billed Malimbe, Chestnut Bellied and Pale-fronted Negrofinch, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Piping, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, White Crested, African Piculet amongst other species. In the afternoon we will make our way to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Pelicans and Buffalo

Day 8: Queen Elizabeth National Park

We have a whole day to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park where we will bird around the Mweya peninsula, Lake Kikorongo, Maramagambo forest, savannah plains of Kasenyi and Katunguru bridge area. Queen Elizabeth National Park offers birds like Temminck's Courser, Ruppell’s Griffon, Martial Eagle, White-headed and Lappet-faced Vultures, Blue Quail, Harlequin Quail, Small (Common) Buttonquail, African Crake, African Skimmer, Black Headed Gonolek, Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, Amur Falcon, Lowland Akalat, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Greater and Lesser Flamingo amongst others. We also hope to see wildlife like elephants, buffaloes, spotted Hyena, side stripped jackals, and various antelope species.

Famous Tree climbing Lions

Day 9: Ishasha sector and off to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast we will make our way to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park but first we will explore the Ishasha section in the often climb the fig trees of Ishasha with the low lying branches of the fig trees offering the lions a great vantage point. From a birding point of view we hope to see birds like Palm-nut Vulture, Hooded Vulture, African White-backed Vulture, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, Long-created Eagle, Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Helmeted Guineafowl, African Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattled Plover, Senegal Plover, African Green Pigeon, Ross’s Turaco, Striped Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Double-toothed Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Greater Honey guide, Grey Woodpecker, White-browed Robin-Chat, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Green Crombec, Cisticolas, Grey-backed Fiscal and Yellow-billed Oxpecker. 

Gorillas

Day 10: Gorilla Trekking

After your early morning breakfast, we will gather at the Park Headquarters for a briefing from the park rangers about the conduct of gorilla trekking. After the short briefing, we will embark on the challenging trek through the impenetrable jungle of Bwindi with its rugged landscape involving valleys, swamps, steep slopes and rocky areas amidst amazing jungle sounds and bird song. Once we came across these incredible creatures we will spend about an hour with them observing them going on with their daily routine. The activity ranges between 2 – 8 hours and if time allows we will bird in the afternoon around the lodge. We will spend the evening relaxing at the lodge chatting about this incredible experience.

African Green Broadbill

Day 11: Birding Ruhija and Umubwindi Swamp

The Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a true birders’ paradise with an incredible diversity of species. The forested hillslopes of Ruhija offers birds like Macknon’s Fiscal, Augar Buzzard, Tropical Boubou, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Mountain Buzzard and Wagtail, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Barred and Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, Black-faced Rufous-warbler, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Ducky Tit, Ludhur’s and Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Grey-Green Bush-Shrike, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Streaky Seed-eater, White Starred Robin, Stripe-breasted Tit amongst others. The birding outing to Umubwindi swamp offers us the chance to see birds like Olive, Elliot’s and Fine-banded Woodpecker, Black-billed Turaco, African Hill Babbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Illadopsis, Mountain Greenbul, Red-faced Woodland, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Chestnut-throated, Collard and Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Mountain, Shelley’s and Yellow-streaked Greenbul, African Green-Broadbill, Regal Sunbird and Rwenzori Batis to name a few. 

African Finfoot

Day 12: Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast we will spend the morning driving to Lake Mburo National Park, a journey of about 235km passing through the scenic hill sides of south western Uganda before making a lunch stop at Igongo Cultural Centre 12km past Mbarara town. After arriving and enjoying lunch we will proceed to Lake Mburo for an evening boat birding encounter along Lake Mburo. The encounter presents opportunity of seeing African Finfoot, the range of Kingfishers and the African Fish-eagle. 

Yellow-footed Flycatcher

Day 13: Morning at Lake Mburo and off to Kampala

After an early morning breakfast, we will embark on the extensive wildlife and birding outing in the rolling savannah landscapes of Lake Mburo National Park. Here we will also bird and enjoy game viewing on foot on the various trails in the company of an armed ranger to save you from attacks of wild animals. Explore the Miriti and Warukiri swamps, Rubanga forest and the salt lick which often produces interesting wildlife sightings. From a birding point of view we will look for Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey-crowned Crane, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Brown Parrot, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Red-faced Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Long-tailed Cisticola, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Finfoot, White-winged Tit and Yellow-breasted Apalis to name a few. The walking trail and game drive offers us an opportunity to enjoy the game viewing and we might see the Rothschild Giraffe, Topi, Eland, Waterbuck, Buffalo, Burchell’s Zebra, Impala and Warthog etc. From here we will drive to Kampala crossing the Equator at Kayabwe. 

Shoebill

Day 14: Mabamba Swamp and end of Safari

After breakfast we will make our way to Mabamba swamp on the shores of Lake Victoria west of Kampala. Our main target here will be the endangered Shoebill. While we move along with the canoes to look for this incredible species we also hope to see other bird species like Lesser Jacana, Black-shouldered Kite, Blue Swallow, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruther’s Cisticola, Spotting Swamp Flycatcher, Papyrus Gonolek, various Ducks, Gulls, Plovers, Egrets, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers. After lunch we will transfer to Lutembe bay where we will bird in the afternoon. Lutembe bay was declared a Ramsar site and is home to about 100 bird species with the key ones being Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Greater Cormorant, Papyrus Gonolek, Gull-billed Tern. In winter other bird species like Grey-headed gull, White-winged Black Tern and Slender-billed Gull migrate here from Europe in big numbers. We plan to arrive back at Entebbe by early evening which will be the end of the tour. A night flight departure can be arranged or alternatively you could fly out the following morning. 

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