Birding and Nature Tour in Uganda
This 15-day Uganda Birding and Nature Tour will take you to see many of the key birding sites in Uganda including Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Royal Mile, Bugungu game reserve and Butiaba Escarpment.
Tours include game drives and chimping.
Early this morning we¹ll leave the Entebbe Peninsula and drive to Masindi in northwestern Uganda. As we head through the numerous small farms birding is limited, but we will arrive in good woodland by lunch time and have hope for a great afternoon¹s birding as we look for Banded Snake-Eagle, Vaneceous Dove, Meyer¹s Parrot, White-crested Turacco, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Redshouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Siffling Cisticola, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Brownbacked Scrub-Robin, Black-headed Batis, Brown Babbler, and Copper Sunbird, among others.
Overnight at Masindi Hotel (F/B).
We’ll visit the Royal Mile with packed lunch and spend there the whole day birding. After an early breakfast we will depart for Budongo Forest, about an hour's drive away. We¹ll have a full day in this area, where a new system of trails is currently being cleared. Additionally, a broad road through one of the richest areas of forest (known as the Royal Mile) gives good access to many of the forest specialties found here. We hope to see many of the following: Crowned Hawk-Eagle, Nahan's Francolin, Crested Guinea fowl, White-spotted Fluff tail, African Emerald Cuckoo, Sabine's and Cassin's spinetails, Dwarf, Chocolatebacked, and Blue-breasted kingfishers, Blue-throated Roller, White-thighed and Black-and-white-casqued hornbills, Speckled and Yellow-throated tinker birds,
Yellow-spotted and Hairy-breasted barbets, Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Gray, Plain, White-throated, Icterine, and Red-tailed greenbuls, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Black-capped and Buff-throated apalis, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Yellow Long bill, Green Hylia, Yellow-footed, African Forest, and Gray-throated flycatchers, Forest Robin, the rare Ituri Batis, Jameson's and Chestnut wattle-eyes, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Blackheaded Paradise-Flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Gray-headed, Green, Little Green, and Olive-bellied sunbirds, Western Black-headed Oriole, Purple-headed Glossy- Starling, Yellow-mantled Weaver, and Crested Malimbe.
Overnight: Masindi Hotel. (FB)
Transfer to Murchison falls National Park via Kanio-Pabidi section of Budongo forest for the Pulvell’s llladopsis and other birds, have lunch and continue to the Park. We’ll visit the top of the falls and return to the Lodge in the dark while looking for nocturnal species such as Nightjars,Owls and cats.
Overnight: Murchison River Lodge (FB)
We will spend the whole day in the Park; take a boat–ride to the Delta on the Nile to look for the Shoebill among other birds and wildlife. Have lunch and later a game-drive on the northern side of the river in the savanna grasslands. By taking a boat trip on the Victoria Nile, we should also have good close-up views of African Darter, Gray, Purple, and Squacco herons, Yellow-billed and Great egrets, Sacred Ibis, Saddle-billed Stork, African Jacana, Spur-winged and Longtoed lapwings, Senegal Thick-knee, Pied Kingfisher, and Red-throated Beeeater. On one trip we hope to reach the base of the falls themselves. Here Rock Pratincoles leave their perches to make hunting sallies through the swirling spray. Enormous crocodiles breed on the sand banks just downstream and, as we make the return journey, elephants may well have come down for a drink. African Buffalo also come out onto the shores at this time, as do Waterbuck, Warthog, and occasionally Rothschild's Giraffe. Contrary to popular belief, Hippopotamuses, which are all along the river in incredible numbers, may also be out basking on the open sand banks in the full heat of the sun. We’ll spend our afternoons on game drives across the savanna grasslands and in some thicker areas of mature woodland. Here we¹ll scan for White-headed Vulture, Brown Snake-Eagle, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, Gray Kestrel, Heuglin's and Crested francolins, Helmeted Guinea fowl, Small Buttonquail, Black-bellied and perhaps Dernham¹s (Stanley) bustards, Speckled and Blue-napped mouse birds, Crowned and African Gray hornbills, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Nubian and Gray woodpeckers, Flappet Lark, Northern Crombec, Red-winged Gray Warbler, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Sooty and white-fronted black Chats, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Beautiful Sunbird, Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Yellow-mantled and Red-collared widowbird, and maybe the very local White-rumped Seedeater. One evening we'll stay out late in the hope of finding one or more of the night birds that can be seen here, perhaps Spotted (Grayish) Eagle-Owl or Long-tailed and Pennant-winged nightjars.
Overnight Murchison River Lodge (FB).
Transfer to Masindi via the Bugungu game reserve and Butiaba Escarpment. We will spend the rest of the afternoon at the Busingiro section of Budongo forest on the main road through the forest. This morning we¹ll head south towards Lake Albert, arriving at the escarpment in time for a Picnic lunch. We'll check the Butiaba marshes for Blue-breasted Bee-eater and Carruthers' Cisticola. In the Borassus palms Piapiac are numerous and tame, and various bishops and widowbirds are likely. In the afternoon, as we the Butiaba escarpment, we¹ll make stops to look for Black-billed Wood-Dove, Northern Carmine and Swallowtailed bee-eaters, Yellow-fronted Tinker bird, Spot-flanked, Black-billed, and Double-toothed barbets, Red-faced, Zitting, and Foxy cisticolas, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Mocking Cliff chat, White-shouldered Black-Tit, Sulphur-breasted Bush shrike, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Black-winged Bishop, Black-bellied Fire finch, Red-winged Pytilia, and Cinnamon-breasted Bunting. We drive on further to the Busingiro site of Budongo forest where we’ll look for the forest birds confined to this forest in our region.These may include; Rufous-crowned elemomera, Ituri Batis, Toro olive greenbul, chocolate backed Kingfisher, scaly francolin and many more.
Overnight: Masindi Hotel (FB)
Transfer to Kibale forest National Park via Sebitoli section of the Park with lunch box while birding through the country site forest, Papyrus swamps and forest patches. This site is good for species like the Masked Apalis, Joyful greenbul, White-napped pigeons, forest Starlings and many more.
Overnight: Chimpanzee Forest Guest House (FB)
We’ll leave before light to try for the Green breasted Pitta which displays shortly after light and if lucky with the Pitta, continue with the Chimpanzee tracking. The bird life is prolific, but as in many tropical forests, birds can be shy and difficult to observe. We hope for African Gray Parrot, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Narina's Trogon, Gray-throated Barbet, Least Honey guide, Honey guide Greenbul, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Fire-crested Alethe, African Shrike-Flycatcher, Narrow-tailed Starling, and White-breasted Negro-finch. There may be an option to search for Green-breasted Pitta here in lieu of the chimp trek, but it depends on whether the bird has been seen lately and if the guide is available, so this remains an intriguing possibility for one of Africa’s great charisma birds.
Overnight: Chimpanzee Forest Guest House (FB).
This morning we’ll visit a papyrus swamp in search of the striking Papyrus Gonolek and the secretive White-winged Warbler. We¹ll then take a picnic lunch and drive south to Queen Elizabeth National Park. We’ll stay at Mweya Lodge which is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel, and behind it lies an extensive area of rolling grass-covered hills, wooded valleys, and a series of extinct volcanic craters. During our stay we will visit some of these areas, and take an afternoon trip on a launch along the famous Kazinga Channel that links lakes Edward and George, with great photo opportunities.
Overnight: Mweya Safari Lodge. (FB).
Early Morning game drive, return to the lodge for lunch and later go for an afternoon boat-ride along the Kazinga Channel .We may go for another evening game drive after the boat-ride, returning to the Lodge at dusk. The varied habitats within this Park should provide us with an extensive bird list and a few new mammals, too. Lions are possible here, and we should see Elephant, Buffalo, Warthog, Topi, and large herds of Uganda Kob. We should also find many of the following birds, and undoubtedly some others not mentioned: Little Grebe, Great White and Pink-backed pelicans, Goliath Heron, Little Bittern, Black-shouldered Kite, African White-backed Vulture, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Bateleur, Tawny and Wahlberg's eagles, Red-necked Francolin, Black Crake, Water Thick-knee, Senegal Lapwing, Kittlitz's and White-fronted plovers, Whiskered and White-winged terns, African Skimmer, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Levaillant's and Dideric cuckoos, Black Coucal, White-rumped Swift, Little Beeeater, Common Scimitar-bill, Rufous-naped and Red-capped larks, Yellowthroated Long claw, Trilling, Stout, and Croaking Cisticolas, Red-faced Crombec, Northern Black-Flycatcher, Black-lored Babbler, Black-crowned Tchagra, Tropical Boubou, Little Weaver, Red Bishop, White-winged Widowbird, Fawnbreasted Waxbill, Yellow-fronted Canary, and African Golden-breasted Bunting.
Overnight at Mweya Lodge. (FB)
Drive to Bwindi National Park via Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth National park famed for tree-climbing Lions. We’ll do a game drive to look for the lions and other wildlife in this sector before proceeding to Bwindi National Park.
Overnight: Engagi Lodge. (FB)
A full day birding excursion along the main trail of Bwindi forest. We’ll carry our lunch boxes with us and return to the lodge late in the evening. We will, of course, try and catch up on any bird species missed by anyone taking the Gorilla excursions, but there will be tradeoffs. The forest area immediately around our camp is classed as medium elevation, and we will be particularly looking for the large variety of birds that occur there: Buff-spotted Flufftail, Black-billed Turaco, Yellowbill, Blue-headed Coucal, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black Bee-eater, Elliot's Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Shelley¹s (Kakamega) Greenbul, Common Bristlebill, Petit's Cuckoo-shrike, Red-throated Alethe, Chubb's Cisticola, Blackthroated and Gray apalises, Olive-green Camaroptera, Black-faced Rufous-Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Neumann's (Short-tailed) Warbler (a highly localized endemic), Green Hylia, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Chapin's Flycatcher (rare), Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Equatorial Akalat, Black-and-white and Mountain illadopsis, Blue-throated Brown and perhaps Tiny sunbirds, Mackinnon's Shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Luedher's, Many-colored, and Graygreen bushshrikes, Stuhlmann's and Narrow-tailed starlings, Red-headed Malimbe, Red-headed Bluebill, and Black-headed (Kandt¹s) Waxbill Shrike-Flycatcher, White-bellied and Dusky crested-flycatchers, Gray-chested. We’ll carry our lunch boxes with us and return to the lodge late in the evening.
Overnight: Engagi Lodge. (FB)
Early morning birding before we can transfer to Ruhija sector of Bwindi forest this is about 1500-2000m above sea level, birding en-route. We’ll spend some time at the “Neck” of the Bwindi forest to look for some of the special birds, the forest offers. On the morning of this day we will make the short but slow and rough drive to the higher parts of the Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest. As we arrive on the uppermost slopes, we’ll immediately realize why for so long this was known as Impenetrable, for in bygone days the dense undergrowth and steep terrain must have made entry very difficult indeed. Many different species are found at these higher altitudes, including quite a few of the Albertine Rift endemics. Undoubtedly one of the most sought-after birds here is the rare and hard-to-find Grauer¹s (African Green) Broadbill, and it would be with tremendous luck if we were to see this species.
Overnight: Ruhija Gorilla Lodge. (FB)
We will start early enough with lunch box and take the trail through the forest to look for the special ARE and a visit to the Mubwindi swamp, returning late evening. Sometimes we find a few of these legendary species at a nest by doing the strenuous 8 km trek down into the Mubwindi Swamp; Some times Elephants on the trail sabotage our attempts! Far easier to see are most of the following, and we'll have a full day-and-a-half to work this area: Handsome Francolin, Brown-necked Parrot, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Montane Nightjar, Cinnamonchested Bee-eater, White-headed Woodhoopoe, Yellow-rumped and Western Tinkerbird, Tullberg's Woodpecker, Gray Cuckoo-shrike, Slender-billed and Yellow-streaked, greenbuls, Banded Prinia, Collared, Black-faced, and Chestnutthroated
Apalises, Cameroon Scrub-Warbler, Mountain Yellow and Grauer's warblers, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler, Archer's Robin-Chat, Ruwenzori Batis, White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher, Mountain Illadopsis, African (Ruwenzori) Hill Babbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Blue-headed, Regal, and Purple-breasted sunbirds, Black-tailed Oriole, Mountain Boubou, the stunning Doherty's Bush shrike, White-necked Raven, Slender-billed and Waller's starlings, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, Dusky Twin spot, and perhaps Oriole Finch. Time and weather permitting,we’ll do a night driveto look for the Rwenzori nightjar,Potto and a chance of other nocturnal mammals such as yellow-backed duiker,serval cat and many others.
Overnight: Ruhija Gorilla Lodge. (FB)
After breakfast we will go for early Morning birding as we transfer to Lake Mburo National park, we will have several birding stops en-route, arriving at Lake Mburo in the late afternoon.
Overnight Arcadia Cottages.(FB)
We’ll go for an early morning game-drive to look for species like Long-tailed Cisticola, Red-faced Barbet and many others. This delightful small park contains rolling scrub-covered hills, open dry areas, pockets of woodland, papyrus beds, marshy lake fringes, and opens water. It is the only area where we can see Common Zebra and Impala, and we should also find good numbers of Oribi,
Olive Baboon, and Vervet Monkey. A variety of new and interesting birds occur within this park and we hope for African Fin foot (via a short boat trip), Lizard Buzzard, African Goshawk, Coqui Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Red-headed Lovebird, Bare-faced Goaway- bird, Lilac-breasted Roller, Green Wood hoopoe, Greater Honey guide, Green-backed Woodpecker, the restricted range Red-faced Barbet at its only Ugandan site, Mosque and Rufous-chested swallows, Yellow-breasted Apalis,
Broad-tailed Grass bird, Gray Tit-Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, White-winged Black-Tit, African Penduline-Tit, Violet-backed Starling, Fan-tailed Widowbird, and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. Two rarities seen here on a past tour were White-backed Night-Heron and Thickbilled Cuckoo. We’ll later transfer to Entebbe.
Overnight: Boma Hotel (BB).
You’ll be transferred to the Airport for your outbound flight.
What is included?
- Airport pickup/drop off.
- Recently introduced 18% VAT on accommodation at all facilities as per our standard itineraries.
- All ground transportation in a 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser with roof-hatches.
- Accommodation in standard twin / single rooms.
- Meals as described in the itinerary (BB, HB, or FB).
- Services of an English speaking driver guide.
- Fuel for the entire trip.
- Bottled drinking water, tea and coffee while in transit.
- All National Park, game reserves and sanctuary entrance fees.
- All activities described in the itinerary unless described as extras.
What is not included?
- Pre/post tour accommodation, day room charges and meals.
- Cost of a gorilla permit which is US $ 600 at the moment.
- Insurance of any kind.
- Emergency rescue flight costs local or international.
- Tips and gratitude to your driver/guide/hotel staff etc.
- All expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone bills etc.
- Bank transfer charges of US $ 30 per transfer.
- Any service not mentioned in the inclusions.