Uganda, The Birders Paradise

Uganda is a birder's paradise.  Over half of all bird species in Africa can be found in Uganda making it the richest African birding destination.  Also, has 10% of the world’s bird species. Even within the surroundings of the capital city Kampala, you can record nearly 300 species in a day, and all this is thanks to the richly diverse of habitats from the scenic shores of Lake Victoria to the lush forests of the Albertine Rift and the banks of the mighty Nile River. Your activities on this Safari will include: Birding, Game drives, Nature Walks, Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking and scenic beauty.

Day 1

Arrival at Entebbe Airport. You will be met by our professional guide at the Entebbe International Airport and transferred to nearby the Boma Hotel Entebbe or Silver Springs Hotel for refreshing and resting depending on your time of arrival.

Day 2: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park.

After breakfast we transfer to Lake Mburo, arriving in the afternoon with a game drive in the park. Start with birding Mabamba for Shoebill. Early breakfast, then out to Mabamba Wetlands about 50km west of Entebbe area on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the few remaining swamps in the country 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. At Lake Mburo there is a superb wetland and Acacia savanna sanctuary. Birding here is a delightful experience, with superb scenery and a markedly different fauna to other reserves. This is the best place in the country to see game animals such as Eland as well as Zebra, Topi, Impala, and acacia-associated birds. The lakes within the park attract Hippos, Crocodiles and a variety of water birds, while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as Sitatunga, plus much rarer Roan, Leopard, Hyenas and Jackals. Stay at Rwakobo Rock Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Whole Day In The Park – Game Viewing & Boat Cruise

On this day, we have a game drive in the park. Later in the afternoon, we have a boat trip. Look out for mammals like Water Buck, Impala, Eland, Buffalo, Topi, Burchells’ Zebra, Bush Buck, Warthog, and Dwarf Mongoose. Stay at Rwakobo Rock Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

After breakfast, we have another game drive as we drive out of the park towards Bwindi Impenetrable forest. The Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to approximately half of the world population of 600 Mountain Gorillas. This vast reserve offers arguably the most productive montane forest birding in Africa and supports 23 of Uganda's 24 Albertine Rift endemic bird species found here. Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighboring Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is now an ecological island within a sea of human cultivation and therefore of immense conservation importance. Buhoma lies in the valley of the Munyaga River at 5100 feet and is flanked by steep, forested hills. Excellent forest birding, not least the prospect of numerous rare and localised Albertine Rift endemics, makes this a true birding Mecca.Stay at Buhoma Community camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest And Visit To Pygmies

After breakfast, with our packed lunch, to the park headquarters for a briefing prior to your Gorilla trekking adventure. This is the most exciting lifetime experience of all time. The gorillas are gentle animals and it is an unforgettable experience to photograph them as they interact. 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; 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. We will spend the balance of our time here looking for other primates like the Lehoist Monkey, Black and White Colobus; Red tailed, and Blue monkeys. Mammals include the Rwenzori Duiker, Yellow back duiker, Caruthers squirrel, Bohm’s and Alexander squirrels, and many other species. We have a Village Walk around the Buhoma Community (Optional) we will visit the Batwa and you will observe their ways of living. The Batwa/pygmies were given land upon relocation from the forest and most of their basic needs are taken care of. The money they receive out of the village walk is, therefore, used to buy clothes and food. They also use the money from sale of crafts for recreational purposes, reading and buying of alcohol. You will also observe how they go about the process of juice making. We will also visit the traditional healer and you will observe how he treats ailments using tree bark, leaves, and some animal material. He dresses in goat and cow skin to preserve the way traditional healers used to dress. You will also be taken through tea plantations and 10 sites that describe the way of life of the Buhoma Community. Stay at Buhoma Community camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

We drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. If conditions are conducive, we will drive through the Ishasha section which is famed for the presence of tree climbing lions. If lucky, you may have a view of these magnificent creatures as they bask in the trees. This afternoon upon arrival, we may have an evening game drive in the park. This Park is from open savannah to rainforest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes to the vastness of Lake Edward, it is little wonder that Queen Elizabeth National park boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world. Almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 612 bird species make this superb safari territory, with elephant, a profusion of hippos, the elusive giant forest hog and handsome Uganda Kob all regularly sighted around the tourist village on the Mweya Peninsula - which also boasts of a marvelous waterfront setting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains. Stay at Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Game Drive In The Park And Launch Cruise On The Kazinga Channel

We start early at dawn with an early cup of coffee and go for a game drive to look for the big game and beautiful sceneries. This afternoon, after our lunch at the lodge, we have a boat cruise on the spectacular Kazinga Channel. This will give you opportunity to site water birds. Stay at Ihamba Lakeside Safari Lodge dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Transfer to Kibale National Park.

We transfer to Kibale forest. We carry our packed lunch which we shall enjoy on the way. Check in at Chimpanzee Guest House. Kibale's major attraction, however, is the opportunity to track habituated chimps – these delightful apes, more closely related to humans than to any other living creature, are tremendous fun to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. A network of shady forest trails provides much to delight botanists and butterfly lovers, while birders are in for a treat with 335 species. The elusive forest elephant, smaller and hairier than its savannah counterpart, moves seasonally into the  developed part of the park, while other terrestrial mammals include buffalo, giant forest hog and a half dozen antelope species. Stay at Chimpanzee Guest House for dinner and overnight.

Day 9: Chimpanzee Trekking & Birding At Kibale National Park.

We start after a dawn breakfast, carry packed lunch and go to the forest for chimp trekking. Trekking the chimpanzee that is our 'cousin' is a very interesting experience. The way they feed, climb trees, respond to humans, caring for their young ones, is just phenomenal. This is a drama of life in a rain forest. This park is notable for its primate population, with the chimpanzees being the most famous in the afternoon. Abundant birds like; Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, Black-bellied Seedcraker, Green-backed Twinspot, Bicoloured Manikin, White-naped Pigeon, Afep Pigeon, Narina’s Trogon, Joyful Greenbul, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater and many others. This is home to Blue-Headed Coucal, Blue-Breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-Throated Honeyguide and Black-face Rufous Warbler. If time allows, it will be possible to have a nature walk at Bigodi wetland which is managed by the community. This demonstrates a successful story of the ecotourism development benefits.  After breakfast, you will head for the forest for a variety of birds!! Stay at Chimpanzee Guest House for dinner and overnight.

Day 10: Transfer to Masindi

On this day more time is spent on the road up North. This is one of the very dirt roads of Uganda. There shall be a few stops for birding along the way. A choice will be made by the guide on which road to use. All this will depend on the rain patterns in the area. Stay at Masindi Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 11:

After an early breakfast, full day bird watching at Budongo Kanio Pabide and look for some special birds. These include Rufous sided Broad bill, Puvell’sIlladopsis, Grey Longbill, Yellow Browed camaroptera, White Thighed Hornbill, and Red Tailed Ant thrush. We later cross the River Nile to Murchison Falls Conservation area (Murchison falls national park comprises of Bugungu and Karuma Wildlife Reserves. It  derives its name from the Murchison Falls where the mighty River Nile explodes through a narrow gorge and flows down to become a placid river whose banks are thronged with hippos, crocodiles, waterbucks and buffaloes. The vegetation is characterized by savannah, river line forest and woodland. Wildlife includes Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Hartebeest, Oribis, Uganda Kobs, Chimpanzees and many Bird species including the Rare Shoebill. Stay at Paraa Safari Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 12: Game Drive in Murchison Falls National Park.

We start after an early breakfast and go for a whole Morning game drive in the delta area. We will have lunch at the lodge.  We later take the afternoon launch cruise to the bottom of the falls. You will get closer to the edge of the water fall and see it plunging in the gorge from a 50 meters wide gorge down to a 7 meters gorge this is an interesting site that brings us to the closest distance to the magnificent falls. Stay at Paraa Safari Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 13: Morning Game Drive in Murchison Falls National Park.

After breakfast, we again have another chance to enjoy viewing the big game in the largest conservation area in Uganda, Lunch at the Lodge. Another evening game drive may offer opportunities of Nocturnal species of wildlife. Stay at Paraa Safari Lodge for lunch, dinner and overnight.

Day 14:

After breakfast, transfer to Kampala – Silver Springs Hotel – Lunch - dinner and overnight .

Day 15:

After breakfast, drive through Kampala's busy streets and visit the Sezibwa falls, Mabira forest for a 2-hrs Nature/birding trip, continue to Jinja for lunch at Gately on Nile, evening jinja town city tour, Bujagali falls and source of the Nile visit. Return and relax at the Gately Guest House.

Day 16:

After breakfast, Drive to Mbale for Sipi Falls through Mbale town for lunch at Mbale Resort Hotel and continue to Sipi for an overnight at Sipi River Lodge

Day 17:

After breakfast, Visit all the 3-falls at Sipi - with a guided Nature walk, visit the 3 falls at Sipi and the local community with chances of viewing the Karamoja plains on clear days. The area is rich in birds including; The Karamoja apalis, Lunch - and hike back for an overnight at Sipi River Lodge

Day 18:

After breakfast, transfer to Jinja for an overnight. (Lunch and dinner) Gately on the Nile

Day 19:

After breakfast, transfer to Kampala. Check in your hotel. Silver springs hotel for lunch dinner and overnight.

Day 20:

Kampala City tour, to Kasubi tombs, Kabaka’s palace, African market, Uganda Museum, cultural dance show in the evening (either National theater or Ndere Centre depending on the day of the week)

Day 21:

Departure day – After breakfast, Depending on your flight details, you will transfer to Entebbe The Bomah Hotel. Lunch. Or dinner