Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe
You arrive at Entebbe International Airport where you will be met by a representative from Africa Uzuri Safaris who will transfer you to your booked accommodation in Entebbe. Early arrivals can be introduced to birding around Entebbe preferable in the Botanical Gardens which produces great results. Right at the entrance in the tall trees, one usually finds a pair of Verreaux’s eagle owls. Closer to the water’s edge the key birds to get are orange-tufted and red-chested sunbird, as well as orange weaver. Along the lakes’ edge, one can find long-tailed cormorant, common squacco and black-headed herons, hamerkop, African open-billed stork, grey-headed gull, various terns, giant and pied kingfishers, and swamp flycatcher. Collared pratincoles are often present and the stunning black headed gonolek and red- chested sunbird occur at the Botanical Gardens. Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation within Entebbe.
Your guide will also join you at dinner and explain the plan of action for tomorrows’ assault on Mabira Forest as well as day 2’s search for the mythical shoebill in Mabamba.
Day 2: Birding Mabamba
One of the most reliable places to view Shoebill, the most sought after Bird in Africa is found a short distance from Kampala.
Mabamba Swamp is a large marshland cris-crossed by various channels that provide the perfect habitat for countless waterbirds besides the elusive shoebill. A variety of other water species to search for include the papyrus Gonolek, Stripped Kingfisher, swamp flycatcher, winding cisticola, malachite kingfisher, black-headed weavers, yellow-billed duck, long-toed lapwing, African jacana and blue-headed coucal and many more. , banded martin, grey-rumped and Angola swallows, African pygmy goose, rufous-bellied and purple heron, blue-breasted bee-eater, black crake, African marsh harrier, fan-tailed widowbird white-faced Whistling duck, Fulvous whistling duck, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Common Squaco Heron, long-toed Plover, African Water rail, Brown snake Eagle, Eurasian Hobby are not hard to find, and occasionally one can also be rewarded with the rare and endangered blue swallow. Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation in Entebbe.
Day 3: Transfer to Budongo Forest
This morning, we start our transfer to Budongo Forest and the Murchison Falls National Park area, proceeding north toward the town of Masindi. En route we will look for white-crested turaco, long-crested eagle, Wahlberg’s eagle, black-winged kite, African harrier-hawk to mention but a few. We will spend most of today in the vast Budongo Forest Reserve, the largest natural forest area in East Africa, so we will carry packed lunch.
Once in Budongo, we look for buff-spotted flufftail, tambourine dove, blue malkoha, chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and African dwarf, the hulking white-thighed hornbill, yellow-spotted, hairy-breasted and yellow-billed barbets and their cousins, speckled, yellow-throated and yellow-rumped tinkerbirds, Puvel’s Illadopsis and Nahan’s Francolin, Yellow-billed barbet, Grey-throated barbet, Honey-guide Greenbull, Chocolate-bakced Kingfisher, white-headed Saw-wing, white Wagtail, black-eared Ground-thrush, Little Crake, Chestnut-capped flycatcher, African paradise flycatcher. Others are Western oriole, green hylia, grey and yellow longbills, the rarely encountered Uganda woodland warbler, grey, buff-throated, black-throated, and the stunning black-capped apalises, rufous-crowned eremomela, green and the elusive lemon-bellied crombec, fraser’s forest flycatcher, purple-headed starling, little green, grey-headed sunbirds, yellow-mantled weaver and a lot more.
Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation in Masindi
Day 4: Bird Murchison Falls National Park
This morning we will proceed towards Murchison Falls. En route we will stop at Kaniyo Pabidi to look for Puvel’s Illadopsis and spot some chimpanzees. Further along we will bird the vicinity of Sambiya River Lodge. This area holds a very different diversity of birds including brown-backed woodpecker, brown babbler, red-winged warbler, purple starling, chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, black-bellied firefinch, cabanis’ and brown-rumped buntings, white-breasted cuckoo-shrike and red-winged pytilia and a lot more in and around this area.
Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation
Day 5: Albert Nile Delta and Murchison Falls
Today we will depart with packed lunches towards the northern sectors of the park where the best birding and most of the game in this park is to be found. The wide expanse of grasslands and whistling acacias to the north of the Nile holds a number of typical dry savanna birds such as the majestic-looking Secretary bird, black-chested snake eagle, tawny and martial eagle, shikra, dark chanting goshawk, harlequin quail, Heuglin’s francolin, helmeted guinea fowl, collared pratincole, black-headed lapwing, swallow-tailed and northern carmine bee-eaters to mention some.
Driving along the Niles edge, we should be able to view intermediate egrets, goliath and purple herons, woolly-necked and yellow-billed storks, hamerkop, Egyptian and spur-winged geese, osprey, African fish eagle, black crake, African swamphen, the majestic Grey-crowned Crane (Uganda’s national bird), Senegal thick-knee, long-toed and spur-winged lapwings, African jacana, malachite and giant kingfishers and the dainty wire-tailed swallow. Colonies of colorful red-throated bee-eater or loquacious pied kingfisher populate the river banks.
Mammals that we will see include lions, leopard, giraffe, African buffalo, Uganda kob, oribi, waterbuck, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, bushbuck, warthog, bush pig, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and bat-eared fox. If we are lucky we may see groups of the shy patas monkey.
In the late afternoon, we will go on launch boat trip along the Victoria Nile to the base of Murchison Falls, viewing Nile crocodile, Hippos and birds en route. There’s a good chance of seeing shoebills as well. Interestingly, this is where part of the movie The African Queen was filmed. Once at the bottom of the falls, climb to the top of the falls as your bird.
Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation
Day 6: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park
Today we leave for Kibale Forest, a long yet interesting drive.
We will stop very briefly at the Butiaba escarpment to search for specials, depending on our timing, as our drive is approximately eight hours. Leaving the Rift Valley we pass through beautiful agricultural countryside where an abundance of people, fruit, vegetables and subsistence farming becomes evident.
We will have packed lunches along and take our lunch en route. We reach Kibale Forest in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation.
Days 7 – 8: Birding Kibale Forest
One of these days we will embark on a Chimpanzee trek, in Kibale, our chances of finding these, our closest living relatives, are excellent.
Kibale National Park will be today’s birding destination. The towering Kibale Forest has the highest primate concentration and species diversity of any reserve in East Africa. Primate highlights might include sightings of localized central African red colobus, handsome L’Hoest’s monkey and the scruffy grey-cheeked mangabey.
Birding Kibale Forest, we look for the Green-breasted Pitta, Brown Illadopsis, Brown-capped Weaver, Brown-chested Alethe, Black-headed Owl, African/Rwenzori/Abyssinian Hill Barbbler, Alpine Swift, Ashy Flycather, Barn Swallow, Black bee-eater, Black Cuckoo, Black cuckoo-shrike, Black and white Casqued Hornbill, Black and white Mannikin. Others are the globally threatened White-naped Pigeons, Red-chested Owlet, Narina Trogon, white-headed wood hoopoe, dusky-blue flycatcher, shrike-Flycatcher, green-headed sunbirds, chestnut wattle-eye and a lot more.
We will also do a walk to the Bigodi swamp which is a good site to see white-winged warbler, papyrus gonolek and with luck papyrus canary.
All meals and overnight at your booked accommodation.
Day 9: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Today we leave Kibale and head for Queen Elizabeth National Park. The drive passes through Fort Portal and then south along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains, where you can sometimes see the glaciated peaks. We again descend into The Great African Rift Valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
You start early for a game drive and birding the Mweya Peninsular and in the afternoon we take a boat on the Kazinga Channel. You will look out for the African Skimmer, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, White-winged Terns, Swamp Fly-catchers, Grey-capped Warbler, Grey-headed Kingfisher, African Jacana, Common Squacco Heron, brown snake Eagle, grey Kestrel, red-necked Spurfowl, harlequin quail, Senegal and crowned lapwings, African Fish Eagle, Egyptian Goose, Papyrus Canary, Great White and pink-backed Pelicans, the marsh-dwelling black coucal, blue-breasted bee-eater, greater honeyguide, blacklobred babbler, southern red bishop, flocks of red-billed quelea, firefinch to mention but a few.
Almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 606 bird species makes 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 a marvelous waterfront setting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Overnight and dinner at your booked accommodation
Day 10: QEP to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP
After breakfast we drive through the park’s Ishasha sector in search for the famous tree-climbing lions.
Later we head south on a five-and-a-half hour journey to Bwindi Impenetrable Park (a World Heritage Site) and passing through the scenic landscape.
Birding en route, and on arrival will be weaved into the day depending on road progress and arrival time in Buhoma.
Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation.
Day 11: Gorilla Trekking and Birding Buhoma
After breakfast, your guide will drive you to the Park Headquarters for a briefing from the Uganda Wildlife Authority Game rangers and guides who will take you through the dos and don’ts when you get close the Gorilla Group you are tacking today. After your briefing, park guides will lead you into the thick brush of the Bwindi forest – tracking where the gorillas are stationed for that day. The trek through the forest in search of the Gorillas can be gruelling – taking between 2-8 hours but it is fun all the way as you come across natural streams that have drained the Bwindi ecosystem for centuries. The terrain is rough and at times muddy so bring a pair of jungle boots/good canvas shoes, a rain coat, a pair of binoculars and the rangers will provide you with a walking stick. When you encounter the gorillas, all your fatigue will be forgotten, as the experience is indeed the most profound natural experiences in the wild. You will spend 1 hour in the presence of these gentle giants. For conservation purposes, the 1 hour is mandatory as just 680 of these endangered Great apes remain in the world and more than half of them are in Uganda. You will then return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Dinner and overnight in Bwindi N
Day 12: Buhoma
Today we will bird some of the forest trails leading out from camp. Species we will search for include the Rufous-chested Fluff tail, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Pink Footed and Northern Puff Back, Red-tailed Honey Guide, Toro Olive, Cameroon Sombre, Slender Billed- Little Grey, Shelley’s Crimson-wing, Cabani’s-white-Throated and Yellow-wiskered Greenbuls, Elliots, Cardinals, Yellow Crested, Fine Banded woodpeckers, Red-throated Allethe, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Black-faced Woodland Warbler, White-headed Wood Hopoe, Wallers Stulmans and Narrow-tailed Starlings, Black Bee Eater, Banded and White Chinned Prinia, Northern Double Collard, Collard, Green, Green-headed Sunbirds, Bar-tailed Tragon, Kivu Ground Thrush, African Broad Bill, Red-chested Owlet, Neumann’s Warbler, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher and a lot more. Return to lodge for overnight stay and dinner.
Other wildlife that we may be fortunate enough to find here include blue and red-tailed monkeys, chimpanzee and several species of squirrels.
Dinner and overnight in Bwindi NP
Day 13: Buhoma to Ruhija
Today, we bird enroute to Ruhija in search of Red-throated Wryneck, Village Indigobird, Variable sunbirds, African Golden weavers, Yellow Bisho, Copper and Variable Sunbirds, Baglafetcht, Black Sparrowhawk, White-chinned Prinia, Mountain Wagtail, Pink-footed puffback, Western Bronze-named Pigeon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater. Others are Dusky twinspot, African stonechat, thick-billed seedeaters, African citril, Chubb’s cisticola, Doherty’s bushrike and many more. Once in Ruhija, marvel at the scenery and view over Bwindi’s steep, forested valleys. If it is clear, we may be able to see the distant Virunga Volcanoes that straddle the Uganda / Rwanda / DRC border.
Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation
Day 14: Ruhija
Today, we will spend the day exploring the so-called Gorilla highland forest area in search for Rwenzori Hill babbler, Grauer’s warbler, Shelly’s Crimson-wing, Dusky Crimson-wing, archer’s robit-chat, regal sunbird, blue-headed sunbird, dwarf honey-guide, Collared Apalis and many more. Continue on the trail to Mubwindi Swamp in search for the African green broadbill. The swamp holds Grauer’s rush warbler and Carruther’s cisticola.
Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation
Day 15: Ruhija to Mburo NP
This morning we commence our transfer to Lake Mburo National Park with a lunch stop in Mbarara town at the Igongo Cultural Centre.
Once in Lake Mburo, on land and water, we will be on the lookout for species including African marsh harrier, African hawk-eagle, white-headed cultures, white-backed, lappet-faced, brown snake eagle. Lake Mburo’s woodlands are the northern-most example of the southern African savanna system and are therefore home to several species at the edge of their range.
We will also search for mousebirds, lilac-breasted roller, striped kingfisher, green wood hoopoe, common scimitarbill, spot-flanked barbet, nubian and bearded woodpeckers, several swallows including lesser striped, red-breasted, mosque, red-rumped and white-headed saw-wing, crested and coqui francolins, emerald-spotted wood dove, red-chested, jacobin, levaillant’s, klaas’s and dideric cuckoos, blue-naped and speckled black cuckooshrike, white-browed scrub robin, trilling cisticola, blue-eared starling, marico sunbird and red-headed weaver. Specials we will watch for include African finfoot, long-tailed cisticola and green-capped eremomela. Dinner and overnight at your booked accommodation
Day 16: Mburo NP to Entebbe
This morning we will spend some time birding the acacia woodlands. At the Kigambira Loop, we will look for savanna and Acacia woodland species including blue-naped mousebird, spot-flanked barbet, nubian woodpecker, northern black tit, red-headed lovebird, green-capped eremomela, Ross’ turaco and the highly sought-after red-faced barbet.
After lunch, we will drive through to Entebbe (5 hour drive) where the trip will come to an end in Entebbe.
Dinner and overnight in Entebbe
Day 17: Departure
This morning, and depending on your departing flights, you could visit the UWEC (zoo) as an optional activity for a behind the scene special where you get a chance to feed the giraffe, Lion, Leopard. Your guide will be available to transfer you to the airport for your flight back home.