Uganda Birdwatching & Culture Safari | 14 Days

14 Days Uganda Birdwatching & Culture Safari

2pax: per person sharing

Visiting: Mabamba Bay, Lake Mburo NP, Mgahinga NP, Bwindi Impenetrable NP, Queen Elizabeth NP, Kibale ForestNP.

What to Expect

  • You will spot ‘the most sought after species’, including the Shoebill, African Finfoot, Rwenzori Nightjars, Shelly’s Crimsonwing, Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s broadbill, Green-breasted Pitta.
  • Stunning water birds on Kazinga channel boat ride.
  • Overwhelming species of unique monkeys.
  • Chimpanzee Trek – Optional.
  • Gorilla Trek – Optional.
  • Join a coffee roasting class and reconnect with more local community life experiences.

Route Map

14 Days – Uganda birding safari and Cultural safari – the birdwatchers haven.

Close to 1080 species have been recorded in this tropical country described as ‘the pearl of Africa.’ Although the peak birding season is during rainy season months of March to May and September to November when birds are most active and breeding, Uganda still remains the finest birding destination all year round.

On this 14 Days Uganda bird watching and Cultural tour, you will spot ‘the most sought after bird species’ in Uganda, including the Shoebill, African Finfoot, Rwenzori Nightjars, Shelly’s Crimsonwing, Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s broadbill, Green-breasted Pitta. Additionally expect to spot stunning water birds on Kazinga channel boat ride safari. This safari will spoil you with overwhelming species of unique monkeys around Kibale Forest everyday.

Lastly, one evening you could opt to reconnect with local people. Join a coffee roasting class or basket making class or simply learn the process of making traditional local banana beer, which further heads into distilling process making local gin.

14 Days; Uganda Birdwatching and cultural safari

Day 0: Arrival at Entebbe.
Arrival at Entebbe airport and transfer to your hotel in Entebbe City. You will meet with our guide for orientation.
No Meals:  included.

Day 1: Uganda birding – Bird Mabamba Wetland Bay – Shoebill

Early breakfast and then with packed lunch proceed to bird the Mabamba Wetlands. At Mabamba Swamp, most of the birding is done on a canoe, paddled by our local guides. Look out for the Shoebill both in the sky and down in the marsh. Also, watch out for the; Swamp Flycatcher, African Purple Swamp Hen, African Water Rail, African Jacana, African Pigmy Goose, White-faced Whistling Duck, Squacco Heron, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Winding Cisticola, Goliath Heron, and, Yellow-billed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Long-toed Plover, Rare sightings may include Black Crake, African Green Pigeon, Common Moorhen, Blue-headed Coucal. Transfer back to Entebbe. Evening we head back to botanical gardens for some sightings like the Storks, Black-winged Stilt, doves, Turacos, Kingfishers, Hornbills, Sunbirds, Starlings, Weavers. If you are lucky you may also see the Brown and Grey Parrot, Klaas’s, Diederik, and Red-Chested Cuckoo among others.  Transfer back to your hotel in Entebbe.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included.

Day 2: Uganda Birding – Lake Mburo National Park.

This morning, we leave Entebbe for Lake Mburo National Park to enjoy some typical countryside and game birding. we pass via Mpanga forest. look out for Copper Sunbird and Klaas’s Cuckoo, African Pied Hornbill, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Red-tailed Greenbul. when lucky we can see Western Nicator in the forest. We continue to Lake Mburo national park passing via equator. There are chances of seeing Lilac-breasted Roller, Wahlberg’s and Long-crested Eagles, Eurasian Kestrel, Gray-backed Fiscal and Bare-faced Go away- bird. Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Singing Cisticolas, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Red-necked and Crested Francolins, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Crowned Lapwing, a Brown Snake-Eagle and African Blackheaded Oriole.

Overnight: at your accommodation at edge of lake Mburo national park.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 3: Uganda Birding – Lake Mburo National Park

Today we explore the woodlands and thickets of Uganda’s smallest game park. This park is known for woodland species. Some species that you would describe as being at their furthest northern range. The main specie focus at lake Mburo NPK is to search for African fin foot a rare specie on shores of lake mburo papyrus. The park boasts of an extensive open acacia woodland missed with savannah, rolling hills, open grassy valleys and five smaller lakes.
You will head out on a safari birding drive in th epark. Expect to spot Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue- napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Red-faced Barbet, Spot-flanked Barbet, Black-chested Snake Eagle, Larks, Pipits, Long tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis among others birds.
In the afternoon, at 2pm you will we take a boat ride searching to spot the African Finfoot and other good species.  Along the boat ride we scan through the shoreline and the hanging riverine thickets, for views of the Black Crake, White-backed Night-heron, African Finfoot that and several African Fish-Eagles, Giant Kingfisher. Our weaver list continued to grow Spectacled Weaver and we also saw Grey-capped WarblerBefore dinner try the African Scops Owl, Swamp, Black-shouldered and Freckled Nightjars among other birds. We continue our drive back to the lodge.

In terms of mammal sightings – this is probably the best parks to see the giant Eland as well as Zebra, Topi, Impala Burchell’s Zebra, Buffalo & Hippopotamus, the more uncommon Klipspringer.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 4: Uganda Birding –  Transfer to Mgahinga gorilla national park.

Today we transfer to Mgahinga gorilla national park, towering the virunga volcanoes, we scan for Augur Buzzard, Black-breasted Snake eagles. Stop at some Papyrus swamps for White-winged and Greater Swamp Warblers. Lookout for Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and African Stone-chat. We scan again for Doherty’s Bushshrike and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo. We head to our lodge ready for birding the next morning.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 5: Uganda Birding – Birding Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

We head out early towards mountain Sabinyo to the looking for Albertine Rift endemics. Cape Robin-Chat, Yellow Bishop, Streaky Seed-eater and Plain Martins. Cinnamon Bracken Warbler and Archer’s Robin-Chat. Enjoy this scenic montane forest park, scan for Kandt’s Waxbill which has been split from Black-headed Waxbill, Western and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds, Albertine rift endemics that included the Regal and Stuhlmann’s Sunbirds, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Turaco, Red-faced Woodland Warbler and Stripe-breasted Tit. Mountain Yellow Warbler, Dusky-turtle Dove, Chubb’s Cisticola, Thick-billed Seedeater, Chestnut-throated Apalis. After long day birding you will retire at your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 6: Uganda Birding – Birding to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park –  Ruhija gate

Please note that it is possible to go on gorilla trek today. the decision to go on gorilla trekking today will depend on availability of gorilla permits at the time of booking! 

Today we transfer to Bwindi national park- Ruhija eastern sector, known as Africa’s number one birding spot. We stop at Echuya forest, where we scan for Mountain Sooty Boubou, Ruwenzori and Black-faced Apalises, Mountain Yellow Warbler, a few Banded Prinia individuals undergrowth, White-browed Crombec, Brown-capped Weaver, Northern Puff-back.

We stop again at the marsh on the highway looking for Grauer’s Swamp Warbler and the stop at a papyrus around Lake Bunyonyi looking for Red-chested Flufftail. We search for Doherty’s Bushshrike and Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo. The L’Hoest and Blue Monkeys are the primates likely to encounter on this trail. We head to our lodge ready for Mountain Gorilla tracking the coming morning. Later evening you will check in at your lodge neighbouring Bwindi Impenetrable national park.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 7: Uganda Birding – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Ruhija

Ruhija is located eastern part of Bwindi Impenetrable National park is well known for being Africa’s number one birding spot. Grauer’s Broadbill is the usual one of the main sought after bird today. Other species to look out for include; Black-tailed Oriole, Black-throated Apalis and Dusky Tit. Yellow-streaked Greenbul. On a lucky day you can spot, Narina Trogon, Black-billed Turaco (the green turacos are unmistakable when seen in flight, they flash spectacular red wings.

White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, and Grauer’s Swamp Warbler. Purple-breasted, Blue-headed Regal sunbird, Rwenzori double coloured sunbird, Archers Robin-chat, Dohytes bush shrike, Collared Apalis, Caruthers’s Cisticola, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Dwarf honeyguide, Mountain masked Apalis, Rwenzori batis.

Wallers and Stuhlmann’s Starlings and the attractive White-headed Wood-hoopoes. There are also chances of seeing monkeys including L’Hoest’s, blue, red-tailed and guereza colobus, monkey and back fronted duikers. You will transfer back to your lodge

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 8: Uganda Gorilla trekking- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – Neck – Buhoma

Today is the big day… Today our guide will pick you up from your lodge, at 7.30am transfer to park gate. Pre-tracking orientation starts at 8:00 am. Trekking through the thick jungle, traversing canopies of thick undergrowth can be tough, wet, strenuous but not impossible – the tracking can last from as little as 45 minutes to as much as 10 hours. The activity depends on the location of gorillas the previous day. Visitors, therefore, are supposed to move along with packed/picnic lunch and water, and should be equipped with strong water-proof clothing and must be averagely healthy.

Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Uganda’s very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

After gorilla tracking, you will transfer to Buhoma through the famous “neck” we look for Mountain Wagtail Little Green, Green, Olive and Blue-throated Brown sunbirds and plain greenbul, Little, Gray, Toro Olive, Red-tailed, and Shelley’s, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, White-tailed Anti-thrush, flitting views of the shy Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Cassin’s and Dusky Blue Flycatchers and  Scaly-breasted Illadopsis.  We check in at our lodge viewing Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 9: Uganda Birding – Buhoma forest trail

Today we scan for Guinea-Congo forest and Albertine rift species. We do birding the secondary forest, look out for Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Grey Green Bush-shrike, Grey and Buff-throated Apalis, Grey-headed and White-breasted Nigritas.

In the primary forest, we scan for Red-throated Alethe. undergrowth we search for White-tailed Anti-Thrush, the skittish Mountain Illadopsis, Equatorial Akalat, Red-tailed Bristlebill, and flocks of Red-tailed Greenbul. Shelley’s Greenbul, Cabanis’s Greenbul, woodpeckers like the large Golden-crowned, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Oriole Finch, the warbler-like Grey-headed Sunbird. Willcocks’s Honeyguide, Pink-footed Puffback, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler. Short-tailed warbler, Red-throated alethe, Chapin’s flycatcher, Kivu ground thrush, Blue-headed sunbird, Blue shouldered Robin-chat, Bar-tailed tragon, Dusky longtailed cuckoo, Purple breasted sunbird. Later you will head back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 10: Uganda Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today we leave the mountains and transfer to lowland Savanah in the rift valley. We look out for raptors like Gabar Goshawk, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk and Banded Snake-Eagle. Impressive views of Wing-snapping, Croaking and Stout Cisticolas, White-winged Widowbird, White-headed Barbet, Pin-tailed Whydah, and Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike. Grey-backed fiscal as well.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 11: Queen Elizabeth National Park – Birding  Game drive safari  &  boat ride safari

After early breakfast, head out for a morning game drive while birding. There are chances of finding lions, hyenas, elephants, vultures, hawks, cuckoos. Lunch at the Lodge and at 2pm, you will  go on boat ride (for 2 hours) on the Kazinga Channel to see a a unique combination  stunning birdlife, wildlife like, hippos & crocodiles. This boat ride normally targets congregations of birds and big game when they come down to cool off during the heat of the day. There are chances of finding Square-tailed and Black-shouldered Nightjars in the evening after 7 pm.

The Kazinga channel is a narrow strip of water that connects Lakes George and Edward. Look out for birds like Yellow-billed Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, Raptors, Plovers, White-browed Robin-chat, Rufous napped Lark, Red-chested Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Shrikes, Weavers, Finches, African Spoonbills, a few African Skimmers, Gull-billed and White-winged Terns, Curlew Sandpipers, Common, Marsh and Wood Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, one Ruff, Little Stint. If you’re lucky you can observe three Gulls; Lesser black-backed, Heuglin’s and Grey-hooded Gull, both Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Red-throated Bee-eaters.

Queen Elizabeth National Park  is Uganda’s second-largest national park. It has the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world. This is evidenced by the presence of open savannah, rainforest, dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes, and the vast Lake Edward. Queen Elizabeth National Park has almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 612 bird species hence making it a superb safari destination.

Today after boat ride, you will transfer two and half hours to Kibale forest national park and check in at your accommodation at the edge of the park.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 12:  Kibale forest National park- Morning Birding and Chimpanzee Tracking.

Today morning we have a short drive very early morning to  Kanyanchu- the starting point for Kibale forest park. We head out into the forest. Our morning focus while birding will be to search for the elusive Green-breasted Pitta. The Pitta is one of the most sought after bird species in Uganda. With the guidance of the site guide and rangers, we are hopeful to boost our chances of finding the Green-breasted Pitta.

Later we return to our lodge for a hot lunch before returning to the forest to walk to see Chimpanzees in the wild at 2 pm. Approximately 5,000 chimpanzees live in the wild in Uganda. In Kibale Forest National Park, you will find one of the largest populations of chimpanzees in Africa – about 1450 individuals. Kibale N.P is an extension of the great rainforests of Central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, each with over 120 individuals. Later you will transfer to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 13: Uganda Birding – Kibale Forest – Bigodi wetland Sanctuary,

Today morning you will head out on birding walk around Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a community-based initiative  outside Kibale forest national park and one of the most successful few in the country. With our site guide from the community, we walked around and through the papyrus. We search for the White-spotted Flufftail, Hairy-breasted Barbet, African Shrike Flycatcher, and a Shinning Blue Kingfisher.

Key primate sightings to expect include: Uganda Red Colobus and Uganda Mangabey, Guereza colobus and retailed monkeys.

You could also opt to try another sighting of Green-breasted Pitta, Please note this is optional at extra cost.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

Day 14 : Birding Kibale forest and transfer to Entebbe City.

Today you will do limited birding along the road, we look out for Black Bee-eater along forest edges, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush.

Today afternoon is more of a driving day 6 hours to Entebbe City. Being a transfer day, we only do very few stops.

End of trip services.

Price Includes

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers as per itinerary
  • All other transfers as per itinerary
  • Transportation on safari in Toyota 4×4 Landcruiser
  • English-speaking driver/ bird guide (exclusive use of vehicle)
  • Park entrance fees and activities as per itinerary
  • Gorilla and chimpanzee tracking arrangements as indicated in the itinerary
  • 1 chimpanzee tracking permit – $200 per person (we can arrange it for you, inform us at booking)
  • Mineral water in the vehicle
  • Accommodation in self-contained rooms as indicated on the itinerary ( Midrange or Comfort)
  • Meals: Full Board – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Private transfer to Entebbe International Airport

Price Excludes

  • International flights into and out of Uganda.
  • 1 gorilla trekking permits – $700 per person (we can arrange it for you, inform us at booking)
  • Any additional optional activities, such as chimpanzee habituation ( all day experience).
  • Health Vaccinations
  • Drinks (softdrink, beer, wine, spirits…)
  • Ugandan visas: single entry visa costs US$50 and it is required for all countries that require visas for Ugandans (principle of reciprocity). It can be obtained on arrival at Entebbe airport.
  • Medical and travel insurance.
  • Covid PCR test.
  • Tips, gratuities, telephone
  • Items of personal nature (expenses like laundry, spa services)
  • Any other concept not indicated as included.

14 Days Uganda Birdwatching & Culture Safari – Accommodation:

Private en-suite rooms in carefully selected small boutique Lodges as indicated below. Standards of the lodgings are generally very comfortable. Internet access is available but wifi access can be slow.

  • 1 night at Guinea Fowl Entebbe
  • 2 nights at Rwakobo Rock  with breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • 2 nights at Travellers Rest Hotel  with breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • 2 nights at Bakiga Lodge  with breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • 2 nights at Ride4woman  with breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • 1 night at Bush Lodge  with breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • 3 nights at Isunga Lodge  with breakfast, lunch & dinner

Things to know about gorilla trekking on this birdwatching tour:

Gorilla permits: Anyone on this birdwatching and culture safari wishing to trek to see Gorillas must obtain a permit/license in advance (we arrange it for you). The cost of the permit is currently US$700 per person and the demand for permits is very high daily. It is important that you reserve your place in advance when you make reservation for this birdwatching tour. Please inform our reservation expert whether you’re interested in gorilla tracking at time of booking.  Gorilla Permits are non-refundable!.

Difficulty: A reasonable level of fitness is required for the gorilla trek though the pace is not overly fast.  The trek can involve several hours of strenuous walking on steep slopes and off-trail so you will need to be able to walk through dense forest and up and down slopes. The walk can take anywhere from a few hours to all day and quite often the gorillas can be found within a few hours. Sometimes, however it may take longer – 10 hours  round trip as these are indeed wild animals and their movements can be erratic. The ranger guides will have the latest information from advance ‘team of trackers’ on the whereabouts of the family, you’re visiting during the trek briefing. Rangers have taken many people including those over 75 years to successfully see these amazing creatures. Practically gorilla trekking is a highly organised activity.

Hiring a porter: Given high elevation (over 2000m), to ease your walking, hiring a local helper (porter) is recommended. Porters are hired at a small fee ($15) to carry your backpack along the path. All helpers hired come from local villages. They do not only carry your day pack, but assist you with a helping hand to manoeuvre difficult spots. By hiring a porter you are supporting the community to continue promoting conservation of these gorillas. Regardless of your fitness level, we highly recommend hiring a porter as some tracks can be very muddy and elevation can affect even the most fit person.

If for any reason you do not opt for the Gorilla trek, there will be birding opportunities offered. If you have any questions about Gorilla trekking, please contact us

Clothing: Sturdy footwear recommended for walks. Lightweight long pants, t-shirt and long-sleeved shirt, over the top of which you can wear layers that can be taken off as necessary, including a rain-proof jacket. Neat casual attire for dinners. Shorts and sandals or thongs (flip-flops) are acceptable for non-birding time.

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