Uganda Birding & Gorilla Safari

19 Days | Uganda Birding & Gorilla Safari

This Uganda Birding & Gorilla Safari is a safari to explore Uganda – ‘the pearl of africa’ !, appreciating nature, bird watching. This tours takes you to Mabamba bay for Uganda Birding, Murchison Falls for boat cruise safaris, Kibale Forest National Park for Uganda Birding and Chimpanzee tracking and to many other amazing national parks in Uganda.

Highlights

  • Shoebill birding Mabamba bay
  • Birding & Boat cruise safari Murchison Falls, (optional rhino tracking)
  • Savannah Birding & Boat cruise safari on Kazinga channel- Queen Elizabeth
  • Birding & chimpanzee tracking in Kibale
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable
  • Forest Birding Albertine endemics in Bwindi impenetrable
  • Spectacular lake Bunyonyi, sightseeing volcanoes
  • Birding lake Mburo national park (optional game walking safari)
  • Village walk, visit pygmies and traditional medicine man experience.
  • Optional night walks/excursions

Need To Know

Please note that this tour ( at the time of booking) The last day ( return transfer ) of this tour you have the freedom to choose between options; either to fly back from Bwindi or drive back on a road trip.

You might want to drive by road ( 4-5 hours) and depart from Kigali airport ( Rwanda). The choice is all yours. Please inform tour consultant at the time of booking your preferred the option.

At the time of booking in the event that the listed hotel is fully booked or room unavailable, we will do our best to inform you and book a similar hotel of the same class available.

Detailed Itinerary

Uganda Birding & Gorilla Safari

This Uganda Birding & Gorilla Safari is a safari to explore Uganda – ‘the pearl of africa’ !, appreciating nature, bird watching. This tours takes you to Mabamba bay for Uganda Birding, Murchison Falls for boat cruise safaris, Kibale Forest National Park for Uganda Birding and Chimpanzee tracking and to many other amazing national parks in Uganda.

Arrive at Entebbe International Airport, our driver/guide will pick you on arrival. Subject to flight arrival time proceed to bird the botanical gardens looking out for birds like the Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, 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.

Overnight: High-end: Boma Hotel Entebbe

Meal plan: Dinner

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.

Bird your way through Kampala looking out for birds like African open billed Stork, Grey Kestrel,  Great Blue Turaco, Sunbirds, Weavers birds.

Dinner and Overnight: Athena hotel

Meal plan: Full Board

This huge and beautiful forest of 306sq. km can be explored via an extensive trail network. Mabira forest is of ornithological importance with over 300 bird species recorded here. The forest is one of the two forests in East Africa where the pretty Tit Hylia has been recorded and this rare bird is seen here with surprising regularity.  Other birds that you should expect to see here include the Great Blue Turacco, African Pita, Nahan’s Francolin, African Gray Parrot, Hornbill species and a variety of Sunbirds.

There is also an obelisk at the other side of the river to mark the spot where the English explorer John Speke first discovered the Source of the Nile in 1862 on his first visit to Uganda.

Mahatma Gandhi monument. When he died in 1948, his ashes were divided up and sent to many locations around the world to be scattered. Some of these ashes were scattered here at the Source of the Nile in Uganda. Have lunch transfer to Masindi Town.

Overnight: Kabalega Resort

We bird Budongos famous Royal Mile in the early morning. It is a wide forestry track considered by many to be the country’s premier forest birding locality. This is the best place in Uganda for Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Spinetail, and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher. There are many look alike forest Greenbuls to test us including; Spotted, Xaviers, White-throated, Red-tailed and Honeyguide Greenbuls. Canopy flocks support Yellow-mantled Weaver, Rufous Thrush and Uganda Woodland Warbler. The undergrowth along the track holds numerous skulkers including; Scaly-breasted, Brown and Pale-breasted Illadopses, Fire-crested Alethe, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Yellow Long-bill, and Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher.

Overnight: Budongo Ecolodge.

Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest National Park (3893sq.km) bisected by the mighty River Nile. Birding through  Budongo forest. Continue to Top of the Falls, view of the mighty Murchison Falls, the point where River Nile is squeezed through such a tiny space (7m gap) plunging 42m deep making one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. What a stunning sight, foaming, crashing white water rushing through narrow channels of stone and plunging down into a curving stretch of river below, silvery in the mid-day light. The payoff is a killer view back toward the falls, and down the Nile in another direction as your eye can see. A vivid rainbow arcs right across the plunging spray of the falls. You will be thrilled by this magical place and so glad that you need another day.

Dinner and Overnight: High-end: Paraa Safari lodge.

Meal plan: Full Board

Depart for early (6.30AM) game drive. Enjoy a 3 hour game safari, keep an eye out for the elephants, leopards, lions, warthogs and giraffes as well as large herds of animals such as oribi, Hartebeets, Kobs and buffalo, but please note – some wild animals like leopards, lions can be elusive! Look out for Abyssinian ground hornbill, Abyssinian Roller, Pied Kingfishers, vultures, goshawk, hawks  and many more.

 

At 2:00PM, we depart for a 3 hour boat cruise along the Victoria Nile to the bottom of Murchison falls. Along the way, you’ll be passing large numbers of giant Nile crocodiles, schools of hippos, vast range of birds – birds feeding on open water; birds that hunt the river margins; like stilts, kingfishers, storks, kingfishers; birds feeding off rising from water insects; like swallows, bee-eaters and pranticoles.

Enjoy this breathtaking scenery. Upon return, your driver/guide will pick you and take you back to lodge for overnight stay. Go for night excursion at 7.00pm

Dinner and Overnight: Paraa Safari lodge.

Meal plan: Full Board

Delta cruise at 8.30am- 11am in search for birds including shoe bill.

Birding Bugungu reserve along showers of lake Albert.

Overnight: Hoima Cultural lodge

Today we transfer to Kibale Forest National Park, home of Chimpanzees and 13 other different species of primates. Today is a long drive, driving through farmlands, villages and the lush countryside.

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.

You will also have chances of seeing other monkey species that live here; the guereza colobus, red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey, blue monkeys, and olive baboons. It is also home to the rare L’hoest’s Monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened Red Colobus Monkey. Birding along the way.

birding sebitoli site.

Dinner and Overnight: Kibale forest camp

Meal plan: Full Board

After an early breakfast we drive 10 minutes to Kibale Forest National Park, birding in the morning along the main road in Kibale forest. Look out for birds like Narina Trogon, African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Sabine’s Spinetail, Black-billed Turaco, Yellow-billed Barbet, Red-tailed Ant Thrush, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Chestnut Wattle eye, Narrow-tailed Staring among other birds. Rare sightings include the  Green-breasted Pitta, Black Bee-eater, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Black-eared Ground-Thrush, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush.

Afternoon we transfer to Kibale visitor center  at Kanyanchu for orientation on chimp tracking. The activity may last from a few hours to several hours. Kibale forest is home to 13 primates of Uganda. The park also boasts 325 bird species, including 6 that are endemic to the Albertine Rift region. They include; the Black capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Red-faced Woodland Warbler.

Today evening we go for night walk/excursion at 7.30pm

Dinner and Overnight: Kibale forest Camp.

Meal plan: Full Board

After breakfast, proceed to bird the Bigodi swamp; getting back to your Lodge in time for lunch. After lunch, head for the drive along the foothills of the mountains of the Moon (Rwenzori Mountains) in Kasese, and crossing the Equator as you get close to Lake Kikorongo, birding en-route to your lodge where you will spend two nights. Look out for birds like Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Red-necked Spurfowl, Great blue Turaco, Barbets, Tinkerbirds, Kingfishers, Bee eaters, Cuckoos, Lesser Striped Swallows, Black-lored babbler, Grey-backed Shrike, Sunbirds among other birds. After lunch, we transfer to queen Elizabeth National Park.

Dinner and overnight:  Mweya safari Lodge.

Meal plan: Full Board

The Park, named after the Queen of England in 1954, is Uganda’s second largest national park. Queen Elizabeth National Park 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.

After early breakfast, head out for a morning game drive/birding. There are chances of finding lions, hyenas, elephants, vultures, hawks, cuckoos,

Lunch at the Lodge and in the afternoon go on launch (boat) cruise on the Kazinga Channel to see a variety of wildlife like, hippos, crocodile and bird life from a boat for two hours.

The Kazinga channel is a narrow strip of water that connects Lakes George and Edward, with excellent photographic opportunities for waterside birds and abundant Hippopotamus, huge families of buffalos, and elephants. 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, among other birds.

Dinner and overnight: Mweya Safari Lodge.

Meal plan: Full Board

After breakfast, leave Queen Elizabeth National Park with your picnic lunch. Afternoon, there are chances of finding tree lions of Ishasha and proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest birding en-route arriving in the late afternoon. Look out for birds like Martial Eagle, Francolins, Barbets, Chats, Cuckooshrikes, Sunbirds, Fork tailed Drongo, Larks, Pipits, Weavers, Widowbirds among other birds. You will look out for mammals like Topi, Uganda Kob, Water Buck, Buffaloes, Elephants, Baboons and others.

Dinner and overnight

High-end: Buhoma Haven lodge

Meal plan: Full Board

After an early breakfast, start looking for species like Bar-tailed Trogon, Black Bee-Eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Tinkerbirds and Barbets, Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, assorted Greenbuls, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Starlings, Black-billed Weaver, Brown-capped weaver among other birds.  if you’re lucky you will see African Green Broadbill, Shelly’s Crimson wing, African Wood Owl, Rwenzori Nightjar

Forest birding in Bwindi ranks the best in Uganda.  23 highly localized Albertine Rift Endemics have been recorded in Bwindi forest. Other special birds include Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Rwenzori Batis, Black-and-white-Shrike-flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Magpie Mannikin, Yellow-crowned Canary, Thick-billed Seed-eater, Streaky Seedeater,  Oriole Finch, Mountain Buzzard, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Handsome Francolin, Black-billed Turaco, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo,  Scarce Swift, Bar-tailed Trogon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-eater, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-chested Owlet, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, Elliot’s Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Western Green Tinkerbird, African Green Broadbill, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Archer’s Ground Robin, Toro Olive Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Equatorial Akalat, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Olive Thrush, White-tailed Ant Thrush, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Neumann’s Warbler, and Red-faced Woodland Warbler.

Evening at 4pm, time permitting get on a village walk and experience local way of life. You will visit the pygmies ‘Batwa’- the original natives of the forest who were originally hunters and food gatherers, observe their ways of living. The Batwa were given land upon relocation from the forest. The donations they receive out of the village walk are therefore used to buy clothes and food. They also sell local crafts..

Dinner and overnight Haven lodge.

Meal plan: Full Board

This is the day you will be going Gorilla trekking. After an early breakfast, head to register for your Gorilla Trek. Thereafter, go for briefing and then start gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We recommend you to wear good walking shoes and carry good rain gear and enough drinking water. Gorilla trekking can be tough and challenging and one has to be reasonably fit. You will carry a picnic lunch with you into the forest but not to share with the Gorillas J and you will be thrilled to see these Gorillas and the return journey from Gorilla trekking could be easier.

After trekking continue birding along neck through to Ruhija. look out for birds like Black Bee-eater, Red-throated Wryneck, Mountain Wagtail, Toro Olive-Greenbul, White-starred Robin, Olive Thrush, Cassin’s grey Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Chubb’s Cisticola, Banded Prinia, Mountain Masked Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Collared Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Sharpe’s Starling, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Twinspot, Yellow Bishop, Black-throated Seedeater among other birds.

we check in and at  Ruhija gate ( eastern gate of Bwindi)

Dinner and overnight: Bakiga lodge

Meal plan: Full Board

Full day gorilla trekking another gorilla family.

After trekking, we head out birding on a Community trail in Ruhija. we return to the lodge.

Dinner and overnight: Bakiga lodge

Meal plan: Full Board

After breakfast, bird as you transfer to lake Bunyonyi via Ruhija. Birding Ruhija along the road and/or Mubwindi Swamp, looking for African green Broadbill, (Grauer’s broadbill). 3-4pm, we transfer to lake Bunyonyi for overnight.

Dinner and overnight: Birdnest@Bunyonyi

Meal plan: Full Board

This morning, we’ll bird eastwards through the terraced mountains of Kigezi to the open plains and rocky hillsides of Ankole. We”ll have a few stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and birds. We’ll be able to get closer views of the fabulous Ankole long horned cattle as we drive to Mbarara and onto Lake Mburo where we’ll stay at Mihingo Lodge for the next 2 nights. Birding here is a delightful experience, and often one of the highlights of a birding trip to Uganda. Look out for birds like Augur Buzzard, Crested Francolin, Emeraled Spotted Wood Dove, Spot flanked Barbet, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Lailac-breasted Roller, Black-headed Gonolek, Starlings among other birds.

Dinner and overnight: Rwakobo Rock

Meal plan: Full Board

Whole day birding Lake Mburo National Park looking for birds like the Bateleur, Crested Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, 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, take a boat cruise to look for the African Finfoot and other birds. Before dinner try the African Scops Owl, Swamp, Black-shouldered and Freckled Nightjars among other birds. Look out for animals like the gorgeous Eland, Giraffe Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Topi, Reedbuck, Water buck Bushbuck, Hippos, Bush duiker as you look for birds.  Go for night excursion this evening.

Dinner and overnight: Rwakobo Rock

Meal plan: Full Board

After breakfast, proceed for morning birding getting back in time for early lunch. After lunch, proceed for the transfer to Entebbe for flight. Look out for birds like Bateleur, , Crested Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Larks, Pipits, Long tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis among others birds.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch only.

TRIP ENDS

To go on a gorilla trek, you need a gorilla permit/license which we can arrange for you.  We can only purchase your Gorilla permit after you have made a down-payment to us. Gorilla permits are competitive on a daily basis, advance booking is always preferred.

Please note the gorilla tracking in this itinerary can be done in Bwindi and or Mgahinga national parks. Gorilla tracking is dependent on the permits availability at the time of your booking. Gorilla permits in all parks are on a very high demand and we advise that you book them as early as possible.

  • Gorilla trekking can be strenuous activity and Minimum gorilla tracking age is 15 years.
  • What to bring: Hiking shoes/walking shoes, long socks to tuck-in long pants , rain wear, warm clothing, evenings can be cold/chilly, gloves preferably gardening type are very helpful and  insect repellant.
  • Anyone with signs of communicable diseases will NOT be allowed to track.
  • While possession of a gorilla permit is a guarantee of trekking and
  • Maximum time allowed with the gorillas will NOT exceed ONE hour, you are kindly requested to practice different modes of using your camera in different light situations. Gorillas can sometimes be moving, Forest vegetation can at times obstruct visibility, and hence taking photos of these creatures can be very challenging!

Transport:
Our standard offering is a 4WD with pop-up roof for easy safari viewing.  All passengers will have a dedicated window seat. Your driver/guide will be at your disposal for questions.

Extension:
If you want to extend your tour to one of our other destinations or if you’d like to add a few side trips to the itinerary, kindly let us know.

Difficulty:
Gorilla trekking takes place at altitudes 1160 to 2607m (3806 to 8553ft) above sea level. This means that moderate/average physical fitness is required. The slowest member will determine the groups’ speed. The pace will be moderate, with plenty stops to rest, ask questions, re-hydrate and enjoy the forest and views.

Booking and payment details:
Once you have decided to join one of our safaris, you will need  to contact us for booking form  which will include details relating to deposit and final payments etc.

Trip Price Includes:

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers as per itinerary
  • All other transfers as per itinerary
  • Accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
  • Night excursions.
  • Transportation on safari in Toyota landcruiser 4×4 jeep ( High-End) driven by English-speaking driver/ bird guide (exclusive use of vehicle)
  • Park entrance fees and activities as per itinerary
  • Gorilla and chimpanzee tracking permit(s) as indicated in the itinerary
  • 2 Gorilla permits per person.
  • Mineral water enroute

Trip Price excludes:

  • International flights into and out of Uganda.
  • Any optional activity / excursions.
  • Optional night excursions
  • 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
  • Medical and travel insurance.
  • Tips, telephone and personal expenses
  • Any other concept not indicated as included.

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