15 Day Birding & Wildlife Tour
Day 1: Arrival Transfer for the 18 days Uganda birding
On your arrival for this Uganda birding safari, your private guide will welcome you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation. If you get here earlier, you have the opportunity to begin off your birding tour by visiting the Botanical Gardens in Entebbe and begin your bird count.
Day 2: Birding Mabamba Swamp and travelling Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
In the early morning, we leave for Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Bird at the Mabamba Wetland along your transfer route. The majority of the birding in the swamp is done in a canoe by our local site guides. Most of the birding will be done canoeing as we look out for the rare Shoebill Stork, African water rail, a variety of Egrets, and a chance of sighting the elusive sitatungas antelope.
Thereafter, transfer to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you will track rhinos. This sanctuary is the only place in Uganda where you will meet rhinos in the wild. Rhinos are one of the Africa Big 5.
Day 3: Birding Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park
Very early in the morning, take a canoe and bird in the wetlands of the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. This is one of the only places that you are almost always guaranteed to see these prehistoric-looking birds. The best sighting has been 11 in one trip! An early morning shoebill trek and canoe ride through the swamp gives you the opportunity to find the shoebill and some of the over 300 bird species recorded here.
After your birding experience, transfer to Murchison Falls National Park. Top of the falls experience on your way to your lodge.
Day 4: Birding, game drives, and an afternoon launch trip
After breakfast, we go on a wildlife drive to the undulating plains, where we may a number of species of animals including: hartebeest, lions, buffalo, primates, mongooses, giraffes, and elephants. Following lunch, we’ll go on an afternoon launch cruise where you may see large hippos, Nile crocodiles, and other wildlife. A broad range of waterbirds, including the Shoebill, Secretary Bird, Abyssinian Roller, Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfisher, and many more, will also be seen.
Day 5: Transfer to Masindi, Birding along the Royal Mile
Early in the morning, we go and spend the day birding along Budongo’s renowned Royal Mile. It is a large forestry trail that many believe to be an excellent birding location in Uganda. This is one of the best places to spot birds like Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Spinetail, and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher. Look out too for the secretive canopy-dwelling Ituri Batis.
Day 6: Transfer to Kibale National Park
We start with a morning drive to the Kibale National Park which has the highest concentration of primates in Uganda with 13 species. Depending on time of arrival, you have the option of an evening nature walk or birding in the area near your lodge. Kibale National Park is the best East African safari location for chimpanzee tracking and also one of the best forest birding areas in Uganda. There are 325 bird species in the park, including six that are endemic to the Albertine Rift.
13 different species of primates, including chimpanzees, live there. This park is also home to the largest population of the endangered Red Colobus Monkey, and the rare L’hoest’s Monkey.
Day 7: Chimpanzee Tracking
After an early breakfast, we go to the visitor centre of Kibale National Park for a briefing before the chimp trekking. The duration of the activity varies depending on the location of the chimpanzees, however, once encountered you will be with the chimps for 1 hour.
An afternoon birding excursion along the main road or inside the national park could be very rewarding. Alternatively, you may decide to go to the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary which is an excellent birding destination with riverine forest birds. The Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Joyful Greenbul, and White-spotted Flufftail are just a few of the birds that can be found in Kibale National Park.
Day 8: Travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kazinga Channel
We go to Queen Elizabeth National Park after breakfast. It is Uganda’s second-largest national park and its biodiversity ratings are the highest of any game reserve in the world. Open savannah, rainforest, papyrus swamps, ominous crater lakes, and the enormous Lake Edward serve as proof of this. Elephants, hippos, the elusive Giant Forest Hog, and the handsome Uganda Kob are all frequently sighted. Queen Elizabeth National Park has 96 mammal species and a remarkable 612 bird species.
Day 9: Game Drive and Birding Excursion
Take a morning game drive in search of lions, elephants, buffaloes, Uganda kobs, waterbucks, warthogs, and many other animals. You could spend an optional time on the lions experiential tour, and later in the afternoon explore the crater and salt lakes on a birding excursion. Seek out the flamingos and other migratory birds.
Day 10: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
After breakfast, transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through the Ishasha sector famous for it tree climbing lions. Continue to Bwindi. About half of the mountain gorillas in the world’s endangered population live in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park is home to 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemic bird species. At least 23 species found nowhere else on Earth are found in the Albertine Rift. Some of the species to look out for include the Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, and Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher.
Day 11: Mountain Gorilla Trekking
This is a once in a lifetime moment – trekking with mountain gorillas in this old world forest of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Head into the highland rainforests of Uganda to track the famous rare mountain gorillas. You will never forget your experience of meeting these gentle giants. The trek may last anything from 2 hours to more depending on where the gorilla families are.
Option: Tour the Gorilla Conservation Centre (and Clinic) or go for afternoon birding in Bwindi.
Day 12: Travel to Ruhija
After breakfast, transfer to the Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park. We’ll go through “The Neck” along the route, a brief section of forest that links the park’s southern and northern sections. This forest system is ideal for birders to see a variety of species that are normally hard to find like the Cassin’s Flycatcher, Black Bee-eater, African Black Duck, White-browed Crombec, and Western Bronze-naped Pigeon.
Day 13: Mubwindi Swamp birding area
Today we have one sole activity – birding in the Mubwindi Wetland. This area and its surroundings are some of the best to find rift endemics including the stunning Regal Sunbird, the Grauer’s (African Green) Broadbill, and the Archer’s Robin-Chat. Other bird species recorded are the Dwarf Honeyguides, Stripe-breasted Tits, and Ruwenzori Apalis.
Day 14: Travel to Lake Mburo National Park
Uganda’s smallest savannah park, Lake Mburo National Park, is a real beauty. Your trip from Bwindi will take your from the highland tropical forests into the rolling hills and finally the savannah plains of Uganda. Depending on the time you get to your accommodation, you could take an evening birding excursion; visit the locals; or simply rest and prepare for tomorrow’s walking and birding safari in the park.
Day 15: Walking / Birding safari, Transfer to Entebbe flight home
Early breakfast, then go for a walking safari as you bird. At least 68 mammal species, and 350 bird species find this park a worthy home. The absence of big cats and elephants makes the park an ideal walking safari for birders. You could even go birding on horse back or mountain bike if you so desire. Look out for the African finfoot, Crested Francolin, Bare-faced Go-Away Bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, Trilling Cisticola, and the Yellow-breasted Apalis among others.
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