This safari will provide you with the amazing experience of visiting and having a face to face interaction with the great Apes; The Mountain Gorillas of Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a world heritage site in Western Uganda. It is most notable for half of the world’s population of the critically endangered mountain gorillas and this will be the highlight of our safari and also 23 out of the 26 albertine rift endemics. Surely this safari will bring everlasting memories; of nature and birds, not forgetting a variety of wildlife you will watch all on the same safari. On top of this, enjoy culture and beautiful scenery as you traverse the country side.
Day One: Arrival and Pick up
On arrival you will be received by our representative, your driver/guide who will brief you through your safari programme, then transfer and check in to the service of your accommodation for overnight stay.
Day Two: Birding in Mabamba swamp and transfer to Lake Mburo.
Have early breakfast and start birding on the way to Mabamba Swamp, which is about 50 kms west of Kampala. Birding en-route with chances to some species likeAfrican hobby, Speckled Pigeon, Ross’s Turaco, Meyer’s and Grey Parrot, Klaas’s, Diederik and Levaillant’s Cuckoo, Fork Tailed Drongo, Brown Crowned Tchagra, white Chinned Prinia, Superb Sunbird, Golden-backed and Orange Weaver, Black-headed Gonolek, before reaching the swamp wherewe expect tolookout for papyrus specials such as the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged warbler, Nothern Brown-throated, Weyn’s weaver, to mention but a few. We move on to Mabamba swamp and most of the birding here is done canoeing as we look out for the rare Shoebill Stork, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Water rail, Allen’s and Purple Gallinule (swamp hen),Squacco, Goliath, Purple and Grey Herons, Lesser Jacana, Intermediate, Cattle, Little, Great and Black Egret, White-faced Whistling Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, Spur-winged, Egyptian and African Pygmy Geese among others. There are also chances of encountering the elusive Sitatunga Antelope adapted to swampy habitats. We later transfer to Lake Mburo national park arriving in the evening and check in to our accommodation, dinner and overnight.
Day Three: Birding in Lake Mburo national park – Boat cruise.
The day begins early in the morning as we go for a nature walk on the shores of Lake Mburo in the park, searching for wildlife. This is one of Uganda’s smallest savanna parks covering about 260sq km and is home to a variety of wildlife that includes; Zebras, Elands, Impalas and Topi. It has got a variety of habitats,like dry hillside, open and wooded savanna, forests, galleries and swamps, and this has contributed to the avifauna diversity and 313 bird species have been recorded in the park including; Crested and Red faced barbet, Long tailed (Tabora) Cisticola, Papyrus yellow warbler, African fin foot, Brubru, Rofous-bellied and white backed night heron, White winged tit, Black-headed and Papyrus Gonolek, Red-headed and Northern brown throated weaver, White-winged warbler, Coqui Francolin, Brown-chested Lapwing, Lilac-breasted Roller and the rare Shoebilled Stork among others. We come back to the lodge in the afternoon for lunch, relax around and later in the afternoon go for a boat cruise on the lake for another view of wildlife. We come back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day Four: Birding on the way to Mgahinga National Park
After some early morning birding in the impenetrable forest, we will drive South towards Mgahinga National Park where we will stay for two nights. We will stop along the way in patches of the remnant montane forest and bamboo stands and will have a further opportunity for finding several of the elusive Albertine rift Endemics. We will also examine some papyrus areas where as well as having another chance to see the more widespread papyrus specialties; we could also find the Victoria masked weaver and thus the little known papyrus yellow warbler.
Day Five: Birding Mgahinga national park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a remote park, nestled in the extreme South Western corner of Uganda that forms part of the 434 square kilometers of the Virunga conservation is a protected area that straddles political boundaries to include the parc-de virunga, the three extinct volcanoes within Uganda section, the tallest rising to over 4100m, great scenery that can only be described as breathtaking. The volcanoes are draped in extensive afro. Alpine forests, vast bamboo stands and at higher altitudes moorland domnated by towering giant Lobelias. Fortunately, we do not have to climb high up these unrelenting peaks to find our avian targets. Lower trails lead us through habitat where we will concentrate on finding the bizarre Rwenzori Turaco and the beautiful Rwenzori Double-collored sunbird. Today we will also have another chance of finding other Albertine rift Endemic as such as the elusive Handsom Francolin, Kivu graund thrush and Ladgens Bush Shrike. The rare Shelleys Crimson wing, arguably one of the world’s most beautiful but elusive seed eaters occurs in the area, but we will count ourselves extremely fortunate if we come across this rarely seen species. Other birds which we will look out for include, Dusky turtle Dove and Cape Robin Chat, the beautiful golden monkey, a localized form of the blue monkey, occurs in the bamboo zone and mountain gorillas are seasonally resident in the park (although we are unlikely to see one).
Day Six: Birding towards Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Bwindi is the Bird watchers paradise! It about 350 species of birds and Contains 90% of all Albertine rift Endemic such as; the Nuemann’s (Short-tailed), Red-faced woodland and Grauer’s Rush Warblers, Bar-tailed Trogon, Wilcock’s Honey-guide, Yellow-eyed black Fly-catcher, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Crimsonwing, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. Stay at Gorilla Trekkers Tarven dinner and overnight.
Day Seven: Birding Mubwindi Swamp, Bwindi Forest National Park.
After breakfast, we go down to UWA offices, pay for the activities, get ranger guides and start our birding session towards Mubwindi swamp. (Here we can also have optional Gorilla trekking, depending on the clients’ interests.) This is a good spot for the high elevation bird species and the Albertine rift endemics and we search for specialties that include; the Chestnut-throated, Mountain-masked, Black-throated and Rwenzori Apalis, Stripe-breasted and Dusky Tit, Black-billed Turaco, Grey-throated Barbet, Red-faced Woodland, Mountain-yellow, Grauer’s Rush and Grauer’sWrabler, Northern Double-collard, Rwenzori Double-collard, Varieble, Blue-headed and Regal Sunbirds, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, Grauer’s Broadbill, Bared Long-tailed Cuckoo, Archer’s Robin-chat, Oriole-finch, White-bellied Crested, Yellow-eyed Black, White-eyed Slate and Dusky Flycatchers, Ludher’s, Grey-headed and Dohert’s Bush-shrike, Scaly-breasted and Mountain Illadopsis, Yellow-streaked and Mountain Greenbul, Banded Prinia and Dusky Crimsonwing among others. We come back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day Eight: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Gorilla Forest
The impenetrable forest is said to have the largest Gorilla population in the World and has a remarkable altitudinal range of continuous forest from 1160m to 2700m. This splendid forest is considered to be the richest in East Africa for plants, mammal, birds and butterfly species. Over 330 bird species have been recorded here. For example, the impenetrable is a wonderful evocative name and often appears in the ornithological literature for Africa. The forest as named not because it was any more densely vegetated than other forests, but because of the steepness of the hills which made progress almost impossible. We come back to the lodge after trekking the Gorillas, dinner and overnight.
Day Nine: Birding towards Queen Elizabeth National Park.
After breakfast, we will drive to QENP with several birding hotspots, a game drive in Ishaha might be rewarding as we look out for the tree climbing lions and savannah specialties that may include the Violet-backed and Wattled Starlings, Brown-chest and Senegal Lapwings, Spot-franked, Double-toothed and the White-headed Barbets, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, White-Backed, Ruppel’s Griffon and Lappet-faced Vultures among others. We later proceed on to the northern sector, arriving in the evening Birding to the lodge this evening as we search for the African Hopoo, Southern Red Bishop, Red Collared Widowbird and others as we drive to Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day Ten: Whole Day of Birding Kasenyi & Mweya area, QENP.
The day begins early with an early morning breakfast and then with our packed lunch, start birding along the Kasenyi plains. The park protects about 95 mammal species plus about 650 bird species that includes; the Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-headed and Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged, Grey-capped, Greater Swamp, Lesser Swamp, African Reed and Siege Warbler, Slender-billed Weaver and Brimstone Canary, near the Katungulu Bridge. We then proceed with birding/game drive towards the famous Kasenyi Track, winding through grassland dotted with Accacia and Cactus trees, nearby the Kobs’ matting grounds, where we normally locate Lions and other mammals including Buffaloes, Kob (the national animal for Uganda), Waterbuck, Bushbuck and Elephants. Along the road we may find Scaly Francolin, Red-necked Spurfowl, Harlequin Quail and Common Button-quail, Rufous-naped, Flappet and Red-capped Lark, Martial Eagle, Western-banded, Black-chested and Brown Snake Eagles and Bateleur. In the afternoon we embark on a boat trip down the Kazinga Channel. This incredible area normally offers stunning views of Pink-backed Pelican, Saddle-billed Stork, Hamerkop, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork, Water Thick-knee, African Skimmer and over-summering Palearctic shorebirds. In the evening before dinner we will try for the nightjars that may include the Black-shouldered, Frekled, Square-tailed, Penant-winged and Slender-tailed Nightjars, as well as owls, like the African Scops, White-faced Scops, and the African Wood owls among others. We go back to the lodge, dinner and overnight.
Day Eleven: Whole Day Birding in Kyambura & Maramagambo Forest.
After breakfast, with our packed lunch, we drive to Maramagambo Forest for a Nature walk/birding in search for wildlife that includes the Black & White Colobus, Red Tailed and Velvet Monkeys, Splendid Starling, Red Headed Bluebill, African Pygmy, Blue-breasted, Chocolate-backed and Woodland Kingfisher, Benald’s Flycatcher, White-browed and Red Caped Robin Chat, Black-crowned, Crimson-rumped, Fawn-breasted, Common and Zebra Waxbill, Red-billed and African Firefinch, Double-toothed, White-headed and Spot-flanked Barbet, Sulpher-breasted Bush-shrike and Red Tailed Bristalbill among others. In the walk we also visit the Bat cave that Houses millions of Egyptian Fruit Bats among other wildlife. We later go back to the lodge in the evening, dinner and overnight.
Day Twelve: Transfer to Semliki National Park.
After breakfast, we will check out of the hotel and transfer to Semiliki national park, with birding stopovers and lunch en-route. We arrive at the park in the afternoon and check in to the service of Bumaga camp semliki and later go birding along the main road. This park is one of Uganda’s birding hot spots and we expect you to enjoy the evening with specialties that include; Orange-cheecked Waxbills, Magpie Mannikins, Grant’s Bluebill, Black-bellied Seed-eater, African Dusky, Grey-throated, and Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow-bellied and Jameson’s Wattle-eye, IturiBatis, White-browed Crombec, Abyssinian and Oberlaender’s Ground-Thrush, Swamp-palm Bulbul, and Leaf-love among others. We go to for dinner and overnight at semiliki safari lodge, Semliki national park.
Day Thirteen: Whole day birding Kirumya Trail – Semliki National Park
After an early morning breakfast we go for a whole day birding along the Kirumya trail, in this Forest which is the Eastern limit to some of the Guinea/Congo biome species. Some of the specialties that we expect to encounter here include; the Red-billed Dwarf, Black-casqued Wattled, Black-dwarf, Piping, White-thighed and White-crested Hornbill, African piculet, Forest Robin, Zenker’s Honeyguide, Black-throated Coucal, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Rufous-sided broadbill, Nkurengu rail, Shining-blue, White-bellied, Chocolate-backed, African Dwarf and African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Emarald, Dusky Long-tailed, Barred Long-tailed, Yellow-throated and African Cuckoo, White-naped and Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Nahan’s and Forest Francolin, Long-tailed Hawk, Chestnut-flanked Goshawk, Rufous-breasted and Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Hartlaub’s Duck, Brown-chested and Fire-crested Alethe, Woodhouse’sAntpecker, Red-bellied and Blue-billed Malimbe, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Forest Scrub-robin, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Leaf-love, Pale-fronted and Chestnut-breasted Negrofinches, Black-winged Oriole, Spot-breasted and African Green Ibis among others. We come back to our lodge in the evening for dinner and overnight
Day Fourteen: Birding/transfer-Sebitoli site – Kibale National Park.
After breakfast, with our packed lunch, we check out and start birding towards Sebitoli sector, which is believed to be the best birding site in Kibale Forest. Specials in this park include Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, African black-duck, Joyful, Cabanis, Toro Olive and Cameroon Sombre Greenbuls, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Superb, Little Green, Grey-headed, Green-throated, Blue-throated and Tiny Sunbird, Green Twinsport, Brown and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Blue-shouldered Robinchat, Green-breasted and African pitta, White-throated and Yellow whiskered Greenbul, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Red-capped Robinchat, Dusky Tit, Dark-backed Weaver, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puff Back, Ludher’s Bush-shrike. We later drive on and check into the service our accommodation, dinner and overnight.
Day Fifteen: Birding Kibale and Bigodi Swamp.
The day begins early with an early morning breakfast and then we enter the forest at around 06:00am, in search for the Green-breasted Pitta which displays very early in the morning and this is the best aid of locating it in the forest. So to start walking these trails which pierce the forest interior at dawn will provide us with more chances of seeing these elussive forest dwellers. Also among the key species found in the forest, are the Grey parrots, African Crowned Eagle, Afep Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, African Emerald and Klaas’s Cuckoo, Yellowbill, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Sabine’s Spinetal, Black Bee-eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Yellow-rumped and Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbest, Thick-billed, Willcock’s and Lessre Honeyguide, Cassin’s Grey Fly catcher, Mosque swallow, Mountain Wagtail, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shike, joyfull, Little and Slender-billed, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Western Nicator, Brown Illadopsis, Red-tailed and White-tailed Ant-thrush, White-chinedPrinia, Buff-throated Apalis, Green Crombec, Green Hylia, Black and White Flycatcher, Western Black-headed Oriole, Northern Puffback, Purple-headed and Splendid Starling Superb, Green-headed, Green-throated, Collared, green, olive-bellied, and Blue-throated sunbird, Dark-backed and Black-necked Weavers, Red-headed Malimbe, Grey-headed and White-breasted Negrofinch, Red-headed Bluebill, and White-napped Pigeon among others. Kibale is a home to 13 primates along with the Chimpanzees and we have chances to encounter some of them, like the Red-tailed, Blue monkeys, Grey-checked mangbey, Black & White Colobus, Red Colobus and olive baboons. Local guides keep a close watch on the activities of varios communities and there is a good chance that we will encounter a troop of these most human primates during our visit.
Day Sixteen: Birding towards Budongo Forest
After breakfast, with our packed lunch, we transfer to Masindi, with some birding stopovers on the way, passing through traditional homesteads and tea plantations in the rolling hills of Tooro and Bunyoro kingdoms. We have our picnic lunch at Kagadi and then proceed on, arriving in the evening and check in to the service of our accommodation for dinner and overnight.
Day Seventeen: Birding in the Royal Mile, Budongo Forest.
After an early morning breakfast, with our packed lunch, we start birding on the way to the Royal Mile, Budongo forest (This is one of Uganda’s birding hotspots). It used to be a hunting ground for the king of Bunyoro and that’s where the name Royal Mile came from. And along the main trail, the forest has been cut back to allow good viewing area. Some of the key species that we are likely to encounter on this day are; Grey-headed Oliveback, Black Kite, Lizard Buzzard, Wahlbergs and Long-crested Eagle, African Green Pigeon, Blue-spotted Wood-dove, Red-eyed and Laughing Dove, Brown Parrot, Eastern Plantain-eater, African Palm Swift, Speckled Mousebird, White-headed Barbet, Lesser-stripped Swallow, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Brown Twinspot, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, White-thighed Hornbill, African Crowned Eagle, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Ituri Batis, Chestnut-capped, Grey-throated, Forest, Sooty and African-shrike Flycatcher, Lemon-bellied and Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, African Pygmy, African Dwarf, Blue-breasted and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Nahan’s Francolin and Spotted Greenbul among others. We go back to the hotel in the evening for dinner and overnight.
Day Eighteen: Birding & Game Viewing in Murchison Falls NP
After breakfast with our packed lunch, we start birding/game drive towards the Delta area in Murchison falls national park exploring this huge sanctuary and also visit the top of Murchison falls. Some of the key species that we are likely to encounter today include; the Rock Pratincole, Puvel’sIlladopsis, Marabour Stork, Black-shouldered and Black Kite, African Harrier-hawk, Lizard Buzzard, African Palm Swift, Red-winged Pytilia, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Ruppell’s Long-tailed and Greater Blue-eared Starling, Rufous-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Yellow-billed Shrike, African Grey and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, African Hoopoe and Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike among others. We later check in to the service of Paraa Safari Lodge, have lunch and then in the afternoon, we go for the boat cruise on River Nile towards the bottom of the falls. This normally takes about three hours, enjoying the cruise as we view wildlife as they come closer to cool off in the heat of the day. We go back to the lodge in the evening for dinner and overnight, at Paraa Safari Lodge.
Day Nineteen: Birding as we transfer to Mabira Forest. After breakfast at our lodge, we go for early birding at Murchison to use the first good hours of the day when bird activity is at its highest; leave the area around 10 and transfer to Masindi for lunch and some good extra birds. In the afternoon we drive further South to Mabira forest where we can do a little bit of birding in the evening.This drive takes us through indulging grasslands and mosaic woodland and some of the bird species here will be the White-crested Turaco, Bronze-tailed, Lesser Blue-eared and Greater Blue-eared Starling White-headed Barbet, Cadinal, Grey and Nubian Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Hourneyguide, Saddle-billed Stork in the swamps after Luwero, we have also had chances of seeing the Western-banded Snake-eagle, Rufous-bellied Heron, Eastern Chanting Goshawk and many more. We arrive at Mabira in the evening and check in to the service of our accommodation, dinner and overnight.
Day Twenty: Birding in Mabira & Lutembe Bay, departure.
After an early breakfast at around 06:30am, we enter the Forest with our packed lunch for a full day bird watching activity, in search for some of the specialties this forest has to offer like; the Scaly Francolin, Spot-flanked Barbet, Narina Trogon, Yellow Billed Barbet, Forest Robin and Red Headed Bluebill among others. Later in the afternoon we drive to Lutembe Bay we can do a last tour on a boat ride for some extra birds for the list and some nice photography opportunities. We will later to Entebbe Airport for your flight home or you will be driven to your post accommodation for dinner and overnight stay.
- Vehicle, Fuel
- Transport in 4X4 Vehicles
- English speaking Guide/ driver
- All Park entrance fees
- All Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Bottled water
- Rangers in the parks
- Chimpanzee permits
- Laundry services
- Visa (Uganda)
- Any other personal interests
- No accommodation on last night (But can be arranged at extra cost)
- Tips and gratuities (Guides)
- Optional activities