The 14 Days Uganda Primate & Birding Safari takes you through the Mabamba wetland with counts of shoebill stork, Kibale National Park with likely sightings of green breasted pitta, Queen Elizabeth National Park with great bird counts in Uganda (600 species), Bwindi Impenetrable National Park listed as the number one birding spot on the African continent with Afromontane forest and savannah landscapes of Lake Mburo National Park with likely sights of the endemic Red-faced Barbet. Other famous birding sites featured in the itinerary include; Budongo Forest Reserve, Semliki Valley National Park and Murchison Falls National Park. The safari tour is well packaged to derive an ultimate experience featuring wetland, forested and savannah ecosystems.
After your long flight from your country of origin, you land at Entebbe International Airport which is the main point of entry into Uganda if you are coming by flight. Positioned with in a majestic peninsular, the airport is surrounded by fresh waters of Lake Victoria – the world’s second largest fresh water lake, the largest lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the whole world. You are welcomed by soothing fresh breeze and a brightening equatorial sunshine. You secure your Ugandan Visa from the immigration arrival desk at the Airport and then connect to the waiting area where you are courteously welcomed into Uganda by our company representative. You board the vehicle and connect to the hotel for relaxation and overnight.
After breakfast, embark on the birding journey to Mabamba swamp on the shores of Lake Victoria in the west of Kampala. The magical offering of this destination is the endangered shoebill stork. The canoe paddle along the narrow channels of the swamp will give you chances of sighting other bird species like; Lesser Jacana, Black-Shouldered kite, Blue Swallow, Blue Breasted Bee-Eater, White Winged warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruther’s Cisticola, Spotting Swamp Flycatcher, Papyrus Gonolek, ducks, gulls, plovers, egrets, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers. You will retire from the activity, settle for lunch and then transfer to Masindi town for relaxation, dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast, connect to the adjacent Budongo forest for amazing bird encounters. You will take a bird walk along the royal mile a famously encountered road that lies under a lush forest canopy. The forest offers opportunities of spotting birds like; Nahan’s Francolin, White-thighed Hornbill, Sabine’s and graceful Cassin’s Spinetail, Blue-throated Roller, Forest Flycatcher, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Lemon Bellied Crombec, Ituri Batis, Tit Hylia, Forest Robin, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Grey Throated, Yellow Billed, Yellow Spotted and Hairy Breasted Barbet, Black Billed and Great Blue Turaco, Plain, Spotted, Slender Billed, Little Grey, White Throated and Little Greeenbul, Dusy Long Tailed Cuckoo, Black-capped Apalis and Red Tailed Bristlebill among other species. Primate species may also be spotted like black and white colobus monkeys, Red tailed and blue monkeys. After this activity, you will bird along the Albertine escarpment with nice sightseeing experience before proceeding to Murchison for dinner and overnight.
The mixed habitats of Uganda’s largest park make it a dwelling of a variety of birds with 451 species recorded putting a smile on the face of a birder on Uganda Safari. The list includes the Shoebill Stork, the Goliath Heron – the largest heron in the world and pairs of elegant Grey Crowned Cranes – the national bird of Uganda. Other species seen on the Nile banks include; Swamp Flycatcher, the Blue-headed Coucal, Squacco Heron, Sandpipers, African Jacana, Denham’s Bustard, Black-billed Barbet, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill, Black-headed Gonolek, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Weaver Birds, Pied, Piapiac, Silver bird, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers, White-browed Sparrow Weaver, Red-throated Bee-eater, African Quail-Finch and Speckle-fronted Weaver. The birding encounter in Murchison Falls National Park commences with an early morning thrilling boat ride to the Delta Area. This offers opportunity of exploring the rare species like the Shoebill stork. The morning boat ride is magical allowing you to explore the majestic Victoria Nile River as it empties into Lake Albert. The scenery is very amazing while the soothing fresh morning breeze gives you a touch of the true African wilderness freshness. This will be followed by extensive birding drive both in the mid-morning and in the evening with possibilities of exploring a range of wild game like elephants, Rothschild giraffes, Buffaloes, the Jackson’s Hartebeest, the Oribi, Uganda Kob, Lions, and leopards among others. Connect to the top of the falls – the world’s most powerful waterfall for birding and sightseeing after which you proceed to Masindi driving through Kaniyo Pabidi forest where possibilities of spotting the Puvel’s Illadopsis exist.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Kibale National Park. The drive offers good sightseeing opportunities including the local villages and small towns. The area is well vegetated and birding opportunities are all over. The climax will be in Sebitoli forest – an extension of Kibale National Park where a range of forest bird species can be explored. You drive through the lush green Tea estates of Fort Portal before approaching Fort Portal town in the shadows of Rwenzori Mountains dubbed the legendary Mountains of the moon rising to 5,109m above sea-level – the third highest Mountain on the continent of Africa. Arrive in Kibale Area for relaxation, dinner and overnight.
This day is designed to enable you explore the birds of Kibale Forest National Park. Birders have chances of spotting the Green Breasted Pitta along with other species like; African Pitta, Afep Pigeon, Crowned Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, White-naped Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Western Nicator, Little Greenbul, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Brown-chested Alethe, African Grey Parrot, Brown Illadopsis, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Black-capped Apalis, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Blue-headed Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Yellow Spotted Nicator, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Little Green Bul, Abyssinian Ground-thrush and Black-eared Ground Thrush. Kibale NP also known as the Primate capital of the world presents an amazing opportunity for the guests to engage in Chimpanzee trekking in the afternoon. Briefing starts at 2pm after which you head to the forest in search of these amazing apes. Upon encountering the chimps, you have an opportunity to see them munch fruit, hunt, patrol, copulate, young ones playing, make pant hooting calls among other interesting aspects for one full hour. The exciting moments with the chimps will leave you with no other option but to be active with your cameras to make a reserve of remarkable photos that will always take you back to the memories of this wonderful moment. Retreat from the activity and drive to Fort Portal for relaxation, dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast embark on the transfer to Semliki Forest National Park 78km about 1 ½ -2 hours’ drive. The forest tract of Semuliki is an extension of West African jungle that stretch from Equatorial Guinea through Congo forming a habitat for Guinea Congo biome species that do not exist in other areas of East Africa. The encounter in Semuliki offers you chances of spotting specialties like; Congo Serpent Eagle, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Bate’s Nightjar, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Rufous-sided, Black-winged Broadbill, Black-throated Coucal, Icterine Greenbul, Nkulengu Rail, Spot-breasted Ibis, Long-tailed Hawk, Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub Robin, Yellow-throated and Western Nicator, Red-chested Owlet, Black-collared Lovebird, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, White-bellied Kingfisher, Zenker’s and Lyre-tailed Honey guides, White-throated Blue Swallow, Crested Malimbe, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Blue-billed Malimbe, Chestnut Bellied and Pale-fronted Negrofinch, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike, Piping, Black Dwarf, Red-billed Dwarf, White Crested, African Piculet among other bird species. Retire back to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, birding in the savannah and Kazinga Channel gaining of exploring some of its 600-bird species including Temminck’s Courser, Rupell’s Griffon, Martial Eagle, White Headed, Lappet Faced Vultures, Blue Quail, Harlequin Quail, Small (Common) Buttonquail, African Crake, African Skimmer, Black Headed Gonolek, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Amur Falcon, Lowland Akalat, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Greater and Lesser Flamingo among others. The sights of wildlife like elephants, buffaloes, Lions, Leopard and Antelopes among others may not be missed. In the afternoon, you can choose to engage in a private or scheduled tourist boat ride along the 45km long Kazinga Channel.
After breakfast, you embark on the drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 160km to Buhoma. You will pass through the landscapes of Ishasha in the south of Queen Elizabeth where by chance you can encounter the tree climbing lions that dwell in the fig trees of Ishasha. The Fig frees of Ishasha with the low bent branches present an ideal ground not only for the lions to climb but also better viewing opportunities. You undertake a day drive in Ishasha where you also have an opportunity to explore the range savannah bird species in this sector including the Palm-nut Vulture, Hooded Vulture, African White-backed Vulture, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Brown Snake Eagle, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Bateleur, Long-created Eagle, Martial Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Helmeted Guineafowl, African Crake, Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattled Plover, Senegal Plover, African Green Pigeon, Ross’s Turaco, Striped Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, Double-toothed Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Greater Honey guide, Grey Woodpecker, White-browed Robin-Chat, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Green Crombec, Cisticolas, Grey-backed Fiscal and Yellow-billed Oxpecker. Retreat and proceed to Bwindi for check in. The evening will be spent birding along the Bwindi forest boundaries. Retire for relaxation, dinner and overnight.
In the morning after an early breakfast, transfer to the forest following the waterfall trail for birding. Search for birds such as slender billed starling, Kivu ground thrush, plus the white bellied Robin-chat, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Mountain Buzzard, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Hill-Babbler, Ayre’s Hawk-eagle, Black-and-white Shriker-flycatcher, slender billed starling, Dusky Tit, Ashy Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, Rwenzori Batis, Dusky-blue Flycatcher and Doherty’s Bush-shrike among others. From the activity, relax at the lodge.
Transfer 1.5hrs drive to Ruhija for Mountain Gorilla trekking. Gather at Ruhija Park Headquarters for briefing from the park rangers about the conduct of gorilla trekking activity. After the short briefing, you embark on the challenging trek through the impenetrable jungle of Bwindi with its rugged landscape involving valleys, swamps, steep slopes and rocky areas amidst amazing jungle sounds and bird songs which is an attraction in its self. You will finally come across these endangered apes in thriving in their ancient habitat foraging or socializing. You will marvel at the gorillas as they welcome you, interact and finally say bye when your one hour with them is used up to minimize stress on these endangered species. The opportunity to take as many photos as you can is availed to you while asking questions to your guide about these apes is up to your discretion. The activity ranges between 2 – 8 hours. From the activity, transfer to Ruhija. You can request for a close to trek gorilla group so as to get time for birding along the neck.
Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a true birders’ paradise with great bird counts per square Kilometer. The hilly forested landscapes of Ruhija offers sights of birds like; Macknon’s Fiscal, Augar Buzzard, Tropical Boubou, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Mountain Buzzard and Wagtail, Western Bronze Naped Pigoen, Barred and Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, Black Faced Rufous Warbler, White Headed Wood Hopoe, Ducky Tit, Ludhur’s and Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Grey-Green Bush-Shrike, White Eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Chestnut Throated Apalis, Streaky Seed-Eater, White Starred Robin, Stripe Breasted Tit among others. The extension to Umubwindi swamp offers other impressive birding opportunities including the possible encounter the beautiful leafy looking broadbill, Olive, Elliot’s and Fine-banded Woodpecker, Black-billed Turaco, African Hill Babbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Illadopsis, Mountain Greenbul, Red-faced Woodland, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Chestnut-throated Collard and Black Throated Apalis, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Mountain, Shelley’s and Yellow-streaked Greenbul, African Green-Broadbill, Regal Sunbird and Rwenzori Batis among other bird species.
After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Lake Mburo National Park 235km passing through the scenic hill sides of south western Uganda, lunch at the lodge and afternoon birding in the savannah. The encounter offers you chances of spotting a range of acacia associated birds including the Mburo’s endemic Red-faced Barbet and the unique Tabora Cisticola among others. The park is also home to Burchell’s Zebra, Rothschild giraffes, the Topis, elands, waterbucks, Buffaloes, Impala and Warthogs
Take up an early morning boat ride on Lake Mburo gaining chances of viewing African finfoot, a range of Kingfishers and the African fish eagle. Retreat from the activity, bird through the park as you drive to Entebbe for the flight departure back home. For those with late night flights, a day room in Entebbe can be arranged.