16 days Uganda birding Itinerary – Start Entebbe, End Entebbe

Target species:Shoebill, Albertine rift endemics and Gorillas

Max No. of Participants:05 (Only 03 Remaining!)

Min No. of Participants:02

Guide:Deogratius Muhumuza

Driver:Brian Tuhaise

Itinerary Details

DAY ONE ~ 6th Jan 2017: Arrival at EBB International Airport and transfer to your hotel for refreshments. Depending on the time you arrive, you may have time to do an optional nature/bird walk along Entebbe botanical gardens or just around the lodge

Situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, EBG is a beautiful place with colourful butterflies, birds and primates in an area of 40.7ha. The habitat has attracted a diverse array of birds – 206 species recorded (both forest and shorebirds) and monkeys; Black and White Colobus and Vervet Monkeys. Here, the birding walk is more relaxed. Some of the species we are likely to see here include harrier hawk, lizard buzzard, northern brown-throated wattle-eye, willow warbler, olivaceous warbler, African thrush, yellow-throated leaflove, African Grey Parrot, golden-backed, yellow-backed and orange weavers, , ross’s Turaco,  crowned, African pied and black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Superb, olive-bellied, collared and Marica Sunbirds, ruff, green crombec, Blue-cheeked bee-eater, heuglin’s and snowy-headed robinchat, red-cheeked cordon-blue, grey-headed negro-finch, etc

Overnight: Lake Victoria View Guesthouse for 2nights

DAY TWO ~ 7th Jan 2017: Boat trip to Mabamba wetland for the shoebill

We have breakfast at 5:30, and start driving for about 1.5 – 2hrs to the swamp. We return to our hotel later in the afternoon. Optional afternoon birding at Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Mabamba is about 50km southwest of Entebbe area on the shores of Lake Victoria. The bay comprises of an extensive marsh with a labyrinth of channels and lagoons, classified as an Important Bird Area, and home to several pairs of Shoebills, Uganda's most famous avian resident.

Other interesting species include Lesser Jacana, Malachite Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, etc. we may spend up to 3.5hours on the canoe. We later have our picnic lunch and return to our lodge in Entebbe. We shall be making mini-stops on the way to look at birds.

DAY THREE ~ 8th Jan 2017:  Drive to Murchison Falls National Park

We start early and travel all the way up to Pakwach. Optional stopover at the Zziwa Rhino Sanctuary for Rhino tracking and lunch. Depending on our pace, we expect to make a brief stopover at the Luwero wetlands to try the rare Hartlaub’s Marsh widowbird, moustached grass warbler, and possibility of the Broad-tailed warbler (in case you are into birds)

Check in at Fort Murchison safari lodge

DAY FOUR ~ 9th Jan 2017: Birding / game drive in Murchison Falls NP

Checkout the lodge, have breakfast and spend the whole morning in the northern sector of the park, and later in the afternoon, go for a boat cruise in the afternoon. We shall carry picnic lunch today. After the boat, we shall hike up to the top of the falls. Driver picks you from there and drives you to your lodge for an overnight.

Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest national conservation area and it is famous for its big game, spectacular scenery and the falls for which the park was named. Abundant Hippos, Crocodiles, Elephant, Buffalo, giraffe, hartebeest, Uganda Kob and Waterbuck can be seen along with occasional Lions, leopard and Patas Monkeys. Birding here is a delightful experience with some species only known in this particular location! White-crested Turaco, Heuglin's Francolin, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-spotted and Black-billed Wood Doves, vinaceous dove, Blue-breasted, black-billed barbet, Madagascar, Northern carmine, Red-throated and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, etc. are amongst a huge variety of African grassland species that can be seen here. The highlights for this day’s birding may be Stanley’s Bustard, spotted thicknee, secretary bird, Pearl spotted Owlet, black headed lapwing, white-browed sparrow-weaver, chestnut-crowned sparrow weaver, speckle-fronted weaver etc.

Overnight at Murchison River Lodge for 1night

DAY FIVE ~ 10th Jan 2017: Drive to Kibale National Park while birding on the way

This is a rather long, teeth-jarring journey, that may likely take us most our day with limited birding. We shall carry picnic lunch. Numerous stops will be done at strategic points to stretch legs and look for special birds.

Kibale is an extensive National Park, protecting a large block of rainforest that offers excellent birding with 335 species recorded. It is most celebrated for its greatest variety and concentration of primates than any other reserve in East Africa; the most prominent being the Chimpanzee. The forest protects a remarkable 13 primate species, including the very localized Red Colobus and L'Hoest's Monkey, Galagos, Blue monkey, Black and White Colobus, Red-tailed and Vervet Monkey

Stay at Kibale Forest Camp for 2nights

DAY SIX ~ 11th Jan 2017: Morning birding walk in Kibale forest and afternoon Bigodi wetland birding / Chimpanzee tracking (optional activity)

This morning we start with breakfast at 5:45am with the aim of being in the forest by 6:30am. The main target will be the green-breasted pitta. It is s sought-after specialist of Kibale forest that is normally active early morning. We have a chance of other interesting species like the African pitta, crowned eagle, velvet mantled drongo etc. we shall be here till late morning hours. We drive back to our lodge for lunch; short siesta and spend the rest of the afternoon/evening at Bigodi community wetland. Those intending to do chimp tracking will not do Bigodi wetland birding.

Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a community owned and managed nature reserve. A 4km trail has been created in the wetland adjacent to the forest. The habitat here consists of a swamp surrounded by low, scrubby secondary forest and cultivation. It is the best place to see over 6 different species of monkeys and primates. Key bird species include among others; White-spotted flufftail, Green-backed Twinspot, Cabanis's and Joyful Greenbul, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Olive-green Camaroptera, White-collared oliveback, white-winged warbler, white-chinned Prinia, Blue-shouldered Robinchat, Lesser honeyguide, Uganda Spotted and speckle-breasted Woodpeckers, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Red-capped Robin Chat, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Great Sparrow-hawk, Red-headed Bluebill, and Luhdher's Bush Shrike.

DAY SEVEN ~ 12th Jan 2017: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National park

We shall have a relaxed start this morning with breakfast at 7:00am, check out the lodge and drive via the Ndali craters for about 2.5hours to the park while birding along the way. Birding will continue up to Kazinga channel where we shall take a Launch Cruise.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is yet another area with some of the highest biodiversity ratings than any National Nature Reserve in the world. Its varied habitats of open savannahs, acacia woodlands, tropical rain forests, dense papyrus swamps and lakes, make it one of the richest parks in Africa. Game in the park includes elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, a profusion of Hippos, the elusive Giant forest Hog and the handsome Uganda Kob, with occasional Lion and Leopard. The park boosts of over 610 bird species recorded, and a one-day record of 296 species!

Kazinga Channel is a narrow neck of water body connecting lakes Edward and George; and is the most luxurious in the region; plying these waters with comfort, elegance and attentive service, affording superb wildlife viewing from your observation deck, is far much re-assuring! Along the Kazinga Channel, there are chances of spotting the African Skimmers, snowy-capped robin, African spoonbill, kittliz plover, flamingos, Great White and Pick-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Carmorants, Common Squacco Heron, African Open-Billed Stork, White-faced Whistling, Knob-Billed Ducks and  African Fish Eagle, crowned lapwing and many other shorebirds both migratory and resident

Overnight: Marafiki Safari Lodge 2nights

DAY EIGHT ~ 13th Jan 2017: Game drive along the Kasenyi trail the whole morning and birding to Katwe wildlife sanctuary in the afternoon.

Birding along the Kasenyi track is done in the vehicle. This area is famous for Lion’s and leopard. An early start may produce good results.

DAY NINE ~ 14th Jan 2017: Whole day in Ishasha looking for tree climbing lions and birds

Ishasha forms the distant southern segment of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and is most popular for lions that sleep in giant, gnarled fig trees! River Ishasha has one of Africa’s biggest concentrations of hippos. This expanse savanna area hosts antelopes like topi, Uganda kob and large herds of elephant and buffalos

Birding here is very delightful. Ruppell's Long-tailed Starling, Black-headed Gonolek, Slender-billed Weaver, Little Weaver, Black-headed Weaver, Red-headed Lovebird, Spur-winged Lapwing, African Mourning Doves, the Winding, stout, Croacking and Zitting Cisticolas, African Penduline Tits, the Arrow-marked, Black-lored and Brown Babblers, Nubian Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Black-rumped Buttonquail, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Lesser Honeyguide, African golden oriole, African firefinch, short-tailed lark, wihite-winged and red-collared widowbirds, rufous-naped lark, Black Scimitarbill, Green Wood Hoopoe, etc, etc are some of the specials of this area

Overnight: @ the River Ishasha Lodge for 1night

DAY TEN ~ 15th Jan 2017: Birding to Bwindi–BUHOMA

We checkout this lodge, spend the whole morning again in Ishasha just before we drive to Bwindi impenetrable forest. Upon arrival, we may decide to do an optional bird walk at the edge of the forest.

We stay here 2nights – Buhoma Community camp

DAY ELEVEN ~ 16th Jan 2017: Gorilla Tracking

We have breakfast at 5:30am, carry picnic lunch and drive for a short while to the briefing point for gorilla tracking activity. For those who have done this activity before, it is by far rated as number one wilderness experience in the whole world. The Bwindi forest alone hosts more than half of the total world population of the mountain gorillas; the rest being shared among Rwanda and the DR Congo. We shall be guided by the trackers who are very knowledgeable at finding these apes. There are several other primate species in the forest including the beautiful l’Hoest monkey, blue, black and white colobus, etc.

Trekking up the hillside to view a family of gorillas nestled in casual, frolicking play, is a fascinating, once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will have an opportunity to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters play and swing from vines in a delightful and gentle display

Note: This activity may sometimes be so challenging because it involves strenuous hikes in the impenetrable forest with rugged terrain. A high degree of physical fitness is a requirement

DAY TWELVE ~ 17th Jan 2017: Transfer to Ruhiija sector of Bwindi

Optional community walk in the morning and theareafter travel to Ruhiija. Ruhiija forms the northern sector of Bwindi forest. This is another special place for albertine rift endemics that can be easily seen along the road. Of special interest is birding along the NECK.

The NECK is a relatively narrow stretch separating the two sections of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest. It is characterized by riverine forest vegetation. Birding the main road is very productive.

Mountain Wagtail, Red-tailed and Shelley's Greenbul, Cassin's grey Flycatcher, Black Duck, Banded Prinia, Grey-throated Barbet, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, dusky tits, Common Buzzard, Black-billed Turaco, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Dwarf Honeyguide, cassin’s honeyguide, Red-tailed Greenbul, Black Bee-eater and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, bar-tailed and Narina trogons, Many-coloured Bush-shrike, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Red-throated Alethe, Grey Apalis, African Shrike-flycatcher, dusky blue flycatcher, olive long-tailed and barred long-tailed cuckoos, Red-headed Malimbe, Dusky Twinspot etc, are some of the likely encounters.

Overnight: Broadbill forest camp

DAY THIRTEEN ~ 18th Jan 2017: Whole day birding in Ruhija along the famous Mubwindi Swamp trail for the Albertine Rift Endemics(8km trail to and from the swamp that takes a minimum of eight hours)

After breakfast, we shall carry our picnic lunch and head for a whole day birding following the famous trail through the forest up to Mubwindi Swamp. The 4km trail to Mubwindi Swamp drops from 2350m to 2050m ASL. It is very challenging and is the best place for some of the most difficult to find of all the Albertine Rift Endemics. The rare and localized Grauer's Rush Warbler can be found here, African Green Broadbill, the beautiful Regal Sunbird, and Archer's Robin Chat. Mubwindi Swamp trail is home to Dwarf Honeyguide, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Apalis and African / Rwenzori Hill Babbler, and Carruthers' Cisticola. Other key species here include Red-chested Owlet, Eastern Mountain-Greenbul, Strange Weaver, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, banded prinia, rwenzori batis, Black-headed Waxbill, Bar-tailed Trogon, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Waller's Starling, Stuhlmann's Starling, Ludher's Bush-shrike, Montane Oriole, olive thrush, yellow-billed barbet, blue-headed sunbird etc.

Note: This activity may sometimes be so challenging because it involves strenuous hikes in the impenetrable forest with rugged terrain. A high degree of physical fitness is a requirement

DAY FOURTEEN ~ 19th Jan 2017: Drive to Lake Mburo NP.

Early arrivals will give a chance to do a game drive along the eland track.

Birding here is a delightful experience, with beautiful scenery and a markedly different fauna from other reserves. This is the best place in the country to see antelopes such as Eland, Zebra, Topi, Impala, and acacia-associated birds. The giraffes are also present. Birds include, among others; common scimmitarbill, red-rumped swallow, yellow-breasted apalis, spot-flanked barbet, sulphur-breasted bushshrike, golden-tailed woodpecker, bearded woodpecker, white-shouldered black tit, white –headed barbet etc

Overnight: Eagle’s nest camp for 2nights

DAY FIFTEEN ~ 20th Jan 2017: Early morning bird walk in the woods and later bird take a boat along the lake in the afternoon.

Most sought-after species here include tabora cisticola, red-faced barbet, emerald-spotted wood dove and possibilities of the rare Crested Barbet which are only known in the remote north-eastern Tanzania, Rwanda and here. Other interesting species include chinspot batis, African water rail, miombo wren warbler, fawn-breasted waxbill, black-bellied bustard etc.

The boat ride along the shores of the lake will be looking for specials like the white-backed and black-crowned night herons, rufous-bellied heron, African Finfoot, African darter, water thicknee etc. The papyrus swamp along the shores of the lake holds the papyrus yellow warbler and papyrus gonolek. You will also encounter pools of hippos, crocodiles, and buffalos.

Day SIXTEEN ~ 21st Jan 2017: Transfer to Entebbe for your flight back home

On our way to Entebbe, we stop at kaku ponds where we normally encounter cranes, hottentont teals, saddle-billed storks, purple swamp hen, common swamphen, comb ducks, spur-winged geese, white-faced whistling and fulvous whistling ducks etc. there are recent records of the red knot! (Only when there is enough water in the ponds which normally happens after the rains)~ End of trip! ~

Prices per person

2pax USD3964

3pax USD3370

4pax USD3073

5pax USD2895

Single room supplement USD465

Included: 4X4 car and fuel, all accommodations and meals, bottled drinking water, park entrance fees, all game drives, bird/nature walks, boat fees, local / site guides fees, plus services of a knowledgeable birding guide.

Excluded: visa and flight charges, Gorilla and chimp trekking permits, additional beverages link sodas and alcoholic drinks, laundry, tips to guides and driver (mandatory!), night walks and game drives and any other items of personal nature