Be prepared for warm to hot, dry and sunny weather on most days. Overcast conditions will occur, Uganda being surrounded by tropical rain forests and fresh water bodies it can rain any time of the day and year. It will be warm to cool at higher elevations. It is recommended to take a light rain-jacket, although we will try to avoid birding in any rain worse than a light drizzle, and good, sturdy, waterproof footwear. Walking conditions will be relatively easy but trails anywhere may be muddy depending on how recently it has rained. Throughout the tour, we will travel in a 4 WD land cruiser or minibus with an open roof hatch to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities. Bring insect repellent and/or mosquito-proof clothing because bugs can be a menace, again depending on the rain. It will be necessary to bring a hat and sunblock. In the evenings we usually eat at the hotel or lodge where we are staying, and review the list of birds and other wildlife that we have encountered, as well as discuss the following day’s activities.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL
Arrival and check in at Cassia or The Lodge. Given time we shall bird around the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. Special birds here includes; African hobby, Ross’s Turaco, Brown and Grey Parrot, Klaas’s, Diederik, and Red-Chested Cuckoo, Fork Tailed Drongo, Brown Crowned Tchagra, white Chinned Prinia Black-headed Gonolek, the very lake Victoria specialized Orange Weaver is a key and very shy bird species we look out for here, to mention but a few.
Day 2: Birding to Mabamba
Early breakfast and transfer to Mabamba Swamp 50 kms west of Kampala. Bird enroute to the swamps lookout for papyrus specialties such as the Papyrus Gonolek, White winged warbler, Nothern brown Throated, Weyns, golden backed, orange weaver to mention but a few. Move to Mabamba swamps most of the birding here is done canoeing as we look out for the rare Shoebill Stork, African Water rail, Allen’s and Purple Gallinule, Squacco, Goliath, Purple, Grey Herons, a variety of Egrets, ducks etc
Day 3 & 4: Birding TO Lake Mburo National Park
This park has got a mosaic habitat of rock outcrops, dry hillside, open and wooded savanna, forests, galleries, swamps. A variety of habitats have contributed to the avifauna diversity and 313 bird species have been recorded in the park including; Red faced barbet, Long tailed cisticola, Papyrus yellow warbler, African fin foot, Northern Brubru, Rofous bellied heron, Black collared barbet, Brown chested plover, White winged tit, Northern brown throated weaver, White winged warbler. Stay at Arcadia cottages or Rwonyo Rest Camp for 2 nights
DAY 5 & 6: Birding TO Bwindi
Bwindi is the Bird watchers haven! It holds 348 species of birds among which 90% of the Albertine rift Endemic are here i.e the Short-tailed, Rusty-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 Monarch among others, difficult or impossible to see in any other part of East Africa. An experienced bird watcher can identify up to 100 species in a day. Stay at Buhoma Community Bandas or Gorilla Resort.
DAY 7: BIRDING TO QUEEN ELIZABETH NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, we will drive to QENP with several birding hotspots and arrive in time for lunch at the Kingfisher Safari resort or Institute of Ecology Hostels. Later we will embark on our birding expedition around the park and return for dinner and o/n at our respective hotel. Rooms are not en suite, but separate clean bathrooms are just next room at the Institute of Ecology while Kingfisher is self contained with warm showers.
DAY 8: Whole day birding
Whole day birding in the Park looking out for the Grey-headed Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Black-headed Gonolek, Grey-capped Warbler, Slender-billed, yellow backed, Black Headed, Lesser Masked and Golden Backed Weavers, Yellow Fronted and Brimstone Canary. We take an early morning game drive towards the famous Kasenyi Track, winding through grassland dotted with trees and nearby crater lakes. Our main aim is to locate Lions and other mammals including Buffalo, Ugandan Kob (an antelope that resembles impalas), Oribi, Waterbuck, Bushbuck and family groups of African Elephants. Along the road we may find Scaly Francolin, Red-necked Spurfowl, several plovers, Harlequin Quail and Common Button-quail. Larks are numerous and include, Red Capped, Rufous-napped, Flappet and the local White-tailed. Raptors include Martial Eagle, Banded Snake Eagles and Bateleur. In the afternoon we embark on a boat trip down the Kazinga Channel. This incredible area for waterbirds will afford stunning views of African Skimmer, Pink-backed Pelican, Saddle-billed, African Open Billed and Yellow Billed Stork, Hamerkop, African Spoonbill, Water Thick-knee, and over-summering Palearctic migrants. In the evening before dinner we will try a night drive with in the peninsular searching for Gabon and Slender-tailed Nightjars, as well as owls if staying on the peninsular.
Day 9: Birding to Kibale National Park
After breakfast this morning, we will drive to Kibale National Park birding on the way. This is a few hours drive and therefore birding along the way or afternoon birding in the forest is rewarding. Check in at the Primate Lodge or Rwenzori View Guest House.
DAY 10: BIRDING KIBALE NATIONAL PARK
Today we will spend our full day at the Kibale NP with birding and Chimp tracking. After breakfast, we enter the forest and do birding. The forest is home to the Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Green-backed Twinspot, Bicoloured Mannikin, White-naped, Green and Afep Pigeon, Narina’s Trogon, Joyful Greenbul, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Roufous Flycatcher Thrush and Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Brown and Scaly Breasted Illadopsis, on a lucky day the Green Breasted Pitta will be present. After lunch we assemble at the chimp tracking briefing ground, where we will learn all the required procedures. It is not strenuous, but can sometimes take longer depending on our luck. Kibale Conservation Area has 13 species of primates which are both nocturnal and diurnal beating the world record as the highest concentration compared to any forest. These include Chimpanzee, Red Colobus Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabeys, Red-tailed Monkey, Chimps, Blue onkey, Olive Baboon, I’hoests Monkey, Black and White Collobus Monkey, Valvet Moneky and Galagos, Pottos, to mention but these.
Day 11: Birding to Murchison Falls NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, drive to Murchison Falls National Park birding on the way and carry packed lunch or have lunch at Hoima Kolping hotel. This is a long drive with a few birding stops. We stay at Sambiya River Lodge or Red Chilli Camp for two nights.
DAY 12: BIRDING MURCHISON FALLS NATIONAL PARK
Today, we will spend the whole day birding at Murchison Falls National Park. After breakfast we cross the river for a game and birding drive on the northern section of the mighty River Nile. If we stay at Sambiya there are very good chances of seeing the Nightjars among others the pennant winged, plain and Swamp not leaving out Owls and early cats like the Leopard, Lion Civets etc. Lunch will be picnic after which we proceed for a boat cruise to the bottom of the falls. Key species of Murchison Falls include, Bat Hawk, Red-necked Falcon, African Black Scimitarbill, Spotted Morning thrush, Silverbird, Bronze-tailed, Lesser Blue Eared, Splendid and Ruppel’s Long Tailed Starling, Beautiful Sunbird, Northern Red Bishop, Rock, White-rumped Seedeater, Black-billed Barbet, Grey-headed Olive back, White-crested Turaco, Egyptian Plover, Bruce’s Pigeon, Pel’s Fish-owl, Carmine, Swallow Tailed, Little, Blue Cheeked and Red Throated Bee-eater, Brown-backed Woodpecker,White-fronted Black Chat, Cabanis’s and Brown-rumped Bunting, Black-rumped and Fawn Breasted Waxbill and Bar-breasted, Firefinch, Abyssinian, Broad Billed and Rufous-Crowned Roller, on the water the Four-banded Sandgrouse and Rock Pranticole are often sighted among others.
Day 13: Birding to Kampala
After early morning breakfast we transfer to Kampala birding enroute in search for savannah birds like the White Headed Barbet, Cardinal and Nubian Wood Pecker, White Crested Turaco, African Green Pigeon, Yellow Bellied Hyliota, African Moustached Wabler, White Shouldered Tit, African Paradise Flycatcher, Greater Blue Eared Starling among others. Over night stay at Lindsay Cottages or Sophie’s Motel
DAY 14: DEPARTURE.
End of Safari
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