While other East African Countries are famous for wildlife safaris, many naturalists would argue that Uganda and Rwanda offer an experience that is more diverse, exceptional and breathe taking. To a bigger extent the Mountain Gorillas may be the most exciting wildlife encounter which the African continent has to offer and the two countries we are featuring this time are best known for captivating birding encounters and timeless scenery, as this tour takes you the valley of the upper Nile – Murchison falls National Park, the vast savannas of Queen Elizabeth National Park and many smaller sanctuaries protecting lakes rainforest and volcanic landscapes hold more species of plants, primates, birds and other animals than any comparable region on the continent. Our goal on this trip is to explore and understand this richness in the company of an exceptional naturalist guide, Paul Tamwenya. (cite bio link). Paul knows virtually all of the birds by vocalization and sight, and has superb vision for finding distant mammals. He is a charismatic leader who is known and respected throughout Uganda and Rwanda. In two weeks we will sample all the major habitats of Uganda and Rwanda. Our emphasis will be on seeing and photographing as many birds and animals as possible, but we will also enjoy the hospitality of many friendly people representing different tribes that will host our stay. Expect early morning starts, opportunities to explore on foot and small hotels and lodges sited close to interesting natural areas. Most tourists visiting Uganda and Rwanda focus just on the locations where the Mountain Gorillas occur. We will have several chances to see the gorillas close up, but the main emphasis will be active exploration of your naturalist-guide’s favorite sanctuary haunts of other species of birds and animals.
On this Birding Journeys Uganda and Rwanda safari you are going to get it all—birds, wildlife, magnificent scenery, beautiful and different cultures of the many tribes settling in these two small countries we shall be traversing and we promise the ultimate African experience!
DAY 1: ARRIVAL
DAY 2: BIRDING MABAMBA AND ENTEBBE BOTANICAL GARDENS
Today we have a very good introduction to the birds of Uganda. We shall start in the morning with a visit to the Mabamba Bay which is an Important Birding Area. Our main search today will be focusing on the Shoebill Stork, one of the threatened species in Africa. Other birds to watch out for while in the swamp include among others the Rufous Bellied Heron, Purple Swamphen, Reed Warbler(s), Pygmy and Spur Winged Goose, Lesser Jacana and the African, African Marsh Harrier and the Eurasian depending on the month you visit. Later in the afternoon depending on your wish and choice of birding time we shall drive to Entebbe and visit the Botanical gardens. It gives us excellent birding and it has about three habitats, namely the grassland, Water and Forest. While here we shall look out for birds like the African Grey Parrots, Broad Billed Roller, Grey Woodpecker, Klaas’s, Diederick and Red Chested Cuckoo, Superb, Red Chested, Scarlet Chested, Collard, Green Throated and Copper Sunbird, Orange, Spotted Backed, Black Headed, Slender Billed and Golden Backed Weaver, finding the Great Blue and Ross’s Turaco which is a family of birds known to Africa though un mistakable will we rewarding for this aftrenoon birding. The Giant Kingfisher is one of the biggest sightings we look forward to here. We later drive to our Lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 3: BIRDING TO MURCHISONFALLS
Today we drive north and see the beauty of Uganda. No wonder Uganda becomes the Eden of African Birding, here the ecosystem completely changes and we get exposed to different bird spp enroute like theBronze Tailed, Lesser and Greater Blue-eared Starlings which are a very difficult but the idiosyncratic calls help in their identification. Black Winged-bishop, Fantailed Widowbird, White Crested Turaco, Black Billed and Blue Spotted Wood-dove, Yellow Bellied Hyliota, African Moustached Warbler, Brown Twinspot, the seasonal Lesser Grey Shrike, Brown Parrot, African Thrush, Little Sparrow – Hawk, African Harrier Hawk, Grey and Nubian Woodpecker, Green Backed Eremomela, Grey Headed Olive Back, White Chinned Prinia, Black and White Mannikin, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Red Eyed, African Morning, Ring Necked and Loughing Dove plus many other species of birds. We shall later reach Murchison with a visit to the top of the falls and check into our hotel for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 4: BIRDING NORTHERN MURCHISONFALLS AND BOAT RIDE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FALLS
After breakfast, we shall do birding on the northern banl on Murchisonfalls look out for both game and birds, among those there, expext to see the Grey Headed, Striped and Woodland Kingfisher, Red Shouldered Cuckoos-Shrike, Beautiful Sunbird, Foxy, Whistling, Croaking, Singing, Rattling, Zitting and Siffling Cisiticola, Abyssanian Ground Hornbill, Black Bellied and Stanley’s Bustard, White Fornted Black Chat, Sooty Chat, Yellow Billed, Wood Chat and Grey Backed Shrike, Abyssinian and Rufous Crowned Roller, Spotted Morning Thrush, African Quail Finch, Vitteline Masked Weaver, Black Billed Baerbet, Swallow Tailed, Northern Carmine, Little and the seasonal Eurosian, Blue Cheeked and Olive bee-eater.White-browed ands Chestnut Crowned Sparrow-weavers, White Headed Buffalo Weaver, Speckle Fronted Weaver, Rufaous Sparrow, Superb Starling and many more bird species. This Morning some of the mammals to be seen alongside the birding will be the Girrafe, Cape Buffalo, African Elephant, Jackson’s Heartbeast, Oribi, Bohor Reedbuck, Bush and Water Buck, Jackal, Lion, Hyeane and with big luck the Leopard. In the afternoon the cruise to th botom of the falls exposes us to lots of water birds like the Saddle Billed, Yellow Billed and African Open Billed Stork, lots of different Kingfishers and large schools of Hipos and Nile Crocs. We later get back to the lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 5: BIRDING TO MASINDI
We start in the morning and bird to Masindi via Kaniyo Pabid which is part of the Budongo Forest Reserve an area with mammoth diversity of flora and fauna. The forest is criss crossed with well maintained network of forest trails making it doable to explore the dense forest with its beautiful biodiversity in different ways and this gives us the best sighting for the Puvel’s Illadopsis a shy and secretive dull brown bird, other species here will include the Grey and Yellow Lobgbill, Chocolate Backed, Blue Breasted and Pygmy Kingfisher, We also have good views of the shaggy-crested Guineafawl, Fire Crested Alethe, Narina Tragon Yellow Billed, Grey Throated and Yellow Spotted Barbet among the species for today. After this we shall continue to our lodge where we shall stay for two nights.
DAY 6: WE BIRD TO THE ROYAL MILE AND BUSINGIRO FOREST
Today we have a birding excursion to the above two unique sites within the Murchison Falls Conservation Area. We shall start early and head to the Royal Mile where many ceremonies of the Bunyoro kingdom took place before this was a conservation area. Enroute we shall have some birding stopovers to look out for bird spp like the Singing Cisiticola, Cabanis’s Bunting, Dark Capped Yellow Warbler, Grey Headed Olive Back, Brown Twinspot, Black Bellied Fire Finch and more then carry on to the Mile. Birding here is excellent with an open interior and gives us unique bird spp like the Ituri Batis. Lemon Bellied Crombec, Firest Warbler, Dusky Longtailed Cuckoo, Dwarf, Blue Breasted, Pygmy and Chocolate Backed Kingfisher, Western Black Headed Oriole, Red Headed Malimbe, Blue Throated Roller, White Spotted Greenbul, Rufous Crowned Eremomela, Chectnut Capped and Forest Flycatcher, Yellow Crested Woodpecker and many more. we drive to Busingiro looking out for bird species which might have been missed at the mile then later back to Masindi for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 7: TRANSFER AS WE BIRD ENROUTE TO KIBALE FOREST
We a long drive today, so birding will be minimised with a few stops enroute. We shall be leaving Masindi with a picnic lunch which we shall enjoy enroute. Some bird spp we expect today on our stopovers include the Brown and Western Banded Snake Eagle, Little Sparrow Hawk, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Joyfull Greenbul, Grey Throated Barbet, Olive Longtailed Cuckoo, White Breasted Nigrofinch, African Emerald Spotted Cuckoo and many more. We later continue and checkin at our hotel.
DAY 8: BIRDING AND OPTIONAL CHIMP TRACKING IN KIBALE FOREST
Today we have an option of chimp tracking. The close cousines of ours the Chimpanzees live in intricate societies, just like a coummity of humans, the have the ability to solve complicated problems, the are also able to make and bring into play tools, engage in convoluted social interactions and communicate through a variety of sounds and gestures. When encountering these habituated chimpanzees, you may scrutinize a variety of behaviours. Its worthy watching them play and interact with one another. The main bird spp we look out for here is the Green Breasted Pitta a very uncommon bird and restricted to forest interiors. We shall as well loom out for the African Broadbill, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, Red Tailed Ant-Thrush and many more other spp. We later get back to our lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 9: BIRDING TO SEMLIKI NATIONAL PARK
We have optional birding if we stayed around the park then transfer to Semliki National Park. Interesting bird spp await you mostly the brightly coloured waxbills enroute and at the park egdes. We shall look out for the Golden Backed Pytilia, Melba Finch, Orange Cheekec Waxbill, Marsh Tchagra, Brown Backed Scrub Robin and at the park egdes birds like the Red Billed Dwarf, Black Dwarf, Pipping and Black Wattled Casqued Hornbill are easily sighted. We continue and spend our bight in Bundibugyo.
DAY 10: BIRD WATCHING SEMLIKI
Today we start early and visit the Kirumia Trail, if the whether is good, we have always registered here excellent birding with Guinea – Congolian biome species, we mostly look out for the Afrian Piculet, Grants Bluebill, Crested and Blue Billed Malimbe, Green Throated Cuckoo, White Crested, Pipping, Black Billed Dwarf, Black Casqued Wattled-Hornbill, Maxwell’s Weaver, Roufous Sided and African Broadbill, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Black Billed Turaco, African Pitta, Blue Throated Roller, Yellow Throated Nicator, Chestnut Bellied Nigrofinch, Western Bronze Naped Pigion, Orange Cheeked Waxbill and many more.
DAY 11: EARLY BIRDING AS WE TRANSFER TO QUEEN ELIZABETH UGANDA PARK
Today we can do a mix of some culture and birding. We shall visit the Female and male hotsprings in the Sempaya area of Semliki. Looking out for birds and the unique Debrazza monkey which in habits this low land tropical rainforest. We have more chances of catching up with more Guinea – Congolian biome bird species which might have been missed on the Kirumia Trail. We late continue and check in at the lodge of your choice in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park.
DAY 12: EARLY BIRDING DRIVE AND AFTERNOON LAUNCH CRUISE ALONG THE KAZINGA CHANNEL
This is Uganda’s second largest National Park and with a recorded bird spp of about 612. On a wonserful day we have had records of over 150 bird spp. We shall start early and bird through the vast grassland looking out for rarity bird spp within there like the African Moustached Warbler, Black and White Browed Coucal, Golden Weaver, Grey Kestral, Southern Red Bishop, Flappet, Red Capped and Rufous Napped Lark, Grassland, Plain Backed and Thick Billed Pipit, Black-Chinned Quail Finch, Crimson Rumped Waxbill, White Browed Robinchat, Black Headed Gonolek, Common and Blue Quail, African Crake, Temminck’s Couser and many more other grassland birds. Today we have a boat ride along the natural Kazinga channel which takes us close to lots of water birds among which we shall see the Goliath Heron, Black Crake, African Spoonbill, African Jacana, Collard Pratincole, Great White and Yellow Billed Egret, Squacco Heren and many more. Back to the Lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 13:BIRDING TO BWINDI
The birding tour gets us close to Rwanda and today we get to head towards the Gorilla Sanctuary in Bwindi. This is home to half the remaining population of the world’s endangered Mountain Gorillas. We have two optional routes which lead us there. One through the Southern part of Queen Elizabeth called Ishasha which is very popular for the tree clinbing lions. It’s a unique encounter finding these predators in the trees, this sector is also great for savannah birding and always provides good sitings for the African Cuckoo-hawk , African Cuckoo, Commom Scimiterbill, Black Bellied Bustard, Red Faced Crombec, Bateleur, Hooded, Rupell’s Grifon, Lappet Faced and White Backed Vulture. We shall enjoy our picnic lunch at the Ishasha river where we at times view the Black Bee-eater then continue to Bwindi.
DAY 14 & 15: BIRD WATCHING BUHOMA AND OPTIONAL GORILLA TRACKING
We have two days hear, one optional visit to the endangered Mountain Gorillas. Tracking them always starts where they were left the previous day and may take 30 minutes to reach them or the whole day. This is conducted by patient, qualified and knowledgeable ranger guides with wide experience in natural history with particular attention to gorilla behavior. Finding them and watching them play is quiet amazing. The other option of the birding day takes us to watchout for the merrymaking Greenbuls such as the Red-Tailed, Cabanis’s, Shelley’s, Yellow Whiskered, Slender Billed, Little Grey, Plain, Toro Olive other bird spp here will be the Yellow Spotted, Yellow Billed and Grey Throated Barbet, Red Faced Woodland Warbler one of the Albertine Rift Endemics and easily seen here. Yellow Bill, Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, Red Throated Alethe, differienting the White Bellied and Equatorial Akalat would very interesting. Red Capped, Grey Winged and Blue Shoulderd Robin Chat, African Shrike and Vanga Flycatcher, Black Faced Rufous Warbler, Red-Fronted Antpecker, Pink Footed and Northern Puffbuck, Buff Throated, Grey and Black Throated Apalis, Wallers, Narrow Tailed and Stuhlumann’s Starling, Elliot’s and Buff Bellied Woodpecker, Cassin’s and Least Honeyguide among the other bird spp in this area. Later we retreat to our lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 16: BIRDING TO RUHIJA
Depending on the results of the past days while here, we might start with a moorning birding walk to try and find what might have been missed then transfer to Ruhija while birding enroute. Some of the bird spp we expect include the Macknon’s Fiscal, Tropical Boubou, Augar Buzzard, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Mountain Buzzard and Wagtail, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Western Bronze Naped Pigoen, Black Faced Rufous Warbler, Barred and Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, White Headed Wood Hopoe, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Ducky Tit, Ludhur’s and Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Grey-Green Bush-Shrike, Chestnut Throated Apalis, White Eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Streaky Seed-Eater, Stripe Breasted Tit, White Starred Robin and many more. Later to the Lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 17: BIRDING TO MUBWINDI SWAMP
This morning we bird to the No.1 African birding spot according to the African Bird Club. The elevation is higher than where we have done birding before, so there are exceptional bird spp and most of high altitude. This is the birding spot where we find the African Green Broadbill and the sight to look out for theGrauer’s and Grauer’s Rush Warbler, most Albertine Rift Endemics here inlude the Handsome Francolin, Blue Headed, Blue Throated, Purple Breasted and Blue Throated Brown Sunbird, Red Throated Alethe, Mountain Illadopsis, Collard and Mountain Masked Apalis, Yellow Eyed Black Flycatcher plus more. Other high altitude bird spp here will be the Bar Tailed and Narina Tragon, White Tailed Crested Flycatcher, Abyssinian Hill Babbler, Stripe Breasted Tit and other. Later we shall get back to our lodge for dinner and over night stay.
DAY 18 & 19: BIRD WATCHING TOUR TO AND IN MGAHINGA PARK UGANDA
We start and head to the South Western corner of Uganda in Kisoro district where Ugand’s smallest park Mgahinga lies. The bird spp to watch out for in these two days will be the White-starred Robin, White Eyed Slaty Flyctacher, Olive Thrush, Mountain Yellow Warbler, White Tailed Blue Flyctacher, White-napped Raven, Olive Woodpecker, Dusky Crimsonwinhg, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Cape Robin, Grey Caped Warbler, Bronze Sunbird, Yellow-crowned Canary, Rwenzori Turaco, Streaky Seedeater and on lucky days we shall try out the Threatened Shelley’s Crimson-wing finch and later take a rest at the hotel.
DAY 20, 21 & 22: BIRDING TO AND NYUNGWE
Nyungwe is at present the best site in the world to see the thrilling and localized Red-collared Mountain-Babbler. This peculiar and active flock species is a stellar attraction. This park give us chnces of seeing endemics like the Rwenzori Apalis and Turaco, the Red-faced Woodland Red Throated Alethe, and Archer’s Robin-Chat. Doherty’s and many Coloured Bushshrike, this is another good spot for Handsome Francolin, Sooty Boubou, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, , Grauer’s Rush, Neumann’s, and Grauer’s Warblers, Black-faced Apalis, Lagden’s Bushshrike, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, and Regal Sunbirds, Stripe-breasted Tit, Dusky Crimson-wing and Strange Weaver. Other gems we’ll hope to see include Kivu Ground-Thrush, White-bellied Robin-Chat, and White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher. While birding here, we shall also keep our eyes out in the canopies to find primates like the Chimpanzee, Angola Pied Colobus a spp known in west African countries, as well as Blue, Red-tailed, and L’Hoests Monkeys.
DAY 22: TRANSFER TO KIGALI ONWARDS WITH A PROPOSED CITY TOUR AROUND THE CAPITAL OF RWANDA
End of Safari
3 days Gorilla Safari to Bwindi Impenetrable forest, home to more than half of the remaining mountain gorillas in the wild. This trip is offered on both scheduled and tailormade basis.
A 3 Days trip to Murchison Falls National park, the largest protected area in Uganda. Adventure activities included in this trip include a launch trip, wildlife drives, chimpanzee tracking and spot fishing.
A 3 days trip to Queen Elizabeth (QENP), a world biosphere reserve. The Safari is packaged with a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, game drives following the popular Kasenyi track and chimpanzee trekking.
This 5 Days gorilla tour leads you to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to morethan half of the remaining mountain gorillas. There are about 340 mountain gorillas in the Bwindi, out of the remaining 720 wordwide.
A 5 Days Adventure to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Kibale Forest. Both Forests offer incredible experiences of meeting endangered primates. From Kibale Forest, track the endangered chimpanzees, man’s closest relatives!.
This 7 day safari takes you through Uganda’s Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Activities included in the trip tracking the Mountain Gorillas, chimpanzee tracking.