One of our favourite destinations Uganda offers us both birds and wildlife. From Muchison Falls in the north to Bwindi in the Albertine Rift, Queen Elizabeth National Park and the Mbira Forest are all great destinations. Highlights of the tour include a boat trip on the Nile to see the bizarre looking Shoebill Stork.
This tour offers excellent photographic opportunities. A short extension to the rarely visited Semliki Forest on the Congo border offers the chance of some rarely seen Congo Forest endemics. Mammals are also a memorable part of the trip with a gorilla trek an option at Bwindi.
Accommodation is in comfortable hotels and tented camps with private bathrooms.
Apart from the gorilla trek which requires moderate fitness this is not a difficult tour. There are no steep muddy walking trails and participants need to be of only a moderate fitness level. Transport is in 4WD vehicles and the roads can be rather bumpy in poor condition. Weather can be cool in the highlands and warm in the lowlands.
- 13 nights accommodation
- Meals as itinerary (check PDF itinerary)
- Transport including fuel
- Guide services of tour leader
- Site & entry fees
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Flights (Domestic or International)
- Drinks & snacks
- Items of a personal nature
Day 1 - Arrive Entebbe
Arrive in Entebbe and transfer to hotel. Meet with guide for welcoming dinner and briefing about the tour.
Day 2 - Visit Mabamba Swamp
Weʼll begin today with a visit to the nearby Mabamba Swamp, wherewewillbe looking for the bizarre Shoebill. A bird which looks as if it should never get airborne if you look at the size of its bill. Be prepared for a couple of hours of rough driving to get to the best area We then take to the water in little canoe-like boats and float through the marsh looking not only for Shoebill but also many of the following species: Long-tailed Cormorant, Hamerkop, African Openbill, Marabou Stork, African Pied Hornbill, Scarlet- chested and Red-chested sunbirds, Rueppell's Glossy-Starling and the very localized Orange Weaver.
Day 3 - Travel to Masindi morning, birds & wildlife in afternoon
Early this morning weʼll leave the Entebbe Peninsula and drive (mostly on good roads) to Masindi in northwestern Uganda. By lunch time we reach woodlands and have hope for a great afternoon seeing birds like Banded Snake-Eagle and White-crested Turaco. Budongo Forest. After an early breakfast we will depart for Budongo Forest, about an hour's drive away. Weʼll have a full day in this area where a new system of trails is currently being cleared. Additionally, a broad road through one of the richest areas of forest (known as the Royal Mile) gives good access to many of the forest specialties found here.
Day 4 - Travel to Kibale Forest
Today is primarily a travel day, but it will not be without several worthwhile stops as we search for any open country for animals and birds that we may have missed over the previous few days. In the afternoon weʼll arrive at Kibale Forest and a two-night stay in very pleasant surroundings at Primate Lodge.
Day 5 - Kibale Forest
Weʼll have a full day at Kibale Forest, where nine species of primates can be found. Weʼll start by joining the excellent local guides on a Chimpanzee trek, where we may also encounter Blue, Copper- tailed, and l'Hoest's monkeys, Black-and-white Colobus (also known as Mantled Guereza), and Gray-cheeked Mangabey. Birdlife is prolific, but as in many tropical forests, birds can be shy and difficult to observe. Night at Primate Lodge.
Day 6 - Papyrus swamp & Queen Elizabeth National Park
This morning weʼll visit a papyrus swamp in search of the striking Papyrus Gonolek. Weʼll then have an early lunch before driving south to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our newly renovated lodge is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Edward and the Kazinga Channel, and behind it lies an extensive area of rolling grass-covered hills, wooded valleys, and a series of extinct volcanic craters. During our stay we will visit each of these areas and take an afternoon trip on a launch along the famous Kazinga Channel that links lakes Edward and George, with great photo ops.
Day 7 - Queen Elizabeth National Park
The varied habitats within Queen Elizabeth National Park should provide us with an extensive bird list and a few new mammals, too. Lions are possible here, and we should see Elephant, Buffalo, Warthog, Topi, and large herds of (Uganda) Kob. We will also head to the famous Ishasha area to look for the tree-climbing lions that live in this area.
Day 8 - Bwindi - Impenetrable Forest
Weʼll continue further south, this time to the Gorilla Forest Camp in the lower reaches of what is now called the Bwindi - Impenetrable Forest. Depending on what species we may need to see in Queen Elizabeth National Park, we may spend part of the morning in that area. Otherwise, we will head on and spend the afternoon near our camp.
Day 9 - Gorilla Trek Day
There are six accessible groups of Gorillas in this area and we will have arranged your trekking permits in advance. This experience is limited to only 6 groups of 6 people each day, so this is an e xtremely special opportunity and a highlight of the tour.
Day 10 - Travel to Runija
Today we travel through areas of cultivation and then climb up onto the edges of the Albertine Rift into the bamboo zone and the higher altitude forest. There is some very attractive scenery and an amazing contrast between the cultivation and the edge of the National Park.
Day 11 - Ruhija area
Many different species are found at these higher altitudes, including quite a few of the Albertine Rift endemics. We'll have a full day-and-a-half to search for birds and wildlife in this area. The moderately strenuous but beautiful trail to the Mubwindi Swamp will be optional; for those not wishing to take this walk, we will make arrangements for them to be accompanied by a local guide in the fabulous forest near our lodge where birds such as Regal Sunbird are found. Night at Ruhija Gorilla Lodge.
Day 12 - Travel to Lake Mburo
We leave the Lake Victoria basin and drive through farmland where we can see the amazing Ankole cattle with their enormous sweeping horns. We travel on to Lake Mburo, where we expect to arrive in the late afternoon. With luck we may see Pennant-winged Nightjars hawking over our tents at dusk.
Day 13 - Lake Mburo
This delightful small park contains rolling scrub-covered hills, open dry areas, pockets of woodland, papyrus beds, marshy lake fringes, and open water. It is the only area where we can see Burchellʼs Zebra and Impala, and we should also find good numbers of Oribi, Olive Baboon, and Vervet Monkey. A variety of new and interesting birds occurs within this park and we hope for birds like White- backed Night-Heron and African Finfoot (during a short boat trip), Lizard Buzzard, African Goshawk, Lilac- breasted Roller and Red-faced Barbet (at its only Ugandan site). One of the charms of Africa is its colourful and diverse array of birds and you will be travelling with one of the world's experts, who will also give you the chance to see animals such as hippopotamus, impala, tsessebe eland, warthogs, buffalo, jackals and if very lucky leopards.
Day 14 - Return to Entebbe & take onward flights
Return to Entebbe & take onward flights.