Day 1 – Arrival to Uganda
Evening arrival in Kampala, where we will meet our local guide and drivers. Travellers who have chosen our “book your own flights” option are requested to arrive the day before since the tour can start really early in the morning.
Transfer to our Hotel for an overnight in a lovely guesthouse on the shore of Lake Victoria. If time of arrival to Kampala is really late we may drive straight to our first spot, to have a better chance of seeing Shoebill Stork and other goodies.
Day 2. Mabamba Swamp & birding around Entebbe
In the morning we will transfer to Mabamba Swamp in search for the prehistoric-looking Shoebill Stork. This is one of the most sought-after birds in Eastern Africa. Here we can also find some aquatic birds including Lesser Jacana, Bronze Sunbird, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-backed Duck, Saddle-billed Stork, Swamp Flycatcher, African Marsh Harrier, African Pygmy Goose… After enjoying Mabamba we will have some rest in our accommodation before going for some afternoon birding in Entebbe, where we will explore their famous botanical gardens. There we will have chances for both Great Blue & Ross’s Turacos, Green Hylia, Bronze Sunbird, Meyer’s Parrot, Northern Puffback and a good list of other goodies and common birds. When the sunset arrives we will search for Bat Hawk, African Hobby, Southern White-faced Scops Owl and Greyish Eagle Owl among other species.
Day 3. Entebbe to Masindi,
Leaving Entebbe early in the morning, we will make a number of stops before arriving to the forests in Masindi in the afternoon. During the morning we will have chances for first views on Northern Black Flycatcher, White-headed Turaco, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Black-headed Gonolek, Saddle-billed Stork and even the scarce Short-tailed Pipit can appear while exploring the Rhino Sanctuary at Ziwa. Here we will also have the first Bushbucks, Uganda Kobs and Common Duikers of the trip. White Rhino is also a real possiblity here!
In the afternoon we will explore Masindi for a first touch in the birdlife living in the primary forest before exploration of the Royal Mile.
Day 4. Royal Mile,
This morning we will enjoy birding in the fantastic Royal Mile. This is a wonderful patch of forest that has become famous due to the huge variety of birds living in it. Some of the top targets to enjoy here include Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Nahan’s Francolin, Ituri Batis, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher along with chances of first views of Dwarf Kingfisher, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Honeyguide Greenbul, Cassin’s Spinetail, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher and Cabani’s Bunting while checking mixed flocks of birds in the hope of seeing Brown-chested & Fire-chested Alethes, in what is considered one of the best forest birding spots in the whole of Africa. Transfer to Kibale Forest.
Days 5 & 6. Murchinson Falls,
We will spend the most of these two days birdwatching along the grasslands and woodlands of this incredible National Park. Here you can expect to combine a great list of mammals such as Giraffes, Elephants, Uganda Kobs, Cape Buffalos and lovely Oribis with a wonderful set of birds including Pennant-winged Nightjar, Brown-rumped Bunting, Black-bellied Bustard Bustard, Northern Carmine Bee-Eaters, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Shelley’s Sparrow, Dusky Babbler, Namaqua Dove, Crested Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Bagamba Flycatcher, Rock Pratincole, Red-winged Pytilia, Crested Francolin and Lilac-breasted Roller. At the end of the second day we will move to Fort Portal, where we will still enjoy more of the birds living in the secondary forest around our accommodation.
Days 7. Semliki Forest.
We will spend the day exploring one of the most interesting woodlands in Uganda. Here we find excellent examples of Congolese birdlife, and we will try to see as many of them as possible. This gorgeous area is especially noted for Hornbills since here it is possible to see up to 4 species that cannot be found anywhere else in Eastern Africa: Red-billed Dwarf, Black-billed, Black-casqued & White-crested Hornbills are all possible here! Along with them, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Capuchin Babbler, Black-winged Oriole, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Grey Ground-Thrush, Lowland Akalat and Fiery-breasted Bush-Shrike among others. If lucky, we will come accrocc less commonly-seen species including Congo Serpent Eagle, Red-billed Helmet Shrike or African Piculet.
Days 8 & 9. Kibale National Park,
We will make a nearly two full days in one of the best areas for the wonderful Green-breasted Pitta. After enjoying this incredible bird we will go on a Chimpanzee trek inside Kibale NP, in an impressive rainforest. With a little luck, we will enjoy unforgettable views of these Apes! We will spend the whole day in this amazing location, exploring some spots where we expect to see Ross’s Turaco, Joyful Greenful, Red-headed Bluebill, Red-chested Owlet, African Emerald Cuckoo, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Brown Woodpecker, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Chestnut-winged Starling, Marsh Tchagra, Little Green Sunbird, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-chested Cuckoo, and the superb Black Bee-eater as we bird out towards the edge of the forest.
Day 10. Queen Elizabeth National Park,
We move on to the famous Queen Elizabeth National Park through the crater area with an important evening target; the boat cruise and Nightjars. On our way we will look for Sabine’s Spinetails, Cassin’s Honeybird, Joyful Greenbul, Giant Kingfisher, Ashy Flycatcher and Ross’s Turaco as we cross different environs of the forest. During the drive further South we will enjoy the impressive Rwenzori Ranges, a wonderful volcanic area! After arriving at our cottage, we will enjoy a boat cruise on Kazinga Channel, where will enjoy Swamp & Montane Nightjars.
Day 11. Queen Elizabeth NP: Maramagambo Jacana Trail,
We drive through Ishasha for the savannah birds, looking for the massive Lappet-faced vulture but also for Bateleur, Rüppell’s Griffon, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Rufous-necked Wryneck, Martial Eagle, Capped & White-tailed Larks, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-Shrike, Levaillant’s Cuckoo, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Zebra Waxbill, Siffling Cisticola and hopefully have a chance of seeing Common Button-quail. Mammals here may include African Bush Elephant, Lion, Impala and, if lucky, Leopard or Caracal. We will also check on the rare Cassin’s Flycatcher on the River Ishasha.
Day 12. Queen Elizabeth NP (Ishasha) to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP
Before starting on our way to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest we will enjoy the Southern sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here we will search for grassland and savannah birds but also some goodies including Black-billed Weavers, Grey Apalis, Blue-shouldered & Grey-winged Robin Chats while enjoying the notes of the Many-colored Bush-shrike. Here large numbers of mammals can be seen, including magnificent lions roosting on trees, Buffaloes, Waterbucks, Topis, Bushbucks, Forest Hogs and more. Overnight in Buhoma Community.
Day 13. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park – Buhoma Water Trail,
First full day birding in Bwindi to enjoy the incredible variety of birdlife but focused on Neumann’s Warbler, Kivu & Overlaender’s Ground Thrush, Archer’s Robin Chat, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Regal Sunbird, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Bar-tailed Trogon, Oriole Finch, and the recently described Albertine Sooty Boubou & Rwenzori Nightjar. Overnight in Gorilla Mist Camp to prepare for the Highland walk.
Day 14. Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NP,
A very early morning start as we will walk up the slopes of this impressive African tropical forest. The Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest can provide awesome encounteers with these huge apes. Please remember to follow all instruccions of our guides and the guards accompanying us. This is for both our safety and the safety of the Mountain Gorillas. In the afternoon we will walk down again as we keep looking for more birds including Mountain Wagtail, Dusky Crimsonwings, Black-billed Weaver, African Broadbill, Dusky Twinspot, White-headed Barbet, African Pygmy Kingfisher, African Black Duck, Petit’s Cuckoshrike, Mackinnon’s Shrike, Grey Apalis, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Olive Sunbird and Grauer’s Warbler, to name just a few, along with several species of monkeys.
Day 15. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest & Albertine Ridge
We will spend most of the day exploring the famous Mubwindi Swamp, with our main goal being to catch sight of some of the Albertine Rift endemics. The hike could take us as high as 2650 meters above sea level, in the mist where the Gorillas live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Here we will enjoy flocks of Stuhlmann’s Starlings with their aerial displays while searching for Grauer’s Broadbill, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Black-billed Turaco and Side-breasted Tit. Here we will also search for the Albertine Ridge endemics and goodies including Rwenzori Batis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Blue-headed Sunbird, Dwarf Honeyguide, Strip-breasted Tit, Regal Sunbird, Archer’s Robin Chat and Black-billed Turaco among others. Other really interesting birds likely to appear include White-browed Crombec, White-headed Wood-Hoopoe and Tüllberg’s Woodpecker. This Impenetrable Forest is full of flora and fauna, birds, and the list of mammals includes Giant Forest Hogs, African Forest Elephants, Sitatungas and Blue Duiker. Dinner and overnight in Broadbill Forest Camp.
Day 16. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to Mburo Lake,
After some morning birding in the forest to add some species to our growing list we will move on to the bamboo zone of Lake Mburo. As we head out we will enjoy some road-side raptors like the Rock Kestrel, Papyrus Canary, Lanner Falcon, African Hobby, Lizzard Buzzard and White-naped Raven. Other species that we will look for during the day include Crested Barbet, Brown-chested Lapwing, Tropical Boubou, Chubb’s Cisticola & Swamp Nightjar. In the afterrnoon we will have a boat-cruise looking for the shy African Finfoot. Here we will also look for the skulky Papyrus Gonolek and Purple-banded Sunbird along with a vast number of storks, herons and pelicans. Here there is also a good change of spotting Zebras, Waterbucks, Hippos but also Leopards as they often come to the river to drink!
Day 17. Transfer to Entebbe – Flight back,
Early morning birding in Lake Mburo to spot some new birds that can easily include Red-faced Barbet, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Brubru, Lappet-faced Vulture, Hottentot Teal, African Hoopoe, Red-faced Lovebird and Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Orange Weaver and White-winged Warbler to new a few.
Depending on the timing, we may have a last visit to the Entebbe Botanical Gardens or to search for a few key species which we might not have managed to see at the beginning of the tour (Shoebill Stork…), and to make a few additions to our list including Bat Hawk, Orange & Golden-backed Weavers or Green Hylia before heading to the airport for an evening flight back to Europe. A great end to a wonderful tour!