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 & Murchinson Falls ,
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, Golden-winged Sunbird, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-backed Duck, Saddle-billed Stork, African Marsh Harrier, African Pygmy Goose… After enjoying Mabamba we will drive to Murchinson Falls crossing some vast savannah with several game species & swamp areas dotted with acacia and shrubs, as we drive around hoping for good views of Zebras, Topis and African Buffaloes. White-crested Turaco, Hartlaubs Marsh Widowbird and Purple Starling are all probable sightings on the way. Once we get to Murchinson Falls we will look for some top targets including Heuglin’s Francolin, Rock Pratincole & Water Thick-knee.
Day 3. Murchinson Falls to Busingiro,
We will spend the morning birdwatching in the savannah area known as Rwizi Track, combining a great list of mammals such as Giraffes, Elephants and some antelopes with a wonderful set of species including Pennant-winged Nightjar, Brown-rumped Bunting, Denham’s Bustard, Northern Carmine Bee-Eaters, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Shelley’s Sparrow, Dusky Babbler, Namaqua Dove, Crested Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Red-winged Pytilia, Crested Francolin and Lilac-breasted Roller. We then move on to the famous Royal Mile. Here it is also possible to enjoy with excellent mammalwatching including Lions, Elephants, Giraffes, Uganda Kob and several more.
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, Spotted Greenbul and Cabanis 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.
Day 5. Kibale National Park,
We make an early start with a clear first target, 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 Great Blue Turaco, Akun Eagle Owl, Joyful Greenful, Red-headed Bluebill, Red-chested Owlet, Brown Woodpecker, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Chestnut-winged Starling, Marsh Tchagra, Little Green Sunbird, Long-tailed Cuckoo, and the superb Black Bee-eater as we bird out towards the edge of the forest.
Day 6. Nkuruba Craters to 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 Honeyguide, 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 7. 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, Namaqua Dove, 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 8. Queen Elizabeth NP (Ishasha) to Semliki Forest,
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, Swamp Antelopes and more. Overnight in Buhoma Community.
Days 9 & 10. Semliki Forest.
We will spend nearly two full days 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, Long-tailed Hawk, Capuchin Babbler, Black-winged Oriole, White-throated Blue Swallow, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Grey Ground-Thrush, Oberlaender’s 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. During the afternoon of day 10, we head to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and overnight in Gorilla Mist Camp.
Day 11. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park – Buhoma Water Trail,
First full day birding in Bwindi to enjoy the incredible variety of birdlife but focused on Newmanns Warbler, Kivu & Overlaender’s Ground Thrush, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Bar-tailed Trogon, Oriole Finch, and the recently-found Albertine Sooty Boubou. Overnight in Gorilla Mist Camp to prepare for the Highland walk.
Day 12. 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, Cassin’s Flycatcher, Petit’s Cuckoshrike, Mackinnon’s Shrike, Grey Apalis, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, African Hill Babbler, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Olive Sunbird and Grauer’s Warbler, to name just a few, along with several species of monkeys.
Day 13. 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, Fraser’s Eagle Owl, 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, African Green Broadbill, Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Archer’s Robin Chat and Black-billed Turaco among others. Other really interesting birds likely to appear include Oberlander’s Ground Thrush, White-browed Crombec, White-headed Hoopoe and Tullberg’s Woodpecker. This Impenetrable Forest is full of flora and fauna, birds, and the list of mammals includes Little Bohms Squirrel, Giant Forest Hogs, African Forest Elephants, Sitatungas and Blue Duiker. Dinner and overnight in Broadbill Forest Camp.
Day 14. 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 Bunyonyi. 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 15. Transfer to Entebbe – Flight back,
Early morning birding in Lake Mburo to spot some species before our final transfer to Entebbe / Kampala International Airport.
This is a bit open day planning that can be used to enjoy 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!