8 nights Birding Safari to Central & Western Uganda

Pied Kingfisher - Queen Elizabeth national parkThis short birding safari introduces you to birding in Uganda and shows you some of the hgihlights such as searching for Shoebill in the swamps, African Finfoot around the lake shore, raptors in the parks and many other sought after birds. Along the way you will inevitably bump into a variety of game including zebra, lion, hippos and many different antelopes and travel through some stunning scenery, making this a real nature lovers tour.
Grey-crowned Crane - Port Bell May 15 (4)

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Day 1: Arrival in Entebbe with birding locally depending upon time of arrival
Day 2:
Mabamba swamp in search of Shoebill. Continue to Lake Mburo national park for game drive
Day 3:
Full day birding in Lake Mburo including early morning boat cruise on the lake
Day 4:
Travel to Queen Elizabeth national park. Birding in the park
Day 5:
Full day birding in Queen Elizabeth national park including by boat
Day 6:
Travel to Kibale national park and bird to Bigodi wetland
Day 7:
Chimp tracking in the forest and afternoon birding especially for the Green Breasted Pitta
Day 8: Return to Kampala, visit African craft village then drive to Entebbe
Day 9:
Birding at Wildlife Education Centre or botanical gardens before departure

USAGA professional bird guide Day 1: Arrive in UgandaWe will welcome you at Entebbe International Airport. Depending on the time of your arrival, you can relax in your hotel or take a stroll around the botanical gardens or the Uganda Wildlife education Centre (zoo) which has a lovely forest walk with over 200 species.Accommodation: Airport Guest House
Swamp birding by small boat at Mabamba Day 2: Birding Mabamba Wetlands then travel to Lake Mburo nationl parkMaking an early start, head to the Mabamba Wetlands on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is an extensive papyrus swamp with a labyrinth of channels and lagoons and is home to several pairs of Shoebill. Enjoy relaxed birding by small boat.There is a good selection of classic East African water birds, including Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, African Open-billed, Saddle-billed, and Marabou Storks, Hammerkop, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, African Fish-Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, African Water Rail, Purple Swamphen, Allen’s Gallinule, African Jacana, Long-toed and Spur-winged Plovers.In the afternoon travel to Lake Mburo National Park. This park has varied habitats from open Acacia woodlands, to a number of papyrus-lined lakes and swamps. Target species en route to, and in, the park, include: Black-headed, Squacco, and Rufous-bellied Herons, Hadada Ibis, Yellow-billed (Black) Kite, Red-faced Crombec, Northern (white-winged) Black Tit, Chinspot Batis, Mariqua, Olive-bellied, and Red-chested Sunbirds, Pied Crow, Greater Blue-eared, Splendid, Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starlings, Black-headed, Northern Brown-throated, Yellow-backed, Vieillot’s Black, and Slender-billed Weavers, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Bronze Mannikin, and Yellow-fronted Canary. If we are lucky, we will even see the nomadic Weyn’s Weaver.Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock
African Fish Eagle - Lake Mburo Day 3: Whole day Lake Mburo National ParkToday take another boat ride, this time in a bigger boat, on Lake Mburo. Search for the rare White Backed Night Heron, African Fin foot and the African Giant King Fisher, Papyrus Gonolek and White Winged Warbler.The more open grassland along the Zebra Track, is worth exploring for species such as Coqui Francolin, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, and African Wattled Lapwing, and it is here where small numbers of the migratory Brown-chested Lapwing can be regularly observed. Other species include African Marsh Harrier, African Hawk-Eagle, Common Quails, Water Thick-knee, Red Faced Barbet, Rufous–naped and Flappet Larks, Lead-colored Flycatcher, African Penduline-Tit, Black-headed Oriole, Tropical Boubou, Southern Red Bishop, Brubru, Red-headed, Little, and Holub’s Golden-Weavers.Mammals in this park, include the shy Oribi, graceful Impalas, and Common Zebras. African Scops-Owls, swamp, Freckled, and Black- shouldered Nightjar are also recorded here.Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock
Pied Kingfisher - Queen Elizabeth national park Day 4-5: Travel to Queen Elizabeth National ParkLeave early for Queen Elizabeth National Park passing through the Ishasha sector, well-known for its tree-climbing lions. The park is the second largest in Uganda, and ranks highest with respect to overall diversity, with a species list 650+. The park has a mosaic of habitats from moist forest at Maramagambo to wild savannah excellent for lions, leopards, elephants, hyenas, Ugandan Kobs, Side-striped Jackal, baboons, giant hogs amongst others.In the afternoon, enjoy one of the highlights of your trip, a boat ride along the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes George and Edward. Look for African Skimmers, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Grey, Purple and Goliath Herons, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Storks, Sacred and Glossy Ibises, African Spoonbill, Egyptian Goose, Black Crake, African Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged, African Wattled, Kittlitz’s, and Three-banded Plovers, Collared Pratincole, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Brown-throated Sand Martin, Greater and Lesser Swamp Warblers, Carruthers’s Cisticola, and Papyrus Gonolek.Other interesting species found in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Black-rumped Button-Quail, African Crake, Brown-chested Plover, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Black Bee-eater, Shining Blue Kingfisher, White-tailed Lark, as well as Marabou Stork, Black-shouldered Kite, Hooded, African White- backed, Rüppell’s Griffon, Lappet-faced and White- headed Vultures, Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Gabar Goshawk, Wahlberg’s, Tawny, Martial and Long-crested Eagles, Lanner Falcon, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-necked Spurfowl, Senegal and Crowned Plovers, Black and Senegal Coucals, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Blue-naped Mousebird, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Madagascar African Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, White-headed Barbet, Lesser Honeyguide, Arrow-marked and Black-lored Babblers, Moustached Grass Warbler, Fan-tailed Grassbird, Trilling, Winding, Stout and Zitting Cisticolas, , Common Drongo, Common and Grey- backed Fiscals, Black-headed Gonolek, Black-crowned Tchagra, Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-Shrike, Violet- backed Starling, Yellow billed Oxpecker, Purple-banded and Scarlet-chested Sunbirds, Compact, Lesser Masked and Spectacled Weavers, Red-billed Quelea, Fan-tailed and White-winged Widowbirds, Green-winged Pytilia, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Red-billed Firefinch, Common and Fawn-breasted Waxbills, Brimstone Canary and Golden-breasted Bunting Broad tailed warbler, and Black Coucal.Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge
Black & White Casqued Hornbill Day 6: Transfer to Kibale National park, tour the crater lakes regionWith a leisurely start, today we transfer to Kibale Forest national park, home to 13 primate species. The forest also brings the highest chances of seeing the Green-breasted Pitta one of the most sought after birds. Other target birds include; White-winged Warbler, Fire-crested Alethe, Afep pigeon, African Pitta, Western Nicator, Yellow Bill, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Joyful Greenbul,     Chubb’s Cisticola, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, White-spotted Flufftail and others. Afternoon you bird to Bigodi wetland, enjoy a swamp walk as you search for birds including;, Black billed Turaco, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Yellow-billed Barbet, Lesser Honey guide, White-chinned Prinia, African Pitta, and many moreAccommodation: Kibale Guest Cottages
 Chimp in Kibale forest Day 7: Chimp tracking and birding full day7:30am we drive to the park head quarters to join your group for chimp tracking. Enjoy walking through this humid, tropica rainforest as you look for them and then, on finding them, you are allowed to spend one hour with the chimps watching them play, swing, feed on the fruity trees and groom. If you are lucky, you may spot other primates like the Blue monkey, Red tailed monkey, L’hoest monkey, Olive Baboon. Likely birds include; Black Bee-eater, Abyssinian Ground-thrush, Western Nicator, Long-tailed Dusky Cuckoo, Black Cuckoo, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Joyful Greenbul, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher and much more. And later enjoy a swamp walk in Bigodi wetland for yet another round of bird and primates spotting.Accommodation: Kibale Guest Cottages
Rwenzori foothills Day 8: Return to Kampala, visit African village and drive to EntebbeReturn to Entebbe via Fort Portal, traveling in the shadows of the Rwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon) through some of Uganda’s most spectacular scenery. There will be time for a few stops en route in places of interest and you should arrive in the early evening in time to relax and enjoy a lovely supper as the sun goes down over lake Victoria.Accommodation: Airport Guest House
Entebbe botanical gardens Day 9: Bird Botanical gardens and UWEC and departureIf your flight home is in the evening, there will be time for some final Ugandan birding at Lutembe Bay, an IBA and Ramsar site with over 100 water bird species including Palaearctic migrants and roosting water birds and also the occasional Shoebill, African Skimmer and Madagascar Squacco Heron.Those departing at lunch time will still have time for some morning birding at the Botanical Gardens or on a forest walk at the Uganda Wildlife Education, depending on which of these you did on arrival.Finally, your guide with escort you to the airport in time for your flight home.

Any of the activities below can be swapped for activities in this itinerary or you can extend this itinerary to add any of them. This may involve additional costs. We will be pleased to advise you about options and extensions.

  • Horseback safari in Lake Mburo national park
  • Night game drive in Lake Mburo national park
  • Tour of the salt lakes in Queen Elizabeth national park
  • Chimp tracking in Queen Elizabeth national park
  • 2 days birding in Semuliki national park
  • 1 day birding at Mabira forest near kampala
  • 2 days birding on the River Nile at Jinja and a boat trip to Samuka Island breeding site

Prices

This safari costs USD 3,700 per person and it is based on two people sharing twin accommodation.

We are happy to quote for different group sizes | single person supplements | options/extensions | flight-inclusive packages.

Inclusions & exclusions

Price includes:

  • 1 chimp tracking permit each
  • A private safari vehicle with driver/guide & fuel for this itinerary
  • Full-board, mid-range, non-air conditioned accommodation
  • All entrance and other fees for the activities include in the itinerary
  • Mineral water in transit
  • All government taxes

Price does not include:

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as bar bills, phone calls, laundry services, gifts, crafts & personal shopping
  • Tips and gratuities (normally 5-10% and around $100 for your guide).

Booking procedures

Our booking procedures are straightforward but please feel free to contact us if you need any assistance. We suggest you buy your international flights before booking (unless flights are included in your package).

  1. Once you have selected one of our safari packages or have agreed a bespoke itinerary with us you need to send us a booking form.
  2. We will acknowledge receipt of your booking and then we check the availability of your itinerary on your chosen dates and inform you if any changes are necessary. For example, if your preferred hotel is fully booked on your selected dates.
  3. When availability is confirmed, we will issue booking confirmation details including an invoice for your deposit. You must check these details carefully.
  4. You must pay a 50% deposit plus the full amount for any tracking permits (payments for permits are non-refundable unless we are to sell them on). Full payment becomes due no later than 70 days before travel and we will send you a reminder and invoice for this.
  5. Payment is by bank transfer into our Standard Chartered USD bank account in Uganda. You can also pay by credit card although there is a 3.5% administration charge. For those booking from within Uganda, cash payments are possible.
  6. We strongly recommend that you include cancellation cover in your travel insurance.

Booking Formpayonline

Please use one of these forms to book your visit:
Booking form: Holidays / Safaris

Booking conditions

Please take the time to read and understand the booking conditions governing your travel arrangements with Venture Uganda.

We also recommend that you also read the Travel advice pages of this website and the itinerary information relating to your trip before booking.

Booking Conditions

Accommodation

To help us select the right accommodation for your safari, we use three levels: up-market, mid-range and budget. These terms can mean different things to different people are useful to an extent. We do not use what we would call ‘backpackers accommodation’ unless asked to.

Air-conditioned rooms are not available in all hotels. Where it is available, there is usually an extra charge.

Some locations have a limited choice of accommodation and so, to stay there, you must accept what is available.

Where possible we prefer to work with responsible travel accommodation. This means hotels and lodges which are locally owned, employ local staff, support their community and protect the local environment.

Transport
As standard, we use a spacious 4×4 safari van with a pop-up roof for all our safaris.
transport

Should you wish to upgrade to a safari Land Cruiser, we can arrange that for an additional fee.

land cruiser

All vehicles include a driver/guide and fuel for the itinerary. Additional activities not included in your itinerary may incur an additional fuel charge.

Our vehicles are comprehensively insured, in good mechanical condition and have seat belts fitted.

Group transport For large group tours we use small buses called Coasters. These usually seat around 28 people, including 5 jump (fold-down) seats in the aisle. They do not have a boot/trunk so luggage is carried on the back seats which reduces the seating capacity. The overhead luggage shelves are small and can only accommodate small bags. Therefore we recommend you do not over pack.

Please let us know if you have any special travel requirements for example, if your group has disabled members. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Flying safaris

Internal flights

Fancy a flying safari, hopping from one location to another by small plane? Or, save time by travelling to one of the farther destinations on your itinerary by air instead of road. Domestic flights are now available to a variety of locations in Uganda so you can visit all or some of the places in your itinerary by plane enjoying stunning aerial views of some spectacular locations and wildife.

Note: The luggage limit on small aircraft is 15kg per person.

International flights

We can include international flights in your holiday package and can often get discounted flights for our clients.

See our Responsible Tourism pages for information about our approach to tourism and advice on how to travel responsibly.

For general advice please see our travel advice web page

Specific advice for this safari

Chimp tracking permits are subject to availability. We recommend early booking if possible, especially in peak season (Dec–Mar and June–Sept). If permits are not available on your chosen dates, we may be able to run the trip in reverse order or alter the itinerary to fit.

Note: The Uganda Wildlife Authority does not allow children under the age of 12 years to track chimpanzees.