202: BIRDING AND WILDLIFE SAFARI

202: BIRDING AND WILDLIFE SAFARI

$6435 per person

This birding and wildlife safari takes you to some of the remarkable birding destinations in the western part of the country. The vast range of bird species makes it a favourite region for bird watching.

You will explore the rich diverse habitats from the serene wetlands for the elusive Shoebill and water birds to finding the foresters, the remarkable savannah residents, and the Congo forest birds. In addition, you’ll enjoy special moments with the mountain gorillas of Bwindi, spend time with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat and discover the hidden game. An excellent way to Immerse yourself in Uganda’s bird life and classic game.

 

Highlights

  • Explore some of Uganda’s extensive wetlands for the Shoebill search
  • Forest birding for the restricted bird species
  • Special moments with the mountain gorillas, chimpanzee
  • Game drives in the sweeping savannah plains for birds and a host of wildlife

Overview

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport

Day 2: Transfer to Fort Portal. Evening birding

Day 3: Semuliki national park ‘the birder’s haven’

Day 4: Search for the Shoebill on Lake Albert. Transfer to Kibale national park

Day 5: Birding in Kibale forest. Chimpanzee tracking

Day 6: Swamp walk. Transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park

Day 7: Birding safari in the park. Boat cruise on Kazinga channel

Day 8: Ishasha sector. Continue to Bwindi Impenetrable national park

Day 9: Gorilla tracking. Evening birding

Day 10: Explore Mubwindi swamp trail

Day 11: Birding Bwindi. Transfer to Mgahinga national park

Day 12: Birding in Mgahinga national park

Day 13: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park. Birding safari

Day 14: Morning boat trip. Return to Nkima Forest Lodge via the Equator

Day 15: Mabamba swamp for the Shoebill. Botanical gardens. Depart

 

When is the best time of year to visit Uganda?

Although Ugandan seasons have become less predictable in recent years, peak tourist seasons usually coincide with dry seasons. When choosing your dates consider:

  • Uganda is an all-year round destination with a pleasant climate and temperatures averaging in the mid 20s0C. The huge variety in altitude means temperatures vary around the country (but this also means increased biodiversity)
  • Flight prices often increase in European/American holiday seasons
  • There are fewer tourists in low seasons so you can have the place to yourselves!
  • Many hotels offer all-year prices so the price of your visit may not change much between seasons
  • Most major roads going from the capital, Kampala, up-country are tarmac. Conditions on murram roads may worsen, to varying degrees, in rainy season
  • Rainy season can be good for birding as there is more food (bugs) available
  • If you are targeting certain birds, ask our advice on breeding and migration seasons
  • Should you plan to climb the Rwenzori mountains, dry seasons are best
  • Hiking may be better in rainy seasons when it is cooler

 

View similar itineraries

1
Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, you will be met by your guide who will take you to your hotel a short drive from the airport. S/he will remain with you throughout your safari in Uganda.
Accommodation: The Boma Hotel - Entebbe
Meals: D
2
Day 2: Transfer to Fort Portal. Evening birding
This morning, you transfer to Fort Portal approx. 5 hours west of Entebbe. The journey is scenic as you go past villages, small towns, tea plantation and forest. Once you have had time to settle in to your hotel and relaxed, you’ll enjoy a walk around the guest farm, a number of bird species including; sunbirds, hornbills, turacos and Uganda’s national bird, the Grey Crowned Crane are usually seen as well as some monkeys. As you walk through the village, you will meet the locals going about their daily life perhaps attending to their farms
Accommodation: Kluges Guest Farm - Fort Portal
Meals: B, L, D
3
Day 3: Semuliki national park ‘the birders haven’
Today you bird to Semuliki national park. The park has got a rich forest habitat, the only connection to Ituri forest of the DR Congo in Uganda and supporting some of the Guinea-Congo forest biome species. It is also that good spot to find some of the restricted-range species in East Africa. Right from the edge of the forest, keep your eyes peeled for resident birds including; Piacpiac, Mosque Swallow and Rattling Cisticola and as you get in to the forest, we’ll work hard for the Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Yellow-throated Nicator, African Piculet, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Forest Robin among many more special birds of this extensive forest.
Accommodation: Kluges Guest FarmFort Portal
Meals: B, L, D
4
Day 4: Shoebill search on Lake Albert. Drive to Kibale national park
At 06:00, you’ll start your drive to Semuliki wildlife reserve approx. 1 hour. Enjoy the views of the extraordinary Rwenzori mountain ranges and the spectacular rift valley once more as you drive also getting some good photos. We’ll also carry packed lunch. Meet your site guide who will accompany you to the lake for a local boat ride in search of the graceful Shoebill. Other birds you may see here on Lake Albert include; the Winding Cisticola, White-backed Pelican, Little Grebe, Allen’s Gillanule and Black Crake. Later, transfer to Kibale National Park
Accommodation: Turaco Treetops.Kibale national park
Meals: B, L, D
5
Day 5: Birding in Kibale forest. Chimpanzee tracking.
Get ready for an amazing day as you leave for the forest early morning. We’ll use the early hours to search for the rare Green-breasted Pitta, one of the most difficult to find bird species. Among the many other birds you’ll look out for include; Thick-billed Honeyguide, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Western Nicator, Black-headed oriole and Red-chested Owlet. After lunch, join your group for a briefing with the rangers. Then you trek into the forest for 2 to 4 hours in search of chimps. Once you find them, you will spend an hour, watching them play, eat and doze; plenty of time to take memorable photos!
Accommodation: Turaco Treetops.Kibale national park
Meals: B, L, D
6
Day 6: Swamp walk. Transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park
This morning, you head to Bigodi wetlands, a successful community conservation initiative. This is home to a number of colourful birds and primates. Accompanied by a site guide, you enjoy a walk through the papyrus in search of birds including the White-collard Oliveback, Yellow-billed Barbet, the Joyful Greenbull, Black-headed Gonolek and Great Blue Turaco. In the afternoon, you will transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park, approx. 2 hours away through the crater lakes region keeping your eyes active along the way. Later in the late afternoon hours, you’ll spend some time on a game drive in the park as you get introduced to the big game and birds of Uganda’s second largest national park.
Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge – Queen Elizabeth national park
Meals: B, L, D
7
Day 7: Birding safari. Boat cruise on Kazinga channel
Queen Elizabeth is one of Uganda’s popular national parks and boasts diverse habitats which include; open savannah, humid forest, lakes and wetlands. An early birding game drive will take you in search of classic birds of this park and big game in the kasenyi area. The grassland and sparse thickets provide chances of birds like Flappet Lark, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Jackson’s Pipit, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Wattled Lapwing. The sky usually also has some birds soring like vultures. Keeping up with game, we’ll keep watch for chances of seeing lions, Kob, elephants, warthogs, bushbuck, buffalos and leopards. In the afternoon, you get on board for a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, one of the major highlights of Queen Elizabeth. There is always a lot of activity along the banks of the channel with congregations of birds and game cooling off. You will look out for some African Skimmer, Common Sandpiper, the amazing African Spoonbill, Three-banded Plover, Pink-backed Pelican and Long-tailed Cormorants to mention but a few.
Accommodation: Ihamba Safari Lodge – Queen Elizabeth national park
Meals: B, L, D
8
Day 8: Search for tree-climbing lions in Ishasha. Continue to Bwindi Impenetrable forest
Ishasha sector of the park is famous for its tree-climbing lions. The endless plains have many fig trees in which the elusive tree-climbing lions hide – will you spot one? You will also scan for birds like Croaking Cisticolas, White-headed Barbet, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike and White-winged Widowbird. After lunch, you continue to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park – one of the birding hot spots in Africa and also home to the endangered mountain gorillas.
Accommodation: Engagi Lodge - Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Meals: B, L, D
9
Day 9: Gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable forest
This is usually a big day and a highlight of the safari! At 07:30, you will join your tracking group for a briefing from wildlife rangers. Enjoy the jungle walk as you track your gorilla family, which can take between 2 to 8 hours. Once you find them, you’ll have the privilege of spending a magical hour in their company and as you watch them go about their daily business. Memories to treasure! When done and there is time, you’ll have a leisurely walk birding in the community. Look for Albetin Sooty Boubou, Mountain Yellow Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Doherty’s Bush-shrikes and Red-throated Alethe among many others.
Accommodation: Gorilla Mist Camp -  Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Meals: B, L, D
10
Day 10: Explore Mubwindi swamp trail
After an early breakfast, you head out to the famous Mubwindi swamp in persuit of the most difficult to see Albertine rift endemic birds. While you walk through the mountainous terrain, look for birds including Dusky Tit, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Black-throated Apalis, Narina Trogon. The Grauer’s Broadbill, Northern Black Flycatcher, Western Citril, Black-billed Turaco, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Chestnut-throated Apalis, African Yellow White-eye, Mountain Illadopsis, Oriole Finch and other forest dwellers are the other birds we’ll hope to see in the undergrowth and as you go through the marsh.
Accommodation: Gorilla Mist Camp Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Meals: B, L, D
11
Day 11: Birding and transfer to Kisoro
Before you head to Kisoro, you spend some time in the morning birding and thereafter, head further to the south west corner of the country. This evening, you can relax at your hotel doing a little bird watching at the hotel premises as you prepare to explore the amazing Mgahinga National Park, home to a variety of Albertine Rift endemics, as well as golden monkeys and the rare mountain gorillas.
Accommodation: Travellers Rest Inn HotelKisoro
Meals: B, L, D
12
Day 12: Birding in Mgahinga national park
Birding in Mgahinga is impressive. This is one of the birding destinations in the Albertine region that presents a good checklist of the Albertine endemics. You have the opportunity to search for some of the special birds including the rare Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Kivu Ground Thrush, Dusky Turtle Dove, Regal Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Olive Thrush as you enjoy the breath taking views of the Virunga mountains.
Accommodation: Travellers Rest Inn Hotel Kisoro
Meals: B, L, D
13
Day 13: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park. Birding safari
Travel through the scenic Ugandan countryside to Lake Mburo National Park, a 5 hours’ journey. Lake Mburo is one of Uganda’s smallest but most interesting parks. Keep your eyes peeled for some birds along the way like; the Augur Buzzard, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Long Crested Eagle. the swampy areas also present a number of swamp dwellers. After settling in to your lodge, spend the afternoon birding in the park. You will drive on different tracks in pursuit of birds including; Red-Faced Barbet, Crested Barbet, Black Cuckoo-shrike, White-winged Black-Tit, African Pipit, Chin-spot Batis. You will also not miss the animals such as Impala, zebras, buffalos, eland and giraffe.
Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock – Lake Mburo national park
Meals: B, L, D
14
Day 14: Boat trip. Birding to Mabamba wetland via the Equator
Your day, starts with a boat trip on Lake Mburo. This destination holds higher chances of seeing the rare African Finfoot and the beautiful African Fish-Eagle. Other sightings during the boat trip may include the Black Crake, Saddle-billed Stork and the African Wattled Lapwing, White-backed Night-Heron, Grey-capped Warbler and good views of hippos and may be other animals around the shoreline. After, you will drive to your lodge in Mabamba. Break the scenic 3-hour drive to Nkima with a stop at the Equator for souvenirs and photo opportunities.
Accommodation: Nkima Forest LodgeMabamba
Meals: B, L, D
15
Day 15: Mabamba swamp for the Shoebill. Botanical gardens. Depart
Mabamba is an extensive wetland on the shores of Lake Victoria and one of the best IBA’s to see the elusive Shoebill. It’s also one of the successful community initiatives. Most birders never miss this site. At round 07:30 you will take stroll to the landing site where you take a local fishing boat through small channels for another opportunity to see the iconic bird. While looking for the Shoebill, hope to also see some more African water birds like Yellow-billed Duck, African Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Long-toed Lapwing, also chances of the Blue-checked Bee-eater and African Marsh Harrier. On your return to Entebbe, if time allows, spend a little time at Entebbe botanical gardens birding at an easy pace. Later your guide will take you to the airport for your flight home
Meals: B, L

Guide price: from US$ 6,435 per person

Based on 2 adults sharing a double room, in mid-range accommodation, in low season and travelling in a safari Land Cruiser (all our safaris and tours can be adapted to high-end, mid-range or budget versions)

 

The price for every safari depends on the number of people travelling, their ages, the time of year, whether or not international flights are included, the type of transport and accommodation used and the activities undertaken.

 

We calculate according to the specific dates of your booking because after we publish our itineraries some things may change. For example, hotels may increase their prices, exchange rates fluctuate, the government may introduce new taxes or some discounts may become available. Unfortunately, we also have to pass on surcharges imposed on us by, for example, airlines when fuel prices or airport taxes are unexpectedly increased.

 

We would be happy to prepare a quotation, based on your requirements. We normally include most costs in the price so all you need to bring with you is ‘pocket money’ for items like drinks, tips and personal shopping e.g. souvenirs.

Price includes

1 gorilla and 1 Chimp tracking permit each

A double room in mid-range, non-air-conditioned accommodation with a full board meal plan

Private safari vehicle with driver and fuel for this itinerary

All entrance and other fees for the activities included in the itinerary

Mineral water in transit

All government taxes

Price does not include

International flights

Visas

Travel insurance

Personal expenses: alcohol, laundry services and souvenirs

Tips (normally 5–10% and around $10 per day for your guide).