20 Days Uganda Birding & Gorilla Safari
The 20 days Birding and Gorilla Safari traverses Uganda’s major national parks while birding and partaking in a gorilla trekking session in Bwindi Forest.
Uganda is one of the richest African Birding Destinations with over 1090 bird species. 50% of all Africa’s bird species are found in Uganda, therefore, making Uganda a birding paradise. Uganda has 25 Albertine Endemics with only 1 Endemic Bird Species Fox’s Weaver.
The 25 Albertine Endemic birds include the Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, African Green Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Collared Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Rwenzori Batis, Strip-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Strange Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, and Shelley’s Crimsonwing.
Birding and Gorilla Safari in Uganda
|Day 1:||Arrival in Entebbe||Papyrus Guest House||Bed only|
|Day 2||Pian Upe||Karamoja Safari Camp||B,L,D|
|Day 3:||Birding in Cheposukunya Hotsprings||Karamoja Safari Camp||B,L,D|
|Day 4:||Pian Upe – Kidepo Valley NP||Kidepo Savannah Lodge||B,L,D|
|Day 5:||Birding in Kidepo NP||Kidepo Savannah Lodge||B,L,D|
|Day 6:||To Budongo Forest||Budongo Eco Lodge||B, L, D|
|Day 7:||Royal Mile and Forest||Budongo Eco Lodge||B, L, D|
|Day 8:||Murchison – Fortportal||Turaco Treetops||B, L, D|
|Day 9:||Birding Sempaya and Ntandi||Turaco Treetops||B, L, D|
|Day 10:||Birding Kirumia River Trail||Turaco Treetops||B, L, D|
|Day 11:||Kibale Forest & Bigodi swamp||Turaco Treetops||B, L, D|
|Day 12:||Kibale – Queen Elizabeth NP||Bush Lodge||B, L, D|
|Day 13:||Maramagambo Forest & Kazinga Channel||Bush Lodge||B, L, D|
|Day 14:||Queen Elizabeth – Bwindi Forest NP||Haven Lodge||B, L, D|
|Day 15:||Munyaga water fall trail – Ruhija Sector||Gorilla Mist Camp||B, L, D|
|Day 16:||Mubwindi swamp Birding||Gorilla Mist Camp||B, L, D|
|Day 17:||Gorilla Trekking||Gorilla Mist Camp||B,L,D|
|Day 18:||Bwindi Forest – Lake Mburo||Rwakobo Rock||B, L, D|
|Day 19:||Nature walk / Birding Kigambira Loop||Papyrus Guest House||B, L, D|
|Day 20:||Mabamba swamp – Departure||Departure||B, L|
Itinerary for the Birding and Gorilla Safari in Uganda
Day 1: Arrival (45 mins)
upon your arrival in Entebbe, you will be picked up by a company representative and transferred to your hotel at the start of your birding safari in Uganda tour accommodation and meals at Papyrus Guest House
Day 2: To Pian Upe Reserve – Birding
After breakfast, set off for Pian Upe Reserve arriving in time for lunch. This game reserve is the 2nd largest in Uganda and offers some of the best bird-watching experiences. There are about 242 bird species recorded among which are the endemics like the Fox weaver bird and Karamoja Apalis.
Bird along the way and some evening birding, look out for bird species such as Fox Kestrel, Black Coucal, Nubian Woodpecker, Western Black-headed Batis, Green-backed Eremomela, Pale Prinia, and Red-pate Cisticola. Accommodation and Meals at Karamoja Overland Camp
Day 3: Birding in Pian Upe Reserve and the Cheposukunya Hotsprings
This day will be spent birding in the reserve and at Cheposukunya Hotsprings in the morning. Look out for bird species such as the Silverbird, Spot-flanked Barbet, Stone Partridge, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Red-fronted Barbet, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, 4-banded Sandgrouse, African Grey Hornbill, Superb starling, and Secretary bird.
Other bird species include Green Breasted Pitta, Abyssinian ground hornbill, the rare shoebill stock and White-faced Whistling Ducks, African Paradise Flycatcher, Bruce’s Green Pigeons, Greyish Eagle Owl, and Marico Sunbird.
Accommodation and Meals at Karamoja Overland Camp
Day 4: Pian Upe – Kidepo Valley National Park
Breakfast and then head to Kidepo Valley National with lunch en route arriving in the evening for relaxation. About 480 species have been recorded in the park and this is largely due to its varied vegetation. Accommodation and Meals at Kidepo Savannah Lodge
Day 5: Birding in Kidepo Valley NP
Today you will explore the riches of Kidepo Valley National Park. You will have some birding sessions along the way. Look out for some bird species such as Black-breasted Barbet, White-backed Vulture, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, and Piapiac, along with some game such as Plains Zebra, African Buffalo, and Hartebeest. Head to the Barbet birding spot a well-wooded rocky hill.
Explore some of the open plains and floodplains, before making our way back for lunch and an afternoon rest.
After lunch break head to the Namamukweny Valley noted for its astonishing bird sights especially Green wood hoopoe, White-crested turaco, Eastern paradise whydah, Common bulbul, and Abyssinian roller.
Later head out to the Narus Valley where they get opportunities to view a large collection of bird species; such as Ostriches, Kori bustard, carmine, Black-breasted Barbet, Silver shrink, Scarlet-Chested Sunbird, Yellow-billed horn hill, white-bellied go-away bird, little weaver, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Little weaver, singing bush lark and many more other unique sighting birds. Head back to the camp or relaxation.
Accommodation and Meals at Kidepo Savannah Lodge
Day 6: Kidepo–Murchison Falls National Park
Today we will depart for Murchison Falls arriving in Budongo forest the southern part of the national park. You will have lunch and thereafter embark on a guided forest walk for your first birding session in the park. Accommodation and meals at Budongo Eco Lodge.
Day 7: Birding in Budongo Forest & the Royal Mile
After breakfast, this day will be fully dedicated to birding in Budongo Forest Reserve. with 360 different species. Budongo is famous for its biodiversity in birds and is home to the rare puvel’s illadopsis which is an endemic specie to this area. other species include the yellow-footed flycatcher, chocolate-backed kingfishers, chestnut crowned eremomela, dusky long-tailed cuckoo, yellow-browed camaroptera, black-headed paradise flycatcher, little green sunbird, grey-headed sunbird, slender-billed greenbul, green crombec, and forest robin.
After the lunch break, you will head out to the Royal Mile with chances of spotting the Ituri species such as African pygmy, ituri batis, lemon-bellied crombec, chestnut capped flycatcher, blue-breasted and African dwarf kingfishers, Marsh Tchagra, Compact Weaver, among others. Accommodation and meals at Budongo Eco Lodge.
Day 8: Murchison Falls – Fortportal- Kibale
After breakfast, head to fort portal with stopovers at Papyrus Swamps for some birding session along the way, look out for Red-necked Falcon, Marsh Tchagra, Thick-billed and Slender-billed, Weavers, Black-crowned and Fawn-breasted Waxbills, Yellow-mantled Widowbird and Black Bishop.
You may spot black-and-white colobus monkeys, baboons, and more primates hiding in trees along the road. You will have lunch in fort portal town, this area is famed for the fabled mountains of the moon and many tea plantations.
Accommodation and meals at Turaco Treetops
Day 9: Semuliki National Park Sempaya & Ntandi areas
After breakfast, we drive to Semuliki national park for birding. You will head out to the lowland rainforest proceeding to start off in the hot springs area where the patch of forest that is a habitat for White-crested Hornbill, White-spotted Flufftails, Black-casqued Hornbills, African Green Pigeons, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, White-naped Pigeon among others.
There are more than 441 species of birds recorded in this protected area, including many West African forest species and 9 hornbill species. As you proceed deeper into the forest, Look out for the Red Rumped Tinkerbird and Palm Greenbul which are endemics.
Other species include the Yellow-throated Cuckoo Yellow-footed Flycatchers, Chestnut-breasted Nigrita, Red-tailed Leaflove and Banded Prinia, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Shining-blue Kingfisher and Hartlaub’s Duck among others.
Accommodation and meals at Turaco Treetops.
Day 10: Kirumia River Trail
Birding along the Kirumia River is another top birding spot, along the 13 km walking trail, look out for the White-bellied Kingfisher, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Congo serpent eagle, Grey-throated Rail, Long-tailed Hawk, Spot-breasted Ibis, Yellow-throated Nicator.
Other species include Northern red-chested Owlet, Western bronze-naped Pigeon, Black-collared Lovebird, Zenker’s honeyguide, White-throated Blue swallow, Bate’s nightjar, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, and Orange-tufted Sunbird.
Later to fort portal and continue to the dense forest of Kibale National Park. Accommodation and meals at turaco treetops
Day 11: Kibale Forest & Bigodi Sanctuary
After breakfast set off for a birding session in the forest, look out for the Green Breasted Pitta African Broadbill, African pied wagtail · Great blue turaco, Pin-tailed whydah, and Slender-billed Weaver, Kibale Ground Trush, Blue-headed Sunbird, Black-capped Apalis, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple breasted sunbird and Red-faced woodland warbler among others.
After lunch, you will transfer to the Bigodi Sanctuary at the Magombe Swamp for a 2 hours nature walk. The sanctuary is home to 200 bird species including the Papyrus Gonolek and the Great Blue Turaco.
Look out for the Swamp Flycatcher, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, yellow bill, White-spotted Flufftail, Western Nicator, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Grey parrot, Bronze Sunbird, Black-crowned waxbill, and Blue-throated roller, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negro finch among others.
Accommodation and Meals at Turaco Treetops
Day 12: Kibale Forest – Queen Elizabeth Park
After breakfast, transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park arriving in time for lunch at the camp. Later in the evening, you will have an evening game drive in the park in search of the first wildlife, including warthogs, buffaloes, waterbucks, and elephants.
Classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International, Queen Elizabeth NP is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park and a phenomenal number for such a small area.
The park’s confluence of savanna and forest, linking to the expansive forests of DR Congo allows visitors to spot East as well as Central African species.
Accommodation and Meals at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge.
Day 13: Maramagambo Forest & Kazinga Channel Boat Cruise
After breakfast, we start early for a birding session in Maramagambo Forest. We will have birding from the lodge towards the Maramagambo forest. Look out for the Whinchat, Common Redstart, White-fronted Black Chat, Sooty Chat, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-throated Greenbul, the Black, White-breasted, and Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrikes.
More species include Black and Penduline Tits, Nubian Woodpeckers, Cardinal Woodpeckers, Brown-backed Woodpeckers, White-tailed and Red-tailed Ant-thrushes, Brown Illadopsis, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Brown-eared Woodpeckers, Least Honeyguide, Grey Greenbul, Brown-chested Alethe, and many others.
After lunch, take on a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, a natural channel between Lake Edward and Lake George.
This cruise is a birders’ paradise, the shores of the channel offer a variety of habitats, each appealing to different species of bird species Greenshank, Common Ringed Plover, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, and Grey (Black-bellied) Plover, African Skimmers, Yellow-Billed Stork. Accommodation and Meals at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge.
Day 14: Queen Elizabeth – Bwindi National Park- Buhoma
After breakfast, we drive through verdant countryside, you will pass traditional homesteads and enjoy panoramic views with picnic lunch/lunch en-route arriving in Bwindi National Park, home of the endangered mountain gorillas.
Bwindi offers some of the finest montane forest bird watching in Africa and is an unmissable destination for any birder visiting Uganda. There are an estimated 350 bird species with 23 endemics to the Albertine Rift and 14 recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
Globally threatened species such as African Green Broadbill and Shelley’s Crimsonwing are also found here.
After lunch, head out to the forest for an introductory birding session. Look out for the Handsome Francolin; Black-billed Turaco; African Broadbill; Black and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters; Western Green Tinkerbird; Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, and Regal Sunbirds; Short-tailed and Black-faced Rufous Warblers among others.
Accommodation and Meals at Haven Lodge
Day 15: Munyaga waterfall trail – Ruhija sector
After breakfast, head for a 3-hour birding session at the Munyaga Waterfall Trail. Look out for 40-50 bird species including, Bee-Eater, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black, White-headed, Tinker birds Wood-hoop, and Barbets, Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, assorted Greenbuls, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Brown-capped Weaver Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler.
Other bird species include the Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Pink-footed Puffback Grauer’s Warbler, Short-tailed Warbler, Oberlander’s Ground Thrush, Mountain Masked Apalis, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Starlings, Black-billed Weaver, among other birds.
Have lunch and head to the Ruhija Sector part of Bwindi National Park.
Accommodation and Meals at Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp
Day 16: Bwindi Park – Ruhija sector
After breakfast, head out for the Mubwindi swamp trail, birds in Ruhija include Regal Sunbird, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, African green broadbill, Caruthers cisticola, Handsome francolin, African Hill babbler, Banded Prinia, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Doherty’s Bushshrike, Collared Apalis, Rwenzori Turaco, Western Green Tinkerbird.
Other species include Olive, Elliot’s and Fine-banded Woodpecker, African Green-Broadbill, Mountain, Yellow whiskered, and Yellow-streaked Greenbul, African Hill Babbler, Mountain Illadopsis, and others.
Accommodation and Meals at Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp
Day 17: Gorilla Trekking on the birding and gorilla safari in Uganda
After breakfast and a pre-tracking briefing by your ranger guide about gorillas, you will be assigned a gorilla family as well as appropriate safety precautions, you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure.
Upon sighting the gorillas, you spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life; feeding, moving, playing, raising their young, and sometimes wrestling by the juveniles – it is a totally unique and unforgettable experience! Later head back to the camp.
Accommodation and Meals at Ruhija Gorilla Mist Camp
Day 18: Bwindi – Lake Mburo National Park – Boat ride
After breakfast, we depart the impenetrable forest of Bwindi and head to Lake Mburo National Park.
Lake Mburo alone is home to 350 species of birds and some of the spots where you can find the birds include swampy valleys, the forest, along the boat cruise, and the viewing platform near the salt licks.
After checking in head for a boat ride on Lake Mburo in the afternoon to check out some of the water bird species such as African Finfoot, Saddle-billed Stork, Long-toed Lapwing, Papyrus Gonolek, Rufous-bellied Herons, Papyrus yellow warbler, Malachite Kingfishers, and Giant Kingfisher among others.
Later return to the lodge and as you head back you will have some birding as well, look out for the Long Willow Warbler and European Bee-eater.
Accommodation and Meals at Rwakobo Rock
Day 19: Lake Mburo – Birding along Kigambira Loop – Entebbe
After breakfast, you will have a game drive while birding session along the Kigambira loop. Looking out for the savanna and Acacia woodland species that include Blue-naped Mousebird, Spot-flanked Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-Faced Barbet, Read Headed Lovebird, Lead Colored Flycatcher, African marsh Harriers, Banded snake Eagles, African Hawk Eagles, and many more.
Return to the lodge for breakfast and depart the protected area and drive back to Entebbe.
Accommodation and meals at Papyrus Guest House.
Day 20: Mabamba Swamp – departure
After breakfast head to Mabamba Swamp taking a canoe ride in search of the rare Shoebill Stork. The Mabamba Swamp is more renowned for its amazing bird record of about 260 bird species and it’s a sanctuary to four threatened species including the Papyrus Gonolek, Blue Swallow, Pallid Harrier, and White-Winged Warbler.
Look out for other bird species such as the Yellow-throated Greenbul, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Yellow-billed Tinkerbird, Yellow-billed Ducks, Yellow-backed Weaver, Yellow warble, Yellow Wagtail, Yellow-Billed Stork, Yellow-billed duck, Yellow-billed Kite, Woodland Kingfisher among others.
Depending on your flight departure, you will have lunch and continue to Entebbe airport for your international flight at the end of the birding and gorilla safari in Uganda tour.
INCLUDED IN THE BIRDING AND GORILLA SAFARI IN UGANDA
Ground transportation in a safari customized 4WD Toyota Landcruiser with gasoline/fuel, All birding excursions, gorilla trekking permit, Mineral water in the vehicle, services of an English-Speaking Driver/guide, Accommodation mentioned in the itinerary, Meals as shown (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner), all Park Entrance Fees.
EXCLUDED IN THE BIRDING AND GORILLA SAFARI IN UGANDA
International Airfares; Excess baggage charges; Ugandan Entry Visa Fees; Items of personal nature such as Room service, Beverages, Tips and Gratuities for your Driver/guide and Hotels staff, International Airport Departure Taxes, Optional activities unless specified as included, Any other services not expressly shown in the itinerary or indicated as included.