Uganda Birding, Wildlife Birdwatching Safari 10 day birding safari
Your Safari guide will meet you at Entebbe International airport and drive you to the Botanical gardens for a half day birding watching. You will then depart for Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo National Park is an extension of the Tanzanian plans with big herds of zebra, impala, eland and other ungulates (cloven hoofed animals). More than 310 bird species have been recorded in the park.
It is probably the best place in Uganda to see acacia-associated birds – mosque swallows black-bellied bustard, bare-faced go-away bird and Ruppell’s long-tailed sterling. Also of special interest to birders are the swamps: six so-called papyrus endemics occur here. These include papyrus gonalek and the highly localized papyrus yellow warbler; the latter recorded nowhere else in Uganda.
We will drive the Lakeside Track and Kigambira Loop to look for savanna and Acacia woodland species including Blue-naped Mouse bird, Spot-flanked Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Northern Black Tit, Red-headed Lovebird, Green-capped Eremomela, Ross’ Touraco and the highly sought-after Red-faced Barbet. You will be staying at Mantana Lake Mburo Tented Camp which comprises of fully furnished Batian tents with verandah and en-suite bathroom. Relax for a little while before going in a dug out canoe on the lake or going for an early evening game drive. Overnight at Mantana tented Camp (FB) Day 2
An early start – a wonderful chance to take a guided bush walk. Return to the lodge for Lunch which after we will depart Lake Mburo towards Volcanoes Mgahinga Camp on our way to Bwindi Ruhija Tomorrow. Overnight at the Volcanoes Mgahinga (Full Board)
Rise very early for a day of Birding in the Ruhija area. Bird life and primate life in Bwindi is quite superb, and there is an incredible variety of flora. Bwindi is the Bird watchers haven! It holds 348 species of birds and supports 24 of 26 Albertine Rift Endemics that occur in Uganda; and seven red data book species. Once continuous with the forests of the Virunga Volcanoes (Dian Fossey’s stomping ground), Bwindi is now an ecological island, surrounded by cultivation on the rich volcanic soils.
In the afternoon we will depart for Buhoma Village from the other side of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We will be stopping en-route to the productive sites for watching birds. We will be arriving to Buhoma afternoon.
Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp, Volcanoes Camp/Buhoma (Full Board)
This morning you will discover the forest trails. The River Ivy trail is by far the longest in the park and will occupy you for a full day. It is highly recommended for bird watchers.
The Munyaga river trail is ideal for a short walk. Here you can see birds and primates of the forest edge. The popular waterfall trail provides an attractive feature of the forest with a profusion of tree ferns, orchids and Bwindi’s colorful array of butterflies. This trail which leads to three delightful crystal clear waterfalls typifies your impression of a tropical rainforest.
The Rushura trail commands expansive views across the Western Rift Valley floor. To the west, Congo’s Park Nationale des Virungus provides a spectacular backdrop, and on a clear day Lake Edward and the Rwenzori Mountains are visible.
The 5.2km Muzabajiro Loop trail offers breath taking views of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Western Rift Valley and the Virungas. On the way, you witness hundreds of pre-historic tree ferns. The top of the trail is a great place for a picnic lunch.
Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp, Volcanoes Camp, Buhoma camp (FB)
Rise early for another short walk along the Impressive diversity of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, return to the Lodge for a luxurious breakfast which after you will depart to Queen Elizabeth National park.
We will drive direct to Mweya Lodge, stopping birding along the way. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda’s most popular park and host to a large variety and volume of wildlife. There are over 560 species of bird found here including the martial eagle, black-rumped buttonquail, Verreaux’s eagle owl and African skimmer. We will arrive to the Mweya Safari Lodge/Jacana in afternoon and have a relaxed evening watching the beautiful sunset.
Overnight at Mweya Lodge/Jacana Lodge (FB)
An early morning game drive will provide the best opportunity to see a wealth of animals such as elephant, warthog, lion, hyena, Uganda kob, waterbuck and bushbuck. Later, a boat trip will allow you to experience wildlife up close where hippos huff and spray mere feet away, buffalo linger in the shallows and a tremendous variety of birds grace the grasses on the river’s edge. Amongst those you will see are the malachite and pied kingfishers, great white and pink-backed pelicans and the open-billed stork. There is also a Bird Observatory here which was set up with the aim of studying both migratory and resident birds (February and March offer spectacular sightings of migrants). Since its inception in 1997 more new species have been identified, including Uganda’s first record of bar-tailed godwit.
Overnight at Mweya Lodge/Jacana Lodge (FB)
Another early start with a packed lunch - we depart for Kibale National Park. This is a large protected block of rainforest which offers a very different variety of birds to those already seen. Take a forest walk and find the fruiting trees which attract Narina’s trogon, pied hornbill, yellow-spotted, hairy-breasted and yellow-billed barbets. Kibale also has the joyful greenbul, which is rare to other Ugandan parks. The dominant vegetation type of the park is rainforest, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp. Roughly 355 bird species have been recorded in Kibale Forest, including Prigogine’s ground thrush and four other species not recorded in any other national park: Nahan’s francolin, Cassin’s spinetail, blue-headed bee-eater and the masked apalis. Kibale Forest bird checklist is similar to that of Semliki National park, but also includes a greater variety of water and grassland species.
Should there be some time in the afternoon, we will visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary. This guided 4.5km circular trail through this small sanctuary is a must for birders, but can be muddy and it is advisable to wear hiking boots. Some of the birds you are likely to see are: - the great blue touraco, papyrus gonalek, various barbets, woodpeckers, blue-throated roller, grey parrot, bronze sunbird, black-crowned waxbill, grey-backed black finch, swamp flycatcher, red and snowy-headed robin-chats, grosbeak…and so the list goes on. Needless to say, birders who have the time will undoubtedly find this a worthwhile trail. We will continue on to Ndali Lodge for Dinner. This is a quaint lodge situated on the edge of a crater lake with views of the Rwenzori Mountains, from the individual verandas. This lodge was built by an eccentric British expatriate whose father owned tea plantations nearby and it has a quirky charm all of its own.
Overnight at Ndali Lodge/Rwenzori View guest house (Full Board)
After a relaxed morning in the magical surrounding we will depart with a packed lunch to Murchison Falls National Park; this beautiful drive takes approximately 8 hours and will give you a good insight to the Ugandan way of life. We will continue on, taking a ferry across to the far bank, to Paraa Safari Lodge. This lodge is a comfortable, and overlooks the Victoria Nile with a large swimming pool and all the amenities you would expect. It is also well situated on the North Bank of the Nile close to the main wildlife viewing.
Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge (Full Board)
This morning we will take a boat trip downstream to the delta where abundant water birds can be viewed on the way. We will return to the lodge for lunch and have some time to relax before going out for a game drive exploring the many tracks and trails around Murchison Falls Park. The park HQ at Paraa holds some excellent species including the Blue-naped Moosebird, Silver bird, Buff-bellied Warbler, Black-headed Batis, Black-headed Gonolek, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver and the highly localised White-rumped Seedeater. The riverine thickets hold Yellow-throated Leaflove, Red-winged Grey Warbler, White-crested Touraco, Double-toothed Barbet, Grey Kestrel, Heuglin’s Francolin and many others. Crossing the Victoria Nile of the ferry, one might encounter Stanley’s Bustard and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill. The grasslands support Bar-breasted Fire finch, Fawn-breasted, Black-faced and Black-rumped Waxbills.
Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge (Full Board)
Another early morning on the boat, for another birding day at the Delta. With a packed lunch we will depart back to Kampala. En-route to the Lodge we will drive to the top of Murchison Falls - here you will appreciate the awesome power of the Nile as it thunders through a small 8 meter gap, dropping 40metres to the bottom. Once out of the park this drive will take you approximately 5 hours. You will stop to fresh up in the hotel before your guide transfers you to Entebbe Airport for your flight back home.