20 Days




January – December

20 Days Best birds of Uganda

Day 1. Arrive at Entebbe international airport, meet your guide and after briefing, drive to your hotel where you will stay for a night. You are sleeping in Entebbe town, the first capital city of Uganda and it’s where the president’s office is situated. Entebbe is located in the central region of Uganda on lake victoria shores in Buganda. The people from this part of Uganda are called Baganda of Buganda kingdom, this is where Uganda got it’s name from and their cultural leader/king is called Kabaka.

Day 2. Early morning pickup after break fast. Transfer to Budongo forest. Today, we bird on our way to one of Uganda’s best tropical forests, a royal reserve in which the king of Bunyoro used to perform some of his rituals including hunting given the fact that it is located in Bunyoro kingdom. This forest is also home to the largest total number of chimpanzees compared to other forests and also inhabits the blue duiker, the smallest of the antelope family. While on our way, we drive via different areas with particular habitats some of them mosaic woodland, marshes as well as farmland and all of these offer different opportunities. We there fore try to look for birds such as the Ruppell’s long tailed starling, mariqua sunbird, golden backed weavers, grey backed fiscal, sulpher breasted bushshrike, bronze tailed starling, white browed sparrow weaver, lizard buzzard, western banded snake eagle, pied hornbill, African open billed stork, cattle egret, African grey parrot, brown parrot among others. We also pass by Uganda’s fruit markets. It should be noted that Uganda produces the best pineapples, bananas, and avocados worldwide. So today we make our stop over to take a look before we check in at masindi hotel for an over night.

Day 3. With our packed lunch, we drive to Budongo forest early morning after breakfast, today, we have a full day birding in the royal miles part of the forest where our day shall be opened up with a sharp striking call of a blued breasted king fisher. The best sightings of this area include the Ituri batis, this is only possible to see here and it’s one of the birds that stretch from the central region of Africa making it special for East Africa. We also get to see the fire crested alethe, white spotted flufftail, Cassin’s spine tail, rufous capped flycatcher and later drive to Pabidi for an overnight.

Day 4. We are in the other side of the forest Pabidi, where chimp tracking is done and this area also offers unique birds of the region for example the Puvel’s illadopsis, do chimp tracking and birding and have a night here.

Day 5. Transfer to Murchison falls national park, visit the top of the falls where you could spot the giraffes that were translocated from the northern bank, spot the red headed agama as well as the wire tailed swallow, pale fly catcher, crested francoline, the African harrier hawk, and then cross the nile for the afternoon game drive. Species to see here include the eastern chanting goshawk, Dickson’s kestrel, black chested snake eagle, brown chested lapwing, northern wheatear, silver bird, spotted morning thrush, we also get to see the main mammals of this park at this time where we see mega sizes of African bush elephants, Jackson’s heart beast, oribis, giraffes, as well as the lions.

Day 6. We wake up early before 0700hours for breakfast and go for the game drive. The reason for such an early debut is to try look for the leopards and lions as this is their best time to go for hunting. We also go look for the shoebill on the bird hide among the swallow tailed bee eater, violet backed starling, white faced whistling duck, black backed cisticola, speckle fronted sparrow, as well as black headed lapwing. After taking our picnic lunch, we drive towards the dock for an afternoon boat cruise. This activity is ever a must to do because of its uniqueness. It’s an excursion to the bottom of the Nile falls which are the strongest world wide because the water squeezes it’s self in a rocky gorge of only about 7m wide and about 40m high. This route is also rich in terms of wild life viewing, these include the sun displaying crocodiles, large schools of wallowing hippopotamuses, and birds seen include the pied king fisher, spur winged goose, saddle billed stork, Goliath heron, African darter, greater comorant, rock pratincole and so many more. Return to the lodge for an overnight.

Day 7. Transfer to Kibale forest national park after breakfast through the escarpments to took for some specializing birds there. We have for example the foxy cisticola, black rumped waxbill, black crowned tchagra, cliff chat, chestnut crowned Sparrow weaver, vinaceaous dove, and while we approach Kibale, we look for the white colored olive back and then check in at the lodge for an overnight.

Day 8. We wake up early with our packed lunch boxes and drive to the visitor’s information centre of Kibale national park before day light, we are intending to catch the time at which the green breasted pitta commences to display so that we can get a quicker chance to find it as it is one of the few special and hardest. Take a ranger with us and head for the search and after a successful one, those who wish can go for chimpanzee trekking and then the rest can continue with the birding. Possible species after the pitta also include the red paradise flycatcher, masked apalis, yellow mantled weaver, scally francoline, black bee eater, brown eared wood pecker, African wood owl, least honey guide, blue shouldered robin chat and many more. Return to the lodge for a rest and over night.

Day 9. After breakfast, we drive and bird Semliki national park. This is located in one of the lowest altitude areas of Uganda also regarded as the birders’ haven by visiters. It is an extension from Eastern DRCongo and the various species here are common in DRCongo forests which makes it special for East Africa since Central Africa can be accessed from here. Most of these birds include particularly hornbills which can’t be seen else where in East Africa such as the piping hornbill, white crested hornbill, black dwarf horbill, red billed hornbill, white thied hornbill, black and white casqued hornbill, black casqued wattled horn bill, African piculet, yellow throated tinkerbird, brown backed scrub robin, leaf love, red tailed ant thrush, long toed lapwing, blue breasted king fisher and the icterine greenbul. We return and spend a night in Fort portal town, the tourism city of Uganda.

Day 10. Drive to Queen Elizabeth national park through Toro kingdom’s main town where captain Lugard of Britain established his base during the colonial time, view the king’s palace and continue the drive through the banana plantations and learn about the different types, look at maize and cotton plantations as we also view Rwenzori mountains. We approach Kasese town of Bakonjo people of Rwenzori, this area is one of the historical mining industrial areas of Uganda where copper and cobalt were mainly extracted which was eventually halted as a result of president Idi Amin’s takeover which witnessed the expulsion of Asian mine workers. We do a game drive in a vast savannah habitat that was gazetted as a national park in 1952 after the visit of queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. The park was named after this majestic visit and was formally called Kazinga game park, we go first for registration for entrance and proceed with birding where we expect to see the red necked spurfowl, black shouldered kite, yellow throated long claw, roufous napped lark, black chinned quail finch, western banded snake eagle, grey backed fiscal, and so on. We proceed in the afternoon for birding on a boat cruise on Kazinga channel. This happens usually at 1400hours when animals have well gathered on the channel bank for quenching. This area is rich in bird sighting with the African skimmer on headlines. It also offers very good chances of the black crake, grey headed gulls, african spoon bills, African open billed storks, little weavers, slender billed weavers, intermediate egrets, swamp fly catchers, malachite king fishers, long tailed comorants, ruffs, little ringed plovers, yellow billed oxpeckers, white throated bee eaters, African hoopoes, Angola swallows, plain martins, pink backed pelicans, African fish eagles, and so many more. Animals seen will include the wallowing hipopotamuses, crocodiles, monitor lizards, drinking elephants, buffalos, and many more. We return to the lodge where we stay overnight.

Day 11. Today, our plan is to proceed to the mountain gorilla region of Bwindi and Mgahinga because you cannot talk about birding in Africa with out mentioning Bwindi impenetrable national park. We wake up for an early meal and then checkout south words. We go birding on our way and also branch to Ishasha sector for birds and fig tree climbing lions. We could spot here the largest bird of prey in Africa that is the Martial eagle, the bateleur, pallid harrier, African white backed vulture, Ruppell’s griffon vulture, lappet faced vulture, brown snake eagle, tawny eagle, black shouldered nightjar at the right time and then, check in at Bwindi national park for an overnight.

Day 12. Today, is a day for gorilla tracking as it has turned out to be a must do activity to most of the clients and so, we wakeup Early for our breakfast, carry our picnic lunch boxes, water, and rain gear and well dressed in mountain shoes. We proceed to the reception of bwindi impenetrable national park. This forest was declared a national park in 1991 and gorilla tracking commenced a little later after this declaration. It is a UNESCO world heritage site inhabiting over 460 half of the world’s mountain gorillas. It is also a former habitat for the endemic pygmies of the mountain region who were evicted following Bwindi gaining the status of national park. It also inhabits over 346 bird spacies and its about 23 endemic birds to the albertine rift valley reqion.
We go through a briefing conducted by the rangers at 0800hours taking us through the rules of gorilla tracking, the dos and donts. The standard time spent with gorillas is normally one hour but the whole process could take 3 or 9 hours depending on the situation of the gorillas.
While on this activity, you could spot some birds depending on your guide for example the great blue turaco, black billed turaco, white tailed ant thrush and more. At the end of this activity, the successful individuals of the challenge will graduate for a congratulation as this activity is one of the few of its kind involving ups and downs in a slippery, thick and well grown mountain forest which will give you something to long time remember. There is always an opportunity for every one including the movement impaired since there is nowadays a mechanism for them to make it to the gorillas.
Return to your sanctuary lodge for a rest and overnight.

Day 13. There is a saying that, “an early bird catches a worm” so we wake up early, prepare and set off for birding to catch up with early mixed flocks of feeding birds before it’s hot. Today, we take the waterfall trail with our packed lunches. This trail is one of the main and oldest in this forest and of the birding productive trails. We begin from the forest edge which offers species such as the grey winged, blue shouldered, white browed and snowy crowned robin chats, the African golden breasted bunting, green crombec, yellow white eye, olive bellied sun bird, black necked, black billed, forest weavers, grey headed negrofinch, slender billed, Cameroon sombre, little greenbuls, Bocage’s bush shrike and so on. We proceed deep into the primary part of the park for the specialists such as the red throated alethe, white tailed ant thrush, many coloured bush shrike, short tailed warbler only seen here, rufous fly catcher thrush, Willard’s sooty boubou, banded prinia, yellow eyed black flycatcher, western bronze napped pigeon, olive pigeon, purple breasted sun bird, green sunbird, grey headed sunbird, and much more, we return abit early to get time to do and discuss the list of the birds we have seen.

Day 14. After a relaxed breakfast, we transfer to the highest side in altitude of the park, Ruhija, we go birding enroute through the neck. The neck is a narrow transitional point of the two un equal sides of the park with a river crossing through which offers a variety of birds, this area and the surroundings offers birds such as the red throated wryneck, singing cisticola, African harrier hawk, augur buzzard, lizard buzzard, African black duck, little green, green, olive, northern double colored, bronze and green headed sun birds and cinnamon chested bee eater. It also offers birds like chestnut wattle eye, black bee eater, water specialist Cassin’s flycatcher, dusky blue fly catcher as well as the common stone chat. We proceed on our way to Ruhija where we check in and later do a 2hour evening birding on the community trail that is very productive with some of the endemics possible here. Get to see the Rwenzori batis, dusky crimson wing, Rudher’s bush shrike, northern puffback, regal sunbird, and so may more.
Stay overnight.

Day 15. Our plan is to bird the Mubwindi swamp today, the longest trail but the very best of all. Well prepared for a full day, we start our walk early enough from the park reception on an elevation of over 2200m towards the swamp which is at 2000m. This walk is through a network of a dense mountain forest with a rich undergrowth that characterizes of some bamboo on the other side, being ideal for a variety of birds, this is the richest area with endemic species and they include the the most sought after Grauer’s broad bill, Rwenzori batis, dusky crimson wing, red throated alethe, dwarf honey guide, Archer’s robinchat, strange weaver, regal sun bird, colored apalis, Rwenzori nightjar depending on time, Grauer’s warbler, Grauer’s rush warbler, yellow eyed black fly catcher, mountain masked apalis, and many others including the black billed turacos, white starred robin, Sharp’s starling, Wallar’s starling, slender billed starling, Lagden’s bush shrike, Kandt’s waxbill, ever green forest warbler, mountain yellow warbler, cinnamon bracken warbler, Caruther’s cisticola and many other more and return later in the evening for a cold drink while we review and list all that we saw.

Day 16. We drive on our way to Mgahinga gorilla national park after breakfast. We bird along the way and in Echuya forest. This is a bamboo and transitional zone that lies between Bwindi forest and Mgahinga national park. Echuya also produces some of the endemics some of which we could have missed previously. We also try out for the tree hyrax and later check in at our lodge, take a shower and relax for tomorrow’s mountain birding.

Day 17. Wake up, and after break fast, we go to the registration and briefing point of this small sized gorilla mountain park in the limits with Rwanda. It’s normally a full day today and together with our lunch and enough water, we bird on the trail to the gorge where we search for the special, top most sought after, the Shelley’s crimson wing and the Rwenzori turaco, among various mountain specialists such as cape robin chat, common stone chat, yellow crowned, yellow fronted canaries, white starred robin, olive thrush, mountain yellow warbler, colored apalis, regal sun bird, Rwenzori double colored sun bird, variable sunbird, Rwenzori nightjar, and so on.
This area is also specially home to the golden monkeys which are also endemic like mountain gorillas in this region and on Uganda’s side, they can only be spotted here. We could also encounter buffalos and other small mammals.

Day 18. We have quite a long day to drive and today, we are transferring to lake Mburo national park. We are driving on a nice tarmac road for about 7 hours. We do first a game drive before we go to our new lodge and here, we are looking for the special species which we did not expect else where we have travelled. These include the African fin foot, the red faced burbet which is endemic to East Africa, the Tabora cisticola, brubru, bare faced go away bird, white crested turaco, lilac breasted roller, emerald spotted wood dove, crested burbet, broad billed roller and then check in at our lodge for a night. We could do some spot light birding in the night to look for the Verreaux’s eagle owl, pennant winged, and black shouldered nighjars, water thick knees, lookout also for the leopards, jenet cats and a few more.

Day 19. We are already thinking about home, and today, we go for another short game drive as we checkout to have another trial for the missing species and also look out for some mammals such as the zebras, rare Impalas, elegant Ankole long horned cows, giraffes, rare elands as well as the dwarf mongooses. Proceed to Entebbe where we shall spend a night.

Day 20. We wake up early, take our break fast and rush to mabamba wetland. This marsh is located western Entebbe town where the shoebill can best be spotted throughout East Africa. It requires searching for it in the early hours of the day before it goes to roost after long hours of standing while looking for a meal. We also get here a day making list of other birds including the African jacana, lesser jacana, knob billed duck, purple swamphen, special papyrus gonoleck, black headed gonoleck, Wayne’s weaver, blue breasted bee eater, green sand piper, wood sand piper, black crake, purple heron, swamp fly catcher, plain backed pipit, long toed lapwing and many more. We drive back to our hotel, relax and we make an evening relaxed visit to the botanical gardens.
This is Uganda’s national botany site with different grown up tall trees which offer canopy birding and the fact that this garden is situated on Victoria beach, also water birds are a must for example, the gull billed terns, common sand piper, squacco heron, rufous bellied night heron, striated heron among the common bulbuls, yellow throated greenbuls, yellow billed kite, orange weaver, yellow backed weaver, scarlet chested sun bird, great blue turaco, purple banded sunbird, red chested sunbird, Ross’s turaco, Meyer’s parrot, splendid starling and many more as we prepare for an evening flight back home.

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