16 Days Birding Safaris Uganda
Destinations in this Uganda Bird Watching Safari Mabamba Swamp, Lake Mburo, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Ruhiija, Queen Elizabeth NP, Kibale Forest and Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve.
Day 1: Arrive in Uganda
When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, a representative from AAB Tours and Travel receives you and transfers you to Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe for your overnight and dinner.
Day 2: Entebbe to Mabamba Swamp
Take breakfast and set off for Mabamba Wetland and board the canoe for the best tour of the swamp. Mabamba is off the Entebbe-Kampala Highway, a few Kilometres on the marum road towards Nakawuka in Wakiso District. It is a home for the Shoebill, Lesser Jacana, Blue Swallow, Black-Shouldered Nightjar, Afep Pigeon, Blue Breasted Bee-Eater, Papyrus Gonolek, White Winged Warbler, Swamp Flycatcher, Purple Swamphen, African Water Rail, Common Moorhen, African Jacana, African Pygmy-goose, White-faced Whistling-duck, Squacco Heron, Goliath Heron, Black Crake and many more birds. Spend a reasonable part of the day birding in Mabamba and later return to Entebbe Botanical Gardens watching bird species like the Slender-billed Weaver, Brown-throated Weaver¸ Golden-backed Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver, Grey-headed Gull, Long-tailed Cormorant, Common Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Broad-billed Roller, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Splendid Glossy Starling, Black-headed Gonolek, Orange Weaver, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Red-chested Sunbird, Ross’s Turaco, Pied Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Open-billed Stork, Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grey-capped Warbler and many others are visible. Overnight at Kampala Grand Imperial Hotel or Hotel Africana.
Day 3: Drive to Budongo Forest
Have your breakfast and drive to Budongo Forest one of the key sanctuaries in Uganda for bird watching. After having lunch in Masindi Hotel, head to the forest in the afternoon where you will enjoy watching the White-crested Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Bat Hawk, Black-shouldered Nightjar, White-crested Turaco, Crowned Eagle and African Wood-owl. Overnight and Dinner at Nyabyeya Guest House in Budongo.
Day 4: Do More birding
After breakfast, start birding at the Royal Mile, you will spot the rare Nahan’s Francolin, Banded Snake-eagle, African Pied Hornbill, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black Bishop, Brown Twinsport, Black-bellied Fire finch, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, White-thigh Hornbill, Yellow-billed Barbet, Spotted Greenbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Slender-billed Greenbul, Black-capped Apalis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Green Hylia, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Forest Flycatcher, Fire-crested Alethe, Yellow Long bill, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, African Dwarf Kingfisher. Watch birds with your packed lunch. Dinner and overnight at Nyabyeya Guest House.
Day 5: Leave for Kibale National Park
Leave early for Kibale National Park. Dinner and overnight at Rujuna Hilltop Guest House or Ndali Lodge.
Day 6: Primates and bird watching
In the morning, enjoy spotting primates in Kibale rainforest which is a host for about 9 species of primates, including chimpanzees, red colubus monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, grey-cheeked Mangaby and red-tailed monkeys. And for the afternoon bird watching, look out Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, Black-bellied Seed cracker, Green-backed Twinspot, Bicoloured Mannikin, White-naped Pigeon, Afep Pigeon, Narina’s Trogon, Joyful Greenbul, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black Bee-eater and many others. Take nature walk at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary ecotourism site which is another rewarding experience for birding in Uganda. Bigodi Wetland is home to Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honey-guide and Black-faced Rufous Warbler. Enjoy packed lunch. Dinner and overnight at Rujuna Hilltop Guest House or Ndali Lodge.
Day 7: Transfer to Semuliki National Park
Drive to Semliki National Park. Semliki is among the top destinations for bird watching in Uganda. The forest along river Semliki is a home to Northern Bearded Scrub-robin, Spot-breasted Ibis, Yellow-throated Green Cuckoo, Capuchin Babbler, Black-winged Oriole, Red-eyed Puff back, Lyre-tailed Honey guide, White-bellied Kingfisher, Maxwell’s Black Weaver, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbe, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Zenker’s Honey guide and African Piculet, the African Pygmy Goose, Red-necked Falcon, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-Breasted Bee-Eater, Black-billed Barbet, Piapiac, Leaflove and Black-chinned Quail-Finch. Take an afternoon boat ride on Lake Albert in search for the Shoebill. Over night at Semliki Safari Lodge or the Camp site.
Day 8: Birding and Game Viewing in Semuliki
Starting in the morning, enjoy birding at Semliki Valley Wildlife Reserve where over 350 species have been recorded. The place is also a good area to see the extraordinary Shoebill and other Wetland bird species. The key species here include Crested and Red-bellied Malimbe, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Zenker’s Honeyguide African Piculet, the African Pygmy Goose, Red-necked Falcon, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-Breasted Bee-Eater, Black-billed Barbet, Piapiac, Hamerkop, Weaver birds, Leaflove and Black-chinned Quail-Finch. Take a game drive in the late afternoon during which, you see herds of Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Reed Buck, a number of monkey species as well as masses of birds like the White-crested Turaco, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Mouse birds, Kingfishers and Bee-Eaters and many more. Also take a night game drive to see Pennant and Standard Wing Nightjars within two metres plus a number of nocturnal animals. Over night at Semliki Safari Lodge or the Camp site FB.
Day 9: Drive to Queen Elizabeth Nationla Park, have a Boat Cruise
Take breakfast and depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park is a habitat to over 550 recorded bird species that include the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Open-billed Stork and over 100 mammal species like the Hippos, Lions, Buffaloes, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Elephants and the elusive Giant Forest Hog in the park. Primates to walk include include Chimps, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Blue, Black faced Red Colobus and Red tailed monkeys and Olive Baboons. After lunch at Mweya Safari Lodge, go for a boat glide along Kazinga Channel, where the concentration of water birds, aquatic animals and picture opportunities are amazing. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge, Jacana safari Lodge.
Day 10: Game Drive and Birding, leave for Bwindi Forest
Start the day with a brief game drive and then after birding looking for a various bird species that may include the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Open-billed Stork, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers. There is a Bird Observatory here that was set up with the aim of studying both migratory and resident birds is also there. Since 1997 when it was started, more new species have been identified like Uganda’s first record of the Bar-tailed Godwit. Enjoy more bird watching in the open savannah, spotting birds like the Temminck’s Courser, Martial Eagle, Rupell’s Griffon Vulture, and then return to Mweya or Jacana safari Lodge for lunch before leaving for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Dinner and overnight in Buhoma Homestead.
Day 11: Bird Watching Bwindi
Have breakfast in the early morning as you hear the songs of the Snowy-capped Robin-chat, Luehder’s Bush-shrike and the Grey-capped Warbler. Take the whole day watching birds in Bwindi Forest, one of the most interesting ecosystems in Africa for the concentration of biodiversity. Over 350 bird species have been recorded at Bwindi Forest and they include Red-throated Alethe, Equatorial Akalat, Grey-throated Barbet, Black Bee-eater, Forest Robin, Montane Oriole, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Pettit’s Cuckooshrike, Black-faced Rufous Warbler and many more. You will also go to Mubwindi Swamp and later transfer to Buhoma birding on the way. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp / Mantana Tented Camp or Lake Kitandara Tented Camp/ Buhoma Homestead or the Community Bandas.
Day 12: Ruhija in Southern Bwindi
Do gorilla tracking starting in the morning in the forest sanctuary beginning from Buhoma. Then move from Buhoma to reach Ruhiija in the south of the forest and spending two nights at the camping site.
Day 13: Birding in Mubwindi Swamp
After breakfast, you go for birding in this prolific area. Mubwindi Swamp birding is very productive and one has to be prepared to walk on steep mountain tracks. You drop from about 2400m to 2050m above sea level. the bamboo zone birding is good as get to see the Handsome Francolin, Archer’s Robin-chat, Stripe-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Mountain Greenbul, Waller’s Chestnut-winged Starling, Dusky Crimson wing, Mountain Illadopsis and Mountain Yellow Warbler. Overnight at the campsite.
Day 14: Drive to Lake Mburo National Park
On the third day, which is the 14th day of the whole tour, leave for Mburo National Park, lunch at Lake Victoria Hotel in Mbarara town and full broad overnight at Mantana Tented Camp.
Day 15: Bird Watching and Game Drive
After breakfast, enjoying bird watching in the swampy area as you are entertained to the songs of Mourning Dove, Dideric Cuckoo, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-headed Weaver and Ring-necked Dove. You will also go searching for Brown-chested Lapwing, Brown Chested Plover, Red Faced Barbet, Southern Ground Hornbill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Yellow Billed Oxpecker, African Finfoot, Black Collard Barbet, Lilac-breasted Roller, Black-bellied Bustard, Helmeted Guinea fowl, Coqui Francolin, Rufous-napped Lark plus many raptors. In the evening, you will see the gigantic Eland Antelope, as well as Zebra, Topi, Impala, and several Acacia-associated birds. The five lakes with in the park attract Hippos, Crocodiles, and a variety of water birds, while fringing swamps hide secretive papyrus specialists such as the Sitatunga Antelope and Red, Black and Yellow Papyrus Gonalek. Have an evening game drive and over night at Mihingo Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp and UWA Tents.
Day 16: Transfer back to Kampala
But make a stopover at the Uganda Equator for photo shooting and handicraft buying or you can buy traditional drums at Mpambire on your way to Kampala. End of the Uganda Birding Safari.