30 Days Hardcore Birding

Departure Date

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Duration

30 Days

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30 Days Hardcore Birding

DAY 1:

On your arrival at Entebbe International Airport

Arrival at Entebbe International Airport and drive to your hotel (Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel) for refreshments. Depending on the time of arrival, we bird Entebbe Botanical Gardens for an introduction to Ugandan birds. Situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, the gardens are virtually on the Equator and cover an area of 40.7hectares. The parking lot trees here typically offer great patch spots for Eastern Plantain-eaters. Plantain-eaters belong to the Turaco family, which has fascinating species that leave fresh Uganda birders in extreme excitement. Splendid Starlings, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, and Common Bulbul also like to show up at the same spot. Shikra flies over this space and the bottle–brush tree nearby tends to act like a bird magnet for Red-chested, Green-throated, Olive-bellied, Mariqua, Purple-banded, Collared, and the Scarlet-chested Sunbirds. African Yellow White-eye and African Thrush also frequent this same tree. We should also expect Gray parrot, Crowned and Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Hooded Vulture, Woodland Kingfisher, Lizard Buzzard, African Harrier-Hawk, the colorfully striking Black-headed Gonolek, White-browed Robin-chat, Double-toothed Barbet, Ross’s Turaco, Speckled Mousebird, Yellow-fronted Canary, Black-headed Heron, Yellow-fronted Canary, a couple of Weavers that included, Orange, Weyn’s, Golden-backed, Black-headed, Village, Northern Brown-throated, Vieillot’s and Slender-billed should be among those to be seen. Usually, the gardens entertain Vervet Monkey and the good-looking Mantled Guereza.
DAY 2:

Lake Mburo National Park Via Mabamba Wetland

We have an early breakfast and do an hour and a half drive to Mabamba, a Ramsar site, and an Important Bird Area. The Mabamba wetland is one of the top two places in the world to find the Shoebill which is an uptick bird for so many birders on earth and Africa’s number one and highly sought-after; the other spot is Murchison Falls National Park. Mabamba offers over 80% chances for seeing this alien-looking-like bird. Driving there, we might get African Green Pigeon, Great Blue, and Ross’s Turaco; they like patching high on the snags by the roadside. The wetland here is one of the top community-based initiatives in the country, and when we get there, we take community members’ used engine-powered boat that is big enough to carry a motorcycle. While looking for the Shoebill, we should expect a collection of typical African water and nearby habitat birds like Malachite Kingfisher, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Jacana, and Yellow-billed Duck. Here are also high chances for African White-backed Duck, Lesser Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Blue-headed Coucal, African Marsh Harrier, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Common Waxbill, Grey-capped Warbler, Madagascar, and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater depending on the season and several others. After searching for the Shoebill, we will drive to the Equator, which is along the way for illustrations and photography experience. When we continue with the drive along the highway, we should expect the stunning Lilac-breasted Roller, Wahlberg’s and Long-crested Eagles, Eurasian Kestrel, Gray-backed Fiscal, and Bare-faced Go-away-bird. At the dirt road, as we approach the park and our accommodation, we will look for Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Red-faced, and Singing Cisticolas. Occasionally, this stretch can be perfect for Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Red-necked and Crested Francolins, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Crowned Lapwing, Brown Snake-Eagle, and beautiful African Black-headed Oriole. A few mammals that included Zebra, Impala, Topi, Waterbuck, Dwarf Mongoose, the gigantic Common Eland, and Common Warthog show up sometimes.
DAY 3:

Whole day at Lake Mburo National Park

On this day we explore the lovely woodlands and thickets of Uganda’s smallest wildlife park. This park is great for woodland species, especially some species that you would describe as being at their furthest northern range. The few trucks we should cover are expected to present some of the park’s highlights like the Red-Faced Barbet which is an East African endemic, Crested and Spot-flanked Barbets, Brown-chested, Crowned, Wattled and Senegal Lapwings, Southern Black Flycatcher, Slate-coloured Boubou, some eagles like Bateleur and Wahlberg’s, Wahlberg’s Honeyguide, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, White-winged Black-Tit, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Common Scimitarbill, and many others. We shall return to the accommodation for a lunch break but still can expect to see birds like Red-headed Weaver, Lappet-faced Vulture, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Trilling Cisticola, Chin-spot Batis, Green-wood-hoopoe, and many by the strategically located restaurant. After lunch, we do another drive with hopes of finding Grey Tit-flycatcher, White-backed Vulture, African Pipit, and the African Scops-Owl in the dark. A good day tends to end quickly, that is exactly what it should feel like at the end of the day.
DAY 4:

Transfer to Ruhija of Bwindi

This morning we should do a boat ride on the beautiful Lake Mburo to find a few more great birds that have it and its surrounding as a home. This is an approximately 10-km2 lake that is entirely within the park, a luxurious water spot that has boosted the numbers of African Fish-Eagle and African Finfoot incredibly. For an hour and a half ride, we expect to get excellent views of Hippopotamus schools. We scan the shoreline and the hanging riverine thickets for Black Crake, White-backed Night-heron, African Finfoot, Water Thick-knee, and African Fish-Eagles. Our weaver list should continue to grow with Spectacled, Lesser-masked, Slender-billed, Holub’s, and with efforts, we should find Grey-capped Warblers that love to call along the edges. We will do a birding drive as we leave the park after the boat ride and start looking for Augur Buzzard when we get to the road to Ruhija. The Augur Buzzards are doing quite well along this stretch. With a good day, the power polls should be right for Banded and Black-breasted Snake-eagle, we should stop at Papyrus swamps for Papyrus Canary, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, White-winged, and Greater Swamp Warblers before we approached the popular Albertine rift ranges. When we approach the mountain ranges, we will be higher than our previous accommodation by a minimum of 700 meters above sea level, this is going to make it a little cooler. The good news is; that this is the weather and habitat that the Albertine rift endemic Mountain Gorillas and birds love, so we are in for a good deal. Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater and African Stone-chat are among the last new birds we should get for this day.
DAY 5:

Whole day birding and Gorilla tracking (Optional)

This is usually a big day; we anticipate the big one! Mountain gorilla trekking is such a highlight even on birding tours. After breakfast, we go to the information office for a proper briefing on how to behave amidst Mountain Gorillas and family allocation. This activity may take anywhere between an hour to eight, so a reasonable degree of fitness is required. It is a beautiful experience to stare into the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that will linger. Each encounter is different and has its rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming, and resting as the young frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display. When done with gorilla tracking activity, there is a high chance that you will be happy to go out for more restricted-range and Albertine Rift endemics. In this case, we will do a leisurely walk to the community secondary forest. We will look for Barred and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoos, Grauer’s Warbler, Black-tailed oriole, the very skittish Luhder’s Bush-shrike while they make their way through the vines, Gray Cuckoo-shrikes, Albertine Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori and Black-faced Apalis. We also hope to get better looks at the Mountain Yellow Warbler, Banded Prinia individuals as they skulk in the undergrowth, White-browed Crombec, Brown-capped and the endemic Strange Weaver, Northern Puff-back, Mountain Illadopsis, Red-throated Alethe, Doherty’s and Lagden’s Bush-shrikes and many more to richen our list endemics list.
DAY 6:

Whole day of Birding at Mubwindi swamp

After our early morning breakfast, we start our hike to the famous Mubwindi swamp in pursuit of some of the toughest endemics in this area. This section of Bwindi Impenetrable National park is well known for being Africa’s number one birding spot according to the African Bird Club. You should expect excellent birding weather and high-quality birds, and the case is usually similar here, one hardly gets disappointed. In the first hours of the day, while we walk down the slopes of this mountainous terrain and habitat, we should hope to see White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher, Black-tailed Oriole, Black-throated Apalis, Dusky Tit, Least, Willcock’s, and dwarf Honeyguides, Sharpe’s Starling, Mountain Buzzard, Yellow-streaked Greenbul and Narina’s Trogon among others. The walk will continue to the marsh where we hope to find some uptick birds like Grauer’s Rush Warbler and African Green Broadbill, but we will scan for, Brown-capped Weaver, Black-billed Turaco, Olive, Elliot’s, Cardinal, and Tulberg’s Woodpeckers, Northern Black Flycatcher, Blue-headed, Tiny and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Dusky Crimsonwing, Mountain Greenbul and western Citril. Keeping the eyes in the trees, we will also see through the undergrowth for even mythical birds like Grey-chested Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, Oriole Finch, the restless White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Carruther’s Cisticola, Equatorial Akalat, African Hill Babbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, African Yellow White-eye, White-eyed Slaty-flycatcher, Stuhlmann’s, Waller’s, Slender-billed and Narrow-tailed Starlings. The Black-fronted Duiker a small forest-dwelling antelope, frequently shows up during this walk.
DAY 7:

Transfer to Buhoma Northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Today we drive to Buhoma, another section of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Depending on how well we will have done the previous day, we may decide to take care of unfinished business; Ruhija has the best chances for Handsome Francolin. The drive will continue to the famous “neck” where we hope to find the delicate-looking Mountain Wagtail and Cassin’s Flycatcher as they gourd the rocks in the stream. This stretch is at 1500masl, and is an overlapping area for low and high elevation wildlife! Here, you start seeing the real beauty of Greenbuls; Plain, Little, Gray, Toro Olive, Red-tailed, Ansorge’s, Shelley’s, and Honeyguide Greenbuls. A couple of Sunbirds like Little Green, Green, Olive and Blue-throated Brown, Collared and Northern Double-collared wonder about here. Other birds to look for will include, the fascinating Black Bee-eater, Yellow-throated and Speckled Tinkerbird, White-tailed Anti-thrush, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grey-green, and Many-coloured Bush-shrikes, Dusky Blue Flycatchers, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Splendid and Purple Starlings, Bar-tailed Trogon, Buff-throated Apalis, African Black Duck, and Little Grebe among others.
DAY 8:

Whole day along birding Buhoma Main Trail

This morning, we will bird Buhoma’s main trail. This forest merges birds of the low and highland elevations. A good day yields a significant number of Guinea-Congo forest, and Albertine Rift montane ranges specialties. We will do the first minutes birding the secondary forest to be rewarded with undergrowth dwelling Grey-winged, Red-capped, Blue-shouldered and Snowy-crowned Robin-Chats, Grey, Black-throated and Buff-throated Apalis, Grey-headed and White-breasted Negrofinch, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Red-headed Malimbe, Dusky Tit, Red-chested, Klass’s and African Emerald, Cuckoos, Chubb’s Cisticola, Northern and Mackinnon’s Shrikes. Also, when we get to the primary forest when the light is at its best, we should find African Shrike-flycatcher, African Broadbill, Red-throated Alethe, Red-tailed Bristlebill, flocks of Red-tailed Greenbul, Neumann’s Warbler, and the nearly impossible Kivu Ground-Thrush. The mixed flocks should be great for Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Jameson’s Antpecker, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, and the recently split Willard’s Sooty Boubou. More birds should add to the list by the end of the day.
DAY 9:

Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

From the montane forests, we drive to the Great East African rift valley. We shall bird through the Ishasha sector which is the southern section of Queen Elizabeth National Park and have a wonderful time working on our woodland and open country birds again. On sunny days, the sky here is excellent for observing some raptors many of which may have been seen earlier. Most likely to be new should include Gabar Goshawk, White-headed, Lappet-faced Vulture, Rufous-breasted Sparrow-hawk, and Banded Snake-Eagle. This stretch usually offers Impressive views of Wing-snapping, Croaking and Stout Cisticolas, flocks of White-winged Widowbird, White-headed Barbet, Pin-tailed Whydah, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Broad-tailed Warbler, Greater-painted Snipe, Malagasy Pond-Heron, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Scaly and Red-necked Francolins. Normally at this time of the trip, the desire to see the big game will be high, and we will be having good chances for African Bush Elephants, Leopards, and Lions in the trees.
DAY 10:

Whole day birding and game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park tends to start with a lovely sunrise, if we have a clear day, we should expect it. The Kasenyi side is most preferred in this section of the park; this is because it offers excellent lekking grounds for the Kob. Game viewers drive there, first thing in the morning, and birders too, love it a lot for its open grasslands and sparsely distributed thickets that provide perfect microhabitats for quite shy birds. It also offers the best chances for birds like Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Rufous-napped, White-tailed, Red-capped, and Flappet Lark, African, and Jackson’s Pipit. These four larks mentioned, are a significant target when starting this morning drive. We should see Temminck’s Courser, Black-crowned, Senegal and Wattled Lapwings, Kittlitz’s Plover, Yellow-throated Longclaw, White-backed Vultures, Ruppell’s Griffon, and the the others soring the sky, Black-chinned, and Black-faced Quail-finches, and also observe Kob lekking ground activity. Keeping up with the game birding tradition, we will scan openings, thickets, and Euphorbia Candelabrums for Lions. Euphorbia Candelabrum is a cactus-like plant that dominates this part of the park. After lunch, we shall do an afternoon boat ride on the Kazinga channel. This 40 km natural channel connects two major lakes in this park; Lake George and Lake Edward. Because of the significant wildlife activity at the banks of the channel, we only cover a less than 4km distance, and this takes us to lake Edward for a turning point. This boat ride typically targets congregations of birds and big mammals when they come down to cool off during the heat of the day. We should get good looks at fishing African Spoonbill, a few African Skimmer, Gull-billed and White-winged Terns, a few shower birds depending on the season and these should include Curlew Sandpipers, Common, Marsh, and Wood Sandpipers, Common Greenshank, Ruff, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Three-banded Plover, and Common Snipe. Other good birds to expect to see include four Gulls; Lesser Black-backed, Heuglin’s, Slender-billed and Grey-hooded Gull, both Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Yellow-billed, Marabou, and Woolly-necked Storks, our first of the many Red-throated Bee-eaters and many more. If we choose to go out for a short evening drive, we will have chances for Square-tailed and Black-shouldered Nightjars.
DAY 11:

Travel to Kibale Forest National Park

We will leave Queen Elizabeth National Park keeping an eye in the bushes looking for Black-headed Batis, and Black-crowned Tchagra while we enjoy a very scenic and photogenic drive along the Mountains of the Moon. We will leave for the Bigodi Sanctuary Wetland, shortly after arriving at our accommodation. The sanctuary is a community-based initiative and one of the most successful few in the country. With our site guide from the community, we should go around and through the papyrus looking for White-spotted Flufftail, Hairy-breasted, Yellow-spotted and Yellow-billed Barbet, Black-and-White Shrike-Flycatcher, Joyful Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, White-collared Olive back, Superb Sunbird and a Shinning Blue Kingfisher. The walk also being famous for primates, we should see Uganda’s Red Colobus which are threatened in this region for being preyed on by Common Chimpanzee. The Uganda Mangabey, Olive Baboon, Mantled Guereza, L’Hoest’s, and Blue Monkey are also very likely to show up.
DAY 12:

Whole day birding; Chimpanzee Tracking (Optional)

Kibale National Park is the best travel destination for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa and can best be defined as the loveliest and most varied of all tropical rain forests in Uganda. It is christened the primate capital of the world because it hosts 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee (Man’s closest relatives- sharing over 98% DNA). It has 1450 chimpanzees, and these represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate species. In this forest, we will look for the Chimps and also do an early start for the Green-breasted Pitta. This Pitta is one of Africa’s most difficult birds to find! The time we should spend in the forest looking for the Pitta, we will also look for White-throated Greenbul, Crowned Eagle, Thick-billed Honeyguide, Brown-chested, and Fire-crested Alethe, Crested Guineafowl, Western Black-headed Oriole, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Western Nicator, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Bronze-napped Pigeon, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Lesser Honeyguide, Red-chested Owlet, and African Wood-owl among others. On this day we may opt to visit Bigodi Swamp mixed forest. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located just outside the park, is home to 138 bird species which may be seen during guided walks along the boardwalk trail and viewing platforms. These could include the White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Western Nicator, Grey-winged Robin-chat, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black Bishop, White-breasted Negrofinch and Black-crowned Waxbill among others.
DAY 13-14:

Travel Semliki Forest National Park via Bigodi wetland

Early morning visit at Bigodi Wetland, a haven for bird watchers as you get to see a variety of birds in forested swamp habitat. Highlights here include Brown-eared Woodpecker, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, African Pitta, Black Bee-eater, Black-headed Apalis, Black-eared Ground Thrush, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Brown-breasted Alethe, and Collared Apalis, African Crowned Eagle, White-collared Oliveback, Little Greenbul, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Western Nicator and the Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. Or we may opt to return to Kibale forest which is adjacent to Bigodi Wetland in the quest for Green-breasted Pitta in case we missed it the previous day before heading to Semliki. In the afternoon transfer to Semliki Forest with a lunch break at Gardens Restaurant in Fort Portal Town. After lunch, proceed to Semliki Forest, where you will arrive in time for evening birding around the hot springs. Over 435 bird species have been recorded in Semliki National Park. The checklist includes 35 Guinea-Congo forest biome bird species, Spot-breasted Ibis, Hartlaub’s Duck, Congo Serpent Eagle, chestnut flanked Goshawk, and Red-thighed Sparrowhawk. Furthermore, another 12 species with extremely little distribution are spotted like the western bronze-naped pigeon, Yellow-throated Cuckoo.
DAY 15:

Whole day birding in Semliki Forest

This morning we bird Semliki Forest to collect some of the few Guinea-Congo forest biome specialities that have this forest, as the most eastern extension. Being the only connection to the Ituri forest from DR Congo makes it that spot where over thirty-five restricted-range specialties exist in East Africa. When the resident birds are breeding, it is effortless to spot Black and Southern Red Bishops, Piapiac which is a social crow, Rattling and Whistling Cisticolas, and Mosque Swallow before entering the forest. When we get to the forest, we will work for excellent views of Piping, White-crested, Black Dwarf Hornbill, the canopy-dwelling Red-billed Dwarf, and the gigantic Black Casqued Hornbills. Other good birds like Yellow-lored Bristlebill, Yellow-throated Nicator, Black-headed, and African Paradise Flycatchers, Forest Robin, African Piculet, African Dwarf Kingfisher and Hartlaub’s Duck, Xavier’s Greenbul, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, Crested Malimbe, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Grant’s Bluebill, Orange-cheeked Waxbill, Black-bellied Seed-cracker, Grant’s and Red-headed Bluebills, Brown Illadopsis are among others that we will look for.
DAY 16:

Whole day in Semliki forest

(On this may we may require to camp in the middle of the forest in search of African Piculet including other difficult to find species near an oxbow lake). The first three kilometers of the Kirumia trail is actually a network of trails that crisscross through the ironwood-dominated forest. Spend the entire day using this grid to follow difficult-to-see canopy species, such as Yellow-throated Nicator, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Yellow-Throated Cuckoo, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Rufous-bellied Helmet-Shrike, and many others. The forest understory here is also home to many skulking specialties, including Capuchin Babbler, Northern Bearded Scrub-Robin, Blue-headed Crested-Flycatcher, and Grey Ground-Thrush, to name just a few. Mixed flocks moving through the mid-level and understory here commonly include Xavier's Greenbul, Red-tailed Greenbul, Green-tailed, and Red-tailed Bristlebills, Green Hylia, Grey-headed Sunbird, Brown-eared Woodpecker, and Crested Malimbe. Early search in the dawn could draw out the call of a Green-breasted Pitta, another opportunity to spot it here. At the campsite, search for a few other key species Hartlaub's Duck, White-bellied Kingfisher, and Yellow-footed Flycatcher. Spot-Breasted Ibis and Nkulengu Rail, have also been recorded here. At first glance, the campsite area is a lovely place with, a quiet clearing in the forest on the banks of a small oxbow lake. Other species to look for are Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Zenker's Honeyguide, Spotted Honeyguide, Black-Winged Oriole, Fiery-Breasted Bush-Shrike, Sassi's Olive Greenbul, Red-Eyed Puffback, Gabon Woodpecker, or Black-collared Lovebird, Pale-Fronted Negrofinch, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Icterine Greenbul, Xavier's Greenbuls, Forest Francolin, Maxwell's Black Weaver, Capuchin Babbler, and Bates' Nightjar to mention but a few.
DAY 17:

Transfer to Budongo forest for an overnight at Masindi town

Today, we do the longest drive of the trip; Masindi is seven birding-drive hours away from Fort Portal. Depending on what will be missing from our list, we may decide to spend a few minutes birding the wetlands around Fort Portal town for Northern Masked Weaver, White-collared Oliveback, Highland Rush Warbler, and White-collared Oliveback. The few stops we should do along the way, are en-route birding, adding some birds like Yellow-shouldered and Red-collared Widowbirds, Brown Twinspot, Red-backed and Brown-backed Scrub-Robins.
DAY 18:

Drive to the Royal Mile of Budongo Forest

We set off early today for birding Uganda’s most birdy spots, which are located in the country’s most significant forest reserve. The Royal mile which is named in memory of Omukama (King) Kabalega who ruled the Bunyoro Kingdom from 1870 to 1899 offers pleasant field hours to many birdwatchers from all over the world. The is a big road in the middle of the forest with a beautiful canopy cover. The sides of the road are well maintained with openings extending up to 7 meters; this is very brilliant for undergrowth birding. Frequently things work out very well before and after getting into the forest here. The forest edges which we normally explore, usually show African and Black-bellied Firefinches, Grey-headed Oliveback, Compact Weaver, Wahlberg’s Eagle, and White-thighed Hornbill, making them our last species of Hornbill. The interior should show us African Dwarf, Chocolate-backed in the forest canopy and Shining Blue Kingfishers, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Rufus-crowned Eremomela, Ituri Batis, Forest Flycatcher, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Nahan’s Francolin, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Spotted Greenbul, Fire-crested Alethe, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Blue-Throated Roller, keeping in the canopy at the royal mile
DAY 19:

Travel to Murchison Falls National Park

Today transfer to Uganda’s largest national park, which is also at the lowest elevation among all other parks. While and after leaving Masindi town, we will scan the trees for Purple Starling. When we approach the escarpment’s thickets and wooded acacias, we will look for birds typical to this habitat. Northern Red Bishop, Beautiful Sunbird, White-fronted Black-Chat, Bronze-tailed, Violet-backed, and Lesser Blue-eared Starlings Whistling and Foxy Cisticola, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Black-faced Waxbill, Cliff Chat, Spot-flanked, Martial Eagle, Black-billed Barbet and hopefully acceptable looks at the shy Dusky Babblers. As we continue with our drive, we will stop and scan spots for Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow, Cut-throat, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Swallow-tailed, and Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Crombec, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Dark-chanting Goshawk, the very localized White-rumped Seed-eaters and many more. We should create time for the top of Murchison Falls. These very dramatic falls are arguably the world’s most powerful. The bottom of the falls is great but the top is quite something! This is where the world’s longest river squeezes through a very narrow cleft of about eight feet and drops for a straight forty feet down! We never plan to miss this adventure on any of our tours that get to this part of the country.
DAY 20:

Whole day birding, game drive, and boat ride to Murchison Falls

Good views of Heuglin’s Francolin, a central African endemic. Today we will aim at finding some specialities of the Southern Sudan stretch and new lovely mammals that show up during an African safari. We drive into the open Savannah of Uganda’s biggest National Park, covering the section north of the river Nile. We should find Speckle-fronted Weaver, Red-necked Falcon, Red-headed, Cardinal and Red-billed Queleas, Denham’s Bustard, Black-headed Lapwing, Spotted Thick-knee, and the critically endangered and uncommon White-headed Vulture. Swallow-tailed and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Banded Martin, Scarce Swift, Senegal Coucal, Tawny Eagle, Heuglin’s Francolin, Pale, and Gambaga Flycatcher, Senegal Thick-knee, and the seasonal migrants. Our mammal list will aim for African Lions, the graceful Rothschild Giraffe, Lelwel’s Hartebeest, Oribi, Side-striped Jackal, and the shy Bohor Reedbuck. After a proper lunch by the banks of the mighty river Nile, we take a three hours boat ride to the bottom of Murchison Falls, and enjoyable on the Victoria Nile we can find Giant Kingfisher, White-crested Turaco, and Rock Pratincole at the bottom.
DAY 21:

Whole day Boat Ride to the Delta and Evening Game Drive

This morning, we take a morning boat ride to the delta; this sails downstream on the Victoria Nile into Lake Albert. It is an enjoyable nature ride, to and from. The birds love the riverine forest, as do the big mammals and reptiles to the bunks. It is here that one gets to lock eyes with the typical giant Nile Crocodiles that measure six meters and endless schools of Hippopotamus. The banks, riverine forest, and thickets are right for Giant Kingfisher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, the spectacular looking Saddle-billed Stork, Little Bittern, and the Shoebill. With a little more effort, somedays Pel’s Fishing-owl, White-backed and Black-crowned Night-Heron show up. We will do a lunch break and a siesta before heading out for the late afternoon to evening drive. This park has extensive savannah grasslands that give fantastic photography opportunities when the sun is setting. The Kobs and the other mammals with a background filled with the Albert Nile, Cattle Egrets flying back to their roost, and distant blue mountains with beautiful golden sunlight on them is a scene that hardly gets another to compare. Good encounters with Giraffes should be expected. The evening drive that is on the plan, places us in what feels like the middle of nowhere. Imagine a spot where you are only surrounded by wildlife, a dark sky with only stars and the moon to pick out with no surrounding light pollution. It is living your favorite wild animal’s moment. This is also one of the favorite moments for some of our Avian Safaris guides. Depending on the season, we hope to find a few nightjars like Swamp, Slender-tailed, Long-tailed, Square-tailed, Standard-winged, Pennant-winged, Plain and European Nightjars, and Grayish Eagle-owl. New mammals to look out for should include, White-tailed and Marsh Mongoose, Bunyoro Grass Rabit, Leopard, Blotched Genet, Slender Gerbils, Fat Mice, and Spotted Hyena, among others.
DAY 22:

Murchison Falls to Kaniyo Pabidi forest section

After early breakfast, we leave the park while birding heading to the Kaniyo Pabidi section of Budongo forest. We bird Kaniyo Pabidi for a few hours then proceed to the hotel in Masindi town. At Kaniyo Pabidi forest we should expect to see the Little green sunbird, the Grey-headed Sunbird, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-footed flycatcher, Sabine’s Spinetail, the exceptional Ituri Batis, the White-thighed hornbill, Blue-breasted Kingfishers, the Pygmy Crakes, the Green-breasted Pitta, Spotted Greenbul, Red-fronted Antpecker, Cassin Hawk-eagle, the Dwarf Kingfishers, the Yellow-crested woodpecker, Brown Twinspot, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, the Cassin’s Spinetail, Crowned Eagle, the Cameroon Sombre, Lemon-bellied Crombec, the Puvel’s Illadopsis (only found within this Forest and no other place in the whole of East Africa) in addition to the Piping hornbill among others.
DAY 23:

Transfer to Lake Bisina

On this day, we bird to Lake Bisina the home to Uganda’s endemic species, the Fox’s Weaver. The dense thorn and savannah vegetation near the T-junction along Mbale road 11 kilometers from Town is known habitat to exceptional bird species such as the handsome silver bird, Jackson’s Hornbill, Brubru and Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird, Fawn-colored Lark, White-bellied Go-away Bird, African Grey Flycatcher, Pygmy Batis, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Mouse-colored Penduline Tit, and many others. When you continue south from the junction for approximately 5 kilometers, you will find the Dark Chanting Goshawk, beautiful Black-headed plovers, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, and the Crested Bustard while the Temminck’s Courser, D’Arnaud’s Barbets, and the Grey Wren Warbler are commonly spotted at the airstrip near Town.
DAY 24-25

Whole day birding around Lake Bisina

The Lake Wetland System is an Important Bird Area a shallow freshwater lake with a thin strip of fringing papyrus swamp, part of the Lake Kyoga Basin lakes. Water lilies, a declining habitat in much of Uganda, dominate the shallow areas, which is important for its diversity of macrophytes. It is used as a feeding ground by wading birds, including the globally vulnerable Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). We bird for two days in this area as we search for the Fox’s Weaver (Uganda’s endemic bird). The area has water habitats harboring the Shoebill and several other bird species, both water, and woodland. We spot in the swampy area of the lake Lesser jacana as well as the African Pygmy Goose and wading birds. Additionally, the elusive shoebills are frequently spotted at the edge of the vast papyrus vegetation.
DAY 26:

Transfer to Mt. Elgon National Park

The park harbors 43 of the 144 species of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome and 56 of the 88 species of Afro-tropical Highland biome that occur in Uganda. There are isolated records of the near-threatened species, the Taita Falcon.
DAY 27:

Whole day birding in Mountain Elgon

Whole day birding, search for Hunter’s Cisticola and Jackson Francolin, Moorland Francolin, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Alpine Chat, White-starred Robin, Cape Robin-Chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Little Rock-Thrush, Northern Anteater Chat, Nightingale, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Mountain Yellow Warbler, African Reed Warbler, Little Rush Warbler, Upcher’s Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Common Chiffchaff, the Uganda and Brown Woodland Warblers, Green Hylia, White-browed Crombec, Yellow-bellied Hyliota, Stout, Thrilling, and Rattling Cisticolas, chances of seeing the Banded Prinia, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Yellow-billed Shrike, Ludher’s Bush-shrike, Cape Rock, Fan-tailed and White-naped Raven, Chestnut Sparrow, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver and many more.
DAY 28:

Transfer to Mabira forest reserve

We bird to the biggest forest reserve closest to the city center with a record of 315 bird species. The forest has 74 of the 144 species of Guinea-Congo Forests biome that occur in Uganda.
DAY 29:

Whole Day Mabira Forest

Whole day birding, Search for the Nahan’s Francolin which is an IUCN Red List of endangered species, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, White-spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, Grey Parrot, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black-shouldered Nightjar, Sabine’s Spinetail, Cassin’s Spinetail, Blue-throated Roller, African Dwarf Kingfisher, White-bellied Kingfisher, Forest Woodhoopoe, African Pied Hornbill, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Green-breasted Pitta, African Shrike-flycatcher, Jameson’s and Chestnut Wattle-eyes, Forest Robin, Fire-crested Alethe, Red-capped Robin-Chat, the Speckle-breasted, Yellow-crested, Brown-eared, and the Buff-spotted Woodpeckers, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Red-tailed Bristlebill, name it.
DAY 30:

Transfer to Entebbe for your homebound flight

While we return to Entebbe for departure, the drive has the potential of adding good birds to our list, I will list a few of them; Brown-backed Woodpecker, Black and Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, White Helmet-shrike, Yellow-billed Shrike, Red-winged and Orange-winged Pytilia, Bat-hawk, Beaudouin’s, Short-toed and Brown Snake-Eagles, Abdim’s Stork, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Green-backed Eremomela, Bar-breasted Firefinch, White-shouldered Black-Tit, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Singing Cisticola several other residents and migrants depending in the season.

Transport

We will use Toyota Land cruisers for this tour. Each vehicle has sufficient window seats for the whole group to have one, although we would ask that you rotate around the vehicle to give everyone the opportunity to have a seat towards the front of the vehicle. A good amount of our time will be spent away from the vehicles on bird walks.

There is a good amount of luggage space in the vehicles, however, it is preferable if you can bring soft-sided luggage as this is easier to pack in, and keep your packing to a sensible, practical minimum.

At Mabamba Swamp and Queen Elizabeth National Park, we will also use boats or canoes to view birds from the water. Life jackets are available and it is recommended that these are worn throughout the boat trips.

Weather

A typically equatorial climate ensures that the weather will be varied, and you are likely to encounter some rain on tour. Showers should not last too long and will not hamper the birdwatching. Days will generally be warm or hot and sunny; however, overcast conditions are frequent, particularly in the forest and mountain areas. Nights will be mild to warm, cooler at higher altitudes.

Group Size

This tour can be accompanied by an International tour leader together with a local field ornithologist, and a driver. The minimum group size is 1 pax and the maximum group size will be 14 pax. Group size determines the number of field guides leading a tour. For example, if the group size is 14 pax we 2 field guides with 2 vehicles participate in the trip. If a big group opts to travel in one vehicle, we use a mini coaster. All the two transport options are perfect for your tour.

Food & accommodation included in the package

All accommodation and meals are included in the cost of this holiday trip, drinking water will be available in the tour vehicles during the day throughout the trip. Please bring a water bottle, so that you can refill it from the larger containers.

We use a combination of comfortable lodges, tented camps, and guesthouses on this tour. Whilst standards are improving in Uganda, some of the accommodations can be quite simple in nature. All rooms are clean, however, with private facilities and should be perfectly adequate for the group’s needs. If you experience any problem with your room, please let your local guide know and they will always endeavor to rectify the problem with the lodge. A number of lodges operate generators for electricity, which are only run during the day so keeping a torch by your bedside is useful in case you need to get up at the night.

The Package Price Includes

Park entrance for vehicles and clients, Accommodation and Meals, drinking water on the road, Gorilla permits, Chimpanzee permits, Field bird guides, driver guides, Park rangers, Nature walks, boats, fuel, and Ground transport in 4WD safari vehicles.

The Package Excludes

Visas, air tickets, laundry, tips, items of a personal nature, gifts, government taxes, and other services are not mentioned on the trip.