Number of Days
Best of Uganda
This is a month-long journey filled with adventure. We shall start off going East through Mabira forest, bird the slopes of Mt. Elgon and travel North through Pian Upe to the extreme North East in Kidepo. From here, we shall then travel South to meet the longest river in Africa, River Nile, in Murchison falls National Park, the hot springs of Sempaya in Semliki, the Chimpanzee of Kibale and further down to the plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. We shall go south through the impenetrable forest of Bwindi to hike the slopes of Mt. Mgahinga for those high elevation specials. We shall finalize with a visit to the grasslands of Lake Mburo National Park
- Biggest list of birds
- Biggest list of mammals
- Visits all the major Important bird areas.
- Regional Endemics
Day 1: Arrival and overnight at Entebbe
Day 2: Travel to Mabamba
We drive to Mabamba Swamp, 50 km west of Kampala. At the Swamp, most of the birding is done on a canoe, paddled by our local site guides. Our main goal for the excursion is the Shoebill that can be sighted in both the sky and down in the marsh. Also watch out for the; Swamp Flycatcher, African Purple Swamp Hen, African Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, African Jacana, African Pigmy Goose, White-faced Whistling Duck, Squacco Heron, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Winding Cisticola, Goliath Heron, and Black Crake. In the afternoon, we shall travel to Kampala for overnight.
Day 3: Whole day at Mabira forest
We head out to Mabira Forest where we plan to spend the whole day in search for some amazing species. As the only Forest reserve located within the central area of the country, Mabira Forest provides a rather easy opportunity for sighting a number of “difficult” forest species located in different parts of the country such as the Tit Hylia, Nahan’s Francolin, Lowland Sooty Boubou as well as other species like the Shinning Blue Kingfisher among many more. The relatively flat terrain of the area makes movement easy thus aiding with the experience one has whilst birding in the forest. We shall continue East to Jinja for overnight.
Day 4: Drive to Mbale / Mount Elgon
We drive through towns and communities as we proceed to Mount Elgon which is at a higher elevation. Mount Elgon is one of the few volcanic mountains with in the country. This has provided the vibrant growth of the forest that is inhabited by a multitude of species which include the Abyssinian Ground Thrush. Stay in Mbale
Day 5: Whole day birding
We hike the mount through the forest as we hopefully try to acquire sightings of species like Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, White-bellied Tit,
Day 6: Birding to Pian Upe
We transfer from the forest of Mount Elgon to the wooded grasslands of Pian Upe. The change in elevation and habitat provides for quite the scenic views. Pain Upe is the largest Wildlife Reserve in the country and is home to a multitude of wildlife species especially birds which include the only country endemic species, Fox’s Weaver.
Day 7: Whole day in Pian Upe
The hunt for the Fox’s Weaver has us journey through the park as we also search for other interesting birds like the Rufous Chatterer, Northern Brownbul, Stone Partridge, Purple-banded Sunbird, African Golden Oriole among many others.
Day 8: whole day birding to Moroto
We shall do some birding through the park as we transfer to Matheniko Wildlife reserve in Moroto. We intend to try and get some other sightings along the journey
Day 9: Birding around Moroto
The plan is to spend the whole day moving through Matheniko-Bokora Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is home to a variety of species such as the White-headed, Red-billed and White-billed Buffalo Weavers, Purple Grenadier among many more
Day 10: Birding to Kidepo
We transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park after breakfast. We shall drive through Matheniko Wildlife Reserve as this stretch provides a fascinating scenery and we will hopefully pick up any species we might have missed out on the previous day. Kidepo Valley National Park is the least explored of all parks in the country which also provides for more popular bird activity with its count reaching 480 species, making it second to Queen Elizabeth National Park amongst all the protected areas in the country.
Day 11 and 12: Whole day birding Kidepo
The park has two main areas and the plan is to give appropriate time to each of these areas. The first will have us explore the Narus Valley and then the Kidepo Valley on the next. Both these valleys are fantastic spots for an exceptional birding experience providing opportunities for the Secretary bird, Fox Kestrel, Stone Partridge, Rick-necked Francolin, White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards among many others.
Day 13: Birding to Murchison Falls National Park
After an early breakfast, we drive to Murchison Falls National Park which is Uganda’s largest National Park and it protects a huge chunk of untamed savannah bisected by the mighty River Nile. It is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls where by the World’s longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge in a frothing pool 43 m below. The park also boasts of 76 mammal species including; the lion, elephant, leopard, hippopotamus, Rothschild giraffe, Cape buffalo, hartebeest, oribi, warthog, and the Uganda Kob as wells 360 bird species including the rare Shoebill Stork.
Day 14 and 15: Whole days in the park
The two days in the park involves multiple game drives so as to cover the different areas with in this vast wilderness as well as two boat cruises, one to the bottom of the Murchison falls, which are considered by some as the strongest falls in the world. This stretch provides multiple birding opportunities with recorded sightings of the Rock Pratincole, White-fronted Plover, Purple Swamphen among many others that have been sighted along the boat cruise that ends with beautiful views of the Murchison falls. The other boat cruise will have us journey to the delta as the river drains into Lake Albert. This stretch is rather long but definitely worth it as it provides opportunities for the Saddle-billed Stork, Red-winged Gray Warbler, and also the Shoebill.
Day 16: Birding to Masindi
As we depart from the park, we shall look out for any other sightings. We will drive a short stretch of the Budongo forest which has recorded sightings of the Puvell’s Illadopsis. We intend to try out a few species as we proceed to Masindi.
Day 17: Whole day at Royal Mile Budongo Forest
This stretch consists of a broad flat trail with in the Budongo forest with relatively tall trees on either side of the track. The Budongo forest is considered to have been a part of the Ituri forest at some point
Day 18: Birding to Fort Portal
We shall drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park for the last time as we proceed to Kibale forest arriving in Fort Portal in the late afternoon. Kibale forest national park is the best safari destination for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa. It contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of all tropical forests in Uganda. It hosts 13 species of primates including the Chimpanzee. It has 1450 chimpanzees and these represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. It is also home to the rare L’hoest’s Monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened Red Colobus Monkey.
Day 19: Whole day at Semliki Forest
We start the day with a drive to Semliki National Park which is about 2 hours away from Fort Portal. The forest was once connected to the greater Ituri Forest that stretches from West Africa through the Congo basin. This is considered to be the furtherest eastern range for West African species which includes hornbills like the Red-billed Dwarf, White-crested, Black Dwarf, Black Casqued as well as other special species like the Yellow-throated Nicator, Capuchin Babbler among many others.
Day 20 and 21: Kibale Forest
With one day set aside for the Chimpanzee tracking, the two days in Kibale National Park are intended to provide us with an opportune max coverage of the hotspots with in and outside the park boundaries. For the day of birding, we intend to have a very early start so as to get into the forest early with the main target target being the Green-breasted Pitta but also other specials like the Joyful Greenbul, Lowland Apalis. The afternoon will have us outside the park as we explore the Bigodi Wetland which the natives have preserved as it provides good opportunities for birds like the Yellow-billed Barbet, Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, White-spotted Flufftail among many more.
Day 22: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park
The main activity for the day is the drive to Queen Elizabeth national park. The Park which is named after the Queen of England, who visited it in 1954, is the second largest national park in Uganda. Queen Elizabeth national park boasts the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the region. This is evidenced by the presence of open savanna, rainforest, dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes, and the vast Lake Edward. Queen Elizabeth National Park has almost 100 mammal species and a remarkable 612 bird species hence making it a superb safari territory, with elephants, a profusion of hippos, the elusive Giant Forest hog and the beautiful Uganda Kob which are all regularly sighted around the tourist village on the Mweya Peninsula – which also boasts a marvelous waterfront setting in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Day 23: Whole day in the park
There will be a morning game drive searching for; Lions, Elephants, Buffaloes, Uganda Kob, Waterbucks, Warthogs and many more bird species like Collard Pratincole, Temninck’s Courser, Kittlitz’s Plover. After lunch, you have an exotic and exciting boat trip along the Kazinga Channel. The trip is one of the most exciting water activities in Uganda since the channel is a narrow neck of water that connects Lakes George and Edward, with excellent photographic opportunities for waterside birds and abundant Hippopotamus, huge families of buffalos, and elephants with a possibility of multiple bird species like an endless number of the Pied Kingfisher, African Skimmer, Red-throated Bee-eater, Long-tailed and Great Cormorants.
Day 24: Birding to Bwindi Buhoma
We plan to drive through the Ishasha section (if the road and weather conditions are favorable) where, if lucky, you may be able to view tree climbing lions and as we proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Bwindi Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to approximately half of the world endangered population of Mountain Gorillas. This vast reserve also offers arguably the most productive montane forest birding in Africa and supports 22 of Uganda’s 23 Albertine Rift endemic bird species. The park was once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighboring Rwanda, and now Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an ecological island within a sea of human cultivation and therefore of big conservation importance.
Day 25: Whole day birding the main trail
We shall spend the day birding the Buhoma main trail as we head towards the waterfalls within the forest. This stretch provides us with opportunities for sightings of the Neumann’s warbler, Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo, Gray-breasted Babbler, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, African Hill Babbler among many more species. The trail is relatively even thus providing a rather easy excursion that is not as physically demanding.
Day 26: Optical Gorilla tracking
We shall assemble at the Park Offices for the briefing in the morning prior to this historic event. Gorilla tracking is a very captivating activity as it might take 1-8 hours which involves walking in the wilderness in search of these gentle giants which can be a challenging activity, therefore ensure physical fitness. It is a wonderful experience to stare in to the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. Gorilla Tracking is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that you must never miss. Each encounter with the gorillas is different and has its own rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display.
Day 27: Birding to Ruhija
The journey between Buhoma and Ruhija has us moving through “the neck” which is a small stretch of forest that connects the northern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to the southern sector and this small stretch provides a birding hotspot. We intend to make a few stops along the way to look for species such as the Jameson’s Ant-pecker.
Day 28: Birding Ruhija and optional Mubwindi Swamp
This sector of Bwindi is further south and is at a higher elevation and due this conducive range, it is where we intend to maximize the opportunity for finding the Albertine Rift Endemics such as the Strip-breasted Tit, Regal Sunbird, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Nightjar, Collard Apalis. The option to move to the Mubwindi Swamp is dependent on the client as this stretch is rather very physically demanding but it provides get benefits such as opportunities for the Grauer’s Broadbill, Grauer’s Warbler, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, all of which are also Albertine Rift Endemics.
Day 29: Birding to Mgahinga
We then head further south to and even higher elevation. Mgahinga Gorilla national park is also home to the Mountain Gorilla and is connected to the great Virunga Forest that connects the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda
Day 30: Whole day birding the mountains
We hike the montane forest in search for high altitude species such as the Rwenzori Turaco, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Bamboo Warbler, Kandt’s Waxbill among many more.
Day 31: Birding to Lake Mburo
As we drive to Lake Mburo National Park, we shall keep an eye out for bird sightings along the way. The plan is to arrive in the park in the afternoon and try out some evening species as we transfer to the lodge which will be with in the park boundaries.
Day 32: Whole day in the park
We start the day with a boat cruise on Lake Mburo its as we search for the elusive African Finfoot which is considered must-see while in the area. We shall also have other sightings such as the Red-headed Weaver, Spot-flanked Barbet. We will have an afternoon game drive in the park looking bird specialties like the Crested Barbet, Red-faced Barbet, Pearl-spotted Owlet.
Day 33: Birding to Entebbe / Kampala
We shall keep an eye out for any species we might have missed as we drive out of the park on our way to Entebbe.