16 Days Birding Safari Uganda
In this Uganda Birding Safari places to go bird watching include in Mabamba Swamp, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Others are Kibale National Park and Semuliki Wildlife Reserve. Apart from Mabamba Bay, all the places mentioned above as birding destinations are among the tourist attractions in western Uganda.
Day 1: Arrival in Uganda
When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, our representative will receive you and transfer you to your booked Hotel/Lodge either in Entebbe or straight to Kampala City for your overnight and dinner.
Day 2: Uganda Birding Safari starts with Mabamba Swamp Bird Watching
After breakfast, you will set off on the southbound road to Mabamba Wetland and board the canoe for the best tour of the swamp. This is the nearest site for the Shoebill, Lesser Jacana, Blue Swallow, Black-Shouldered Nightjar, Afep Pigeon, Blue Breasted Bee-Eater and the Papyrus Gonolek. Other species include the White Winged Warbler, Swamp Flycatcher, Purple Swamphen, African Water Rail, Common Moorhen, African Jacana, African Pygmy-goose plus White-faced Whistling-duck. It would also be possible to spot the Squacco Heron, Goliath Heron, Black Crake and many more birds while on a 1 day tour of Mabamba. In Entebbe, one can straight away start birding around the botanical gardens. Look out for 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 Sun-bird, Ross’s Turaco, Pied Horn bill, Crowned Horn bill, Open-billed Stork, Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grey-capped Warbler and many others. Spend the whole day birding in Mabamba and Botanical Gardens return to Kampala or Entebbe in the evening for overnight.
Day 3 and 4: More Uganda Bird Watching Budongo Forest
Finish your breakfast and drive to Budongo Forest, one of the major sanctuaries in Uganda for birds. After lunch in Masindi Hotel, then head for afternoon where you will enjoy watching the White-crested Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Bat Hawk, Black-shouldered Night-jar, White-crested Turaco, Crowned Eagle and African Wood-owl. Overnight and Dinner at Budongo Eco Lodge in Budongo Forest which is part of Murchison Falls National Park.
On the fourth day after breakfast, start birding at the Royal Mile and you will look for 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 Longbill, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, African Dwarf Kingfisher. Packed lunch and dinner overnight at Budongo Eco Lodge on full board.
Day 5 and 6: Leave Kibale National Park, another Uganda Birding Destination
Depart early in the morning for Kibale National Park. In this Kibale rain forest is a host for about 9 species of primates, including chimpanzee, red colubus, black and white colobus, grey-cheeked Mangaby and red-tailed monkey. And birding, 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 will not miss your sight.
And a nature walk at Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary ecotourism site is is another rewarding experience. Its home to Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honey guide and Black-faced Rufous Warbler. Lunch is included. Dinner and overnight at Rujuna Hilltop Guest House or Ndali Lodge.
Day 7 and 8 Semuliki National Park
Drive to Semuliki National Park from Fort Portal. Semuliki is among the top destinations for birding in Uganda. The forest along river Semuliki is home to Northern Bearded Scrub-robin, Spot-breasted Ibis, Yellow-throat-ed 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 Honeyguide and African Piculet, the African Pygmy Goose, Red-necked Falcon, Abyssinian Ground Horn-bill, Blue-Breasted Bee-Eater, Black-billed Barbet, Piapiac, Leaf-love and Black-chinned Quail-Finch. Enjoy an afternoon boat ride on Lake Albert in search for the Shoebill. Over night at Semuliki Safari Lodge or the Camp site F/B.
On your second day and eight in the birding safari, leave early heading north to Semuliki Valley Wildlife Reserve arriving at the lodge at teatime. Over 350 species have been recorded at Semuliki and this is also a good area to see the extraordinary Shoebill and other Wetland varieties. The key species here include 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, Hamerkop, Weaver birds, Leaf love and Black-chinned Quail-Finch.
In the late afternoon, a game drive will reveal herds of Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Reed Buck, several monkey species as well as lots of bird opportunities: White-crested Turaco, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Mouse birds, Kingfishers and Bee-Eaters, to name a few. Or take a night drive if possible to see Pennant and Standard Wing Night-jars within 2 metres. Overnight in Fort portal.
Day 9: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
After breakfast you depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park. The park has about 550 recorded bird species that include the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Open-billed Stork, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers and over 100 mammal species like the Lions, Hippos, Buffaloes, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Elephants and the elusive Giant Forest Hog in this park.
The Primates in the park include Chimpanzees, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Blue, Black faced Red Colobus and Red tailed monkeys and Olive Baboons. After lunch go for the boat cruise on Kazinga Channel, where the concentration of water birds and photographs is extraordinary. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge, found on Mweya Peninsula in the park.
Day 10: Queen Elizabeth National Park. Wild Animals and Birds to watch
Start the day with a boat ride on Kazinga Channel which will give you wildlife up close; Hippos huff and spray mere feet away from the boat, Buffalo linger in the shallows and a tremendous variety of birds grace the grasses on the channel’s edge. These may include the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Open-billed Stork, African Jacana, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers. A Bird Observatory here, which 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, including Uganda’s first record of the Bar-tailed Godwit.
Enjoy a game drive and over night at Mweya Lodge, Jacana safari Lodge, King Fisher Lodge Kichwamba/ Hill Top Camp or the Institute of Ecology Cottages or proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Alternatively on the same day, do game drive in the park and the Ishasha sector. After tea, you start birding early morning in the open Savannah for birds like the Temminck’s Courser, Martial Eagle, Rupell’s Griffon Vulture, and then return to the lodge for breakfast and then proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park passing near Maramagambo Forest and through the Ishasha sector. Dinner and overnight in Buhoma Homestead.
Day 11: Uganda Birding Safari in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Wake up and 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. You will spend the whole day birding in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one of the most interesting ecosystems in Africa with the concentration of biodiversity. Bwindi has over 350 bird species recorded 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 en route. Overnight at Gorilla Forest Camp / Mantana Tented Camp or Lake Kitandara Tented Camp/ Buhoma Homestead or the Community
Day 12, 13 and 14: Ruhija in Southern Bwindi Forest
Do gorilla tracking in Buhoma area early morning in the forest sanctuary starting from Buhoma. Then move from Buhoma to reach Ruhija Sector in the south of the forest and spending two nights at the camping site. On day 2 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 2400 m to 2050 m 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 Sun bird, Mountain Greenbul, Waller’s Chestnut-winged Starling, Dusky Crimson wing, Mountain Illadopsis and Mountain Yellow Warbler. On the third day, which is the 14th day of the whole tour, leave for Mburo National Park and have overnight at Mantana Tented Camp on full board.
Day 15 Lake Mburo National Park
After breakfast, enjoying birding in the swampy area of Lake Mburo National Park as you are entertained to the songs of Morning 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 Ox pecker, African Finfoot, Black Collard Barbet, Lilac-breasted Roller, Black-bellied Bustard, Helmeted Guinea fowl, Coqui Francolin, Rufous-napped Lark plus many raptors.
As you bird, expect to 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 in Lake Mburo and over night at Mihingo Lodge, Mantana Tented Camp, UWA Tents.
Day 16: Drive 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 en route Kampala. Arrive in the city in the evening to conclude a 16 day Uganda birding safari.