Bird watching holiday Uganda

8th February, 2016 | Article By Go Uganda Safaris

Day 1:  Uganda Birding Paradise

Birding Uganda: birding with gorilla tracking and albertine rift endemics starts with your arrival at EBB airport where a representative from Go Uganda Safaris will meet and greet you before driving you to a booked hotel in Entebbe. If arrival is between morning and midday there will be an introduction to birding in the botanical gardens.

Activity:   Birding Botanical Gardens

O/N:       Imperial Resort Hotel B/B

Day 2:  Birding Mabamba Swamp

After early breakfast, drive southwards to Mabamba Swamp Wetland located on the fringes of Lake Victoria. In Mabamba swamp, take a hand paddled canoe in search of the incredible Shoebill Stork and other variety of water birds and Lake Victoria specials :- Swamp Flycatcher, herons, egrets, ducks, plovers, gulls, Malachite and Pied kingfisher, Papyrus gonolek, White winged warbler, Blue swallow. Spend some time birding the surroundings before transferring to Lake Mburo Park arriving in time for an evening game drive as you enter the park.

Activity:     Swamp Birding

O/N:           Mihingo Lodge F/B

Day 3:  Wild Birding in Lake Mburo

Rise early for breakfast and take an opportunity to bird around Lake Mburo swamp areas. Then a short break before taking a boat ride in search of White backed heron and African Fin Foot, then transfer to Ruhija.

Activity:  Nature Walk and Boat Cruise

O/N         Broadbill Forest Camp

Lake Mburo species: Red faced barbet, Green backed woodpecker, Tabora cisticola, cuckoos, Grey-capped warbler, Black-headed weaver, Brown-chested lapwing, Rufous-napped lark, Black-bellied bustard, Lilac-breasted roller, Helmeted guineafowl, Coqui francolin, plus many raptors.

Day 4:  Birding Albertine Rift Endemics

After breakfast with your picnic lunch take a trail to Mubwindi swamp that promises some of the most illusive of all rift endemics:- Grauer’s Rush warbler, African broadbill and Caruther’s cisticola. The day will be spent exploring the highland forests of Ruhija some 2300M above see level. Star attractions are: – Handsome francolin, African Hill babbler, Banded prinia, Shelley’s crimsonwing, Collared Apalis, Regal sun bird and many more.

Activity:  Forest Birding (Mubwindi swamp trail)

O/N:        Broadbill Forest Camp

Day 5:  Endemic Paradise transfer to Buhoma

Drive to Kitahurira, the neck of forest linking Buhoma to Ruhija. The “Neck” is an important habitat and offers a high chance of seeing the Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Black Bee-eaters, Bronze-napped Pigeon, Many-Coloured Bush-shrike, Cassin’s grey flycatcher, Pink footed puffback, Mountain wagtail, and a variety of Albertine Rift endemics.

Activity:  Forest Birding (Neck)

O/N:       Crested Crane Hotel F/B

Day 6:  Ecological Hot Spot Bwindi Forest Park

The park supports 24 of 26 Albertine Rift Endemics that occur in Uganda. There are many birds in this area, but we will be on the lookout for key endemics such as Red-throated Alethe, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Masked Apalis, Neumann’s Warbler and Ruwenzori Batis. Other non-endemic specials include Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Dusky Tit, Black Bee-eater, White-bellied Robin-chat and Sooty Flycatcher, Waller’s and Narrow-tailed Starlings in the dead tree snags. The Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Black-necked Weaver, Lühder’s Bush-shrike and Bar-tailed Trogon will also be spotted.

Activity:  Forest Birding (Waterfall trail)

O/N:       Crested Crane Hotel F/B

Day 7:  Gorilla tracking (optional)

Gorilla tracking experience begins with a hearty breakfast, with your lunch box and drinking water drive to the office /starting point for registration and briefing. Following experienced guides, adventurers are able to visit one of man’s closest relatives, observing them in their natural habitat. At this point you will be shriving more than sweating looking for the hairy apes.   Watching these creatures feed, play, care for their young and each other, is a moving and life changing experience. The hikes are of medium ability but at times tough and demanding due to the elevation gain, therefore one needs to be physically fit. The trekking duration is between 30 minutes to six hours entirely depending on where the apes may have slept the previous night and how far they may have moved that morning in search for food. Once you find the family of gorillas, you will have one hour to view them in their natural habitat. Although still wild, the gorillas are habituated to human presence, you will have unforgettable close interaction with these magnificent animals. The trekking may be stressful and demanding but more exciting because looking into the eyes of a Gorilla is unforgettable and a life time experience. Return and drive to your lodge for overnight stay.

What to expect on a Gorilla tracking experience

  • Briefing on rules (dos & don’ts )
  • Allocation of groups
  • Hiring out porters (income supports local communities)
  • Start hike or drive to starting point
  • Enjoy the hike
  • Viewing (1 hour maximum)
  • Lunch break
  • Hike back
  • Award of Gorilla certificates only to successful trackers

Trekking can be wet and hot work. Be prepared to carry water proof jacket and a day pack to hold essentials like binoculars and cameras. Trekking is through steep ridges with thick and thorny vegetation. It’s advised to have good hiking shoes, long trousers, long sleeved shirts, sun cream, sun glasses, gloves, walking stick and a hat. For photographers you may need 800 ASA or 1600 ASA film in order to take pictures of Gorillas because flashes are forbidden and the habitat in which they live is dark.

Activity:  Gorilla Tracking

O/N:       Crested Crane Hotel F/B

Day 8:  Mweya Birding Peninsular

Drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park birding en route, via Ishasha sector of the park for a game drive in search of Tree Climbing Lions and birding for a variety of savanna birds and a number of raptors. Afternoon boat ride on Kazinga Channel believed to host the largest concentration of Hippos in Africa.

Activity:  Game Drive in Ishasha

O/N:        Mweya Lodge F/B

Day 9:  Jewel of Birding Uganda

Start the day by exploring the Kasenyi Track and the Kob mating grounds. Queen Elizabeth is famous for its concentration of water birds: waders, herons, storks, plover, Water Thick-knee, kingfishers, terns, ducks and geese, cormorants, ibises and pelicans. The Kasenyi track supports many raptors including Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur and Martial Eagles. You have a chance to see the mammalian wildlife too: Lions, Elephants, Buffalo, Hyena, Giant Forest Hogs, and other game. Transfer to Fort Portal birding Bigodi swamp in the afternoon for three hours.

Activity:  Game Drive

O/N:       Crystal Lodges F/B

Day 10:  Chimp Tracking & Forest Birding

Day starts with a hearty breakfast and there after drive to the tourist centre where you will meet site guides who will guide you into the shady forest. This diverse forest is one of its kind in Africa, It is home to 13 species of primates including habituated chimpanzees, red colubus monkey, Red tailed monkey, white and black colubus, grey mangabey, black faced vervet monkey, L’Hoest monkey, Pottos, Bush babies and Baboons. This forest also offers an excellent opportunity to birdwatchers (355spp) and butterfly lovers. Terrestrial animals that exist are the elusive Forest elephant (smaller and hairy than its savanna counterpart), Giant forest hog and buffaloes. Here we have a chance to bird the forest in search of the Green-breasted Pitta, Western bronze-napped Pigeon and Many-coloured Bush shrike. Transfer to Kampala.

O/N:   Speke Resort Munyonyo F/B

Day 11:  Rhinos and Shoebill stork

Depart Kampala City early morning and drive to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, birding the swamp and pond areas for Shoebill stork and track Rhinos in the afternoon. Return to the city late evening for dinner and overnight stay.

O/N:   Speke Resort Munyonyo F/B

For more adventure holidays in Uganda visit  Go Uganda Safaris 

By Go Uganda Safaris

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