14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda: Discover Uganda's most significant primates and birds during an incredible birdwatching and mammal

14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda

14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda: Discover Uganda’s most significant primates and birds during an incredible birdwatching and mammal expedition. Nearly obvious is the Shoebill Stork. The Rwenzori Turaco, one of Africa’s most magnificent turacos, and the Grauer’s (African Green) Broadbill are among the more than 20 Albertine (Western) Rift endemics that are sought after. Uganda has established itself as the go-to destination for locating the otherwise extremely challenging Green-breasted Pitta. Other range-restricted species, like the Red-faced Barbet, are also sought.

Here in Uganda, dubbed “the Pearl of Africa,” turacos such as Ross’s turaco and the Great Blue are practically backyard birds. Numerous primates, including the Uganda Red Colobus, Guereza, Mountain Gorilla, and Chimpanzee, as well as the breathtaking landscape, which includes well-known locations like Lake Victoria, the largest lake on the continent, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, and of course the Virunga Mountains, are additional highlights of our Uganda birding tour.

This tour’s later half is excellent for seeing a variety of broader-ranging African birds, lions, and, with any luck, leopards, as well as breathtaking locations like Murchison Falls, where the Mighty Nile is driven through a small opening.

Except for a few days that are regarded as really tough, like the day of gorilla trekking and the day hike into and back from Mubwindi Swamp, this trip is moderately physically demanding. Walking can be a significant part of both chimpanzee trekking and Green-breasted Pitta searches. If you do not think you can participate in any activity, you are free to withdraw from it. A lot of days will be spent birdwatching in the forest; so, dress appropriately (dark or neutral clothing and caps rather than very wide-brimmed hats) and be prepared to spend a lot of time on foot. There’s a significant potential for soaking up rain, so it’s advisable to protect your camera equipment.

Detailed Itinerary of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda

Day 1: Arrival and Birding Entebbe Botanical Gardens

Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport for the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda, you will be welcomed by a Journeys Uganda representative who will transfer you to your lodging for check-in. We will continue to Entebbe Botanical Gardens, looking out for various bird species such as the Bat Hawk, Black-headed Gonolek, Palm-nut Vulture, Great Blue Turaco, Broad-billed Roller, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Great Reed Warbler, Fain-tailed Widowbird, Black Bishop, Ross’s Turaco, Red-chested, Klaas’s and Diederick Cuckoo, Malachite, Striped, Pygmy, Woodland, and Giant Kingfishers, among others. Dinner and overnight at Papyrus Guest House

Malachite Kingfisher

Day 2: Bird to Mabamba and Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

After an early breakfast and packing our picnic lunch (most days of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda will start this way), we’ll go to the Mabamba Wetlands, a locally protected marsh portion of Lake Victoria that is home to the elusive and prehistoric-looking Shoebill Stork. There is also a wide range of waterbirds to pick from, and there is a good chance that we will see one or more of these birds standing motionless within the papyrus. Weyn’s Weaver, Vieillot’s, Golden-backed, Slender-billed, Northern Brown-throated, Village, and Black-headed Grosbeak should all be visible. Among the other species found here are the Black-and-White Casqued Hornbill, the Great Blue Turaco, and an incredible variety of swallows. Overall, it should be a fantastic place to begin birdwatching in Uganda. We will then transfer to Lake Mburo National Park, where we will spend two nights. You will be transferred to Rwakobo Rock for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Birding Lake Mburo National Park and Boat ride.

After breakfast on this day of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda, we will embark on a boat ride looking out for the African Finfoot, African and Lesser Jacana, African Skimmers, Papyrus Gonolek, African Fish Eagle, White-backed Night Heron, Rufous-bellied Heron, Giant Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, and Shinning-blue Kingfisher. After the boat ride, we shall embark on a game drive along the Zebra track, looking out for various species such as the Red-faced Barbet, Long-tailed Cisticola, Coqui Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, White-headed Vulture, Lilac-breasted Roller, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Blue-naped Mousebird, Spot-flanked Barbet, and Golden-breasted Bunting, among others. Expect various wildlife encounters, such as with the Common Eland, Topi, Buffalo, Defassa Waterbuck, Bohor Reedbuck, and Hippos. Dinner and overnight at Rwakobo Rock.

African Finfoot

Day 4: Birding Lake Mburo and transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

After breakfast, we will continue birding the Lake Mburo National Park Savannah, looking out for any bird species we may have missed the previous day. We will then transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in south-western Uganda. The park is home to endangered mountain gorillas and various bird species, including many Albertine Rift Endemics.

See the stunning Rwenzori Turaco, one of the main reasons we include this park in our Uganda birding tour. There is a large bamboo forest in this park where we look for Abyssinian Ground Thrushes. There’s always a chance of seeing the extremely rare Shelley’s Crimsonwing; this IUCN-endangered species appears to be in decline, although thankfully not because of human activity. Some additional endemic species from the Albertine Rift may give us a head start, but most of these will have to wait till Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Dinner and overnight at Kisoro Traveller’s Rest Hotel.

Day 5: Birding Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

You will have an early morning breakfast and we will drive to the park’s trailhead with our packed lunch. Keep an eye out for Archer’s Robin-chat, the beautiful Rwenzori Turaco, Kivu Ground Thrush, Rwenzori Batis, Dwarf Honeyguide, Lagden and Doherty’s Bushshrikes, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Dusky Crimsonwing, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, White-starred Akalat, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, White-tailed Crested Flycatcher, plus the Rwenzori Double-collared Sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Blue-headed Sunbird, among others. Dinner and overnight at Kisoro Traveller’s Rest Hotel

Rwenzori Turaco

Day 6-7: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Birding Ruhija

On these days of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda, we will rise very early, have breakfast, and transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the Ruhija sector. We depart for the high-altitude Ruhija section of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, one of Africa’s richest forests for primates and avian life. Upon arrival, we will immediately begin birdwatching the forested hillsides, searching for the stunning Black Bee-eater and, at a roadside location, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, which will allow us to shorten the duration of the strenuous hike on day six. Grauer’s Swamp Warbler is found in the lower reaches of the Mubwindi Swamp. Nice to compare with the Papyrus Yellow Warbler, which we aim to see another day, Mountain Yellow Warbler may also be spotted. The Grauer’s (African Green) Broadbill, is one of Africa’s most sought-after species.

Additionally, the attractive and extremely localised Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher can be found lurking at the lower reaches. It takes most of the day to walk down to the broadbill site and back, but this is one of the best days for birdwatching of the whole tour. Throughout the day, trip participants typically end up with a steady stream of lifebirds, mostly endemic species from the Albertine Rift. Frequently seen species include Banded Prinia, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rwenzori Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Grey-throated Barbet, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, and up to four species of crimson wings, which are quiet, brightly coloured forest finches.

There are far too many excellent kinds to mention here, but we are hoping to locate Olive-breasted Greenbul. The incredibly long-tailed Blue-headed Sunbird, the brilliant Regal Sunbird, the Stripe-breasted Tit, the Rwenzori Batis, and a few other range-restricted species deserve to be mentioned as well. There are also a few slightly more widespread species, such as the amazing Rwenzori Hill Babbler and Bar-tailed Trogon.

African Green Broadbill

Day 8–10: Birding in Buhoma Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Optional Gorilla Trekking.

Gorilla Trekking is optional because it is not included in the price of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda.

We pause to bird “The Neck” on the way between the park’s higher-elevation Ruhija and lower-elevation Buhoma parts, which allows us to see a variety of birds that we wouldn’t find elsewhere. This is a fairly easy place to spot both the cinnamon-chested bee-eater and the black bee-eater, Chubb’s Cisticola duets. It is possible to witness the striking Black-and-White Shrike-flycatcher. This species is incredibly gregarious and typically travels around a lot, making lots of noise as it flies from one perch to the next. The male has beautiful yellow eyes and is black-and-white, while the female has a spectacular crest and is chestnut and white. Along with several other sunbirds, we might also spot the Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Mackinnon’s Shrike, Angur Buzzard, African Grey Woodpecker and Bronzy Sunbird, among others.

We’ll look for a variety of localised endemics that are rare in neighbouring countries, such as the Bar-tailed Trogon, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Lühder’s Bushshrike, Brown-capped Weaver and other forest canopy weavers, Red-throated Alethe, and numerous others. These are just a few of the deep-forest birds that we should seek out. The elusive White-spotted Flufftail, the Red-shouldered Cuckooshrike, the Olive-bellied Sunbird, some stunning forest barbets like the large Yellow-billed Barbet, the dazzlingly bright and shiny, green-and-yellow African Emerald Cuckoo, and, last but not least, the Black-billed Turaco will all be among the slightly more prevalent birds we hunt for.

With species like the Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Great Blue and Ross’s Turaco, Grey-winged Robin-Chat, Black-necked Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Nigrita, and many more, forest-edge birding can be just as enjoyable. We will spend a lot of time birdwatching the nearby farm fields, forest edges, and forest trails during our two full days here.
There is a chance to go mountain gorilla trekking for one day at Buhoma itself. Dinner and overnights at Ride for a Woman


14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda: Discover Uganda's most significant primates and birds during an incredible birdwatching and mammal
Bar-tailed Trogon

Day 11: Wildlife and Birds OF Queen Elizabeth National Park

On the way to Kibale Forest, we make a stopover in Queen Elizabeth National Park. In 1954, the queen of England formally inaugurated this national park, which is renowned for its tree-climbing lions and has over 600 kinds of birds and 100 mammal species. We will bird all the sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park, starting with the Ishasha sector, looking out for the Marsh Tchargra, White-headed Barbet, Brubru, Common Scimitarbill, Orange-breasted Bushshrike, and Twilling Cisticola, among others. Also, we will continue to the northern part of the park, Kasenyi, looking out for the Rufous-necked Lark, Red-capped Lark, Black-bellied Bustard, Spot-flanked Barbet, Brown-snake Eagle, Martial Eagle, and Lappet-faced Vulture, among others. Seeing a hippopotamus, a Nile crocodile, and a plethora of waterbirds such as the African Skimmers, African Spoonbill, Goliath Heron, Great White Pelican, White-winged Terns, Water Thick Knee and various Kingfishers while out on the Kazinga Channel by boat is one of the highlights of our trip. Of course, there are many other animals as well, like the Common Warthog, African Buffalo, Uganda Kob, and many others. But Forest Hog usually steals the show.

Dinner and overnight at Buffalo Safari Lodge.

Day 12: Transfer to Kibale Forest and Birding Kibale Forest

On the 12th day of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda,we will have a morning breakfast and transfer to Kibale Forest National Park for a memorable birding experience. This natural forest is one of the top birding hotspots in Uganda. It is home to numerous bird species, including the elusive Green-breasted Pitta. Other species to look out for include the White-napped Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, Great Blue, and Ross’s Turacos, among others. You will be transferred to Chimpanzee Forest Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 13: Birding Kibale Forest and Chimpanzee Tracking

After breakfast, our primary target bird is the Green-breasted Pitta, which is best located around dawn when we can locate it more precisely thanks to its display call; otherwise, despite the bird’s jewel-like colours, finding it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack on the forest floor. The sounds of numerous chimpanzee tribes reverberate throughout the forest while we search for this bird. Trekking with chimpanzees is another optional activity available. Other primates that we should see include the L’Hoest’s Monkey, the Uganda Red Colobus—one of the most striking of all African primates—the Red-tailed Monkey, the Grey-cheeked Mangabey, and other monkeys. Not to be overlooked is the robust Olive Baboon, which prowls the area in large groups. There are also plenty of interesting species to watch, such as Chestnut Wattle-eye, Narrow-tailed Starling, Black-billed Turaco, White-napped Pigeon, Black Bee-eater, Sooty Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Barbet, Spotted Barbet, Hairy Spotted Barbet and White-headed Wood Hoopoe, among others. Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Forest Lodge.

14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda: Discover Uganda's most significant primates and birds during an incredible birdwatching and mammal
Green-breasted Pitta

Day 14: Transfer to Entebbe and Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Entebbe while birding. You will either be transferred to your hotel in Entebbe or Entebbe International Airport for those departing immediately. That will be the end of the 14-day Special Birding Safari in Uganda.

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