15-day Birding Safari In Uganda

March 18, 2024
News Journeys Uganda

One of the top birding safaris in Africa is the 15-day Uganda birding safari, which aims to observe and record as many bird species as possible in Uganda with Journeys Uganda expert birding and safari guides. The journey begins at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre and Botanical Gardens in Entebbe and then continues to Murchison Falls Conservation in north-western Uganda from there. Fly over the Royal Mile, Budongo Forest, Busingiro, and Murchison Falls National Park. Travelling to Kibale Forest, another excellent spot for birdwatching will take you along the Albertine Rift. The journey then continues to Lake Mburo National Park after Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is home to 606 different kinds of birds. Gorilla safaris, monitoring chimpanzees, guided walks, boat excursions, and getting to know locals will all be additional delights along the way.

 

Safari Highlights

Day1: Arrival and Birding in Entebbe

Day2: Birding to Masindi

Day3: Birding Budongo, Royal Mile and Busingiro in Murchison

Day4: Birding to the Northern sector of Murchison Falls National Park

Day5: Birding Murchison Falls National Park

Day6: Birding Murchison Falls and Kibale Forest National Park

Day7: Birding and Chimp Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park

Day8: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Day9: Birding Queen Elizabeth National Park

Day10: Queen Elizabeth to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Day11: Optional Gorilla Trekking or Birding Buhoma

Day12: Birding from Bwindi to Lake Mburo National Park

Day13: Birding Lake Mburo National Park to Kampala

Day14: Birding to Kampala- Mabamba Island, and Mabira Forest

Day15: Birding Mabira Forest and Airport Transfer

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day1: Arrival and birding in Entebbe
After landing at Entebbe International Airport, we are transported to either Papyrus Guest or Jet Villas. We can go birding in Entebbe depending on when we arrive, especially on the beautiful grounds of the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, where we can view both lakeside and woodland species. Our first birding opportunities may include the Palm-nut Vulture, Great Blue  and Ross’s Turaco, Eastern-grey Plantain-Eater, Congo (African) Pied Hornbill, Splendid Glossy Starling, Orange and Slender-billed Weavers, Golden-backed, Village, Black-headed, Grosbeak and Vieillot’s Black Weaver, Red-chested, Superb, Green-throated, Olive-bellied, Marico, Olive-bellied and Bronzy Sunbird, African Grey Parrot, Gaber Goshawk, Lizard Buzzard, Broad-billed Roller, Levaillant’s, Diederik, Klaas’s, African Emerald and Red-chested Cuckoo among other birds for the beginning.

Day 2: Birding to Masindi

After breakfast, we begin birding at the Botanical Gardens or Lutembe Bay before driving to Masindi via the Luwero Triangle, passing through undulating grasslands and mosaic woodland. Expect some water birds if we do Lutembe which is an Important Bird Area like the Caspian Tern, White-winged Tern, White-backed Night Heron, at times the Shoebill Stork shows up, Red-rumped and Rufous-breasted Swallow. As we carry on  with our birding journey further north, look out for the White-crested Turaco, Bronze-tailed Starling, Lesser-blue and Great-blue Eared Starlings, Black and Black-winged Red Bishop, Yellow-mantled, Yellow-shouldered and Marsh and Fantailed Widowbird, White-Headed Barbet, Cardinal and Nubian Woodpecker, the gigantic Grey-headed Bushshrike, Western banded Snake-Eagle, Black-headed Batis, Pygmy Sunbird, Lesser and Greater Honeyguide. Dinner and overnight stay at the Masindi Hotel or New Court View for two nights.

Day 3: Birding Budongo, Royal Mile and Busingiro in Murchison Falls

Leave early to go birdwatching in the neighbouring Budongo Forest. The Royal Mile is a genuinely amazing route with a high forest canopy above you. The forest has a well-maintained trail system, and among the birds, we can expect to see today are skulking species such as the Nahan’s Partridge (Francolin), the very noisy White-thighed Hornbill, the elegant Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spinetail, the Blue-throated Roller, the Yellow-browed Camaroptera, the Forest Flycatcher, the Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, the high canopy dwelling and loud Ituri Batis, the Lemon Bellied Crombec, Tit Hylia, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Forest Robin, Yellow Billed, Grey-headed (Throated), Hairy Breasted and Yellow Spotted Barbet, Great Blue and Black Billed Turaco, Dusky Long-Tailed Cuckoo, Spotted, Plain, Slender Billed, White Throated, Little Grey and Little Greenbul, Red Tailed Bristlebill, Green Twinspot, Narina Trogon, Forest Robind and Black-capped Apalis, among others.

Day 4: Birding to the Northern Sector of Murchison Falls National Park

We head out early today to seek Puvel’s Illadopsis by driving through the Budongo Kaniyo Pabid region. Afterwards, we bird to the top of the falls and then to Pakuba Safari Lodge or equivalent, where we will spend the night. Taking a night drive today is highly recommended, with an eye out for nocturnal wildlife and birds

Day 5: Birding Murchison Falls National Park

Red-headed Weaver

The boat journeys to the base of the falls and the delta area will surely be the highlights of the vacation. Of course, once at the delta, everyone’s thoughts will naturally turn to the shoebill. Excellent views of this amazing bird are available. Additional birds to be observed are the Red-throated and Northern Carmine Bee-eater, as well as animals such as the Rothschild’s Giraffe, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Waterbuck, and numerous others. Saddle-billed, Yellow-billed, and African Open-billed Storks, African Finfoot, Senegal Thick-knee, Rock Pratincole, Giant, Woodland, Grey-Headed, Malachite, Pygmy, and Striped Kingfishers are some more species to keep an eye out for. While on the game drive, we keep an eye out for Heuglin’s Spurfowl (Francolin), Abyssinian Roller, the enormous Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Swallow-tailed, Blue-breasted, and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Black Billed Barbets, Black-billed Barbet, Black Winged, and Northern Red Bishop, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Spotted Palm Thrush, red-winged Grey Warbler,  Green-wood Hoopoe, Black Scimitarbill, Spotted Thick-knee, Black-headed Lapwing, Denham’s Bustard, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Shelley’s Rufous Sparrow, White-browed Sparrow Weaver and many more bird species. Dinner at Pakuba Safari Lodge or equivalent and an overnight stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6: Birding Murchison Falls and Kibale Forest National Park

This is going to be a long drive, with very little time for birdwatching. We will pass through Hoima via the Butiaba escarpment another highlight for birding where we expect to see the Cliff Chat, Brown Babbler, Black-faced Waxbill, Foxy Cisticola, Village Indigo Bird, Green-backed Eremomela, Vitelline-masked Weaver, Rattling Cisticola, Cinnamon-breasted rock Bunting,  Cabanis’s Bunting and other woodland bird species along the way, there are some papyrus swamps with specialities like White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek, and the surrounding scrub may be home to Double-toothed Barbet, Black-bellied Seed Cracker, and Gray-headed Oliveback. as we approach Fort Portal town on the northern part of Kibale Forest we try to find the Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-collared Oliveback, Black Bee-eater, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, White-naped and Afep Pigeon, Pink-footed Puffback,  Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Low land Masked Apalis and many more, we head to Chimpanzee Forest Lodge of Nature Lodges for two nights, dinner, and accommodations.

Day 7: Birding and Chimp Tracking in Kibale Forest National Park

Thirteen different species of primates call Kibale home. Here is where our chances of tracking chimpanzees are higher. White-naped Pigeon, African Grey Parrot, Black Bee-eater, Hairy-breasted, Yellow Spotted, and Yellow Billed Barbet, Chestnut-winged and Purple-headed, Waller’s and Narrow-tailed Starlings, Blue-throated Brown and Superb Sunbirds, White-collared Olive Back, and many more birds can be seen during a rewarding forest birding experience and the bird to look out for today will be the Green-breasted Pitta as this is the most reliable area almost world over to find it.

Day 8: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

We aim to have another chance to locate the Green-breasted Pitta in the forest as early as possible today if we missed it on day 7 before heading to Queen Elizabeth National Park by road. This protected area, situated on the shores of Lake Edward, is the second-largest in Uganda. Upon arrival at Mweya Safari Lodge or Buffalo, we go on early evening game drive in search of a variety of birds that call the surrounding scrub and lakeshore home, such as the African Hopoe, Green-winged Pytilia, and African- Golden-breasted Bunting, Spot-flanked Barbet, Moustached Grassland Warbler, Fan-tailed Grassbird, African Crake, Rufous-breasted Swallow, Brown and Banded Snake-Eagle, White-tailed, Flappet, Red-caped and Rufous-naped Lark . Later on in the drive, we search for Black Shouldered, Swamp, Square Tailed, and Pennant-winged Nightjars. After dinner, we spend the night at the lodge.

Day 9: Birding Queen Elizabeth National Park

We are exploring Queen Elizabeth National Park to the fullest today. The Wahlberg’s, Brown Snake, Short-Toed Snake, Martial Eagle, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-rumped and Common Buttonquails, African Crake, Hollub’s Golden and Lesser Masked Weavers, Black Coucal, Black Lored, and Arrow-Marked Babbler, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl Copper, Scarlet Chested and Red-chested, Broad-Tailed, and African Moustached Warbler are just a few of the many birds that can be seen during this drive. Dinner and lodging at the Buffalo or Mweya Safari Lodge

Day 10: Queen Elizabeth to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

We have a morning boat ride down the Kazinga Channel this morning, looking for water birds that roost between the Edward and George lakes and getting up close with some of Africa’s largest schools of hippos, as well as several crocodiles. We shall transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a famous home of mountain gorillas. After this rewarding boat cruise, we continue to Bwindi, where we check into the Ride 4 A Woman or Buhoma Community Bandas for two nights and meals.

Day 11: Optional Gorilla Trekking or Birding Buhoma

Should we choose to track, we will start our day with an early breakfast before gathering at the park headquarters for an overview of this incredible activity. The amount of time spent tracking varies depending on the gorillas’ sleeping quarters, feeding range, and encounters with other groups. Since these interactions may require the gorillas to travel great distances, be ready for a full day of activities. After spending an hour with them, you will never forget your amazing animal encounter on the African continent as the gentle giants interact with one another. Birding the lower elevation of Bwindi, the Buhoma side yields consistent results such as Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Pink Footed Puffback, Thick-billed, Cassin’s and Scaly-Throated Honeyguide, Western Bronze-naped Pigeon, Western Bar-tailed Trogon, African Broadbill, Neumann’s and Red-faced Woodland Warbler To name a few, there are the White-bellied Robin, Blue-Throated Brown, Rwenzori Blue-Headed, Northern Double Collard, Rwenzori Double Collard sunbirds, Red-Throated Alethe, and Red-Faced Woodland Warbler.

Day 12: Birding from Bwindi to Lake Mburo National Park

We’ll go birdwatching today on the way; the Ishasha or the Rukungiri routes offer different birds of interest, so we’ll stop at a few intriguing locations. Today, our goal is to take a boat ride along Lake Mburo, where we will likely spot African Finfoot, White-Backed and Black-Crowned Night Heron, and Giant Kingfisher. While in the lake, we will be on the lookout for mammals such as Zebra, Eland, Topi, Impala, Cape Buffalo, Warthog, Giraffe, etc. Night drives are often a fantastic way to see nocturnal creatures, such as bush babies, northern Tanzanian Fiery-nekaed, Pennant-winged, Freckled and black-shouldered nightjars. Dinner and overnight stay at Rwakobo Rock.

Day 13: Birding Lake Mburo National Park to Kampala

Following breakfast, we head out early to look for unique Savannah birds such as the Tabora Cisticola, Red-faced, Crested and Black-collared Barbet with the Coqui Francolin which are the specials on Lake Mburo National Park. Other unique birds we hope to see today include the Yellow-breasted Apalis, Buff-bellied Warbler, White Winged Tit, and Red-billed Wood Hoopoe. Among these are the African Black-Headed Oriole, Brubru, Orange (Sulphur)-Breasted Bushshrike, Red-headed Weaver, Golden-tailed, Bearded, Green-backed, and Uganda Spotted Woodpecker, Green-winged Pytilia, Black-faced Waxbill, Brown-chested Lapwing, Slaty-coloured Boubou and many more. Spend the night at Nkima Forest Lodge near the Mabamba Swamp.

Day 14: Birding – Mabamba Island, and Mabira Forest

We have an early breakfast before going birdwatching in Mabamba to look for Shoebills, but the Nkima Lodge is in a forest and very productive birding always done in the morning and this could offer us the African Wood-Owl, Red-chested, Diederik, African Emerald and Klaas’s Cuckoo, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Western Nicator, Scaly Spurfowl, Weyns’s Weaver, Grey-headed and White-breasted Nigrita, Ross’s and Great Blue Turaco, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, together with the Crowned, Wahlberg’s Eagle and many more, after that we head to the swamp for the main target of today which is the Shoebill Stork but the swamp is a Habitat to the Lesser and African Jacana, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted Bee-Eater, Winding Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird, African Marsh Harrier, Saddle-billed Stork, Rufous-bellied Heron among others, we head back to Nkima for lunch then afterwards, we travel to Mabira Forest and spend the night at the Mabira Rain Forest Lodge.

Day 15: Birding Mabira Forest and Airport transfer

Mabira Central Forest Reserve is one of Uganda’s largest surviving Natural Forests near Kampala and covering an area of 306 square kilometers and Mabira has Natural Habitat with 312 species of trees, about 310 bird species, with 218 Butterfly Species, 97 species of Moth  and 23 Small Mammal Species. Today our main concern will be exploring the birds of Mabira Rainforest and we begin our morning with a hot cup of coffee or tea then start the search for the Blue-shouldered and Red-caped Robin-chats around the lodge, Nahan’s Partridge (Francolin), Bar-tailed Trogon, Orange-tufted, Grey-headed and Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, African Shrike Flycatcher, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Blue-throated Roller, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Yellow-eyed (Green-tailed) Bristlebill, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbet, Speckled and Yellow-throated Tinkerbird around the Lodge vicinity. Next, we head out onto the trail to try and spot Weyns’s Weaver, Olive-green Cameroptera, Tit Hylia, Congo (African) Pied Hornbill, Grey and Yellow Long Bill, Forest Wood-Hoopoe, Blue-breasted, White-bellied, Dwarf and Shining-blue Kingfishers, Sooty Flycatcher, Yellow-throated, Yellow-rumped, and Speckled Tinkerbird, Brown-eared and Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Toro Olive, Little, Grey, Plain and Honeyguide Greenbul, Red-tailed and Yellow-eyed Bristlebill, Fire-crested and Brown-chested Alethe, Forest Robin, Chestnut and Jameson’s Wattle-Eye, Blue-shouldered and Red-caped Robin-chat, the skies are a great habitat for the Cassin’s, Sabines and Mottled Spinetail not leaving out the Crowned, Cassin’s and Ayres’s Hawk Eagle. Following this magnificent display, we head to the airport for your flight home.