On this 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, savour the best of Uganda with Journeys Uganda. Once known as the "pearl of Africa," Uganda

15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour

On this 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, savour the best of Uganda with Journeys Uganda. Once known as the “pearl of Africa,” Uganda is renowned for being a “Bird Watcher’s Delight,” home to at least a thousand (1,000) different species spread across a limited region a number so big given the geographical area the country covers. Along with many amazing, widespread species, we will look for endemic species of the Albertine Rift and Shoebills. In addition, we will walk in search of gorillas and chimpanzees, as well as see the breathtaking Lake Victoria.
We will travel a circuit that includes a variety of Tropical rain forests, woodland, savanna, and wetland environments in just two weeks. A variety of African Fauna and Flora, such as Zebras, African Elephants, Lions, Leopards and more should also be visible. This birding and wildlife adventure is going to be unforgettable.

Detailed Itinerary of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour

Day 1: Arrival and Birding Entebbe environs

Once you land at Entebbe International Airport for the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, a Journeys Uganda bird guide will meet you and take you to our accommodations, which are a short drive away. Those who will arrive early will embark on a birding excursion in the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, looking out for Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Orange Weavers, Great Reed Warbler, Klaas’s and Diederick Cuckoos, Ross’s and Great Blue Turaco, Black Bishop, Grey Woodpecker, Red-chested Sunbird, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Striped, Giant, Malachite and Pygmy Kingfishers, among others. We will all gather for a group supper to talk about our forthcoming wildlife and birding trip in Uganda. Dinner and overnight at Papyrus Guest House.

Day 2: Birding Mabamba Wetland

We will head to Mabamba Wetlands after an early breakfast. From here, we get onto a motorised boat and start birding in earnest. We will be looking for birds, with the elusive Shoebill being our top target. In addition, the following birds should be spotted: Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Yellow-billed Duck, Common Squacco Heron, Long-tailed Cormorant, Malachite Kingfisher, White-winged Swamp Warbler, Grey Herons, African and Lesser Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Pallid Harrier and Purple Herons among others.
After the boat journey, we’ll drive a short distance to Nkima Forest Lodge for lunch. We will continue our observations surrounding our lodge until after dusk, with an optional restorative siesta. Nkima Forest Lodge for the night.

Day 3: Transfer to Kibale National Park

We will birdwatch as we go to Fort Portal after breakfast on this day of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour. We will head to our accommodations in Kibale after lunch. With so many trees and flowers throughout the compound, this is a great place to take pictures. Many beautiful birds, including the African Blue Flycatcher, White-browed Robin-Chat, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, African Grey Parrot, Double-toothed Barbet, Tropical Boubou, Cardinal Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Lesser-striped Swallow, Bronze, Copper, and Green-headed Sunbirds, Village Weaver, Vieillot’s Black Weaver, and Brimstone Canary, will be among the many species we search for. Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Forest Lodge

Day 4: Chimpanzee Tracking and Birding Kibale Forest National Park

After an early breakfast, we’ll head to Kibale Forest, which is home to many other primates and is the greatest spot in Uganda to view chimpanzees. Along with chimpanzee tracking, a morning stroll through the forest will reveal a variety of shy and vibrant forest birds. The Green-breasted Pitta will be our main target, White-naped Pigeon, Sooty Flycatcher, Narina Trogon, Black Bee-eater, Black-billed Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, Great Blue Turaco, African Emerald Cuckoo, Grey Parrot, Sabine’s Spine tail, Black-billed Turaco, Yellow-billed Barbet, and Red-tailed Ant Thrush are among other specialised birds that we will be on the lookout for.
Several other primates should also be encountered, such as the Olive Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Red-tailed Monkey, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Red Colobus, Blue Monkey, and Black-and-White Colobus. We will carry on our birdwatching in the vicinity following lunch and a midday break.  Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Forest Lodge.

Day 5: Birding Bigodi Wetlands and transfer to Fort portal

On this 5th day of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, we’re going to stroll through the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary after breakfast. This is an additional excellent location for birdwatching to make up for any missing birds. The following species are among those we will be searching for: Brown-throated and Chestnut Wattle-eye, Black Bishop, White-breasted Nigrita, Grey-headed Nigrita, Grey-throated Tit Flycatcher, African Shrike Flycatcher, Black-and-White Shrike Flycatcher, African Blue Flycatcher, Green Hylia, Chattering Yellowbill (Blue Malkoha), Grey-chinned Sunbird, Superb Sunbird, Purple-headed Starling, Splendid Starling, Compact Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe, Yellow-billed Barbet, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Brown and Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, White-spotted Flufftail, Violet-backed Starling, Magpie Mannikin, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Red-headed Bluebill among others.
After lunch, we will head back to the lodge and make our way to Fort Portal, where we will spend the night at Mountains Of The Moon Hotel.

Day 6: Birding Semuliki National Park

We will travel for about two hours to reach the Kirumia trailhead after an early breakfast and spend the entire day in the forest.
Here, we will silently look for some of the very unique species that inhabit this forest. These birds are a representation of the rare remaining moist evergreen forests further west in Africa as well as the increasingly difficult-to-reach moist evergreen forests of the Congo basin.

These specialised species include the ultramarine and orange White-bellied Kingfisher, the eponymous African Dwarf Kingfisher, the cautious and remarkably localised Grey-throated Rail, and the reclusive Hartlaub’s Duck. The Eastern Piping Hornbill, the very distinctive Eastern Long-tailed Hornbill, the gregarious Black-casqued Hornbill, the exuberant White-thighed Hornbill, and two tiny hornbills, the red-billed Dwarf Hornbill and the Eastern Little Hornbill, are among the six species of hornbills.

This forest is home to several woodpecker species and their associates, including the rare Red-rumped Tinkerbird and the Buff-spotted and Speckle-breasted Woodpeckers. The Yellow-throated Cuckoo is one of the speciality western woodland cuckoos that we may find in this area.
We hope that we may spot the incredibly quiet Yellow-throated Nicator and the greatly sought-after Rufous-sided Broadbill. The Swamp Palm Bulbul and Xavier’s Greenbul are two bulbuls found in the far west, while the Scaly-breasted and Brown Illadopsis are two sly ground babblers that are rarely observed in this forest.

The forest’s arboreal flowers attract a multitude of sunbirds, such as the warbler-like Grey-headed Sunbird and the stocky but brightly iridescent Superb Sunbird, both of which are highly insectivorous.
In East Africa, there are two exceptionally rare dark weavers: the black and red Crested Malimbe and Maxwell’s Black Weaver. Three regional rarities of this forest—the Pale-fronted, Chestnut-breasted, and Grant’s Bluebill are the three species of tiny seed-eaters that we will look for.

We could potentially come across the mysterious African Piculet if we keep our eyes and ears peeled. There are so many stunning species to look for in this area. Dinner and overnight in Fort Portal.

Day 7: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Following breakfast, we travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park by passing via Kasese, the foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains, and the imaginary equator. There’s a good chance of sighting lions, leopards, elephants, hyenas, Ugandan Kobs, baboons, gigantic pigs, and warthogs on this packed game drive while on the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour.

In addition, among many other species, we hope to spot raptors, Red-necked Francolin, Red-headed Lovebird, a few cisticolas, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, larks, pipits, Yellow-throated Longclaw, that amazing corvid called the Piapiac, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Splendid Starling, and a few sparkling sunbirds.
We will get to the lodge in time for lunch, after which we will go bird watching along Queen Elizabeth’s border with the lodge in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Buffalo Safari Lodge

Day 8: Birding Queen Elizabeth National Park and Boat Cruise

On this day of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, we will head out for a morning wildlife drive and some birdwatching after breakfast. With a list of over 600 bird species, Queen Elizabeth is Uganda’s second-largest national park and has the highest overall diversity.

The area’s stormy geological past is reflected in some magnificent craters, which serve as havens for herds of African elephants. On the continent, the elephant population is among the most abundant. Vervet monkeys, Common Warthogs, Uganda Kobs, Nile Bushbucks, Defassa Waterbucks, Topi, Lake Chad Buffalo, Scrub Hares, Marsh Mongoose, Banded Mongoose, Spotted Hyenas, and Lions are among the many mammals that can be found at Queen Elizabeth.

African Crake and the magnificent Brown-chested Lapwing are among the birds we will search for. Other birds include the Lanner Falcon, Red-necked Spurfowl, Collared Pratincole, Senegal and Crowned Lapwings, Ring-necked Dove, Black Coucal, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Olive (or Madagascar) Bee-eater, African Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Rufous-naped Lark, African (or Grassland) and Plain-backed Pipits, Banded Martin, Arrow-marked and Black-lored Babblers, Fan-tailed Grassbird, Trilling, Wing-snapping and Stout Cisticolas, Orange-breasted (or Sulphur-breasted) Bushshrike, Purple-banded Sunbird, Lesser Masked and Spectacled Weavers, Southern Red Bishop, Fan-tailed and White-winged Widowbirds, Green-winged Pytilia, Brimstone Canary, and Golden-crowned

We’re going to have lunch back at the lodge. We take a two-hour boat trip on the Kazinga Channel in the afternoon to observe a variety of animals, including hippos, Nile crocodiles, and other birds. We monitor a variety of birds, including the African Spoonbill, Rufous-naped Lark, White-browed Robin-chat, Red-chested Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Goliath Heron, African Skimmers, Water Thick Knee, Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, and several shrikes and weavers. Dinner and overnight at Buffalo Safari Lodge

Day 9: Birding to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

We will go to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (about 6 hours) and birdwatch along the route while carrying picnic lunches. A variety of cryptic larks and pipits, colourful weavers, widow-birds, several sunbirds, three francolins, five barbets, chats, cuckoo-shrikes, and some bishops are among the possible bird species. Naturally, we’ll keep an eye out for animals, particularly the striking Topi and the incredibly elusive Uganda Kob, as well as any new sightings of large game like waterbucks, buffaloes, and elephants, among others. Dinner and overnight at Ride for a Woman Lodge.

Day 10: Gorilla trekking in Buhoma

On this day of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, depending on where the gorillas are, we will search for these amazing animals in the field with park employees. This trip often takes three to eight hours. Getting up close and personal with a bunch of these gentle giants is an unforgettable experience. You may trail a troop of these amazing creatures through the thickets and damp forest on the mountain’s slopes, where the gorillas are entirely protected within the park. Though at times the going can be steep and rugged, the guides are willing to clear a route through the thick undergrowth of wild celery and huge nettles if needed.

To persuade the gorillas that you are just innocuous visitors, your guides will make odd grunting noises as you approach a troop. It is generally feasible to approach these enormous creatures at close range when they play, graze, or relax because they are remarkably docile and frequently utterly unaffected by human presence. Saying that you will never forget this encounter is unnecessary.

The only protected location in the world where mountain gorillas and chimpanzees coexist is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. We advise you to bring ample drinking water, appropriate weather clothes, and comfortable walking shoes. Since trekking can be difficult and demanding, we assume you are in a generally fit state. You’re going to the forest with a picnic lunch, and you’re going to be excited to view these endangered primates. Dinner and overnight at Ride for a Woman.

Note: You can choose to go on a Nature Walk in the morning and a Batwa Cultural Walk in the afternoon should you decide not to go on the Gorilla Trek.

Day 11: Birding Buhoma sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

On this day of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, we will be birding the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest today in search of species found in the western or Congo forests. African Broadbill, Bar-tailed Trogon, Kivu Ground Thrush, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Black Bee-Eater, Western Tinkerbirds and Barbets, Evergreen Forest Woodpeckers, and other greenbuls.  Among the bird species that are still more common in East Africa are the White-bellied Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Starlings, Black-billed Weaver, and Brown-capped Weaver. Dinner and overnight at Ride for a Woman.

Day 12: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park.

We will drive eastward across the open, dry plains and rocky hillsides of Ankole and the beautiful terraced hillsides of Kigezi this morning. Along the route, we’ll pause to take in the view and search for birds. As we go to Mbarara and then onto Lake Mburo, we’ll get up close and personal with the legendary Ankole long-horned cattle.
A birding excursion to Uganda is typically made even more enjoyable by the lovely experience of birding at Mburo National Park. Keep an eye out for a variety of birds, including the Augur Buzzard, Black-headed Gonolek, Lilac-breasted Roller, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Spot-flanked Barbet, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, and various starlings. Dinner and overnight at Rwakobo Rock Lodge.

Day 13: Birding Lake Mburo National Park and a boat ride

On the 13th day of the 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour, we will search for birds such as the rare Bateleur Eagle, Crested Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-naped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Red-faced Barbet, Spot-flanked Barbet, a few species of pipits, some terrestrial larks, Yellow-breasted Apalis, and others throughout the entire day as we explore Lake Mburo National Park.

The magnificent Eland, Zebra, Impala, African Buffalo, Topi, Bohor Reedbuck, Defassa Waterbuck, Eastern Bushbuck, Hippopotamus, and other creatures should be included in the category of mammals. Naturally, we’ll be on the lookout for butterflies, such as the Dark-banded Scarlet, Pearl, and Small Flame-bordered Emperor.
We will go on a boat excursion in the afternoon to search for Afrotropical waterbirds that we may not have yet discovered, such as African Finfoot, African Fish Eagle, White-backed Night Heron, Giant Kingfisher, and Rufous-bellied Heron. We will look for African Scops Owls and Black-shouldered, Freckled, and Swamp Nightjars before supper. Dinner and overnight at Rwakobo Rock Lodge

Day 14: Birding Lake Mburo National Park and Transfer to Entebbe

After breakfast, we’ll load up our bags and head out into the area to search for birds such as the Green-winged Pytlia, Black-lored Babbler, Red-headed Lovebird, Striped Pipit, Golden-breasted Bunting, Copper Sunbird, Tropical Boubou, and Freckled Nightjar before making our way back to Entebbe. Dinner and overnight at Papyrus Guest House.

Day 15: Departure

You will be transferred to Entebbe International Airport for departure. That marks the end of our 15-day Western Uganda Birding Tour.

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