Intense Birding and Wildlife Safaris | 24 Days

Black-faced Rufous Warbler-Birds of Uganda

From US $6262
per person (sharing)

Visiting: Mabamba Bay, Lake Mburo, Kibale Forest, Bwindi Forest  and Queen Elizabeth

Main Activities

  • Birding in Mabamba for Shoebill Stork
  • Birding and Boat Cruise on  Lake Mburo
  • Birding and Game Viewing in Queen Elizabeth N.P
  • Birding and Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale
  • Biridng  in Bwindi impenetrable

Intense Birding and Wildlife Safaris — 24 Days, 23 Nights

Overview

This safari as designed by Mukisa Safaris is intended to give you an engaging birding excursion and wildlife exploration in Uganda by taking you through the finest and abundantly enriched zones of the World’s rare, endemic and threatened species of birds and animals some of which are restrictively found in Africa. In addition to taking you to these enriched zones, this safari is designed to give you a memorable encounter with breathtaking and amazing scenary of nature that will not only be interesting but also of great experience.

The Safari is expected to take you through Mabamba Swamp where you are expected to the great Shoebill stork, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale forests, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Lake Mburo National Park. It is intended that the safari enriches your birding list greatly. You should certainly take opportunity to visit Uganda-the bird watcher’s haven!

Day 1 — Arrival at Entebbe International Airport

Upon arrival, you will be met by Mukisa Safaris staff who will transfer you to your hotel of choice. Depending on the time of arrival, the safari may start with bird watching around the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe.

Day 2 — Bird watching in Mabamba Bay and Travel to Lake Mburo

birding in mabamba

This will be your first day of this long and exciting Safari. It is desired that you set off early and proceed to Mabamba swamp for your day’s birding excursion and more importantly for the search of the Shoebill Stork.

The road to Mabamba winds its way through areas of secondary forests and agricultural land, which are good habitats for the Red-headed Lovebird, African Crowned-Hornbills, and a range of sunbirds including the Green-headed, Green, Red-chested, Collared, Marico and Scarlet-chested.

The Mabamba birding site offers a large selection of other bird species which include African Pygmy Goose, the rare Lesser Jacana, Carruther’s’ Cisticola, African Fish Eagle, Winding Cisticola, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Blue-breasted Bee-eater among others.

In addition to the birds, Mabamba is a habitat for the rare and elusive Sitatunga Antelope. Whereas it is rarely seen, you may get the opportunity to spot it. You may also spot the Spot-necked Otter in one of the channels that we shall paddle through as we conduct our birding excursion.

On completion of your birding in Mabamba, you proceed to Lake Mburo National Park in the Western parts of Uganda. It is suggested that while you drive towards Lake Mburo (or on your return to Entebbe), you do make an intermediate stop over at Kayabwe where the equator is marked crossing Uganda. Photographs that may be taken at this spot can enrich your photo gallery. Your journey to Mburo has other amazing and interesting encounters that give you an insight into the cultural and traditional ways of the local communities. You may, for example, make a stopover at Mpambire and learn more about the making of drums and their role in the Buganda Culture. You may also encounter herds of the indigenous famous Ankole cow (Long-horned) which is predominantly found in this western region of the country.

Day 3 — The game drive as well as a boat ride on Lake Mburo

game drive at lake mburo

The Lake Mburo game drive is likely to give you the opportunity to see animals like buffalos, water and bushbucks, zebras, mongoose, Topi, warthogs and Impalas.

Lake Mburo is home to over 350 bird species. While conducting the boat ride you may see birds like the rare Shoebill stork, African Finfoot-a very shy bird, the white-backed night heron, the saddle-billed stork, the Little Bitten plus other water birds as well as animals like crocodiles and hippos.

The grassland part will provide you with an opportunity of seeingCoqui Francolin, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, African Wattled Plover, Rufous-Napedand Rufous-chested Swallow and Black-shouldered Nightjars.

Should the weather be conducive, you may get the opportunity to view the deep red set silhouetting the thorny acacia shrub along the extensive marshy area. This moment provides an opportunity to take photographs that can enrich your photo gallery.

Day 4 to 8 — Birding to Bwindi and Gorilla trekking with other primates.

It is intended that you spend these 4 days in Bwindi to ensure that you comb the forests in Ruhija and Buhoma such that your birding list is enriched with the Albertine Rift Endemics as well as some of the globally threatened species of birds. It is also in Bwindi that you will be able to conduct Gorilla trekking.

Bwindi Impenetrable Conservation Area lies in the rugged Kigezi highlands of South Western Uganda, protecting a continuum of forest that ranges from montane to low land areas. It is this altitudinal variation, combined with its location within the Albertine Rift that results in Bwindi impenetrable being the richest forest in East Africa in terms of its trees, butterflies and birds. Bwindi is home to 360 Gorillas; half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas.

Bwindi is a bird watchers’ haven, it holds 347 species of birds. The forest has 10 of the 26 globally threatened species in Uganda, five of which are vulnerable. Bwindi has 23 of the locally Albertine Rift endemic species in the country and some, such as African Green Broadbill, Chapin’s Flycatcher and Shelley’s Crimson-wing have limited distributions elsewhere in their range.

Ruhija is likely to be one of the highlights of any bird watching safari to Uganda with excellent birding in spectacular surroundings. The Birds are many here and somehow easy to see many bird species associating in mixed feeding flocks that are active throughout the day. An early start offers the best chance of finding the striking Handsome Francolin, Grauer’s Broad-bill, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Western Green Tinkerbird, Mountain and yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Regal Sunbird, Black-headed waxbill, Grauer’s Warbler, Dusky Crimsonwing, White starred robin, Rwenzori Nightjar, Mountain marked and Chestnut-throated Apalises, Rwenzori Batis, white-tailed crested Flycatcher and many more.

Day 9 — Birding and game viewing in Queen Elizabeth national park

This day’s activities include birding and game viewing in Queen Elizabeth National Park. This park boasts of impressive Crater Lake scenery, expansive grasslands, papyrus swamps and tropical forests, huge herds of Elephant and Buffalo, Lions, Leopards, and a diverse array of birds. It contains Uganda’s best game populations as well as some of Uganda’s best bird watching sites, an incredible bird list of over 600 bird species that are, almost half of Uganda’s bird species. This makes this birding site the highest not only in Uganda but in Africa.

Early morning, go for the game drive which takes you through a productive area of grassy plains that support large flocks of a variety of species which include, the Bateleur, Grey Kestrel, Lappet-faced, Ruppell’s Griffon, White-backed and Palm-nut Vultures, African Crake, Black Coucal, Common Button, Harlequin and Black-rumped Quails, Red-necked Spurfowl, Rufous-naped and Flappet Larks.

Common animals in this park include Uganda Kob, Lion, Warthog, Bush Buck, Deffassa Waterbuck, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Elephants and many others.

In the afternoon, take a launch tour of the Kazinga Channel which is a natural magnet for herds of Elephants, Giant Forest Hogs, Buffaloes, Monitor lizards, Crocodiles and the abundant Hippopotamus. Birding here is excellent with great photographic opportunities. You might be blessed with groups of African Skimmers, Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Open-billed Stork, White-faced Whistling Duck, Marsh Sandpiper, Wood sandpiper and Common Sandpiper, Malachite Kingfisher, African Jacana, African Wattled Plover among others.

Day 9 to 10 — Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

It is desired that we set off early and begin the long drive to the renowned Queen Elizabeth National Park, frequently stopping for birding along the way. Going through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth may give us a chance of seeing the Tree-climbing lion.

Queen Elizabeth National Park boasts of impressive Crater Lake scenery, expansive grasslands, papyrus swamps and tropical forests, huge herds of Elephant and Buffalo, Lions, Leopards, and a diverse array of birds. It contains Uganda’s best game populations as well as some of Uganda’s best bird watching sites, an incredible bird list of 610 bird species and an overwhelming record of 296 species makes this birding site the highest not only in Uganda but in Africa!

Specific birds we expect to see include African Morning Dove, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Black-headed Gonolek, Slender-billed, Yellow-backed and Lesser-masked Weavers, Pin-tailed Whydah and Black-winged Pratincole.

The following day, we have an early start of bird watching and a game drive in the park towards the Kasenyi trail. The game drive takes us through a productive area of grassy plains, which support large flocks of a variety of stork species including the Spectacular Saddle-billed and Woolly-necked Storks. Other species include the Bateleur, Grey Kestrel, Lappet-faced, Ruppell’s Griffon, White-backed and Palm-nut Vultures, African Crake, Black Coucal, Common Button, Harlequin and Black-rumped Quails, Red-necked Spurfowl, Rufous-naped and Flappet Larks. Common mammals include Uganda Kob, Lion, Warthog, Bush Buck, Deffassa Waterbuck, Spotted Hyena, Leopard and many others.

In the afternoon we take a tour of the Kazinga Channel which is a natural magnet for herds of Elephants, Giant Forest Hogs, Buffalos, Monitor lizards, Crocodiles and the abundant Hippopotamus. Birding here is excellent with great photographic opportunities. We might be blessed with congregations of African Skimmers, Great-white and Pink-backed Pelicans, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, Open-billed Stork, African Skimmer, White-faced Whistling Duck, Marsh, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Malachite Kingfisher, African Jacana, African Wattled Plover, etc.

Day 11 to 12 — Bird Watching and Wildlife safari to Kibale Forest.

Western Nicator in Bigodi

Kibale Forest National Park protects a diverse array of primates, including the minuscule, nocturnal Demidoff’s Galago to our closest living relative, the Chimpanzee. Here we will take expeditions to observe the Chimps and many other species of primates and birds. We will bird either the Bigodi swamp or the community trails of Kibale. We might come across the African Emerald Cuckoo, Purple-headed Starling, Black-billed Turaco, Yellow-billed Barbet, Grey-throated Barbet, Blue-throated Roller, Narrow-tailed Starling, Western Black-headed Oriole, Yellow-throated and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbirds.

Day two of our expedition in Kibale forest will be focused on going into the forest to look for the Green-breasted Pitta, Fire-crested Alethe, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis and conducting chimpanzee tracking.

Day 13 to 15 — Uganda Bird watching safari to Budongo Forest.

Kidepo Valley

On day13, we set off early driving towards Budongo Forest Reserve in Masindi. This is a rather long drive but there are some birding spots along the way. Budongo forest is part of Murchison Falls Conservation Area and is the largest natural forest in Uganda and East Africa as a whole. It lies on the escarpment northeast of Lake Albert. It consists of a medium-altitude, moist, semi-deciduous forest, with areas of savanna and woodland. The reserve occupies gently undulating terrain, with a general slope north-northwest towards the Rift Valley. We will, therefore, use day 14 to bird in Budongo forest.

Specialities in Budongo Forest include among others; Sabine’s Spinetail, Cassin’s, Kingfishers (Chocolate-backed, Blue-breasted, African Dwarf), White-spotted Flufftail, Ituri Batis, Powell’s Illadopsis, Brown Twin-spot, Cameroon Somber Greenbul, Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Forest Robin, Little Green Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Olive Green Camaroptera.

We will use day 15 for birding at Budongo’s famous Royal Mile by early morning – a wide forestry track considered by many to be the country’s premier forest birding locality. This is the best place in Uganda for Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Spinetail, and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher. Here we will find many confusing forest greenbuls to test us, including Spotted, Xavier’s, White-throated, Red-tailed & Honeyguide Greenbuls. The canopy supports Yellow-mantled Weaver, Rufous Thrush and Uganda Woodland-Warbler. Undergrowth alongside the track holds numerous skulkers including Scaly-breasted, Brown & Pale-breasted Illadopses, Fire-crested Alethe, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush, Red-tailed Ant-Thrush, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Yellow Longbill and Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher.

Day 16 to 18 — Birding to Murchison Falls National Park.

Murchison Falls National Park is greatly endowed with animals, birds, the Nile River and forests that will certainly give you beautiful lasting memories about wildlife. This park is Uganda’s largest and the oldest national park. It’s a home of 76 species of mammals and 451 birds. Like earlier stated, it is bisected by river Nile, has the mighty breathtaking Murchison falls and spectacular views of the water. It is a park that you will always wish to explore.

While in Murchison National Park, you have chances of seeing animals like ; Giraffes, Elephants, kobs, Oribi , Elephants, Lions, Spotted Hyenas, Grass hare, Warthogs, leopards, buffalos and Birds such as Black-headed Gonolek, Spotted Dikkop, yellow-throated longclaw, Kittlitz’s plover, Water and Senegal Thicknee, Blue-naped and Speckled mousebirds, Spur-Winged Plover, African Wattled Lapwing, Purple -Backed Starlings, Crowned Lapwings, Black-bellied Bustards, Red-necked Spurfowls, Northern Red and Black-Winged Bishop, White-browed Coucal and many others.

Special birds to look for Murchison Falls National Park include Shoebill, secretary bird and Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfishers, Red-throated Bee-eaters, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Senegal Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Black-headed Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Little Bittern, Osprey, Red-necked Falcon, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Vinaceous Dove and Grosbeak Weaver. Other specials include Buff-bellied Warbler, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Marabou Stork, Red-throated Bee-eater, Silver Bird, Beautiful Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Carmine Bee-eater, Nightjars (Pennant-winged &Standard-winged), White-rumped canary among others.

Day 19 to 22 — Birding in Kidepo Valley National Park.

We set off early and embark on yet another long journey to the North and North Eastern parts of Uganda to conduct birding in Kidepo Valley National Park.

The park along with the neighbouring Karamoja region, houses many species found nowhere else in Uganda, including the greater and lesser kudu, elands, cheetahs, lions, leopards, spotted hyena and black-backed and side-striped jackals. Other large species regularly seen here are elephants, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Rothschild’s giraffe, Cape buffalo, bushbuck, bush duiker, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribi.

The park boasts of an extensive bird list of around 475 species, making it second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note are the Ostrich, Kori Bustard and Karamoja Apalis, Abyssinian Roller, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Black Breasted Barbet, Nothern Carmine Bee-eater, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Fox Kestrel, Golden Pipit, Jackson Hornbill, Karamoja Apalis, Purple Grenadier, Pygmy Falcon, Red-throated Bee-eater, White Bellied Goway bird.

Kidepo is notable for its birds of prey. Of the known 56 species, 14 including Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Pygmy Falcon are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region. There has, however, been no comprehensive survey of birds in Kidepo and visitors stand a good chance of adding to the current list.

Day 23 — Drive from Karamoja

Karamojong People in Kidepo VAlley

On this day we will travel from the Karamoja region conducting birding to Soroti in search for extra birds to add to our list while primarily looking out for Fox’s weaver, which is believed to be Uganda’s endemic bird.

Day 24 — Drive to Kampala

Travel to Kampala for overnight stay or Entebbe for evening departure

Costs include

  • Accommodation
  • Chimp tracking permit
  • Gorilla trekking Permit
  • Ground Transport
  • All Meals
  • Park entrances
  • Vehicle entrances
  • Bottled water in the safari vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking guide

Costs exclude

  • Flight
  • Visa fees
  • Insurance
  • All extras at the accommodation for example drinks, laundry among others
  • Tip to the tour guide

Price — US $6262 per person (For two people)

The price slightly increases if you decide to travel as a solo traveler. Conversely, the price payable  per person reduces from the stated amount if the tour is booked by more than two people.


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