Birding and Wildlife Safari | 10 Days

Green-breasted Pitta - Birding and Wildlife Safari-Uganda Birding

From US $3185
per person (sharing)

Visiting: Mabamba Bay, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Kibale Forest, Bwindi Forest and

Main Activities

  • Birding in Mabamba, Mpanga, Kibale, Bigodi swamp and Bwindi impenetrable forest
  • Rhino tracking at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary
  • Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest
  • Gorilla trekking in Bwindi impenetrable

Birding and Wildlife Safari — 10 Days, 9 Nights

Overview

This safari tour intends to introduce you to Uganda’s finest forests;rare Rhinos, Chimps and Gorillas .It involves birding in the richly endowed forests of Mpanga, Budongo, Kibale and Bwindi not forgetting Mabamba swamp.

It also includes tracking the Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, tracking the chimpanzees in Kibale forest and trekking the mighty mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.

Day 1 — Travel from Entebbe, Birding in Mabamba swamp and Mpanga forest

birding in mabamba

The guide picks and drives you south-west to Mpigi town and branch off to Mabamba Ramsar site for birding and more specifically to search for the prehistoric shoebill. The distance to Mabamba takes about one and a half hours.

Mabamba is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the western main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi District. It has the status of the unprotected area with bird categories, globally threatened species and Lake Victoria Basin biome species. This Important Bird Area (IBA) is one of the best marshy areas along the northern shores of Lake Victoria for bird watching: it is the closest place to Kampala.

While looking for the shoebill, boats are used to paddle through the channels of the swamp. Generally; it takes between two to three hours to locate the Shoebill. The shoebill is normally spotted while standing to wait to catch its prey such as frogs, lungfish and water snakes.

Other species of water birds like the African Jacanas, Yellow-billed Ducks, White-faced whistling ducks, Long-toed Plovers, Village Weavers, Purple Swamphens, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Malachite Kingfisher, Grey-headed gulls, Gull-billed Terns, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, African darter, Rufous-bellied heron can be seen.

After conducting this memorable birding experience at Mabamba, proceed to Mpanga forest in search of forest birds such as Little Greenbul, Lesser Honey Guide, Grey-headed Nigrita, White-breasted Nigrita, Western black headed Oriole, White-spotted Flufftail, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Fire-crested Alethe and so many different forest bird species.

These birds can be seen while feeding, perching, displaying, mating while others can be seen establishing their colonies.

Mpanga Forest is a small patch of natural equatorial rainforest covering about 453 hectares. It is found in Mawokota- Mpigi District about 37 kilometres southwest of Kampala and is conveniently located along the Kampala – Masaka highway.

Despite its small size, it supports impressive biodiversity for such a small forest. It has 500species of trees and shrubs, 300 species of birds, 97 butterflies, and 112 months. Three species of monkeys can be seen in the forest such as Red-tailed monkey, Black-and-white colobus monkeys and Vervet monkeys. There are also a number of small mammals including Pottos, Pangolins and Bushbabies. Spending a night in this forest, therefore, gives you an opportunity to spot these rare nocturnals.

Mpanga Forest is surrounded by a community of traditional drum makers who frequently and illegally enter the forest looking for the soft trees that are suitable for the drum making.

On the way back to Kampala, visit and encounter with the drum makers at Mpambire. The drum was/is a musical instrument used during the traditional functions, for example, traditional weddings, coronations among others especially in the central region of Uganda.

Day 2 — Travel from Kampala to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary then Masindi town

 

Early morning after breakfast, transfer to Ziwa for Rhino tracking and birding. While on the way, enjoy the beautiful views of the varied landscapes and vegetation. Ziwa rhino sanctuary is the first sanctuary in Uganda with over 22 White Rhinos.rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary - primates-The Big Five It was founded in 2005 for the protection of the Rhinos and is the only place in Uganda where rhinos are tracked in the wild. The Rhino tracking exercise begins with the briefing from the specialized site ranger who then guides you through the sanctuary. This activity normally takes between 30minutes to an hour depending on where the rhinos are located in the sanctuary.

After rhino tracking, have lunch fromAmuka lodge.

In the afternoon, go for birding in the sanctuary. Expected birds to be spotted from this sanctuary include, White crestedTuraco, Bruce’s green pigeon, Thick-billed Cuckoo, and White-winged tit and so many other different species of birds. On a lucky day, the shoebill stork can be spotted.

Later on, proceed to Masindi for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3 — Birding in Budongo forest

After breakfast, drive to Budongo forest- the largest forest in Uganda for a birding expedition. Budongo forest found in Masindi is an ideal place for birding with lots of special species of birds which are also found in Congo. Spend the whole day in Budongoand the expected birds to be spotted from this forest include, Chocolate Backed Kingfisher, Dwarf Kingfisher, Shinning Blue Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Chestnut Wattle Eye, Ituri Batis, Chestnut-capped Warbler, Lemon-bellied Crombec, White-thighed Hornbill, Eremomela to mention but a few. Return to the lodge in the evening while birding.

Arrive late in the evening, have dinner and overnight at your lodge.

Day 4 — Travel to Kibale Forest National Park

Western Nicator in Bigodi

Early morning, transfer to Kibale forest taking Hoima- Kagadi road. It is a 7 hours’ drive up to Kibale Forest National Park. The whole day is generally spent on travel. However, there are occasional stopovers for beautiful views of the rift valley escarpments as well as farming plantations along the way. Have lunch en-route in Fort portal town.

Kibale Forest National Park is one of the most attractive national parks in Uganda with varied tracts of tropical rain forests and several animal species.

The park covers 795 km2 of the rain forest, swamps, rivers and few areas of grassland. Forest cover, interspersed with patches of grassland and swamp, dominates the northern and central parts of the park on an elevated plateau.

It is home to more than 1,450 chimpanzees protected inside the park and in total, thirteen primate species. Children have to be 12 years and above to able to track the Chimpanzees, children below 12 years can only engage in an educative forest walk.

The park boasts of more than 375 species of birds which include Green-breasted Pitta, White-naped Pigeon, crowned eagle and many others.

Reach Kibale forest in the evening, check in at your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 5 — Birding and Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest national park

Early morning, go for a briefing where the tracking guidelines are passed on by the specialized site guide/ranger. After the briefing, walk into the forest with the specialized ranger and your guide in search of Kibale’s special- the Green-breasted Pitta and chimp tracking. On a lucky day, you can see the pitta displaying.

Chimp tracking is an adventurous activity that is also part of this day. Chimpanzees are the closest relatives to a man with 98.7%DNA.

When chimps are located, you are allowed to spend a maximum of one hour within their vicinity and then after, exit the forest.

Return to the lodge for lunch and in the afternoon, head to Bigodi swamp for yet another amazing excursion. The expected birds of this activity include Green Crombec, Little Greenbul, Tooro olive greenbul, Grey-capped Warbler, Western black headed oriole, White-spotted flufftail, Afep Pigeon, White-napped pigeon, Olive Pigeon, Cassin’s grey flycatcher.

Also, apart from the chimpanzees, other primates that can be seen in Kibale forest national park include Red Colobus, Black and white colobus, Uganda Mangabey, olive baboon, Blue monkey, Vervet monkeys among others.

Day 6 — Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable forest

Start the day by travelling to Bwindi forest by taking Kasese- Queen Elizabeth route through the Ishashasector. This route consists of areas that are habitats to wildlife including the tree climbing lions which are likely to be seen as you drive through the Ishasha sector.

On your way, you can make occasional stopovers for some birding to enrich your birding list.

On arrival in Bwindi -Buhoma, check in at your accommodation for an overnight stay and prepare for the next day’s activities of gorilla trekking and birding.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley has mist-covered hillsides that are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s gorilla population, including several habituated groups, which can be trekked.

This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.

Day 7 — Gorilla trekking and birding in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park

Volcanoes National Park-Gorilla Trekking

This day’s activities start very early in the morning. Start this day’s activity with a briefing by the site ranger for gorilla trekking. After the briefing, proceed through the dense bush to trek for these endangered animals. This wonderful and memorable activity can take between 2- 7 hours while searching in the jungle forest.

For conservation purposes, the time allowed with the Gorillas after being located is one hour. This is an awesome and thrilling experience not worthy of forgetting.

After trekking, return to your lodge and rest.

In the afternoon, go for birding in Bwindi forest in search of the Albertine rift endemics such as, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Black-billed Weaver, Short-tailed Warbler, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Mountain Illadopsis, Dusky long-tailed cuckoo, Eulberg’s woodpecker, Banded Prinia, Elliot’s woodpecker, Dwarf honey guide, Brown-capped Weaver, Pink-footed puff back, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat among others.

Day 8 — Birding in Buhoma – Ruhija sector

Buhoma-Ruhija sector is yet another great birding zone. It’s part of Bwindi impenetrable forest. This day’s activity involves birding along the route that lies between Buhoma and Ruhija. It is a span that is likely to take you 2 -3 hours of driving.

On your way to Ruhija passing through the forest, different species of birds can be seen and these include, Black-collared Apalis, Buff-throated Apalis, Masked Apalis, Mountain Apalis, African black duck, Black Bee-eater, Grey cuckoo shrikes, Many-coloured bush shrikes, Black-billed Turaco, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Regal Sunbird among others.

Arrive in Ruhija in the afternoon, have lunch then after, go for evening birding.

Day 9 — Birding in Bwindi forest- Ruhija sector

This day’s birding activity is conducted in Mubwindi swamp. Mubwindi swamp is a swamp adjacent to Bwindi impenetrable forest very rich in birds and the best place for bird watching. This swamp has almost all the Albertine endemics including the African green broadbill and will greatly enrich your birding list.

Expected birds to be seen from here are Greater swamp warbler, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Batis, Strange Weaver, Handsomefrancolin, African Hill Babbler, Cinnamon-breasted bee-eater and so many others. This is a whole day activity.

After, return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 10 — Drive to Kampala

After breakfast, check out, drive to Kampala and this brings to an end your trip. Stop and take in a visit to the Equator that runs through Uganda. It’s marvellous to have pictures taken underneath the Equator Sign.

Generally, people tend to carry out nonscientific experiments, most of them are manipulated illusions and not authentic, but fun to watch. Arrive in Kampala in the evening then proceed to Entebbe International Airport for your flight back home.

Costs include

  • Accommodation
  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Chimpanzee tracking permit
  • Ground transport
  • Rhino tracking
  • All meals
  • Services of an English speaking guide
  • Park entrance fees
  • Vehicle entrance fees
  • Birding fees
  • Bottled water in the safari vehicle

Costs exclude

  • Visa fees
  • All extras at the accommodation and any other optionals
  • Flight tickets
  • Tips for the guide
  • Charges by the porters during the gorilla trekking
  • Insurance

Price — US $3185 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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