HIGHLIGHTS: We embark on a morning boat trip on Mabamba Swamp, which is the world’s most famous site for SHOEBILL. We should also see a great variety of other birds on the lake, including Lesser Jacana, lapwings, several water-associated weavers and Red-chested Sunbird (also usually near water) after we head to Budongo Forest called Kanio Pabidi, which is the best site for the localized Puvel’s Illadopsis, and is also good for other forest birds such as Black-billed Turaco, Crested Francolin and (as always!) many others.
Gladly welcomed at Enetebbe international airport by our representative and transfer to your hotel in Entebbe.
We embark on a morning boat trip on Mabamba Swamp, which is the world’s most famous site for SHOEBILL. We should also see a great variety of other birds on the lake, including Lesser Jacana, lapwings, several water-associated weavers and Red-chested Sunbird (also usually near water).in the evening return to lodge for dinner and over nite.
We begin the day birding to Budongo Forest called Kanio Pabidi, which is the best site for the localized Puvel’s Illadopsis, and is also good for other forest birds such as Black-billed Turaco, Crested Francolin and (as always!) many others. We eventually head for Murchison Falls National Park, which is a world apart from the forests and swamps we will have birded thus far. This is now an arid area and we’ll look for dry land specials such as Vinaceous Dove, the beautiful and cheerful Spotted Morning Thrush, fabulous Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, striking Silverbird, Beautiful Sunbird (an apt name), Eastern Chanting Goshawk and loads of others – this is easy birding in dry woodlands and savannah. After lunch, start the drive to Nile Safari Lodge via the top of the falls. You will have a short walk around the top of the falls down to the river’s edge; from here you will see the waters narrow as they are forced through a rocky cleft and plunge down in a majestic cascade. O/N Paraa Safari Lodge.
After breakfast, we proceed for a birding/game drive, getting back in time for lunch. After lunch, we do a boat trip to the bottom of the falls where it is possible to view hundreds of hippos, crocodiles and a variety of other wildlife. Today we’ll look out for birds like Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Black-headed Lapwing, Rock Pratincole, Black-billed Wood Dove, Vinaceous Dove, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Red-throated Bee-eater, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Wire-tailed Swallow, Spotted Morning Thrush, Silverbird, Beautiful Sunbird, Speckle-fronted Weaver and many more. We’ll also look out for mammals like the graceful Rothschild’s Giraffe, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Uganda Kob, Defassa Waterbuck, Buffalo, Elephant, Warthog, Hippo and Oribi, among many others. O/N Paraa Safari Lodge.
After an early breakfast with our packed lunches, we will proceed for the drive back to Masindi, driving through the scenic Butiaba rift valley escarpment, where you will have good views of Lake Albert. As always, we’ll bird en route, looking for things like Western Banded Snake-eagle, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Striped Kingfisher, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Mocking Cliff-chat, Spotted Morning Thrush, Northern Crombec, Foxy Cisticola, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver and many others. O/N Masindi Hotel.
After another early breakfast, we’ll proceed to the beautiful and famed (amongst birders) Royal Mile with its tall forest, looking out for birds like Heuglin’s Francolin, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Dwarf Kingfisher, White-thighed Hornbill, Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Little Grey Greenbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Spotted Greenbul, Fire-crested Alethe, Red-tailed Ant-thrush, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Whistling Cisticola, Black-throated Apalis, Forest Flycatcher, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Western Black-headed Oriole, Purple-headed Starling and all the others. O/N Masindi Hotel.
We travel via Sebitoli to the incredible Kibale Forest National Park where we’ll track Chimpanzees (optional), look for Green-breasted Pitta, White-naped Pigeon and a plethora of other sought-after birds. This is also the richest site in Africa for primates and we are never disappointed – L’hoest’s Monkey, Dwarf Galago and so many others are possible.
After an early breakfast (as usual!), we proceed to bird the vicinity of Kanyanchu and the main road. We will look out for birds like African Crowned Eagle, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet (these are all stonking barbets; there is no better word to describe them), African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellowbill, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Black-necked Weaver, Grey-crowned Negrofinch, White-breasted Negrofinch, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, Narrow-tailed Starling and White-headed Woodhoopoe, to mention but a few of the possibilities.
Day 9: After breakfast, we’ll go to Bigodi swamp, returning in time for lunch. After lunch, we start the drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park via the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains (the fabled “Mountains of the Moon”), crossing the Equator back to the southern hemisphere, birding en route. We’ll be on the look-out for birds like Lizard Buzzard, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Great Blue Turaco, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Woodland Kingfisher, Pygmy Kingfisher, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Double-toothed Barbet, Little Greenbul, Winding Cisticola, Green Crombec, Black-and-white Shrike-Flycatcher, Black-headed Gonolek, Bronze Sunbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Black Bishop, Black-crowned Waxbill and more.
As if the rest of the trip has not been exciting and awesome, we now head to the Albertine Rift which is just full of endemic birds, fabulous scenery and sprawling forests – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is to many people the highlight of any visit to Uganda, despite all the other marvelous places sampled in this mega-diverse little country. We head to one of Africa’s most incredible forest birding sites (no exaggeration!), via the Ishasha section of Queen Elizabeth National Park, which is where the famous tree-climbing lions lurk, as well as a host of what are likely to be new trip birds that can include quite localized and sought-after species such as Brown-chested Lapwing. We eventually reach Bwindi National Park, where we’ll bird Ruhija, Buhoma, “the Neck” and other famous sites, plus we’ll also do gorilla tracking (optional). Dinner Overnight at Buhoma lodge or Buhoma community.
After breakfast, we start Gorilla Trekking (optional) OR continued birding (for those who opt not to do the gorilla trekking) in the fabled Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. We recommend you wear good walking boots and carry a good rain suit and enough drinking water in a backpack. Trekking can be tough and challenging and so a reasonable level of fitness is required. You will carry a picnic lunch with you and you will be thrilled to see these rare apes (no guarantee although rarely missed).We spend an hour right next to these gentle giants Dinner Overnight at Buhoma lodge or Buhoma community.
After an early breakfast, we find that Bwindi Impenetrable forest doesn’t quite live up to its name as we penetrate it looking out for species like Black-billed Turaco, Black Bee-Eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Dwarf Honeyguide, Elliot’s Woodpecker, African Broadbill, Slender-billed Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Red-throated Alethe, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Green Hylia, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Short-tailed (Neuman’s) Warbler (very tough to get visuals on), Grauer’s Warbler, White-chinned Prinia, Mountain Masked Apalis, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Narrow-tailed Starling, Bronze Sunbird, Green-headed Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Black-billed Weaver, Brown-capped Weaver and so many others. O/N Engagi Lodge
After another (!) early breakfast, we bird as we transfer from the Buhoma section of Bwindi to the high altitude Ruhija section (this can be surprisingly cool and we recommend having layers available). We travel via “The Neck”, looking out for species like Augur Buzzard, Ross’s Turaco, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Black Bee-Eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Grey-throated Barbet, Red-throated Wryneck, Grey Woodpecker, Mountain Wagtail, Red-tailed Greenbul, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Chubb’s Cisticola, Banded Prinia, Mountain Masked Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Cassin’s-grey Flycatcher, Black-&-White Shrike-Flycatcher, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, African Blue-Flycatcher, Bronze Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, Green Sunbird, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Baglafechet Weaver, White-breasted Negrofinch, Dinner Overnight at Buhoma lodge or Buhoma community.
Drive back to Entebbe town arriving late in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Lake Victoria hotel or Entebbe traveller’s inn.
Reserved for your flight back home.