22 Day Wildlife, Gorilla Trekking, and Birding Uganda Safari Holiday.
Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
On arrival, you will be received by our representative, your driver/guide who will brief you about your safari programme and then transfer and check in to the service of Lake Victoria View Guest House.
Day 2: Entebbe – Masindi (Murchison Falls National Park)
From Entebbe, we will drive/birding northwards to Masindi for two nights stay en-route. We will pass through the capital Kampala which, like Rome was built upon seven hills and then drive through farmland interspersed with swamps and patches of woodland where herds of Ankole cattle with their magnificent horns are common. As we get further north, the landscape becomes noticeably drier and as we approach Masindi, we pass through areas of open grassland and savannah woodland. Some of the species that we expect to encounter along the way, are the Marabour Stork, Black Kite, Hadada Ibis, Wahlbergs, Tawny and Crested Eagle, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Woodland, Grey-headed and Striped Kingfisher among others. We later check in to service of Masindi Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Birding in the Royal Mile, Budongo Forest.
After an early breakfast, with our packed lunch, we start birding on the way to the Royal Mile, Budongo forest (This is one of Uganda’s birding hotspots). It used to be a hunting ground for the king of Bunyoro and that’s where the name Royal Mile came from. And along the main trail, the forest has been cut back to allow good viewing area. Some of the key species that we are likely to encounter on this day are; Grey-headed Oliveback, Black Kite, Lizard Buzzard, Wahlbergs and Long-crested Eagle, African Green Pigeon, Blue-spotted Wood-dove, Red-eyed and Laughing Dove, Brown Parrot, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, African Palm Swift, Speckled Mousebird, White-headed Barbet, Lesser-stripped Swallow, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Brown Twinspot, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, White-thighed Hornbill, African Crowned Eagle, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Ituri Batis, Chestnut-capped, Grey-throated, Forest, Sooty and African-shrike Flycatcher, Lemon-bellied and Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, African Pygmy, African Dwarf, Blue-breasted and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Green Coucal, Nahan’s Francolin and Spotted Greenbul among others. We go back in the evening for dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel. .
Day 4: Birding & Game Viewing in Murchison Falls NP
This morning we will drive the short distance to the gate of Murchison falls national park and then spend the rest of the day exploring this huge sanctuary and also visit the top of Murchison falls. Some of the key species that we are likely to encounter today include; the Rock Pratincole, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Marabour Stork, Black-shouldered and Black Kite, African Harrier-hawk, Lizard Buzzard, African Palm Swift, Red-winged Pytilia, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Ruppell’s Long-tailed and Greater Blue-eared Starling, Rufous-crowned Sparrow-weaver, Yellow-billed Shrike, African Grey and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, African Hoopoe and Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike among others. We later check in to the service of Paraa Safari Lodge, have lunch and then in the afternoon, we go for the boat cruise on River Nile towards the bottom of the falls. This normally takes about three hours, enjoying the cruise as we view wildlife as they come closer to cool off in the heat of the day. We go back to the lodge in the evening for dinner and overnight, at Paraa Safari Lodge.
Day 5: Morning Boat Ride, Game Viewing in Murchison Falls NP
Today we go for a Delta boat cruise in the morning and a drive on the northern sector of the in the afternoon. In Murchison falls National Park, a boat to the delta on the Nile below the falls will be a highlight of our stay here and gives us a very good chance of seeing the bizarre shoebill or whale-headed stock. This extraordinary bird which is placed in a family of its own is confined to papyrus swamps. A few pairs frequent a narrow strip of papyrus along the Nile and often allow a closer approach by boat. Here we should also see African Darter, Squaco, Striatted (or Green backed Heron) Grey, purple and Goliath herons, little bittern, little and great Egrets, Hamercop, Saddle-billed Stock, White-faced Whistling Duck, Egyptian Geese, Knob-belled Duck, African Fish-Eagle, Black Crake, Grey-crowned Crane, African Jacana, Senegal Thick-nee, Spur-winged and Long-toed Lapwing, Rock Pratincole, Grey-headed Gull, Gull-bailed and White-winged Tern, Blue-headed Coucal, Pied and Giant and Malachite Kingfisher, Swallow-tailed, Northern Carmine, Little and Red-throated Bee-eater, Swamp Flycatcher, carruthers and Winding Cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek and Slender-billed, Northern Brown-throated and Yellow-backed Weavers among others. Dinner and overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge.
Day 6: Drive to Fortportal
Today we will drive southwards to Fort-portal for a two nights stay making several stops for birds along the way. As we approach the town, we will get our first views of the distant Rwenzori Mountains.
Day 7: Birding in Kibale Forest
The day begins early with an early morning breakfast and then we enter the forest at around 06:00am, in search for the Green-breasted Pitta which displays very early in the morning and this is the best aid of locating it in the forest. So to start walking these trails which pierce the forest interior at dawn will provide us with more chances of seeing these elussive forest dwellers. Also among the key species found in the forest, are the Grey parrots, African Crowned Eagle, Afep Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, African Emerald and Klaas’s Cuckoo, Yellowbill, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Sabine’s Spinetal, Black Bee-eater, White-headed Wood-hoopoe, Yellow-rumped and Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbest, Thick-billed, Willcock’s and Lessre Honeyguide, Cassin’s Grey Fly catcher, Mosque swallow, Mountain Wagtail, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shike, joyfull, Little and Slender-billed, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Western Nicator, Brown Illadopsis, Red-tailed and White-tailed Ant-thrush, White-chined Prinia, Buff-throated Apalis, Green Crombec, Green Hylia, Black and White Flycatcher, Western Black-headed Oriole, Northern Puffback, Purple-headed and Splendid Starling Superb, Green-headed, Green-throated, Collared, green, olive-bellied, and Blue-throated sunbird, Dark-backed and Black-necked Weavers, Red-headed Malimbe, Grey-headed and White-breasted Negrofinch, Red-headed Bluebill, and White-napped Pigeon among others. Kibale is a home to 13 primates along with the Chimpanzees and we have chances to encounter some of them, like the Red-tailed, Blue monkeys, Grey-checked mangbey, Black & White Colobus, Red Colobus and olive baboons. Local guides keep a close watch on the activities of varios communities and there is a good chance that we will encounter a troop of these most human primates during our visit.
Day 8: Kibale Forest – Queen Elizabeth National Park
This morning we will return to Kibale forest and then drive to Queen Elizabeth National park on the shores of Lake Edward for a two nights stay. Our route takes us through the foothills of the Rwenzoris. This mountain range is one of the wettest in the world and the snow-capped summits, including mount Stanley (5109m) are usually hidden behind a cape of low cloud and mist. If we are lucky and the weather is clear, we may catch a glimpse of the equatorial snow fields above the layers of cloud.
Day 9-10: Launch Trip, Game Viewing in Queen Elizabeth NP
Queen Elizabeth National Park is varied with a mixture of West Africa tropical forest and East African savannah. Some impressive craters reflect the turbulent geological history of the area and large herds of African elephants. The park is bisected by the Kazinga channel which flows between Lake George and Lake Edward and this waterway gives us great opportunities of viewing Hippopotamuses as well as excellent variety of birds including the Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Yellow-billed-stock, Hadada, Sacred and Grossy Ibises, Black-winged Stilt, Water Thick-knee, Collared Pratincole, African Wattled Lapwing, Kittlitz’s and Three-banded Plover, African Skimmers, Banded and Plain Martin. All of which we are likely to see during the drive and an enjoyable boat trip. Elsewhere, in the park, we will look for the superb brown chested plover as well as African white backed, Ruppells Griffon, Lappet-faced and White-headed and White-backed Vultures, Western-banded and Brown Snake Eagle, Gabar Goshowk, Tawny and Martial Eagles, Lanner Falcon, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-necked Spurfoul, Senegal and Crowned Lapwing, Ring-necked Dove, White-browed and Black Coucal, Verreauxs Eagle-owl, Madagascar, Blue-cheecked, White-throated and Little Bee-eater, African Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Lesser Honeyguide, Grey Woodpecker, Rufous-napped Lark, Grassland and Plain-backed Pipit, Lesser-striped, Mosque and Angola Swallow, Arrow-marked and Black-lored Babbler, White-winged and Fan-tailed Widowbird, Wing-snapping, Winding, Stout and Trilling Cisticolas, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Scarlet-chested and Red-chested Sunbird, Hollub’s Golden, Lesser-masked, Spectacled and Village weaver, Southern Red Bishop, Green-winged Pytilia, Yellow-fronted and Brimstone Canary, Golden-breasted Bunting, African Crake, Harlequin Quail and Common Quail, At night we may look out for Black-shouldered, Square-tailed, Pennant-winged, Freckled and Swamp Nightjar among others. Dinner and overnight and Bush Lodge.
Day 11: Queen Elizabeth – Bwindi Forest
Today we will drive to the lower section of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for a three nights stay at Buhoma. As we approach Buhoma, we will see a forested mountains stretching as far as the eye can see towards the Congo Border.
Day 12: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Gorilla Forest
The impenetrable forest is one of the largest in East Africa and has a remarkable altitudinal range of continuous forest from 1160m to 2650m. This splendid forest is considered to be the richest in East Africa for plants, mammal, birds and butterlfly species. Over 330 bird species have been recorded here. For example, the impenetrable is a wonderful evocative name and often appears in the ornithological literature for Africa. The forest as named not because it was any more densely vegetated than other forests, but because of the steepness of the hills which made progress almost impossible.
Day 13: Birding along the Water fall trail, Buhoma area
After breakfast, with our packed lunch, we start our day birding along the water fall trail. Here we have chances of to seeing most of the special birds of this wonderful area by walking along the mail trail, on only a few occasions, we will have to take to the steeper trails. Some of the specialities here include; the Western bronze-napped pigeons, Dusky Long-tailed and Bared Long-tailed cuckoos, Bar-tailed Trogons Grey-throated Barbet, Red-throated Alethe, Equatorial Akalat, Blue-shouldered and White-bellied Robin Chat, Black-faced Rufous and Short-tailed Warbler, Grauers warbler, Brown-capped, Black-billed and Strange Weavers among others. We come back to the Camp in the evening for dinner and overnight.
Day 14: Birding around Buhoma area, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Today we also do birding around Buhoma area, trying out for the specialities that we might have missed the previous day and these may include; the Slender-billed, Wallers, Narrow-tailed and stullmans Starling, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Wilcocks Honeyguide, Green-backed, Brown-eared, Cardinal and Alliots Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, Ansoges, Cabanas and Red-tailed Greenbul, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Grey-throated, Dusky-blue, Yellow-eyed Black and Charpins, White-bellied Crested Flycatchers, Many coloured, Dohert’s, Lurgden’s and boscage’s Bush-shrike, Blue-headed, Blue-headed, Northern double- collared Sunbird, Black-billed, Brown-capped and Strange weavers, Blue-throated Roller, Chubbs Cisticolas, Cape Wagtails, Mackinnon’s Fiscal and Western citril (split from Africa).
Day 15: Birding in Bwindi Gorilla Forest
After breakfast, with our packed lunch, we check out of the lodge and transfer from the lower levels to the higher section of the park (Ruhija area), passing through the neck, a narrow corridor of the forest that connects the two forest blocks. We will spend some time birding alosng the winding track at intermediate altitudes where flowering leonitis often attract bronze and variable sunbirds and other responsibilities include, African gashowk, augur buzzard, scarse swift, red throated wryneck.
Day 16: Birding Mubwindi Swamp, Bwindi impenatrable national park
In the higher parts of the forest, the mist lingers in the valleys until late morning and this perpetual dampness is reflected in the profusion of hanging mosses and epiphyte-entrusted in branches. This mountainous forest is a centre of avian endemics which developed around the Albertine Rift, an ancient branch of the Great Rift Valley. A number of birds are unique to this region, including Hands on Francolin, Archers robin chat, collored apalis, red faced woodland warbler, Rwenzori Batis, striped breasted Tit, regal sunbird, the unbelievably plumaged purple breasted sunbird, strange weaver, Dusky Crimson wing and the rare Kivu Ground-thrush. We have a good chance of seeing most of these exciting birds during our stay and shall also make a long trek up and downhill to Mubwindi swamp where we will hope to relocate the rare Grauers rush warber (a species confined to high altitude swamps in the Albertine Rift and of course the most sought after bird of the impenetrable forest, the African green broadbill. We have a fair chance of seeing this little known species which has been seen by comparatively few living ornithologists. Among the other birds that we will look for in the forest are mountain buzzard, Ayres hawk Eagle, Olive pigeons, Brown necked parrot, barred long tailed cuckoo, Rwenzori night jar Western green tinkerbird, fine banded woodpeck, rock matin, montane oriole, Grey cuckoo shrike, Rwenzori hill babbler (split from Africa) mountain illadopis, mountain and yellow streaked green buls, white stared robin, Northern Olive thrush, chest-nut throated apalis. Evergreen forest, cinnamon bracken and mountain yellow warbler, white tailed blue fly catcher, white tailed crested fly catcher, mountain sooty Boubou, sharpes stalling, Kandts waxbill (split from balck headed waxbill) thick biled seed eater, Oriole finch and yellow crowned canary. Chimpanzee and gorillas also occur in this section of the forest but they are hard to see in this difficult terrain.
Day 17: Birding on the way from Bwindi to Mgahinga
After some early morning birding in the impenetrable forest, we will drive South towards Mgahinga National Park where we will stay for two nights. We will stoop along the way in patches of the remnant montane forest and bamboo stands and will have a further opportunity for finding several of the elusive Albertine rift Endemics. We will also examine some papyrus areas where as well as having another chance to see the more widespread papyrus specialities; we could also find the Victoria masked weaver and thus the little known papyrus yellow warbler.
Day 18; Mgahinaga national park
Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is a remote park, nestled in the extreme South Western corner of Uganda that forms part of the 434 square kilometers of the Virunga conservation is a protected area that straddles political boundaries to include the parc-de virunga, the three extinct volcanoes within Uganda section, the tallest rising to over 4100m, great scenery that can only be described as breathtaking. The volcanoes are draped in extensive afro. Alpine forests, vast bamboo stands and at higher altitudes moorland domnated by towering giant Lobelias. Fortunately, we do not have to climb high up these unrelenting peaks to find our avian targets. Lower trails lead us through habitat where we will concentrate on finding the bizarre Rwenzori Turaco and the beautiful Rwenzori Double-collored sunbird. Today we will also have another chance of finding other Albertine rift Endemic as such as the elusive Handsom Francolin, Kivu graund thrush and Ladgens Bush Shrike. The rare Shelleys Crimson wing, arguably one of the worlds most beautiful but elusive seed eaters occurs in the area, but we will count ourselves extremely fortunate if we come across this rarely seen species. Other birds which we will look out for include, Dusky turtle Dove and Cape Robin Chat, the beautiful golden monkey, a localized form of the blue monkey, occurs in the bamboo zone and mountain gorillas are seasonally resident in the park (although we are unlikely to see one).
Day 19; Birding on the way as we transfer to Lake Mburo NP.
After breakfast, with our packed lunch, we check out of the hotel and start birding on our way to Lake Mburo national park, passing through the rolling hills of Ecuya forest, Kabale and Mbarara. We arrive to the park in the evening and check in to the service of Eagle’s Nest for dinner and overnight.
Day 20; Lake Mburo national park
Today we will drive to Lake Mburo National Park for two night s stay. We will make several stops amongst the open plains and by the rocky hillsides in the hope of finding such species as, Grey Kestrel, speckled pigeon, African Black SAwift, Red rumped swallow, grassland pipt, red tailed chat, African stone-chat and wing snapping cisticola. Lake Mburo National park is an attractive area consisting of the lake itself, papyrus swamp and open grasslands with dense clumps of bushes and open acacia woodland. In the drier hinterland, lilac breasted rollers perch on high vantage points and parties of which winged black tits feed in the flowering acacias and at this time of the year, we will have an excellent chance of finding the very restricted range Red faced Barbet. Other lively species include:- long tailed cormorant, spur winged goose, yello billed duck, African mash harrier, African hawk Eagle, Coqui Francolin, Emerald. Spotted wood Dove, bare-faced go way bird, green wood hoopoe, spot flanked Barbet, white browed scrub Robin, Long tailed or ( Tabora Cisticola) Yellow breasted Apalis, Red faced Crombec, lead collored flycatcher, African pendiculine Tit, black headed oriole, white crested helmite shrike, Brubru, black cuckoo shrike, greater blue eared and wattled starlings. Marico sunbird, red headed and little weavers. Shy oribis, graceful impalas and common zebras can be found amongst the open, park like woodland. At night, African scops owls call around our accommodation and we have a good chance of seeing one. While if we are lucky, we will also come across a black shouldered jar.
Day 21; Lake Mburo to Entebbe
After some final birding at Lake Mburo, we will return to Entebbe for an over night stay.
Day 22; Departure
Our final birding at Entebbe botanical gardens on the shores of Lake Victoria. We will visit the beautifully landscaped botanical gardens on the shores of Lake Victoria to look for the localized Orange weaver, bird (which nests in small in the dense water side vegetation).
End of the 22 Days Uganda Safari, thank you for supporting Terrain Safaris.