Lake Mburo – Kampala – Mabamba – Mabira – Bisina – Opeta – Lake Kyoga – Awoja
This ten day birding tour takes a different route to most Ugandan bird tours. We concentrate on the often forgotten swamp and wetland species of eastern and central Uganda and the best of the southern circuit.
The phenomenal Mabira Forest, with over 300 species and Lake Mburo’s acacia-associated species are covered, together with the shoebills of Mabamba and two further IBA’s: Lakes Bisina and Opeta.
Day 1: Lake Mburo National Park
We begin the tour by heading to the beautiful and serene Lake Mburo. This park has 315 recorded species and is considered the best place in Uganda for spotting acacia-associated species. Six papyrus endemics are also present.
Our first look around and game drive should reveal a wealth of birds and some excellent large mammals. Mburo is noted for its zebra and antelope, including the giant eland.
Day 2: Lake Mburo National Park
We have a full day in the acacia forests and swamps of Lake Mburo and a chance for some excellent birding. A morning nature walk should see several species of wetland and savannah birds, along with many impala, and zebra. In the afternoon, we take a game drive along the Kigambira loop, hoping to spot a few nocturnal species and the elusive leopard.
Day 3: Lake Mburo National Park – Kampala
A final day in Mburo with a morning game drive, guided walk and an afternoon boat trip in the main lake. This a great chance to see yet more papyrus species (not to mention hippos and crocodiles).
Day 4: Mabamba Island
We spend the day at the Mabamba Swamps, listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA). There is an excellent selection of water species and it is perhaps the most reliable place in country to see the magnificent shoebill stork.
To make the most of the swamps, much of the birding is done whilst canoeing; which is also a great opportunity to see the elusive sitatunga antelope.
Day 5: Heritage Trail
Just north of Entebbe lies the Heritage Trail. Established in 2000, this is a trail designed for bird watchers where 170 species have been recorded and it is common for serious birders to note over 100 species in a single visit.
Day 6: Mabira Forest
An hour’s drive from Kampala, takes us to Mabira Forest. This is one of Uganda’s largest surviving natural forests and one of its most important ornithological sites. In addition to the 300 plus species of birds in the forest, keep an eye out for red-tailed monkeys and the 218 butterfly species.
Day 7: Mabira Forest – Mbale
With so many birds on offer, we return for a second day in Mabira Forest and only in the afternoon do we begin our journey northwards to Mbale.
Day 8: Bisina – Opeta – Soroti
Leaving Mbale, we continue north towards Soroti, stopping off at the IBAs Lake Bisina and Lake Opeta. These swamplands provide a number of exciting possibilities including the rare Fox’s Weaver.
Continuing our journey, we arrive at Soroti in the late afternoon and will finish the day with a visit to an orchard, just outside Soroti town.
Day 9: Lake Kyoga
We spend most of the day on the shores of the enormous Lake Kyoga, admiring its plethora of water, swamp and-papyrus associated species. In the afternoon, we have a break from birding and look at local communities. We visit a cotton spinning factory and a local orphanage.
Day 10: Awoja – Kampala
Our last bird watching takes place at the Awoja swamps, where we hope to observe a last few species before making the trip back to Kampala, where the tour ends.