Lake Mburo – Bwindi – Queen Elizabeth – Semuliki – Kibale – Budongo Murchison Falls – Kampala – Mabira
This is an exceptional bird watching tour that includes all of Uganda’s major bird sites. With gorilla trekking and wildlife tours worked into the itinerary, you have the chance to experience more than just Uganda’s birdlife.
We investigate the colourful and rare forest species of the western rainforests, the swamps and acacia forests of Mburo, and grasslands and savannahs of Murchison and Queen Elizabeth.
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 – Bwindi Forest National Park
We have another half 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 head west to Bwindi Impentrable Forest.
Day 3: Bwindi Impentrable Forest
A full day’s birding in the exceptional Bwindi Forest National Park. This twitcher’s paradise is home to 348 species of birds and all 24 of the Ugandan Albertine Rift endemics. There are 14 endemics found no where else in Uganda and experienced bird watchers can identify in excess of 100 species in a day.
These forest birds (including the African green broadbill) are the focus of our hike, but with 200 butterfly species and 11 species of primate, the dense forests of Bwindi offer a lot more.
Day 4: Bwindi Impentrable Forest
Today is a break from bird watching as we enjoy the exceptional experience of mountain gorilla trekking. The gorillas are the reason that many visitors choose to come to Uganda and Bwindi is perhaps the best place in the world to see them.
Providing we have been able to get permits, half the day will be spent tracking the gorillas and the other half walking in the foothills to indulge in some more leisurely bird and primate spotting.
Please click here to read about gorilla trekking.
Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park
We rise early and make the two hour journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This exceptional park is considered to offer the greatest variety of birds in Africa. With over 600 species across savannah, lakes and forests, you can expect to spot a serious number of birds.
We begin with a cruise down the Kazinga Channel, where in addition to wetland birds you can see an unbelievable quantity of hippo, buffalo and maybe a few crocodiles. This is a great introduction to Queen Elizabeth’s 95 species of mammal and 610 birds.
Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Game drives and savannah/ grassland species are the plan for today. We investigate the Mweya peninsula and northern circuits and crater lakes in search of birds and large game. Keep an eye out for lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and antelope in addition to the birds.
Day 7: Maramagambo Forest
Our third day in Queen Elizabeth and yet a whole new group of birds. We visit the Maramagambo Forest and its central African rainforest and associated species. There is also excellent primate viewing in the forest, as we hike in search of those more elusive species.
Day 8: Maramagambo Forest
We spend another day in the forest but with an option of chimpanzee tracking, for those keen to try something new. In the Kyambura Gorge, you have the chance to follow wild chimpanzees for 3-4 hours as they roam through the forest. Should you choose this option, you can also expect to see black-and-white colobus monkeys and baboons.
The remainder of the day (or the whole day should you prefer) is spent in search of more of the difficult to spot forest birds, with a game drive as we head back to base.
Day 9: Semuliki National Park
We begin the morning with the drive to Semuliki National Park. This takes approximately 2 hours and will take us along winding roads and through increasingly dense vegetation. Semuliki is the closest thing you will find to Central African rainforest in East Africa and this is reflected in the bird species that you may see.
The unspoilt forests of Semuliki are home to 435 species of bird including 45 that are found no where else in Uganda, 216 true forest birds and nine species of hornbill.
Day 10: Semuliki National Park
A second in the beautiful Semuliki forests.
Day 11: Kibale Forest National Park
Following a morning drive to Fort Portal, lying on the edge of the park, we take an afternoon tour in Kibale Forest National Park.
This stretch of easily accessible rainforest interspersed with grasslands and swamps has 355 recorded bird species and 13 primates. Many of the species are similar to those of Semuliki, but with more water and grassland species present.
Day 12: Kibale ForestNational Park
We spend a second day in Kibale and at the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary where forest species are accompanied by forest fringe and swamp specials.
You can also expect to see some fascinating primate activity as Kibale boasts the greatest variety and concentration of primates in East Africa.
Day 13: Kibale ForestNational Park – Budongo
We transfer to Budongo Forest, on the outskirts of Murchison Falls National Park. It’s a four hour drive that should see us arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon tour.
Budongo is thought to be the most ecologically diverse forest and home of the best bird watching site in Uganda. With 465 species of trees and shrubs; 359 species of birds; 289 species of butterflies and nine primates, you can expect an exciting afternoon.
Today we visit the incredible ‘Royal Mile’ in Budongo Forest. Known as Uganda’s best birding site, it is not uncommon to see 50 plus species in just 2-3 hours. Specials here include the Ituri batis, lemon-billed crombec and the dwarf kingfisher.
In the afternoon we make the short journey to Murchison Falls National Park.
Day 15: Murchison Falls National Park
Our time in Murchison Falls starts with a boat trip to the base of the spectacular falls, where the River Nile forces itself through a 7m gap before plunging 43m into a frothing pool. In addition to the birds you should keep an eye out for large crocodiles (said to be the largest in Africa) and hippos.
This is another great park for bird watching, with 460 species including 53 raptors. It is also one of the best places in the world to observe the shoebill stork. The wildlife here is equally as impressive with 76 species of mammal and the largest chimpanzee population in East Africa.
Our afternoon is spent driving across the rolling plains on the look out for impressive specimens such as the secretary bird, black-chested snake eagle and tawny eagle.
Day 16: Murchison Falls National Park
A full day of game drives on the look out for grassland and savannah species and wildlife. Good chances to see elephant, lion, hyena, giraffe, buffalo and antelope.
Day 17: Murchison Falls – Kampala
A last chance to see the incredible falls, this time from the top. We combine this with a morning game/birding drive, and another opportunity to spot the more elusive species. This is also a great chance to see the impressive goliath heron and African fish eagle.
We then set off for the long drive to Kampala (approximately 5 hours).
Day 18: Mpanga Forest
It’s a short drive to the pleasant Mpanga Forest, just 35km from Kampala. This small medium altitude rainforest is a well developed eco tourism site, with several interesting trails and bird watching opportunities.
It is home to over 180 bird species, red-tailed monkeys and bushbuck amongst other species. We spend a full day on the Base Line and Hornbill trails before returning to Kampala.
Day 19: Mabira Forest
An hour’s drive from Kampala, take us to Mabira Forest. This is one of Uganda’s largest surviving natural forests and one of 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 20: Mabira Forest – Kampala
Depending on your departure time, we will return to Mabira Forest for a last morning’s twitching before heading back to Kampala or Entebbe where the tour ends.