4-Day Birding, Source of the Nile safari & Cultural Safari
Day 1 Arrival and Birding at Entebbe Botanical Gardens
If your flight arrives early, you can catch a quick afternoon birding session at Entebbe Botanical Gardens which is ten minutes drive from Entebbe International Airport on the shores of Lake Victoria. The Entebbe Botanical Gardens is also a warm arena of several species of plants of the tropical, sub-tropical and temperate zones, besides several shrubs. Because of this environment, 206 bird species and monkeys are inhabitants here. Be on the lookout for Ross’s and Great blue Turaco, Superb Sunbird, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Orange Weaver, Golden and Yellow-backed Weavers among others.
Dinner and overnight at Boma/ Entebbe Travellers’ Inn/ Imperial Resort Hotel.
Day 2: More of the Lake Victoria Basin (Mabamba and Mpanga forest in the mid-afternoon)
Today we explore more of the birding spots around the Lake Victoria Basin. After an early morning breakfast, we head off to Mabamba, Kamengo Wetlands which is about 50km from Entebbe town. Mabamba is an extensive papyrus swamp ballooned by channels and lagoons and is classified as an IBA (Important Bird Area). The community jealously guard this sanctuary which is home to the world famous Shoebills regarded as Uganda’s most famous avian resident.
A short boat paddle will bring us to this famous bird with a giant beautiful beak that is a much sought after bird across the continent. Seeing it will be our mainstay today. This area also boast both local species like Long-toed Plover, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Blue-headed Coucal, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Swamp Flycatcher, White-winged & Papyrus Yellow Warblers alongside the classic birds like the African Fish-Eagle, African Marsh-Harrier, Goliath Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, , African Water Rail, Allen’s Gallinule and Malachite Kingfisher. The metropolis areas of the airport town Entebbe and Kampala city provides early chances of your birding experience without necessitating you to travel hundreds of kilometres. Close to 300 species are found within this short radius including the African Green Pigeon, African Open-Billed Stork, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Grey Kestrel, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher and the .
Return to lodge for dinner and accommodation.
Day 3 Source of the Nile.
Day One: After an early morning breakfast, your driver will pick you from the hotel and you will embark on your trip. After a 45 minute drive, you will branch off to your first stop- the beautiful Ssezibwa Falls. Here you will get a first-hand narration of the culture of Buganda- one of the oldest kingdoms in Africa. You will also be treated to traditional folklore, told of the spirits behind the falls as well as see the tree planted by one of the kings more than 100 years ago. Enjoy the lush, peaceful and eye catching green scenery and some wild animals and birds.
10-11:30 PM: Return to the highway and proceed to Mabira Forest- the largest tropical rainforest in Uganda that sits on close to 400 kilometers. Here you can do a one hour trail in the beautiful jungles of Mabira and drop by the Mabira Eco Site where you can spot the habituated Grey-cheeked Mangabeys and enjoy the peaceful, and serene tropical forest that is the Mabira Rainforest.
11:45-1 PM: Return to the highway and hit the road for Jinja proper traversing the large expanse of tea and sugar cane plantations.
1 PM: Arrive in Jinja and proceed to Jinja Sailing Club for Lunch by the Lake side. You can either go for a continental dish or try our recommended “Fish Special” combination- “Samake wa nazzi” (fish in coca-nut soup), a bit of a freshly caught and grilled king sized Tilapia or the Tandoori Fish (steamed with spices) that will leave you licking your lips while you watch Lake Victoria- Africa largest fresh water lake flow by.
2: 30PM: This is the climax and most exciting part of your Safari. After Lunch, a boat will pick you from the Jinja Sailing Club. First stop is the Rippon port where you will see the exchange point where slaves from hinterland were picked from. In the distance, you will see man-made hills while the point where the Lake enters Kenya and Tanzania will be visible.
A short ride further northwards will lead you to the Source of the Mighty River Nile. Also known as 00 Point, this is the point where the Mighty Nile begins its more than 4,000 miles journey to the Mediterranean and the actual point where the measurement of this distance begins. After some photo opportunities, you will depart for the Reptile Park where you can see the variety of snakes (cobras, pythons). On the way back, you will stop at the Gandhi Monument where the ashes of the Indian Great leader Mahatma Ghandi were poured.
5PM Depart for Kampala
Day 4: After a relaxed breakfast, the driver will pick you to take you for a bit of the city tour. Afternoon, head to Ndere Centre for a cultural extravaganza of Uganda’s rich cultural diversity. Taste the food, dance, sing and hear what makes Uganda the most culturally diverse country in the world. This will finish fairly late in the night where you will be transferred to your lodge.
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With 1078 bird species and counting, no country boasts such bird diversity like Uganda. Uganda is home to 11% of the world’s recorded bird species which is 50% of Africa’s bird species richness.