7-Day Birding, Wildlife and Culture.
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 the lodge for dinner and accommodation.
Day 3: Bird watching and trip to Kibale Forest.
Today we head further down South Western Uganda to the tourism district of Fort Portal through Kibale- home of the largest concentration of primates. The Kibale Forest National Park has 13 primates’ species among them over 1400 chimpanzees.
7AM: After Breakfast we hit the road straight to Kibale Forest National Park which is the best spot for tracking chimpanzees in the East African region. It harbours one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of all tropical forests in Uganda. It is also home to the rare L’hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened Red Colobus Monkey. Other famous primates likely visible here include the Black and white Colobus, Blue Monkey, Grey cheeked Mangabey, Red-tailed Monkey, Olive Baboon, Bush baby and Pottos.
For birding, this is another hot sport where you will be treated to 325 bird species- with 6 species endemic to the Albertine rift region! They include; the Black-capped Apalis, Blue-headed Sunbird, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Purple-breasted Sunbird and Red-faced Woodland Warbler. If you are lucky you may also see the African Pitta, Green-breasted Pitta, Black Bee-eater, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Little Greenbul, Black eared Ground-Thrush, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue breasted kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, and the Crowned Eagle.
Dinner an overnight in Fort Portal town- Ataco/ Mountains of the Moon
Day 4: Chimpanzee tracking day at Kibale Forest National Park Uganda.
Today we have the chance to fully view one of the endangered primates- the chimpanzee.
7AM: After an early breakfast we hit the road to Kibale National Park.
Chimp Tracking is both adventurous and tedious and can last a few hours to several hours. Spend time and experience the habits of the chimp that is one of mankind’s closest kins.
After experiencing the primates, we return to Fort Portal town for Lunch.
We resume birding in the afternoon along the Bigodi wetland. Several species exist here including the riverine forest birds along the road. We may also find the Speckle-breasted Woodpecker, Cabanis’s Greenbul and Joyful Greenbul as well as White-spotted Fluff tail, Dusky and Olive Long tailed Cuckoo, Lesser Honey guide, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, White-chinned Prinia, Grey Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera and White-collared Oliveback.
Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge
Day 5: Birding and the Tree Climbing Lions at Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The highlight of this part of the safari is the famous tree climbing lions and several neighbouring crater lakes all summed up by the imposing view of the Rwenzori Mountain- Africa’s most rugged mountain in the background.
This dense and diverse eco system of savannah to rain forest, from dense papyrus swamps and brooding crater lakes and the vastness of Lake Edward provides a unique appeal for biodiversity which is almost unmatched in the world.
7AM: We start the day with an early morning game drive after breakfast where we have the opportunity to see Lions, Cape Buffalo, Uganda Kob, Leopard, Giant Forest hog, Elephant, Deffassa Water buck, Topi, and Bush buck among others.
After the game drive, we return for a short break and commence the birding experience in this reclusive habitat.
(We also have options like the Hot Air Balloon safari that last just a few hours.)
Queen Elizabeth National Park has a huge birding population numbering over 610 species recorded, and a one day record of 296 species. These include the famous Shoebill, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Amur Falcon, Lowland Akalat, Harlequin Quail, Blue Quail, Small (Common) Buttonquail, African Crake, White winged Warbler, Martial Eagle, African Skimmer, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Papyrus Gonolek, Amur Falcon, Ovampo Sparrowhawk, Lowland Akalat, Black Bee-eater, Caruthers’s Cisticola, Terek Sandpiper, Secretary Bird, and Temminck’s Courser.
Other mammals here include the African Elephant, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Lion, Ugandan Kobs, Side-striped Jackal, Baboons, Chimpanzees, Bush and Water Bucks, Warthogs, Giant Forest Hogs among others.
Day 6: Culture and Birding.
Return to Fort Portal and experience a bit of the great cultural activities of the area. This segment of the trip allows you to experience and appreciate Uganda’s cultural diversity beyond birding and the Gorilla!
7AM: After an early morning breakfast hit the road and head towards Fort Portal town. Along the way, experience some of the local cultural activities like the local bee keeping and honey project at Rubona on the highway where local women are weaving their way to cash by making and selling baskets/pen and cup holders from local plant materials.
You can then take a detour of Rwenzori Founders- East Africa’s biggest bronze casting foundry where the annual BBC African Footballer of the year third place bronze plaque is made from. Experience the delicate process of making these beautiful art pieces.
The surroundings of the foundry is also home to several bird species that will interest a birder in a very serene environment which has bird feeding points on the compound. After the Foundry, hit the road for Fort Portal.
There are several close hot springs that locals dive in for a warm bath they consider medicinal as you drive along. Experience this decades old tradition as well as the fire making process of the past ages. We can also arrange for you the Empaako (royal naming ceremony) so you fly away as royalhood.
Dinner and overnight in Fort Portal/ Primate Lodge Kibale/ Ataco.
Day 7: Transfer to Kampala.
Relaxing day or prepare to transfer to the airport/ City Tour and Night life options/ Transfer to airport
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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.