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UGANDA EXPRESS BIRDING


Tour highlights: gorilla tracking, chimp trekking, birding, boat cruise on Lake Albert, the Nile, Kazinga Channel, and game drive.

This safari is for bird lovers with time to go full throttle birding in the rich Albertan rift and experience the beauty of Uganda. From our menu of birding holidays in Uganda, the 15 day birding Uganda express is a 2 week tour starting from Entebbe botanical gardens, just 5 minutes drive from Entebbe International Airport, followed by birding in the mid altitude Budongo rain forest on the rim of the Albertan rift, the savanna parks of Murchison falls, Semuliki & Queen Elizabeth national parks and the primates parks of Kibale and Bwindi. Moving through the western axis, expect to see a mixture of species of savanna, forest, and littoral zones as well as the wetlands. A birder will find this a must visit birding trip.

Day 1 Arrival:
Our guide and/or representative will meet and greet you at the Entebbe International Airport and transfer you to your hotel for overnight. For early arrival we can do some birding in the botanical areas: look out for: Great Blue and Ross’s Turacos, Red Chested, Klaas’s and Diederick Cuckoo, Great Reed, Grey Capped, Ssdge, Greater Swamp and Eurosuian Reed Warblesr, Fain Tailed Widow bird, Striped, Malachite, Giant, Woodland and Pygmy Kingfishers, Black Bishop, Grey Woodpecker, Olive, Olive bellied, Red chested, Superb, Green Throated and Collard Sunbirds, Orange, Yellow Backed, Golden Backed, Slender Billed and Black Headed Weavers, Lizard Buzzard, Grey Kestral, Black Kite, Gaber Goshawk, African Paradise and Red Bellied Paradise and Ashy fly catchers, and many more. We may overnight in Imperial botanical/Sophie’s Motel.

Day 2: transfer to Masindi:
We breakfast early and go for birding in the botanical gardens and/or the or the Lutembe bay then transfer to Masindi via the Luwero triangle passing through undulating grasslands and mosaic woodland where we drive watching out for the White-crested Turaco, Bronze-tailed Starling, lesser Blue and Great Blue Eared Starlings, Black, Yellow Mantled and Black Winged Bishops, White Headed Barbet, Cardinal and Nubian Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Honey guide. Dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel or New Court View for two nights for the following day we are going to Busingiro and Royal Mile for intensive birding.
Dinner and overnight at high end Court-view Hotel/Masindi hotel.

Day 3: Birding Budongo Royal Mile and Busingiro:

Depart early for the nearby low altitude standing Budongo Forest, birding along the Royal Mile, a truly spectacular road with forest canopy towering far overhead. There is a good system of trails in the forest, today we expect skulking birds like the Nahan’s Francolin, excessively noisy White-thighed Hornbill, graceful Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spine tail, Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Forest Flycatcher, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Lemon Bellied Crombec, Tit Hylia, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Forest Robin, Yellow Billed, Grey Throated, Hairy Breasted and Yellow Spotted Barbet, Great Blue and Black Billed Turaco, Dusy Long Tailed Cuckoo, Spotted, Plain, Slender Billed, White Throated, Little Grey and Little Greenbul, Red Tailed Bristlebill and Black-capped Apalis among others.
Dinner and overnight at high end Court-view Hotel/Masindi hotel.

Day 4: birding in Murchison:

Transfer to nearby Murchison Falls National park with stopover at top of the falls. We start early and drive through Budongo Kaniyo Pabidi area in search for the Puvel’s Illadopsis, after this we bird to the top of the falls as we time our ferry to Paraa Safari Lodge where we shall have our overnight stay. A night drive today is very advisable looking out for nocturnal mammals and birds particularly the owl, the night jars and lots more.
Dinner and overnight at high end Paraa Safari Lodge/midrange Nile safari lodge.

Day 5: birding in Northern bank, Murchison falls:

In the morning we do game drive and continue birding. In the afternoon the visit will undoubtedly be the boat trips to the bottom of the falls and to the delta area, and of course the one bird that will be on everyone’s mind is the Shoebill while at the delta. Superb views can be had of this wonderful bird. There will be other birds including the Red-throated and Northern Carmine Bee-eater mammals such as Rothschild’s Giraffe, Cape buffalo, Elephant, Waterbuck and many others will be viewed. Other birds to look out for include the Saddle-billed, Yellow Billed and African Open Billed Stork, African Finfoot, Red-necked Falcon, Senegal Thick-knee, Rock Pratincole, Giant, Woodland, Grey Headed, Malachite, Pygmy and striped Kingfishers. On the game drive we look out for Heuglin’s Francolins Black Billed Barbet, Northern and Red Faced Barbet, Swallow-tailed and Blue-breasted and Northern Carmine Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Rollers, the giant Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Black Winged and Northern Red Bishops. Dinner and overnight at high end Paraa Safari Lodge/midrange Nile safari lodge.

Day 6: transfer to Kibale: : Kibale Forest National Park:

This is the longest drive on the whole trip, but we shall have some birding stops, on the escarpment, and in Muzizi forest, driving via Hoima where we have lunch stop. There are a few papyrus swamps where specialties such as White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek can be found, while the surrounding scrub may harbor, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-bellied Seed cracker and Gray-headed Olive back. Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee nest for two nights.

Day 7: Kibale National Park – Chimpanzee Tracking and Birding:

Kibale is home to 13 species of primates and there are also so many species of birdlife. This is where we have bigger chances of Chimpanzee tracking. Birding in the forest is also very rewarding and you could encounter White-napped Pigeon, African Gray Parrot, Black Bee-eater, Hairy-breasted, Yellow Spotted and Yellow Billed Barbet, Chestnut-winged and Purple-headed, Waller’s and Narrow Tailed Starlings, Blue-throated Brown and Superb Sunbirds, White-collared Olive back among others. After the chimpanzee, we transfer to Semuliki Park in the western rift valley for the Albertan endemics. We stopover in Fort Portal for lunch and continue birding enroute to Semuliki, arriving in the evening.
Dinner and overnight at Semuliki lodge for two nights.

Day 8: Birding Semuliki:

You will have breakfast at dawn and then drive into Semuliki National Park for birding. We bird the Kirumya Trail rest Trails. Semuliki Forest is the part of the Ituri forest of DR Congo that meets Uganda in extreme west and is very productive site. Birding here gives us chances of seeing the Congo Serpent Eagle, African Piculet, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Black-winged Oriole Black-throated Coucal, Nkulengu Rail, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Long-tailed Hawk, Pale Fronted, Chestnut Breasted and White Breasted Negrofinch, Capuchin Babbler, Yellow-throated Nicator, Yellow Throated Cuckoo, Eastern Bearded Greenbul, Black-collared Lovebird, White-bellied Kingfisher, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Piping, Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Black Dwarf, White Crested, Black-casqued Wattled, and White-thighed Hornbill, Zenker’s Honeyguide, Fiery Breasted Bush Shrike Red-billed Helmet Shrike, Maxwell’s Weaver, Lemon-bellied Crombec, African and Rufous-sided Broadbill, Swamp Palm Bulbul, Crested Malimbe, Blue-billed Malimbe, Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike and many more.

Day 9: birding Semuliki and transfer to Queen Elizabeth:

We breakfast early and go for the rare shoe-bill stork on southern end of Lake Albert. We shall bird in the Semuliki delta wetlands and see variety of wetland birds including the rare shoebill stork, commorants, creks, African jacana, papyrus gonolek, and many more, and return for lunch. After lunch, we transfer to Queen Elizabeth national park. Dinner and overnight in high end Mweya safari lodge/midrange Katara Lodge/ basic hippo hill tented camp.

Day 10 Queen Elizabeth national park:

Queen Elizabeth is the second highest visited park and you’ll explore Queen Elizabeth National Park in earnest, taking scenic drives around the extinct volcanoes and searching the scrub and lakeshore for the many birds that live here. 612 Bird species exist both residents and migrant. Expect to see some of the amazing species such as the secretive Black-rumped and Common Buttonquails, magnificent Martial Eagle, comical Red-necked Spur fowl, cautious African Crakes peering out from the gassy verge, African Skimmers cutting a trench across the waters in the quiet bays, enormous Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl booming around the lodge in the evenings, crisp Sooty Chats, glistening Red-chested Sunbird and Slender-billed Weaver coming into the dining room to share breakfast with an afternoon boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel the narrow neck of water that connects Lakes George and Edward. Here you’ll encounter the birdlife sanctuary in the park and meet “the conference of the Parties of birds” and have fine views of many water birds such as the gull, skimmers, the great cormorants, the pink-backed pelican, the great white-backed pelican, the great African fish eagle, the goliath heron, the Caucasus heron, little & greater cattle egret, the pied kingfisher, malachite king fisher, the yellow billed stork, lesser & greater flamingo, and shoe-billed stork and some of the skulking birds in the reed beds.
Dinner and overnight at high end Mweya Safari Lodge/midrange Katara/hippo hill tented Camp.

Day 11: to Bwindi Impenetrable park:

we begin our romantic drive to the gorilla land through the tree climbing territory of Ishasha, southern Queen Elizabeth national park. We depart Mweya with packed lunch for Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park stopping enroute for birding as and where necessary, driving on the bottom of the western rift valley. Dinner and overnight night at Gorilla Resort or Buhoma Community Bandas
Days 12: Gorilla trekking
after an early hearty breakfast to give you energy for the day’s activity, you will transfer to the park headquarters for briefing on primates (gorilla tracking) before we embark on Gorilla trekking. The chances of finding a troop are good and spending an hour with these immense creatures is an experience never to be forgotten. You will have some opportunity for good pictures with these creatures as they play, feed and swing in low branches of forest trees. Birders will find this forest uniquely endowed with birdlife, for instance, the forest of the park’s lowland portion has an avifauna quite different from that of the higher parts, where altitude and the steep tracks make for slow progress. Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, Western Bronze-napped Pigeon, Bar-tailed Trogon, African Broadbill and White-bellied Robin are just a few of the species we may find in the forest. Overnight at Gorilla Resort/Mantana Luxury Tented Camp/ community camp ground.
Day 13 Whole Day Birding Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and transfer to Bunyonyi Safari resort:

We will spend plenty of good time birding the trails leading out from the camp. Trails such as ivy river trail, muzabajiro, rushura and waterfalls trails will be productive and Species we will search for include Barred and Olive Long-tailed Cuckoos; Bar-tailed Trogon; Dusky Tit; Kivu Ground-Thrush; White-bellied Robin-Chat; Equatorial Akalat; White-tailed Ant-Thrush; Red-throated Alethe; White-bellied Crested-Flycatcher; White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher; Gray-green Bushshrike; Northern Double-collared Sunbird; Black-billed Weaver and Magpie Mannikin. High exposed perches in the open forest are favored by African Goshawk; the dazzling Black Bee-eater; Blue-throated Roller; Sooty Flycatcher and forest starlings including Waller’s, Stuhlmann’s and Narrow-tailed. One of Bwindi’s star avian attractions is the diminutive, pitta-like Neumann’s Warbler, a vocal yet very secretive bird! Other under-storey birds we hope to see include displaying African Broadbill; Pale-breasted and Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill-Babbler, Red-throated Alethe, Black-faced, Black-throated and Mountain Masked Apalises, Banded Prinia and the handsome Black-faced Rufous-Warbler. The mid-storey and canopy supports Elliot’s and Tullberg’s woodpeckers; Cabanis’, Toro Olive, Shelley’s and Ansorge’s greenbuls strange Grauer’s Warbler and White-browed Crombec, Yellow-eyed Black, Ashy, Dusky-blue, Chapin’s and Cassin’s Grey Flycatchers, Chin-spot and Rwenzori Batis, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown, Blue-headed, Northern Double-collared and Grey-headed Sunbirds, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Sooty Boubou, Pink-footed Puffback, Doherty’s Bush-shrike. The rare Jameson’s Antpecker may also been seen probing under moss on dead branches or gleaning warbler-like in the canopy along with Strange, Brown-capped and Black-billed Weavers. Overhead, Scarce Swifts forage over the forest. Birding at Buhoma is a truly magical experience.

After lunch we continue birding to Ruhija enroute to Bunyonyi safari resort, Kabale winding through the beautiful terraced hills often referred to as “the Switzerland of Africa” arriving on the magical resort in evening. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and dinner. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, overnight Bunyonyi Resort Hotel.

Day 14 birding in Kyevu Island:

The Bunyonyi area is magnificent with great scenic views. After breakfast, transfer to Kyevu Island for bird watching. Look out for endemic birds resident here in Lake Bunyonyi like the Handsome Francolin, Dusky Turtle Dove, Alpine Chat, etc. we retire for afternoon, and after lunch take boat ride Cray fishing. The boat trip to the pygmies is worthwhile as they welcome you with drumming and ecstatic dancing. These are indigenous forest communities with almost no dilution of their original traditions. Do not ignore the exciting whistling of the concentrated birdlife in this area. You will find an afternoon with the pygmies and bird-watching, a worthwhile pastime.
Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and dinner. Meal Plan – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Bunyonyi Resort Hotel.

Day 15 transfer to Kampala/Entebbe:

We’ll have to start early for Kampala transfer, with a stopover in Mbarara for lunch at Agip motel arriving in Kampala and transfer to Entebbe in time for your flights back home and/or onward travel.

BOOK THIS TRIP

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