10 Day Bird Tour Uganda

This itinerary looks to explore southwestern Uganda, a region that hosts more than half of Uganda’s birds and the first of Uganda’s birding spots. Queen Elizabeth National Park alone hosts more than 600 species. Lake Mburo & Queen Elizabeth are remarkable for their diverse eco systems that accommodate a wide variety of birds, lots of big game and beautiful sceneries. On the other hand, Bwindi National Park – Uganda’s premier birding destination and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are predominately forest and host some of the rarest forest birds, many of which are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley. These two are famous for protecting more than half of the remaining Mountain Gorillas & numerous primates. The short tour at Mabamba sets the center stage and offers the best chance of sighting the incredible Shoebill and several swamp birds.

Highlights (Sites):

  • Mabamba Swampland
  • Lake Mburo National Park
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
  • Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Itinerary

Day 1: Early birding in Mabamba, depart for Lake Mburo National Park, afternoon boat ride

Shoebill at Mabamba Swampland Early birding in Mabamba Swampland for the rare Shoebill. Mabamba Swampland has become popular for the best chance of spotting the incredible Shoebill. You’ll canoe through the marshes and look out for many of the colorful swamp specials including the Papyrus Gonolek, Pied Kingfisher, African Jacana, Swamp Flycatcher, and the Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill. A cool 3 hours is sufficient to accumulate a checklist of over 50 species out of the possible over 260 species so far recorded at Mabamba. You’ll then leave for Lake Mburo National Park in Western Uganda. Lake Mburo is only 370sq km but encloses an astonishing diversity of habitats, including dry hillsides, rocky outcrops, bushy thickets, open and wooded savannas to forest, lakes and swamps. It thus favors a diversity of bird species and more than 332 have been recorded so far. It is only a 3 hour drive from Kampala. You are expected to arrive in time for lunch before heading off for an afternoon boat ride on Lake Mburo. You’ll explore the eastern shores for a number of water birds including African Finfoot, Papyrus Gonolek, Pelicans, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Saddle-billed Stork, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, White-backed Night Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Red-faced Barbet, Cormorants and another possibility for the Shoebill. Watch out for Hippos and Crocodiles. Transfer to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Early Birding, afternoon transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Elephants in Queen Elizabeth National Park Early set out for a drive through the game tracks and be served with lots of savanna animals and birds. Zebras, Impalas, Elands, and Topis are in abundance. Other game includes Buffalo, Oribi, Leopard, Defassa, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Hyenas. Your bird list could also include Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Blue-headed Coucal, Spur-winged Plover, Lead-colored Flycatcher, Gabar Goshawk, Wagtail, Green-capped Eremomela, Martial Eagle, African Marsh Harrier, and African Scops Owl. Return to your lodge for lunch, check out and depart for Queen Elizabeth National Park. Queen Elizabeth National Park rich and diverse habitats

Day 3: Early birding and game viewing & afternoon Launch ride on the Kazinga Channel

Early morning game drive along the game viewing tracks, covering the Mweya Peninsula, the Kasenyi Plains and Lake Kikorongo and if time allows to the Lake Katwe area that is known for a huge population of Flamingos especially at Lake Munyanyange. You come across a plethora of birds and big game that is made even more remarkable by the magnificent scenery of grassy rolling hills, volcanic features such as crater lakes and the distant views of Rwenzoris & Virunga Mountain ranges. Watch out for: Temminck’s Courser, Stout Cisticola, Senegal Lapwing, Red-billed Queales, Common Buttonquail, Dwarf Bittern, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Black Coucal, and White-tailed Lark. Big game include: Lions, herds of Buffalos, Elephants, Hyenas, Uganda Kob, Waterbuck, Baboons, and lots of Hogs.
You’ll transfer to Mweya for your lunch after which you set off for a boat ride on the Kazinga Channel. Kazinga Channel is simply a bird magnet with lots of game. The channel is said to host more birds than the USA. Watch out for Pied Kingfisher, Purple Heron, African Skimmer, Long-tailed Cormorant, Egyptian Goose, and Goliath Heron. The channel harbors the world’s largest concentration of Hippos. Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards and aged Buffalos are a common sight along the shores. Elephants and Antelopes frequent the channel for water and the fringing fresh grass. The boat ride offers an up-close view of wildlife.
Return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Early birding and game viewing in Ishasha, transfer to Bwindi National Park

Early transfer to the remote Ishasha plains, south of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ishasha has become popular for the tree-climbing lions that are commonly sighted chilling in fig trees especially on hot days after a hunt. Other than Lake Mburo National Park, Ishasha is the other spot to see Topis. Other big game such as Elephants, Buffalos, Antelopes are common in this area. Ishasha is hot for birds as well, and possible sightings and hearings include: Yellow-backed Weaver, African Open-billed Stork, Red-chested Sunbird. 3 - 4 hours are sufficient for a good check list, you’ll then have your lunch in Ishasha and thereafter depart for Bwindi National Park in Buhoma. Dinner and overnight is in Buhoma.

Day 5: Full day birding in Buhoma

Early set out with picnic lunch for a whole day of birding along the trails in Buhoma. Buhoma is excellent for forest species and numerous Albertine endemics. Look out for Black bee-eater, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Red-chested Flufftail, Bar-tailed Trogon, Equatorial Alakat, White-bellied Robin-chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-throated Alethe, Elliot Woodpecker, Olive Dusky Cuckoo, Mountain Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, African Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Dusky Twinspot, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, White-chinned Prinia, Short-tailed Warbler.
Dinner and overnight is in Buhoma.

Day 6: Early birding in Buhoma & transfer to Ruhija, birding the Neck En-route 2 hours drive

You have another early scan through the lush forest in Buhoma before heading off for Ruhija. The drive to Ruhija via the Neck is productive for a number of Bwindi specials and many to look out for include the Blue-throated Roller, Bar-tailed Trogon, Mountain Wagtail, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, African Black Duck, Red-headed Bluebill, Crimson-rumped Waxbill.
Dinner and overnight is in Ruhija.

Day 7: Full day birding Ruhija, & Mubwindi Swamp

Early set out with packed lunch into the misty awe-inspiring forest at Ruhija. Ruhija is a top birding spot and one of the highlights for Uganda birding tours. It is popular for one of Africa’s most sought after and rarest birds, the African Green Broadbill. From the ranger station you’ll walk either the “Long Trail” or “Short Trail” down to Mubwindi Swamp for the African Green Broadbill. Other specials to look out for in Ruhija include: Dwarf Honey Guide, Mountain Buzzard, African Crowned Eagle, Regal Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Archer’s Robin Chat, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Mountain-masked Apalis, Stripe-breasted Tit, Lagden’s Bush-shrike.
Return to your lodge in Ruhija for dinner and overnight.

Day 8: Early birding in Ruhija & transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

You’ll have another round of birding around Ruhija before checking out and departing for Mgahinga National Park. You’ll take packed lunch from your lodge.
Dinner and overnight is in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Day 9: Early birding Mgahinga, transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

After early breakfast you’ll transfer to Ntebeko camp from where you start the trek into Mgahinga. You’ll trek through several montane habitats along the gorge trail that loops half way up Mt. Sabinyo. Birds to look out include: Rwenzori Turaco, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Rwenzori Double-collard Sunbird, Western Green Tinkerbird, Dusky Twinspot, Rwenzori Nightjar, Kivu Ground Thrush, Lagden’s Bush Shrike, Olive Pigeon, African Hill Barbler, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird. You’ll possibly half day and then depart to Lake Mburo National Park. Lunch is en-route, dinner and overnight in Lake Mburo National Park

Day 10: Nature walk/Horse ride, transfer to Kampala.

Optional early morning nature walk or horse ride or quad bike ride in Lake Mburo National Park Thereafter check out and depart for Kampala, with an optional stopover at Mpanga Forest towards Kampala.

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