Uganda’s forest cover is estimated at about 24% of the total land cover. Uganda’s pristine forests protect a great deal of species diversity including birds many of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The forests harbor one of the largest concentration of primates including half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas and the world’s biggest population of chimpanzees.
Day 1 : Arrival at Entebbe International Airport
When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport your driver shall warmly welcome you. Depending on your arrival time, you shall either be transferred to your hotel in Entebbe in case you arrive later in the day otherwise you shall be driven to Mabira rainforest. Relax, have dinner and overnight at your lodge.
Day 2: Full Day Birding in Mabira Forest Reserve
Wake up to an early cup of tea and head out to catch the early birds in Mabira forest. Mabira is the only rainforest in the central region of Uganda. Stretching over 300 square kilometers, the forest protects an incredible diversity that includes more than 300 species of birds, about 40 species of small mammals including monkeys, squirrels, and bush babies, 312 species of trees, 218 species of butterflies, over 90 species of moths and reptiles such as snakes.
Mabira is an excellent introduction to forest birding in Uganda. The network of forest trails provides clear views into the forest canopy. Scan for among others: Black and white Casqued Hornbill, Green Wood-hoopoe, African Pied Hornbill, Toro Olive Greenbul, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Nahan’s Francolin, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-throated Bee-eater, Jackson’s Wattle-eye, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Sooty Flycatcher. Return to your lodge for a lunch break. Later proceed with birding and wildlife viewing in Mabira Forest Reserve. Return in the evening to relax, have dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Half Day Kasenge Forest, transfer to Budongo
After an early breakfast check out and drive for close to 30 minutes and get to Kasenge Forest. Kasenge is a privately owned forest reserve that has been growing for the last 40 years. Being situated in an area that has been heavily degraded, the forest offers refugee to over 200 species of birds.
Kasenge shares a number of birds with Mabira but many are easier to spot here. You could establish your birding trail along the dirt road leading to the forest for some garden species. Scan the edge of the forest and around large the swamp next to the forest. Woodland Kingfishers, Giant Kingfisher, Great Blue Turaco, and Egrets are a common sight. African Grey Parrots, Open-billed Stork, African Pied Hornbill are commonly sighted in flight. Take on to the forest trail and expect calls and sights of a number of species. Your checklist could include: Yellow-mantled Weaver, Little Sparrow Hawk, Lizard Buzzard, Toro Olive Greenbul, Madagascar Bee-eater, and Slender-billed Greenbul. After close to 3 hours of birding in the forest proceed with the drive to Budongo Forest. Lunch is en-route in Nakasongola or Masindi town depending on time. Dinner and overnight in Budongo Forest.
Day 4: Full day birding in Budongo and the Royal Mile
An early morning wake up for breakfast, pick your packed lunch and head out to bird in Budongo Forest. Budongo Forest is attractive to a big checklist of forest species many of which are hard to find anywhere else in Uganda. You do much of the birding along the famous “Roya Mile” – a wide track offering great views of the forest canopy and lots of birds. Look out for birds such as Nahan’s Francolin, Black-collared Lovebird, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, White-spotted Flufftails, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, African Dwarf Kingfisher, Piping Hornbill, Puvel’s Illadopsis, Sabine’s and Cassin’s Spinetails, Pennant-winged Nightjars. Return for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Transfer to Kibale National Park
Have early breakfast and depart for Kibale National Park. Driving along the escarpment of the Albertine Rift Valley, you could make occasional birding stopovers as per advice and agreement from your birding guide. Lunch is en-route. Get to Kibale and check in at your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Full Day Birding Kibale Forest & Chimpanzee tracking
Early morning breakfast and transfer to the Ranger Station for briefing. Head out to track habituated Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park. Kibale National Park is home to the largest concentration of primates comprising of up to 13 species including Red Colobus, L’Hoest Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Olive Baboon, Bush Baby, Black-and-white Colobus, Potto, Red-tailed Blue-monkeys. Birdlife is equally impressive, including over 375 species. Look out for birds: Red-winged Francolin, Red-chested Flufftail, White-napped Pigeon, Joyful Greenbul, Blue-throated Roller, and the Red-chested Owlet. Dinner and overnight at the lodge
Day 7: Half Day Birding in Kibale & Transfer to Semuliki National Park
Early morning search for the Green-breasted Pitta whilst increasing your checklist. Return for lunch, check out and transfer to Semuliki National Park. Situated along the Uganda-Congo Border, Semuliki is a fantastic stretch of primary, lowland forest. The forest harbors an amazing birdlife including 66% (over 216) of Uganda’s forest birds. The forest is home to a number of primates and mammals many of which are known to be endemic to Semuliki. Dinner and overnight in Semuliki.
Day 8: Full day birding in Semuliki National Park
After an early cup of coffee pick your packed and set off for a full day of birding on the Kirumia River Trail, one of Uganda’s top birding highlights. Among the birds to look out for include: Hartlaub’s Duck, Nkulengu Rail, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, White-bellied Kingfisher, White-crested Hornbill, Piping Hornbill, Egyptian Goose, Abyssinian Ground Horbill, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed Bates, Snow-headed Robin-chat, African Scops Owl, Pygmy Kingfisher, Red-rumped Tinkerbird, Spotted Honeyguide, African Piculet, Rufous-sided Broadbill, White-throated Blue-swallow, Toro Olive Greenbul, Xavier’s Greenbul, Yellow-throated Nicator, Blue-headed Crested-Flycatcher, Blue-billed Malimbe, Red-fronted Antpecker, and Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch. Return for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Early morning Birding and Transfer to Bwindi
Early morning birding along the Hot Springs Sampaya Loop. The loop offers a number of birds and monkeys, in addition to the famous two Sempaya Hot Springs. Return for check out and depart for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Lunch is en-route. Dinner and overnight is in Buhoma, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Day 10: Full Day Birding in Buhoma
Early morning start to birding in Buhoma for a number of Albertine Rift Endemics. Explore the popular Waterfall Trail (2km) and many other proper birding trails. Birds expected include among others, Short-tailed Warbler, Kivu Ground-thrush, Black Bee-eater, African Broadbill, Rwenzori Bates, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Equatorial Akalat, Bar-tailed Trogon, Crested Francolin, Banded Prinia, Red-throated Alithe, White-bellied Robin-chat, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, and White-browed Crombec. Dinner and overnight is in Buhoma.
Day 11: Gorilla Trekking Day
Early morning breakfast, pick your packed lunch and transfer to the ranger station for briefing from the rangers. Then set out on an ambient trek to track a habituated gorilla group. A number of Birds and numerous wildlife species such as monkeys and duikers could be sighted along the trek. After the exciting gorilla experience return to your lodge to relax, dine and overnight in Buhoma.
Day 12: Transfer to Ruhija, Birding the Neck En-route
After an early breakfast, depart for the Ruhija section of Bwindi, making occasional birding stopovers along the stretch between Ruhija & Buhoma commonly known as the Neck. This stretch offers birds including Black-eaters, Mountain Wagtail, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Dusky Twinspot, White-chined Prinia, Little Green Sunbird, Olive Dusky Cuckoo, Grey Wagtail, Sooty Flycatcher, Cardinal Woodpecker, and White-tailed Ant-thrush. Ascend to Ruhija, a high section of the mountainous Bwindi offering a number of mountain specials in the much sought-after African Green Broadbill. You are treated to spectacular views of the misty forest spanning across valleys and the Virungas in the distance. Not to be missed is the sunrise view which is simply magical. Dinner and overnight is in Ruhija.
Day 13: Full day of birding in Ruhija & Mubwindi Swamp for the African Green Broadbill
After an early breakfast, start off with the hike to Mubwindi Swamp for the African Green Broadbill. Other birds to look out for include: Dwarf Honeyguide, Cabanis’s Greenbul, Archer’s Robin Chat, Stripe-breasted Tit, Lagden’s Bush-shrike, Wallers Starling, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rash & Grauer’s Warbler, Chestnut Throated Apalis, Narrow-tailed Stirling, Mountain Buzzard, African Crowned Eagle, Return for lunch at the lodge and later take on other trails. Dinner and overnight in Ruhija
Day 14: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park for Relaxation
After early breakfast depart for Lake Mburo National Park. Drive slowly on the way out and be sure to catch some birds. Get to Mbarara town for your lunch and thereafter proceed to Lake Mburo National Park. Time to relax in a beautiful and serene savanna enviroment of the park. You could do a boat ride Lake Mburo or take a horse ride in the park for sightseeing. Lake Mburo is the best place for a number of herbivores including Impalas, Zebras, Elands, and Topis. Dinner and overnight in the park.
Day 15: Transfer to Entebbe for late afternoon
After your breakfast check out and transfer to Entebbe for your flight back home.