Uganda birding and wildlife tour
Description of Uganda birding and wildlife tour
Although mountain gorillas and chimpanzees are Uganda's main draws, this safari destination is also well-known for the thousand bird species which call the country home and the easy access to birdlife, making the country one of Africa’s best birdwatching regions.
This tour begins in the town of Entebbe, from which you'll traverse south and west through Uganda’s savannahs, forests, woodlands, swamps, highlands, rivers and lakes. Important habitats to visit along the route include Mabamba Swamp, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale Forest, Lake Mburo, Mabira, Jinja and Bwindi.
Keep your eyes peeled for the vibrant feathers of the green-breasted pitta, the crooked smiles of shoebills and the majestic crests of the gray-crowned cranes, Uganda's national bird. What's more, Lake Mburo is the only place in Africa where you can easily see the aquatic African finfoot.
Yet, Uganda's birds are only half the story. In Kibale's Queen Elizabeth National Park, you'll observe chimpanzees, elephants, lion and buffalo. In Bwindi's Impenetrable Forest, you'll encounter the endangered mountain gorilla, while plains of long-horned cattle can be found in Ankole.
Uganda is the perfect wildlife-watching destination for serious ornithologists and birding enthusiasts. Start designing your dream birding itinerary for Uganda today, with the help of our African travel specialists.
|Day 1:||Arrival in Entebbe – You’ll be greeted at Entebbe International Airport by a private chauffeur, then it’s just a five-minute transfer to your accommodation at The Boma Guesthouse. This rustic 1940s-style guesthouse is a fusion of colonial and African design, with gorgeous views of tropical gardens and Lake Victoria. Depending on your arrival time, you might like to take one of the guesthouse’s bikes to ride into town, explore the Botanical Gardens or join your guide for your first birdwatching session in Uganda.|
|Day 2:||Mabamba Swamp, Kibale Forest – A five-hour journey through Uganda’s epic landscapes will bring you to the town of Fort Portal, at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains, known as the gateway to Kibale Forest. On the way here, you’ll stop at the Mabamba Wetland for a swamp safari and the chance to see species such as the malachite kingfisher, the blue-breasted bee-eater and rare shoebills, among others. You’ll stay right in the centre of the rainforest, in a luxury safari tent at Kibale Forest Camp. Tuck into a delicious four-course dinner, then sit out on your private balcony, listening to the calls of wood owls.|
|Day 3:||Birding in Kibale Forest – Delve into the rainforest with a trip to Kanyanchu, where you’ll look and listen for joyful greenbuls and whinchats, as well as birds of prey such as the western banded snake eagle and the lizard buzzard. Then, you’ll take a trek to track troops of chimpanzees in the upper branches of Kibale, keeping your eyes peeled for other primates, such as colobus and red-tailed monkeys.|
|Day 4:||Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park – Move onto Queen Elizabeth National Park, where you’ll participate in game drives to see more of Uganda’s wildlife, from birds to big mammals, such as elephants, leopards and lions. You’ll stay in the heart of the park, at Mweya Safari Lodge, which offers beautiful views of the Kazinga Channel, as well as a stunning infinity pool.|
|Day 5:||Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park – Today, you’ll focus on QENP’s birdlife around the Kazinga Channel, which is home to yellow-billed storks, African spoonbills and pelicans, among other species. Take a boat safari across the channel to see buffalo, crocodiles and hippos, or a hot air balloon ride for a “bird’s eyes view” of the park.|
|Day 6:||Transfer to Bwindi – The next stop is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is the only park in Africa where you can see both gorilla and chimpanzees. You’ll stay elevated above Buhoma village at Buhoma Haven Lodge, which provide incredible views of the park and were built using local materials.|
|Day 7:||Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi – Start early for a gorilla trek through Bwindi, where you’ll meet one of the nine habituated groups of gorillas that live in the mountains. As the groups live varying distances from the base, your trek can be customised to your preferences for length and difficulty.|
|Day 8:||Birding in Bwindi – Today, you’ll focus on Bwindi’s bird-watching opportunities. The forest is home to around 360 bird species, including cuckooshrikes, the fork-tailed drongo, the martial eagle, pink-footed puffbacks, white-headed wood-hoopoes and tinkerbirds.|
|Day 9:||Transfer Lake Mburo National Park – Moving on to Lake Mburo National Park, you’ll be able to take part in more game drives, bush walks and even mountain bike safaris. You’ll be staying at the eco-friendly and family-run Rwakobo Rock Lodge, which is perched on a scenic outcrop just outside of the park. For here, you can see zebra, warthog and impala gathering at the nearby watering hole.|
|Day 10:||Game Drives and Birding around Lake Mburo – Birding at Lake Mburo is often a highlight of a birding safari tour of Uganda. During the day, you’ll be treated to hundreds of species, such as stripe-breasted tits, kivu ground thrush and the punk-rock mohawks of bare-faced go-away-birds. At night, use your eyes and ears to identify the calls of African scops owl and various species of nightjar.|
|Day 11:||Transfer to Mabira Forest – Next, it’s Mabira Forest, Uganda’s second largest, which is home to many endangered species of animal, including the endemic Uganda manabey. You’ll stay in a luxury cabin at Rainforest Lodge, which has perfect views for more birdwatching, as well as a swimming pool and massage facilities – a welcome break after so much trekking and birding.|
|Day 12:||Transfer to Jinja – Jinja is a large town around 80 kilometres from Kampala, known for being the source of the Nile River. Here, you can take part in activities such as rafting, kayaking and horse riding. Look out for monkeys, monitor lizards and otters along the river, as well as the incredible number of bird species which call this place home, including the fish eagle. You’ll stay at a eco-river-lodge overlooking a White Nile waterfall, aptly named The Haven. Accommodation options include suites, bandas, cottages and tents, and utilises solar power and UV-filtered spring and rain water.|
|Day 13:||Departure from Uganda – Finally, it’s back to Entebbe for your departure from Uganda. We hope this unique birding tour of the country has provided you with memorable wildlife-watching and birding opportunities, inspiring you to look for your next safari adventure.|
PlanetWhilst on game drives in Uganda's national parks, please do not encourage your driver to get too close to the animals or depart from the usual track. You should be as quiet as possible and do not make any noises to attract or frighten the wildlife. Of course you’ll be excited if you spot a shoebill or a herd of elephants at QENP, but you should try to express your excitement quietly.
Whilst visiting national parks, please ensure that you don’t leave any litter – everything you carry in you must carry out. Aside from the environmental damage, litter can be harmful to the wildlife.
Entrance fees to Uganda's national parks, as well as chimp and gorilla trekking permits are included in this tour and these are an essential way for parks and wildlife initiatives to protect their incredible landscapes and wildlife, so you know your fees are going directly to conservation efforts.
Responsible tourism initiatives have saved the critically endangered mountain gorilla from extinction. By supporting sustainable tourism practices on a trip such as this Uganda tour, your tourism dollars direct fund conservation, the employment and increased patrol of park rangers and the Ugandan tourism industry in general, all of which provides more profitable alternatives to poaching.
PeopleAs with all of our luxury holidays, this itinerary has been crafted to ensure that it positively effects the local communities and environments visited. All the local guides referred to in this itinerary are paid a fair wage. We believe that using local guides is important, as it helps generate local incomes and creates jobs, plus it offers a more authentic travel experience.
We work with tour operators and accommodation providers that practice responsible tourism, especially locally-owned or managed accommodation, (independent lodges and tented camps) in order to better support the community and provide you with a more authentic cultural experience.
For example, this tour includes stays in eco-friendly, locally-owned and independent accommodation, such as Rwakobo Rock Lodge, which is also family-run; The Haven makes use of solar power, UV-filtered rain and spring water, among other environmental initiatives; The Boma Guesthouse supports Papercraft, a grass roots project for recycling paper and glass; and Buhoma Lodge was designed using locally-sourced materials and uses locally-sourced produce.