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17 Days of Birding, Primates and Wildlife

Local Canoe Birding Experience

Day 1: Arrival
Early arrival will allow for afternoon birding Entebbe botanical gardens.
Stay at Acacia Beach Hotel

Day 2: Mabamba Wetlands and afternoon birding Entebbe Botanic Gardens
After an early breakfast, we proceed to Mabamba for the Shoebill. Other special birds on this trail include; Lesser Jacana, Blue Swallow, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, African Pygmy-Goose, Spur-winged Geese, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted and Madagascar Bee-eaters, Gray-rumped Swallow, Greater Swamp-Warbler, Slender-billed Weaver, Lizard Buzzard, African Pygmy-Kingfisher and Plain-backed Pipit. Spot-necked Otter can occasionally be seen in the water.

Rufous-bellied Heron

Mabamba swamp is a labyrinth of channels and lagoons. The road to Mabamba winds its way through areas of secondary forest and agricultural land Attracting Red-headed Lovebird, African Crowned-Hornbills, and a range of sunbirds including; the Green-headed, Green, Red-chested, Collared, Marico and Scarlet-chested sunbirds. The road ultimately ends at a papyrus reed bed adjoining Lake Victoria, where we will explore by canoe a maze of channels and mudflats for a reliable resident, the majestic Shoebill.
Stay at Nkima Forest Eco-Lodge

Day 3: Drive to Lake Mburo National Park
The park contains an extensive area of wetland. It harbors several species of mammals including Zebras, Impalas, Elands, Topi and Buffaloes. The bird population is rich with over 310 species, including; Grey Woodpecker, African Finfoot, Brown-chested Plover, Southern Ground Hornbill, Spot-flanked, Red-faced, Crested and Black-collared Barbets, Carruthers Cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek, Yellow-billed Oxpecker and Northern Brown-throated Weaver.
Stay at Rwakobo Rock Lodge

Day 4: Whole day birding, game drive & a boat cruise in the park.
There are chances of viewing mammals during the game drive such as Zebra, Topi, Elephant, Eland, Impala, Buffalo, Water Buck, etc. Birds you have chances of viewing include; Black-headed Oriole, Brown and Red-backed Scrub Robins, Bateleur, Ruppel’s Long-tailed Starling, Common Bulbul, Brown Parrot, Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture, African Grey Hornbill, White-browed Coucal, Lesser Masked, Weaver, Water Thick-knee, Green Wood Hoopoe, Verreux’s Eagle Owl, Woodland Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Little Bee-eater, Chinspot Batis, Tawny Eagle, Senegal Lapwing, Plain-backed Pipit, Greater and Scaly-throated Honeyguides, Sooty Chat, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Red-faced Crombec, Brubru, Grey Kestrel, Coqui Francolin, Broad-billed Roller, Grassland Pipit, and Golden-breasted Bunting White backed Night Heron, Shinning blue Kingfisher, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruther’s and Tabora cisiticolas, Giant Kingfisher etc.
Stay at Rwakobo Rock Lodge

Mountain Gorilla

Day 5: Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Early start after breakfast, and continue to Bwindi.
Bwindi National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to approximately half of the world endangered population of Mountain Gorillas. This vast reserve offers arguably the most productive montane forest birding in Africa and supports 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemic bird species.
Buhoma lies in the valley of the Munyaga River at 5100ft and is bordered with steep, forested hills.
Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighboring Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is now an ecological island within a sea of human cultivation and therefore of big conservation importance.
Stay at Ride for a woman

Day 6: Gorilla tracking in the Forest (optional) and Birding
After an early breakfast, you will report to the park headquarters for briefing prior to the gorilla tracking excursion. This activity may take anywhere between 1 hour and 8 hours so a reasonable degree of fitness is required. It is a wonderful experience to stare in to the eyes of these gentle giants; watch them in awe as they play and go about their daily activities. It is indeed a “once in a lifetime” experience that you must never miss. Each encounter is different and has its own rewards, but you are likely to enjoy the close view of adults feeding, grooming and resting as the youngsters frolic and swing from vines in a delightfully playful display.
Stay at Ride for a woman

Day 7: Birding to Ruhija through ‘the neck’.
Excellent forest birding, not least the prospect of numerous rare and localised Albertine Rift endemics, makes this a true birding paradise.
Key species include: Mountain Wagtail, Red-tailed and Shelley’s Greenbul, Cassin’s Flycatcher, Black Duck, Banded Prinia, Grey-throated Barbet, Common Buzzard, Tree Pipit, Chin-spot Batis, Black-billed Turaco, Fine-banded Woodpecker, Dwarf Honeyguide, Red-tailed Greenbul, and we should come across Bee-eaters including Black Bee-eater and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Many-coloured Bush Shrike, Ayres’s Hawk-eagle, Bronze-naped Pigeon, Narina Trogon, Honeyguide Greenbul to mention but a few.
Stay at Agandi Hotel

Day 8: Birding Mubwindi Swamp
Ruhiija is likely to be one of the highlights of any bird watching safari to Uganda with excellent birding in spectacular surroundings. The Birds are many here and somehow easy to see; many bird species associating in mixed feeding flocks that are active throughout the day. An early start offers the best chance of finding the striking Dwarf Honeyguide, Stripe-breasted Tit, Ruwenzori Apalis, Rwenzori Hill Babbler and the rare and localized Grauer’s Rush-Warbler and Chubb’s Cisticola. Some of the many species we have a chance of seeing here include; Black Goshawk, Augur Buzzard, Crowned Hawk-Eagle, Handsome Francolin, Olive (Rameron) Pigeon, Bronze-winged Pigeon, Black-billed, Ruwenzori, and Ross’s Turacco, African, Barred Long-tailed, and African Emerald Cuckoos, Red-chested Owlet, Narina and Bar-tailed Trogons, Black and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Blue-throated Roller, White-headed Woodhoopoe, Gray-throated, Double-toothed, and Yellow-spotted Barbets, Western and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Thick-billed and Dwarf Honeyguides, Rufous-necked Wryneck, Tullberg’s, Speckle-breasted, Elliot’s, and Olive Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, Rock Martin, Black Saw-wing, Gray and Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike, Ansorge’s, Kakamega, Olive-chested, and Cabanis’ Greenbuls, White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Kivu Ground-Thrush, Olive and Mountain Thrushes, Red-throated Alethe, Chubb’s Cisticola, Banded Prinia, Ruwenzori, Black-throated, and Black-faced Apalis, Olive-green Camaroptera, Grauer’s and Cameroon Scrub- Warblers, Cinnamon and Black-faced Bracken-Warblers, Mountain Yellow Warbler, White-browed Crombec, Short-tailed Warbler, Red-faced Woodland-Warbler, White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Yellow-eyed Black-Flycatcher, Sooty Flycatcher, Chapin’s Flycatcher, White-starred Robin, White-bellied and Archer’s Robin-Chats, Ruwenzori Batis, White-tailed, and African Blue-Flycatchers, Pale-breasted, Mountain, and Gray-chested Illadopses, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Gray-headed, Western Violet-backed, Green, Green-headed, Blue-headed, Green-throated, Stuhlmann’s, Northern Double-collared, and Regal Sunbirds, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Ludher’s, Gray-green, Many-colored, and Lagden’s Bush-shrikes, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Slender-billed, Waller’s, Narrow-tailed, Stuhlmann’s, and Sharpe’s Starlings, Black-billed, Strange, and Brown-capped Weavers, Jameson’s and Woodhouse’s Ant-peckers, Red-faced and Dusky Crimson-wings. Stay at Agandi Hotel

Common Kestrel

Day 9: Birding to Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Today we shall start early and transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park through the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth National Park (popularly known for its tree climbing lions) while birding on the way. Birding on the way may produce species such as; Grey-capped Warbler, Long-crested Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Black-crowned waxbill, Black-and-white Manikin, Senegal Coucal, Red-chested Cuckoo, and others.
The Park which is named after the Queen of England who visited it in 1954 is the second largest national park in Uganda. In terms of diversity this park ranks among the best birding destinations in Uganda with over 610 species recorded, and a one-day record of 296 species. Hard-core birders will be treated to special birds of this park that include; 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, Lesser Flamingo, Caruthers’s Cisticola, Terek Sandpiper, Secretary Bird, and Temminck’s Courser. Mammals include; African Elephant, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Lion, Ugandan Kobs, Side-striped Jackal, Baboons, Bush and Water Bucks, Warthogs, Giant Forest Hogs to mention but a few.
Stay at Enganzi Lodge

Day 10: Game Drive in the Park & afternoon Launch Cruise on Kazinga Channel
After breakfast we set out for a whole day game and birdwatching drive in the park. Later in the afternoon you have an exciting boat cruise on the Kazinga channel. The launch is one of the most exciting water activities in Uganda. The channel is a narrow neck of water that connects Lakes George and Edward, with excellent photographic opportunities for waterside birds and abundant Hippopotamus. Amongst the birds you are likely to encounter include; African Skimmer, Striated Heron, African Spoonbill, Water Thick-knee, Three-banded Plover, Marsh, Green, Wood and Common Sandpiper, Gray-headed Gull, Plain Martin, Lesser Swamp-Warbler and Yellow-billed Oxpecker.
Stay at Enganzi Lodge

Day 11: Birding to Kibale
After breakfast, we will drive to Kibale forest. Kibale forest national park is the best safari destination for chimpanzee tracking in East Africa. It contains one of the loveliest and most varied tracts of all tropical forests in Uganda. It hosts 13 species of primates including the chimpanzee. It has 1450 chimpanzees and these represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. It is also home to the rare L’hoest’s monkey and East Africa’s largest population of the threatened Red colobus Monkey. Other primates that you may see include; the Black and White Colobus, Blue Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Red-tailed Monkey, Olive Baboon, Bush baby and pottos.  Kibale forest cover predominates in the northern and central parts of the park. Kibale is highest at the park’s northern tip which stands at 1590m above sea level. The park also boasts 325 bird species, including 6 that are 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 Tinker bird, Little Greenbul, Black-eared Ground Thrush, Brown-chested Alethe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, and the Crowned Eagle.
Stay at Chimpanzee Guest House

Chimpanzee Trekking

Day 12: Chimpanze Tracking in the forest and afternoon Birding at Bigodi Wetland
After an early breakfast, we shall go birding in the morning to look for Green-breasted Pitta in the forest and afterwards, we drive to Kibale National Park visitor center for briefing and chimp tracking. The activity may last from a few hours to several hours. Kibale forest is home to 13 primates of Uganda.
In the afternoon along the main road may be productive. Depending on the weather predictions, birding Bigodi wetland is also productive with riverine forest birds. Kibale National Park is a good site for a number of birds that are hard to find elsewhere including; 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 Olive back.
Stay at Chimpanzee Guest House

Day 13: Transfer to Masindi.
Today more time is spent on the road up North however we shall stop enroute to see some birds.
Stay at Masindi Hotel

Day 14: Birding the Royal Mile-Budongo Forest
It’s about an hour drive from the hotel, where shall find ourselves at the entrance of the Royal Mile. This is one of the best of Uganda’s birdwatching spot. It is also a historically known leisure spot for the traditional King, hence the name Royal Mile. Here the forest has been cut back a few metres along the sides of the main trail, which makes it a particularly good viewing area in this excellent forest.
Special Birds Uganda in Budongo include; White-thighed and Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills, Yellow-spotted and Yellow billed Barbets, Western Black-headed Oriole, along with Red-tailed and Blue Monkeys. Overhead, Sabine’s and sometimes Cassin’s Spinetails soar over the clearings. As we walk quietly along the trail; Red-tailed Ant-Thrushes skulk in the shadows, as do Red-tailed Bristlebill, Scaly-breasted, Pale-breasted and Brown Illadopsis. Greenbuls are ever a challenge and include Cameroon Sombre, Slender-billed, Honeyguide and Spotted, whilst other regular species are; Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, and both White-breasted and Grey-headed Negrofinches. Lower down we should see; Chocolate-backed and African Dwarf Kingfishers. White-spotted Flufftails and the elusive Nahan’s Francolin. Other possibilities here are; Black Goshawk, Cassin’s Hawk-eagle, Crested Guineafowl, Tambourine Dove, Grey Parrot, African Emerald and Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoos, Yellowbill, White-throated Bee-eater, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Dusky Tit, Western Nicator, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Forest Robin, Black-throated and Black-capped Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Sabine’s and Cassin’s Spinetails, Wilcock’s Honeyguide, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Blue-throated Brown and Little Green Sunbirds, Rufous Flycatcher Thrush, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Red-headed Malimbe and Uganda Woodland Warbler, Ituri Batis.
Stay at Masindi Hotel

Abyssinian Roller

Day 15: Birding to Murchison Falls National Park.
After breakfast, you drive northwards to Murchison Falls National Park birding through the Escarpment. Special birds include; Cliff Chat, Yellow fronted Tinkerbird, Grey-headed Bush Shrike, Singing Cisticola, Namaqua Dove, Green Winged Pytilia, Red-backed Shrike, Crested Francolin, Black-headed Gonolek, Northern and Black winged Red Bishops, Black-bellied Firefinch, Black-faced Waxbill and Marsh Tchagra.
Stay at Pakuba Safari Lodge

Day 16: Morning Game drive, afternoon boat cruise to the bottom of the falls
After an early breakfast, we will have a morning game drive. In the lush Borassus grassland, you may be able to encounter elephant, buffalo, giraffe, and a variety of antelope. You may also see some lions if you are lucky. After enjoying a packed lunch, we will then have an afternoon boat trip to the bottom of the falls. Here, you will be dazzled with a variety of water birds including species like the; Secretary Bird, Abyssinian Roller and Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Senegal Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Black-headed Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing, Little Bittern, Osprey, Red-necked Falcon, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Vinaceous Dove and Grosbeak Weaver. Other specialties include; Buff-bellied Warbler, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Bar-breasted Firefinch, Red-winged Grey Warbler, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Marabou Stork, Red-throated Bee-eater, Silver bird, Beautiful Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Golden-backed Weaver, White-rumped Seedeater, Pel’s Fishing Owl, White-crested Turacco, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Chestnut-crowned Sparrow Weaver, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Night jars(Pennant-winged &Standard-winged), White-rumped Canary etc.
Stay at Pakuba Safari Lodge.

Day 17: Drive to Entebbe – evening/late night departure.