Our 10 Days Uganda Birding, Rhinos and Primates Safari aims to introduce you to Uganda’s finest forests, rare Rhinos, Chimps and Gorillas. It involves birding in the richly endowed forests of Mpanga, Budongo, Kibale and Bwindi not forgetting Mabamba swamp.
It includes tracking the Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino sanctuary, tracking the chimpanzees in Kibale forest and trekking the mighty mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park.
Start and end in Entebbe! With the Safari tour 10 Days Uganda Birding, Rhinos and Primates Safari, you have a 10 days tour package taking you through Entebbe, Uganda and 14 other destinations in Uganda. 10 Days Uganda Birding, Rhinos and Primates Safari includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Day 1: Birding in Mabamba swamp and Mpanga forest
The first day of the birding excursion is exclusively to search for prehistoric shoebill at Mabamba Swamp and forest birds at Mpanga forest.
Mabamba is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the western main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi District. It has the status of unprotected area with bird categories, globally threatened species and Lake Victoria Basin biome species. This Important Bird Area (IBA) is one of the best marshy areas along the northern shores of Lake Victoria for bird watching: it is the closest place to Kampala.
While looking for the shoebill, boats are used to paddle through the channels of the swamp.Generally; it takes between two to three hours to locate the Shoebill. The shoebill is normally spotted while standing waiting to catch its prey such as frogs, lungfish and water snakes.
Other species of water birds like the African Jacanas, Yellow billed Ducks, White faced whistling ducks, Long toed Plovers, Village Weavers, Purple Swamphens, Northern brown throated weaver, Malachite king fisher, Grey headed gulls, Gull billed terns, White winged warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, African darter, Rufous bellied heron can be seen.
After the memorable birding experience at Mabamba, you proceed to Mpanga forest in search of forest birds such as Little Greenbul, Lesser Honey Guide, Grey headed Nigrita, White breasted Nigrita, Western black headed Oriole, White spotted Fluff tail, Red tailed Bristtlebill, Fire crested Alethe and so many different forest bird species.
These birds can be seen while feeding, perching, displaying, mating while others can be seen establishing their colonies.
Mpanga Forest is a small patch of natural equatorial rainforest covering about 453 hectares. It is found in Mawokota- Mpigi District about 37 kilometers southwest of Kampala and is conveniently located along the Kampala – Masaka highway.
Despite of its small size, it supports an impressive biodiversity for such a small forest. It has 500species of trees and shrubs, 300 species of birds, 97 butterflies, and 112 moths. Three species of monkeys can be seen in the forest such as Red-tailed monkey, Black-and-white colobus monkeys and Vervet monkeys. There are also a number of small mammals including Pottos, Pangolins and Bushabies. Spending a night in this forest therefore gives you an opportunity to spot these rare nocturnals.
After a busy day of birding/bird watching, you will drive to Kampala for your overnight stay.
Accommodation at Speke Hotel
Entebbe International Airport, Entebbe, Wakiso, Uganda
Day 2: Travel to Masindi town for an overnight stay with enroute rhino tracking at Ziwa rhino sanctuary
In and around Masindi
After breakfast, you will travel to Ziwa rhino sanctuary for Rhino tracking and birding. Along the way, you will enjoy the beautiful views of the varied landscapes and vegetation. Ziwa rhino sanctuary is the first sanctuary in Uganda with over 22 White Rhinos .It was founded in 2005 for the protection of the Rhinos and is the only place in Uganda where rhinos are tracked in the wild.
In the afternoon, you will go for birding in the sanctuary. Expected birds to be spotted from this sanctuary include, White crested Turaco, Bruce’s green pigeon, Thick billed cuckoo, and White winged tit and so many other different species of birds.
After the day’s activities, you will proceed to Masindi for dinner and overnight stay.
Accommodation at Masindi Hotel.
Day 3: Birding in Budongo forest and visit the top of Murchison Falls
After breakfast, drive to Budongo forest- the largest forest in Uganda for birding expedition. Budongo forest found in Masindi is an ideal place for birding with lots of special species of birds which are also found in Congo. Spend the whole day in Budongo and the expected birds to be spotted from this forest include, Chocolate Backed kingfisher, Dwarf kingfisher, Shinning Blue kingfisher, Blue breasted kingfisher, Chestnut wattle Eye, Ituri Batis, Chestnut capped Warbler, Lemon bellied Crombec, White thighed Hornbill, Eremomela to mention but a few.
Given time, this safari will take you for a visit to the top of the falls. This is quite a breath taking spot for everyone to visit.
Return to the lodge in the evening for your overnight stay.at Masindi Hotel
Day 4: Travel to Kibale forest National Park
Early morning, you will travel to Kibale forest taking Hoima- Kagadi road. It is a 7 hours’ drive up to Kibale forest National Park. The whole day is generally spent on travel. However, there are occasional stop overs for beautiful views of the rift valley escarpments as well as farming plantations along the way. Have lunch enroute in Fort portal town.
Reach Kibale forest in the evening, check in at your hotel for dinner and overnight at Kibale Forest Camp
Day 5: Birding and Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest national park
Early morning, you will enter Kibale forest with the specialized ranger and your guide in search of Kibale’s special- the Green breasted Pitta and chimp tracking. On a lucky day, you can see the pitta displaying.
Chimp tracking is an adventurous activity that is also part of this day. Chimpanzees are the most closest relatives to man with 98.7%DNA.When chimps are located, you are allowed to spend a maximum of one hour within their vicinity and then after, exit the forest.
In the afternoon, you will go for Bigodi swamp walk which is an amazing excursion. The expected birds of this activity include, Green Crombec, Little Greenbul, Tooro olive greenbul, Grey capped warbler, Western black headed oriole, White spotted fluff tail, Afep pigeon, White napped pigeon, Olive pigeon, Cassin’s grey flycatcher.
Also, apart from the chimpanzees, other primates that can be seen during the Bigodi swamp walk include, Red colobus, Black and white colobus, Uganda Mangabey, olive baboon, Blue monkey, Vervet monkeys among others.
Accommodation at Kibale Forest Camp
Day 6: Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable forest
After an early morning breakfast, you will travel to Bwindi forest taking Kasese- Queen Elizabeth route through the Ishasha sector. This route consists of areas that are habitats to wildlife including the tree climbing lions.
Along the way, you can make occasional stopovers for some birding to enrich your birding list.
On arrival in Bwindi -Buhoma, check in at your accommodation for overnight stay and prepare for the next day’s activities of gorilla trekking and birding.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park which lies in southwestern Uganda on the edge of the Rift Valley has mist-covered hillsides that are blanketed by one of Uganda’s oldest and most biologically diverse rainforests, which dates back over 25,000 years and contains almost 400 species of plants. More famously, this “impenetrable forest” also protects an estimated 400 mountain gorillas – roughly half of the world’s gorilla population, including several habituated groups, which can be trekked.
This biologically diverse region also provides shelter to a further 120 mammals, including several primate species such as baboons and chimpanzees, as well as elephants and antelopes. There are around 350 species of birds hosted in this forest, including 23 Albertine Rift endemics.
Accommodation at Ride 4 Woman
Day 7: Gorilla trekking and birding in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park
After briefing, you will enter and walk through the dense bush to trek for these endangered animals. This wonderful and memorable activity can take between 4- 7 hours while searching in the jungle forest.
For conservation purposes, time allowed with the Gorillas after being located is one hour. This is an awesome and thrilling experience not worthy forgetting. Return to your lodge and rest.
In the afternoon, you will go for birding in Bwindi forest in search of the Albertine rift endemics such as, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Black billed weaver, Short tailed warbler, Bar tailed trogon, Black faced Rufous warbler, Red throated Alethe, Mountain Illadopsis, Dusky long tailed cuckoo, Tulbergs wood pecker, Banded Prinia, Elliot’s wood pecker, Dwarf honey guide, Brown capped weaver, Pink footed puff back, Purple breasted sunbird, Blue shouldered Robin chat among others.Accommodation at Ride 4 Woman
Day 8: Birding in Buhoma – Ruhijja sector
Buhoma-Ruhijja sector is yet another great birding zone. It’s part of Bwindi impenetrable forest. This day’s activity involves birding along the route that lies between Buhoma and Ruhija. It is a span that is likely to take you 2 -3 hours of driving.
Along the way to Ruhijja, different species of birds can be seen and these include, Black collared Apalis, Buff throated Apalis, Masked Apalis, Mountain Apalis, African black duck, Black bee eater, Grey cuckoo shrikes, Many colored bush shrikes, Black billed Turaco, White tailed Blue Flycatcher, Regal Sunbird among others.
Arrive in Ruhijja in the afternoon, have lunch then after, go for evening birding.
Accommodation at Gorilla Mist Camp
Day 9: Travel to Lake Mburo National Park
You depart from Bwindi early in the morning and head to Lake Mburo National Game Park for yet another marvelous encounter with the wild of Uganda.
Lake Mburo National Park is a habitat to more than 60 species of mammals including the Impala which only lives in this park in Uganda, the Burch ell’s zebras, Buffalos, Warthogs, Hippos, Leopard, Topis, Elands and Hyenas among others. It is also home to 350 bird species which include the rare Shoe bill stork, African fin foot, Saddle-billed stork among others.
Along the way to Lake Mburo national Game Park, you will enjoy Uganda’s country side which is abundantly blessed with eye catching sceneries such as the hills, vast banana plantations and herds of the indigenous Ankole cow. Surely, your journey will fill with moments of memorable exposure to nature.
Upon arrival, you will go for an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Mburo. This lake is rich with a diversity of animal and plant species, which can only be viewed clearly while on a boat trip. These include crocodiles, Hippopotami and birds like, African Fin foot, Pelicans, Black crake, Heron, Cormorant and Fish eagle. You may also see the rare Shoebill stork.
Accommodation at Eagles Nest
Day 10: Transfer to Entebbe International Airport with a brief stopover at the Equator monument
In and around Entebbe
After breakfast, you will board for a 4 hours’ drive to Entebbe which will be the end your trip. Stop and take in a visit to the Equator that runs through Uganda. It’s marvelous to have pictures taken underneath the Equator Sign.
End of the birding safari
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