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9 DAYS UGANDA BIRDING SAFARI FOR ALBERTINE RIFT ENDEMICS

9 DAYS UGANDA BIRDING SAFARI FOR ALBERTINE RIFT ENDEMICS

Safari Overview

We shall begin our trip by having a short tour of Mabamba wetland for the famous Shoebill and then we proceed to Lake Mburo national park for a preface on bird watching in Uganda. We shall however be focusing on the Albertine rift endemics in Uganda. Mgahinga national park is the tiniest national park in Uganda but more than 180 bird species including the Albertine rift endemics reside in this park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an excellent bird watching place and among the greatest in Africa and has documented 23 out of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics.

The major species you are likely to see on his safari include: Black Bee-eaters, Malachite, Toro-Olive Greenbul, Purple-breasted, Cassin’s Hawk Eagle, Regal Sun birds, Rwenzori Nightjar, Scarlet-tufted Sun birds, Rwenzori Turaco, Streaky Seedeaters, Archer’s Robin Chat, Think-billed Seedeaters, Cape Robin, White-starred Robin, Grauers’ Broadbill, Dusky Twinspot, Handsome Francolin, Grey-headed Sparrow, Rwenzori Batis, Red-headed Malimbe, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Oriole Finch, Collared Apalis, Dusky Crimsonwing, Dwarf Honey-Guide, Yellow-billed Barbet, Waller’s Starling, Bar-tailed Trogon as well as Lagden’s Bush-Shrike among others.

The habitats we shall visit include agricultural lands, papyrus swamps, forest as well as the Riverineforest.

The non-compulsory activities include gorilla plus golden monkey trekking.

Day 1: Arrival

Day 2: Birding in Mabamba Swamp, then transfer to Lake Mburo NP

Day 3: Transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

Day 4: Full Day Birding in Mgahinga National Park

Day 5: transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable forest for Birding in Ruhija sector

Day 6: Birding in Ruhija-Bwindi forest

Day 7: Birding in Buhoma through ‘The Neck’ – Bwindi forest

Day 8: Gorilla trekking and birding in Buhoma.

Day 9: Birding to Kampala – Departure to Entebbe

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

You will be welcomed to Uganda by one of the representatives of Kagera Safaris on your arrival at Entebbe International airport and you will be driven to the hotel of your choice in Entebbe. Based on the time you reach, you may have a chance to see a few birds at Entebbe Botanical gardens to show you a little of the diverse birdlife in Uganda.

Meal plan: Dinner

Accommodation Options: Hotel No 5 (luxury), The Boma (Mid-range), or the Secrets Guesthouse (Budget)

Day 2: Birding in Mabamba Swamp, then transfer to Lake Mburo NP

We set off for Mabamba swamp wetland which is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria after having breakfast. We shall the use a motorized canoe while looking for the popular Shoebill. While at Mabamba swamp, we shall be focused on finding the Shoebill which is usually resting on floating vegetation or soaring in the air sometimes. There is a number of water birds on this swamp like ducks, Kingfisher’s, gulls, egrets, herons, swallows, warbler, gulls, plovers and many others. Mabamba swamp is the perfect spot to find the shoebill in Uganda.

We then drive to Lake Mburo national park to proceed with bird watching the rest of the evening and part of the following morning. We shall then retire to our hotel for the night after a little birding.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Mihingo Lodge (luxury), Rwakobo Rock (Mid-range), or Eagles Nest (Budget)

Day 3: Transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park

We start the day with an early breakfast before set off on the journey to explor the birds in the south western corner of Uganda for a memorable birding adventure in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is the most beautiful but the tiniest national park in Uganda.

We shall stop by a number of places like agricultural lands plus swampy areas to look for rare birds. We shall drive back to the hotel in the evening to rest and get ready for the following day which will be characterized by birding in Mgahinga gorilla national park specifically searching for the Albertine rift endemics.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Mt Gahinga Lodge (luxury), Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge (Mid-range), or Travellers Hotel (Budget)

Day 4: Full Day Birding in Mgahinga National Park

Mgahinga National Park has documented over 180 bird species that reside in the park and they comprise of the Albertine rift endemics as well. On this day we shall thoroughly explore a number of montane habitats following the Gorge trail looking out for the distinct birds that live specifically in these areas.

You should look out for The Scarlet-tufted Sunbirds, Dusky Turtle Dove, Malachite, Cape Robin-chat, Striped breasted Tit, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Brown Woodland Warbler, Bronze Sunbird, White-starred Robin, Black-headed Waxbill, Cape Robin, Western Green Tinkerbird, Streaky Seedeater, Olive Pigeon, Francolin, Archer’s Robin Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush plus Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Rwenzori Batis, White Starred Robin, Rwenzori Turcaco as well as the Greater Double collard Sunbird. Plus many others.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Mt Gahinga Lodge (luxury), Lake Mulehe Safari Lodge (Mid-range), or Travellers Hotel (Budget)

Day 5: transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable forest for Birding in Ruhija sector

Bwindi Impenetrable forest is one of the abundant forests in East Africa and has rich vegetation, butterflies and birds. More than 360 mountain gorillas –half of the mountain gorilla population worldwide resides in Bwindi. The number of bird species documented in the park today are about 347 species. The forest inhabits 10 out of 26 of the world known endangered species, five being vulnerable and is a home to 24 out of the 25 Albertine Rift endemics in Uganda.

While we are in Ruhija, we should look out for the Sharpe’s Starling, Rwenzori Batis, Willcock’s Honey guide, Collared Apalis, Black headed Waxbill, Dusky Crimsonwing, Montane Sooty Boubou, Abyssinian Crimsonwing, Banded Prinia, Mountain Greenbul,  Regal Sunbirds, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Blue headed Sunbirds, Mountain Illadopsis, Strange Weaver, Archer’s Robin-chat, plus the White-starred Robin among others.

We will make a few stops during our journey at Echuya forest to have a chance at good bird watching and maybe get to see the Albertine rift endemics.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Bakiga Lodge, (Mid-range), Broadbill Forest Camp (Budget)

Day 6: Birding in Ruhija-Bwindi forest

We explore the birds as we head towards Mubwindi swamp where the path descends sharply through the thick forest and then rounds the marshy forest. At the beginning of the trail, the birds you come across may look a lot like those you have already seen however the longer you spend will give you a chance to see the unique and the resident Grauer’s Broadbill.

Some of the other birds you can watch out for include the Rwenzori Nightjar, Think-billed plus the Streaky Seedeaters, Yellow-billed Barbet, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Dusky Twinspots, Black-billed Turaco’s,  Bar-tailed Trogon, Oriole Finch, White-headed Hoopoe, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Montane Oriole, Dwarf Honey-Guide, Pink-footed Puffback, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Red-headed Malimbe, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike and Waller’s Starling among others.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Bakiga Lodge, (Mid-range), Broadbill Forest Camp (Budget)

Day 7: Birding in Buhoma through ‘The Neck’ – Bwindi forest

We shall set off from Ruhija section of Bwindi to Buhoma to go for birding as well as gorilla trekking if you are interested. During the journey, we stop by ‘the neck’ which is a vital habitat and it gives you the opportunity to see Black Bee-eaters, Cassin’s grey flycatcher, pink footed puffback, Cassin’s Hawk eagle, Mountain wagtail, Bronze napped pigeon, Toro-olive Greenbul plus the unique Chapin’s flycatcher.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Bwindi lodge (luxury), Haven Lodge (Mid-range), or Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Budget)

Day 8: Gorilla trekking and birding in Buhoma.

The Buhoma part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has paths that cut across the forest giving you the ultimate points of viewing the birds.

Some of the birds that you might come across on this trail are the Grey-backed Camropteras, Brown Sunbirds, Olive Green Camropteras, Blue-headed Sunbirds, White-chinned Prinia, Northern Double-collared Sunbirds, Cape wagtail, Grey headed Sunbirds, White-bellied Robin-chat, Black Bee-Eater, Handsome Francolin, Kivu Ground Thrush, Streaky Seedeater, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Thick-billed Seedeater, Common Stonechat, African Golden Oriole, Black throated Robin chat, Montane Oriole, Barred Long tailed Cuckoo, African broadbill, Black throated Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Mountain Masked Apalis, as well as Chin spot Batis and others.

For those that love gorilla trekking, you have the opportunity to go for it.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation Options: Bwindi lodge (luxury), Haven Lodge (Mid-range), or Buhoma Community Rest Camp (Budget)

Day 9: Birding to Kampala – Departure to Entebbe

Today will be the final day of our trip so we set off for Entebbe after the number of days spent searching for the Albertine rift endemics. We shall make a few stops in a couple of places for birding on our way to Entebbe.

We have come to the end of our search for Albertine rift endemics.  We hope you had a memorable time in Uganda birding, the hospitality of the people, the food plus the beauty that is the Pearl of Uganda.

Tour includes

  • Full board accommodation as detailed in itinerary
  • Service of an English-speaking driver guide
  • Ground transport in a 4WD safari Vehicle
  • Bottled water in the car
  • Park entrance fees
  • Birding fees

Tour excludes

  • Personal expenses on drinks, telephone, laundry etc
  • Tips to porters and driver/ guide
  • Insurance
  • All activities listed as optional (gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking)
  • Visas
  • International flights
  • Covid tests

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