The 15-day Best of Uganda forest birding safari will take you through Uganda’s major birding forests on well-maintained trails. On this safari, we begin with the Mabira forest, which is home to over 315 bird species and is surrounded by agricultural lands, both subsistence and commercial. Following that, we travel to Budongo Forest, which protects the largest natural forest in East Africa and is home to 350 bird species. We continue to Semuliki National Park, which protects an eastern extension of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s vast Ituri Forest. Because it is a relatively stable forest, it is one of Africa’s richest areas for forest birds, with a large number of Central African species.
Our birding adventure will continue to Kibale Forest National Park, a large block of the rainforest with excellent birding. In addition to the highest concentration of primates in East Africa. The forest is home to over 350 bird species and offers the opportunity to track Chimpanzees. This birding tour concludes in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to over 350 bird species and voted Africa’s finest birding destination.
- Nature walks
- Wildlife sightings
- Gorilla trekking
DAY 1:ARRIVE IN UGANDA
When you arrive at Entebbe Airport, you will be met by our representative, who will transfer you to your respective hotel in Kampala or Entebbe. The guide will also give you a thorough briefing about your tour and Uganda in general.
Day 2: Birding in Mabira Forest
To avoid traffic, we drive to Mabira Forest early in the morning after breakfast. Mabira Forest Reserve is the largest forest reserve closest to Kampala and is known for its diverse animal population, particularly primates and bird species. Over 300 bird species live in the forest. Some of the birds can be found feeding on the ground, while others can be found in the tree branches and canopies. However, our trip will be focused on looking for the Chestnut and Jameson's Wattle-eye, Grey Parrot, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-billed Barbet, etc. You will also encounter the Speckled Tinkerbird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, White-bellied Kingfisher, African Dwarf Kingfisher, and Forest Robin, among others.
In addition to the red-tailed monkeys, primate enthusiasts may have the opportunity to see the Grey-cheeked Mangabey. Following our birding experience in Mabira, drive to Budongo Forest passing through amazing landscapes, farmlands, and villages in the countryside. On arrival, check into your lodge. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 3: Birding in Budongo via the Kaniyo Padidi Trail
After breakfast, take on birding via the Kaniyo Padidi trail in the southern sector of the Murchison Falls National Park. This will be our first introduction to central African forest birding, and we'll spend the majority of the day in the vast Budongo Forest Reserve, East Africa's largest natural forest area. The trail is the only known site for Puvel's Illadopsis in East Africa. This bird, as well as a variety of other forest species, can be found. We'll have most of the day to look for a good mix of common species and more local specialties. Expect to see species such as White-crested Turaco, Chestnut-crowned Eremomela, Little Green Sunbird, and Olive-bellied Crombec, among others. A few more unusual species from West Africa such as the White-thighed Hornbill, Blue-breasted, Chocolate-backed and Dwarf kingfishers, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Yellow-crested, and Brown-eared Woodpeckers, among others can also be seen.
We will also be in a prime area for a variety of primates such as Blue and Red-tailed Monkeys, as well as Black and White Colobus Monkeys, among others. After exploring Kaniyo Padidi, return to your lodge and relax.
Day 4: Birding in Budongo via the Royal Mile
Today's birding will be centered on "The Royal Mile," a wide forestry track regarded as one of the country's premier forest birding locations. Through this trail, expect numerous sights of the Tambourine Dove, Yellowbill kingfisher, Yellow-billed barbet, Speckled Tinkerbird, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Hairy-breasted Barbet, etc. More species found on this trail include the Nahan’s Francolin, Plain Greenbul, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Rufous Flycatcher, and Honeyguide, among others. Return to your lodge after for lunch and relaxation.
Day 5: Transfer to Semuliki National Park
Today, after breakfast, we will bird our way to Semuliki National Park in search of the central African specials. As we drive to Semuliki forest, we will make several stops for lunch and birding in the en-route forest patches and swampy areas. You will arrive in Semuliki in the late afternoon. Check into your lodge then visit Sempaya Hot Springs to check out the male and female hot springs. Return to your lodge after. Dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 6: Birding in Semuliki National Park
Today after breakfast, we go birding in Semuliki in search of the Central African bird species. Semuliki is a haven for birds, flora, and fauna. We look for species that are unique to Central Africa. Expect species such as the Congo Serpent Eagle, White-crested Hornbill, Red-billed Dwarf, Long-tailed Hawk, and Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, among many others. Semuliki is also home to more bird species which include Abyssinian Ground thrush, Yellow-throated Nicator, Little Greenbul, Common Stonechat Robin-chat, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Fire-crested Alethe, white-throated Blue swallow, Swamp Palm Bulbul, etc.
While birding in Semuliki, also look out for creatures such as monkeys, bush babies, African elephants, African civets, hippos, and leopards among others. Return to your lodge later and relax.
Day 7: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park – Birding in Bigodi Wetland
After breakfast, we depart for Kibale National Park for another Uganda Forest Birding Safari adventure. We will make have a few stopovers along the way for great landscape views and birding opportunities. Arrival in the Park will be in the afternoon upon which you will check into your lodge. Have lunch and later head for a swamp walk in the Bigodi wetland. Bigodi is a birder's paradise with approximately 138 species, and it is punctuated by biodiversity and beautiful scenery. It also has eight primates, including the black-and-white colobus, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and red-tailed monkeys. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 8: Birding in Kibale Forest National Park
Breakfast first thing in the morning, then off to Kibale Forest for birding. This rainforest is home to over 13 primate species, including chimps, L’Hoest’s, Red-tailed, Blue Monkey, red colobus, black and white colobus, and grey-cheeked Mangabey, among others. The birding excursion will allow you to explore Kibale’s bird species including the Green-breasted Pitta. Other notable species in the forest include the Marsh Tchagra, Black Bee-eater, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, White-naped Pigeon, Narina’s Trogon, Green-backed Pitta, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Afep Pigeon and many others.
Day 9: Chimpanzee Trekking
After an early breakfast, the guide will drive you to the Park Headquarters at Kanyanchu for a chimp trekking briefing. After the briefing, set out into the jungle in search of the chimpanzees. Kibale has the highest concentration of chimpanzees in Africa. With about 1,500 individuals, the Park is the primate capital of the world, and chimpanzee trekking is a key activity done here.
You will trek for about 1 to 3 hours, depending on the location of your allocated chimp group in the forest. Once you find them, you will have one hour to spend time watching and observing their behaviors and how they interact with each other. Although chimp trekking is the most well-known activity here, you will also see blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, olive baboons, L’Hoest’s monkeys, and black and white Colobus monkeys, among other primates. The park is home to over 100 butterfly species, as well as giant forest hogs and antelopes. After chimpanzee trekking, return to your lodge and have lunch.
Day 10: Transfer to Maramagambo Forest – Queen Elizabeth National Park
After breakfast, transfer to Maramagambo Forest and check out for more bird species. En route, you will be treated to sightings of the magnificent Rwenzori Mountain ranges and the crater lakes region. On arrival, drive straight to your lodge in Queen Elizabeth and check in. After lunch, drive to Maramagambo forest for a bird-watching experience. Maramagambo forest is a famous bird-watching spot in Queen Elizabeth National Park which contains many forest bird species. You will encounter a range of like the Martial Eagle, Chapin’s Flycatcher, African Broadbill, White-winged Warbler, White-naped Pigeon, Rwenzori Turaco, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Papyrus Canary, Black-headed Batis, African skimmer, White-tailed lark, Papyrus gonolek, and many more. After spotting several bird species in the Maramagambo forest return to your lodge and relax. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 11: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
After an early morning game drives through the Ishasha southern sector of the Park, we bird our way to the Ruhija sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The Ishasha sector is known for hosting remarkable tree-climbing lions. And on a good day, expect to encounter them climbing up in the acacia and fig trees and proceed to Bwindi. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is East Africa's richest forest in terms of trees, butterflies, and birds. It is home to the world's largest population of mountain gorillas. The park is also home to more than 350 bird species on its list. The forest is home to 10 of Uganda's 26 globally threatened species, five of which are vulnerable, as well as 24 of the country's 25 Albertine Rift endemics. Dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 12: Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi
After an early breakfast, you will travel to Bwindi's headquarters for a briefing about the gorilla trekking experience by the guides. During the briefing, you will also be assigned a gorilla family to trek and a ranger to guide you on your escapade. Thereafter, set out into the thickets of Bwindi in search of the mountain gorillas. This experience can be stressful and exhausting at times. It may also take anywhere between 1 to 6 hours depending on the location of the gorillas. However, once you have found the gentle apes, it is all worth it. Get to watch the feed, breastfeed and interact with each other. The Forest is also home to a variety of tree species, mammals, butterflies, birds, and other smaller primates, all of which provide breathtaking views. You will be given an hour to spend with the gorillas. After, return to your lodge, have lunch and relax.
Day 13: Birding in Ruhija
Following an early breakfast, you will go bird watching within the sector. This is a very beautiful area at a higher elevation with views into Rwanda, and it is a fantastic birding area. You will take the Umubwindi Swamp Trail, which will lead you through an elephant-inhabited area. There are about 20 bird species in the area, including the African Green Broadbill and the Grauer's Rush Warbler. You will also encounter the Short-tailed Warbler, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Rwenzori Nightjar, Kivu Ground Thrush, Waller's Starling, Rwenzori Turaco, Chubb’s Cisticola, Masked Apalis, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, etc
You will be able to explore another birding trail if time allows. Enjoy a picnic lunch in this birding paradise, making the entire experience unforgettable. On your way back to the lodge, you'll see a variety of other birds. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 14: Birding in the Buhoma sector
Following breakfast, you will depart for a full day bird-watching spree within the Buhoma sector as well as on the park's outskirts, with views of several Cuckoos, Turacos, Bar-tailed Trogon, Black bee-eater, Grey-throated Barbet, Crested Guinea Fowl, Ameson’s Antpecker, Pink-footed Puff back, Grey-crowned Crane, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Cape Wagtail, Red-headed Bluebill, and African Blue Flycatchers, among others. Have a wonderful day that will be extremely rewarding. Return to your lodge after and relax. Dinner and overnight.
Day 15: Travel back Kampala/Entebbe
After a hefty breakfast, you will check out of your hotel and begin your journey back to Kampala, Uganda's capital. Have lunch en route in Mbarara City and then proceed with your journey. you will also have a stopover in Kayabwe at the Equator Monument. At the Equator, enjoy standing in two hemispheres at the same time and photography before proceeding to Kampala. On arrival in Kampala, the driver guide will transfer your hotel for the night. And should you have a departure flight to catch, you will be dropped off at the Airport. This marks the end of your 15-day Best of Uganda forest birding safari.
• All park entry fees
• Gorilla trekking permits
• Chimpanzee trekking permits
• Full-board accommodation
• Service of a professional English-speaking driver/guide
• Ground transportation in a 4x4 custom safari vehicle
• Nature walks
• Bottled drinking water in the safari vehicle
• Travel Insurance
• International flights
• Personal expenses
• All optional activities excluded in the itinerary