• Shoebill Stork

Birding and Photography - 15 Days UGANDA

With over 1000 species of birds, Uganda is a must-visit for any birdwatching enthusiast. The Shoebill is one of Africa’s most sought after birds, and Uganda has so much more to offer besides, like the rare Green-breasted Pitta and Grey-winged Robin and many spectacular Albertine Rift endemics. The huge bird list is even more remarkable given the small size of the country making it, arguably, the richest African birding destination.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Day 1: Arrival
Arrival at the airport in Kampala, transfer and check in at your hotel.

If time permits we can do some birding in the botanical gardens.
Dinner and overnight at Protea Hotel, Entebbe

Day 2: Mabamba Swamp

On our first morning we'll drive to the Mabamba Wetlands and paddle by canoe through the swamp. The Mabamba Swamps west of Entebbe is one of the best and most convenient places to see the elusive Shoebill. After a few minutes in a small canoe the papyrus reeds opens up into a flat grassy wetlands where a number of Shoebill can regularely be seen.

Target species:
- Shoebill Stork
- Lesser Jacana,
- Long–toed Plover,
- Blue-headed Coucal
- Blue breasted Bee-Eater

- Papyrus Gonolek
- White-winged Warbler
- Weyn’s Weaver

- Northern Brown-throated Weavers


Later in the afternoon we'll drive to Masindi/Budongo Forest where out hotel is located.

Dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel.

Day 3: The Royal Mile

All day birding of the Royal Mile, only returning to our hotel for lunch. The Royal Mile is found in the 793 km2 Budongo Forest Reserve that lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift and is attached to Murchison Falls National Park in the south. Named for its popularity as a traditional leisure stop-over for Uganda's royalty, the Royal Mile is a superb birding spot with many west and central African species, as well as a variety of sought-after key species. 

Target species:
- White-thighed Hornbill
- Blue-breasted Kingfisher
- Chocolate-backed Kingfisher
- Grey Parrot
- Dusky long-Long-tailed Cuckoo
- Nahan’s Frankolin
- White-breasted Negrofinch
- Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-Weaver
- Black-bellied Seedcracker
- Foxy cistcola
- Red-winged Grey warbler
- Cliff chat
- Green-headed sunbird
- Chestnut-crowned sparrow
- Dwarf kingfisher
- Yellow-crested woodpecker and a few primates.
Dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel for the second night.

Day 4: Murchison Falls National Park via Kanio Pabidi

Our day start driving to Kanio Pabidi birding along the road. The Kaniyo Pabidi forest extends over an expanse of approximately 8 km from the Kichumbanyobo gate. Chimpanzee and other primates can often be found foraging through the mahogany trees. A number of special species  such as the Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Ituri Batis and the White-thighed Hornbill occur here.

Target species:
- Puvell’s Illadopsdis Rufous-sided Broadbill
- Afeb Pigeon
- Yellow bill and yellow throated Tinker bird
- Honey guide Greenbul
- Red-tailed Ant-thrush
- Fire-crested Alethe
- Forest Robin
- Green Hylia
- Grey-throated Tit-Flycatcher
- Common Bristlebird Nahan’s Francolin
- Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle
- Yellow-footed Flycatcher

- Cassin’s Flycatcher
- Sabine’s Spine tails


Arriving late afternoon at Murchison Falls National Park and our accommodation at Paraa Safari Lodge.

Day 5: Birding in Murchison Falls National Park

We head out for a morning game watching and birding drive returning to the hotel for lunch followed by an afternoon boat ride. Murchison Falls national park has a unique location with several different ecosystems such as the Savannah grasslands, woodlands, rain forests, riverine vegetation, hosting a plethora of bird species. 

Target species:
- Shoebill Stork
- Green Pigeon
- Vinaceous Dove
- White-breasted Turaco
- Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
- Rock Pratincole
- Giant Kingfisher
- Swallow tailed bee- eater
- Red- throated bee-eater
- Carmine bee-eater
- Black- billed Barbet
- Spotted morning Thrush
- Northern Red and black-winged red Bishops


Dinner and overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge for the second night.

Day 6: Whole day drive

Full day drive to Kibale National Park with a few stops for birding.

Lunch on-route, dinner and overnight at Primate Lodge.

Day 7: Kibale National Park.

Birding in Kibale National Park is a fantastic experience. Kibale National Park and Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary are two prime African birding destinations located in the western part of the country.

Created in 1993, Kibale National Park is home to about 350 species of birds, six of which are endemic to the region. Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, a superb community development enterprise located on the fringe of Kibale National Park in Magombe Swamp is host to 138 species of birds.

Our morning birding in the park will continue in the afternoon ending at Bigodi Swamp.

Target species:
- Narina Trogon

- Green-breasted Pitta
- White-spotted Fluff tail
- Black-billed Turaco
- Blue-throated Roller
- White-naped Pigeon
- Brown-eared Woodpecker
- Red-tailed Ant-Thrush
- Yellow-spotted Nicator
- Black-and-white Shrike Flycatcher
- Chestnut wattle-eye
- Green Hylia Narrow tailed Starling
- Crested Guinea Fowl
- Yellow-billed Barbet
- Black billed Turaco
- white spotted Fluff tail
- Chestnut Wattle-eye
Lunch will be back at the hotel.

Dinner and overnight at Primate Lodge for the second night.

Day 8: Transfer to Semliki birding en-route

Our day start with a drive to Semliki, birding en-route. Having reached our destination in
the afternoon we will check in at the lodge and then head out for some afternoon birding. The Semliki Basin is considered a mecca for birders. Nowhere else in Africa will you find as many varied habitats. Semliki National Park – the western-most edge of the central Africa rainforest – borders the fabled Mountains of the Moon, the Rwenzori Mountains, with their mist-shrouded forests, and the Semliki Wildlife Reserve which rolls away to one of the Great Lakes of Africa: Lake Albert. All of this is nestled within the walls of the Western rift valley.

Target species:
- Rufous-sided Broadbill

- Chestnut-flanked Sparrowhawk
- Western Bronze-naped Pigeon
- Red-billed Hornbill
- Piping Hornbill
- African Dwarf Kingfishers
- White-crested
- Black Dwarf and Red-billed Dwarf
Dinner and overnight at Semiliki Safari Lodge.

Day 9: Full day birding Kirumia Trail

After early morning breakfast whereafter we proceed to Kirumia Trail for a full day birding. We will take along a packed lunch today. The birding at Semliki is as challenging as rewarding. The Kirumia Trail winds from the road for approximately 16 km to Semliki River, passing through ironwood-dominated forest, swamp forest, and overgrown cultivation.


Target species:
- Black-casqued Wattled Hornbill
- Nkurengu Rail
- Spot-breasted Ibis
- Forest Francolin
- Long-tailed Hawk
- Red-bellied Dwarf
- Black-wattled Hornbills and many other rare species.
Dinner and overnight at Semiliki Safari Lodge for the second night.

Day 10: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Today we will head to Queen Elizabeth National Park, birding on-route. Having reached Mweya in the evening, we'll bird around the hotel.

Target species
- Blue Quail
- African Crake
- Ross’s Turaco
- Jackson’s Pipit
- Red-headed Lovebird
- White-winged Black Tit
- Cassin’s Flycatcher
- Black Bee-eater
- African white-backed vulture
- Eagles
- Shining Blue Kingfisher
- Cinnamon-chested Bee-Eater

- Blue-breasted Kingfisher 。

Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Day 11: Birding in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Our day start with an early morning's game viewing and birding drive. Lunch will be back at the lodge with a boat trip in the afternoon on the Kazinga Channel. Along the channel we will encounter a variety of wildlife as well as hundreds of hippos and crocodiles. Elephants, Buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Bushbucks, Defassa Waterbucks and Warthogs also occur here. The Queen Elizabeth Park is classified as an Important Birding Area (IBA) by Birding International. The great variety of habitats mean it is home to over 600 species. This is the greatest of any East African national park, and a phenomenal number for such a small area.

Present in the park are numerous water birds, woodland and forest dwellers in the Maramagambo Forest, 54 raptors and various migratory species. Key species include the Martial Eagle, Black-rumped Buttonquail, African Skimmer, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Pinkbacked Pelican, African Broadbill, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Black Bee-eater, White-tailed Lark, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Corncrake, Lesser and Greater Flamingo, Shoebill, Bar-tailed Godwit.

Common African Savannah bird species:
- Green-backed Heron
- Yellow-billed Stork
- Saddle-billed Stork
- African Spoonbill
- Martial Eagle
- Common Quail
- Rufous-naped Lark.


Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge for the second night.

Day 12: Transfer to Bwindi - Buhoma-sector via Ishasha

After breakfast you will be transfered to Bwindi National Park via Ishasha. We will have lunch on-route. At Ishasha our game viewing include searching for the famous tree climbing Lions. The park is an excellent place for good bird and wildlife photography. We'll have an afternoon birding walk around the Buhoma area in search of our main target speices, Black-and-white Mannikin.


Dinner and overnight at Silverback Lodge

Day 13: Birding in Bwindi National Park.

The Bwindi National Park covers an area of 321 square km and is located in the south west of Uganda along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. This birding spot is home to over 320 bird species, making 23 of these species endemic to the area. Our birding will take us along the main park trail where we will search for a variety of species both in the morning and afternoon.

Target species:
- Africa Gawshawk
- Bar-tailed trogon
- Black Bee-Eater
- Mountain Illadopsis
- Red-faced woodland Warbler
- Yellow-footed Flycatcher
- White-tailed Blue Flycatcher
- White headed Wood-hoopoe
- Chapin’s Flycatcher
- Pink-footed puff back
- Bush Shrike, Starlings
- Brown-capped weavers
- Blue-throated Roller
- Wilcock’s Honey guide
- Elliot's Woodpecker


Dinner and overnight at Silverback Lodge for the second night.

Day 14: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park.

After an early morning breakfast we will transfer to Lake Mburo National Park with several birding stops on-route. 

This is the closest game park to Kampala city; it is located in a series of swamp-fringed lakes which provide a great habitat for bird life, notably the secretive African Finfoot and the Red-faced Barbet. Lake Mburo national park is a well developed Acacia woodland harboring great species of birds. It has a great number of savannah species of birds and is the best place in Uganda to view the typical savannah bird species

The park has about 313 different bird species including 8 of the 12 species of the Lake Victoria Basin biome that occur in Uganda, the elusive Shoebill stork and White-winged Warbler; other species to look out for are; the Crested, Coqui, and the Red-winged Francolins, Blue-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Barefaced Go-away bird, Harlequin and Blue Quails, Common Button Quail, White-headed and Black-billed Barbet, Greenwood Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Blue-napped Mousebird, Blue-breasted and Shining-blue Kingfishers, Lilac-breasted Roller, African-grey Hornbill, the Nubian, Buff-spotted, Brown-eared, and the Grey Woodpeckers, Trilling, Stout, and Wing-snapping Cisticolas, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, African-wattled Plover, Rufous napped and Flappet larks, Rufous-chested Swallow ,Yellow-throated Longclaw, Black-winged Bishop, Chubb’s, Carruther’s and a number of other Cisticolas, the Lesser and Great Swamp Warblers, among others.

Dinner and overnight at Mihingo Lodge

Day 15: Early morning birding and transfer to Kampala.

Our day will start with an early morning boat ride on Lake Mburo in search of among others the African Finfoot.

Target species:
- Red-faced Barbet (range restricted to a small area in Southern Uganda and Eastern Rwanda)
- Southern Ground Hornbill
- Spot-flanked Barbet
- Black–colored Barbet
- Blue-napped Mousebird
- White-winged Warbler
- Papyrus Gonolek
- Violet tipped Courser
- Northern Brown-throated Weaver
Lunch at the hotel and later drive to Kampala and transfer to Entebbe International Airport for your flight back home.