28 days hardcore birding tour in Uganda

This is the ultimate birding tour in Uganda! This 28 day Uganda birding tour takes you to the most visited parks and reserves that include all 9 of Uganda’s 10 national parks and all major birding hotspots, thereby covering a wide range of habitats in the different biomes and you will tick off as much as possible from the 1073 bird species so far recorded in Uganda. You will also come across a plethora of other wildlife including mammals, primates, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and plants, and experience the diverse landscapes and amazing scenery as you traverse this beautiful country.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrival in Uganda

Arrival in Uganda, meet your bird guide and transfer to Nkima Forest Lodge in Nkima Forest which is a small patch of forest on a hill overlooking Mabamba wetlands. Depending on your flight you may do some afternoon birding in Nkima Forest. The Nkima Forest provides good chances at the White-spotted Flufftail that has become its special. The Green Sunbird is a resident seen in flowering plants near the main house of the lodge.

Day 2 – Early morning birding in Mabamba wetland and continue to Mabira forest

Have early breakfast and go birding in the Mabamba wetlands which are situated a few minutes’ drive from Nkima Forest Lodge. Up to 260 birds species have been recorded in Mabamba, and these include a number of Lake Victoria biome restricted species and several swamp specials. Taking a local motorized boat, you shall explore the papyrus wetlands to record many water birds. Top on the list is the famous Shoebill.

After about 4 hours of birding in Mabamba wetland you shall leave for Mabira forest, have lunch and continue birding in Mabira forest for the rest of the afternoon. Mabira forest is the biggest forest in the central region of Uganda. It has a bird list of about 316 species and offers may forest specials, including 74 out of the 144 Guinea – Congo Forests biome species recorded in Uganda.

Overnight in the heart of the forest at the Rainforest Lodge Mabira.

Day 3 – Birding in Mabira Forest and transfer to Mt. Elgon National Park

Early rise and birding in Mabira Forest that will provide a number of forest species. Some of the Mabira forest specials include Narina Trogon, Forest Woodhoopoe, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Forest Robin, Brown-chested Alethe, Green-tailed Bristlebill, etc…

In the afternoon you shall continue to Mt. Elgon National Park in eastern Uganda.

Day 4 – Whole day birding in Mt. Elgon National Park

Today you shall spend the day birding in Mount Elgon National Park. About 300 species have been recorded in Mountain Elgon National Park which includes 56 out of the 87 Afrotropical highland biome species and 40 restricted range species. Some of the key species to look out for in Mount Elgon include Alpine Chat, Moustached Green Tinkerbird, Jackson’s Francolin, Black-collared Apalis, Black-shouldered Kite, Lammergeyer etc…

Day 5 – Transfer to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve

Transfer to Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve and kickstart your birding in the sem-arid Karamoja region (north eastern Uganda). North-eastern Uganda shares a bit of the Somali – Masai biome and has many species not found in other parts of Uganda.

Day 6 – birding in Pian Upe, through Matheniko Wildlife Reserve and transfer to Kidepo Valley National Park.

You will continue birding through Pian Upe wildlife reserve and Matheniko Wildlife Reserve both of which are undiscovered birding hotspots in Uganda, as you proceed to the crown of this region; Kidepo valley national park.

Day 7 – Birding in Kidepo Valley National Park

Today you shall have a full day of birding in Kidepo Valley National Park. Kidepo is tucked away in the remote northeastern corner of Uganda where it is receives very view visits compared to other parks in Uganda. Kidepo and the north eastern semi-arid region provides Somali – Masai biome species that you do not find in the rest of in Uganda. It is especially outstanding for birds of prey. The park is home to about 475 species. The Karamoja Apalis is top on the list, but some of the other specialities to look out for include Kori Bustard, Egyptian Vulture, Pygmy Falcon, etc…

Day 8 – Drive to Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast you shall travel to Murchison Falls National Park.

Day 9 – Morning birding and afternoon boat cruise

You will set out for early morning birding in Murchison Falls National Park. You will explore the savannah plains on the northern bank of the Nile that will provide a number of savannah birds and great animal sightings.

After lunch you shall go for the 2 hour boat cruise on the Nile to the base of the Murchison Falls. You will spot water birds and animals. When you get to the base of the Murchison Falls you shall disembark and go on a guided hike to the top of the Murchison falls. The Nile squeezes through a small gap about 7 meters wide and explodes with such a roar! The Murchison Falls is the most powerful waterfall in the world and it is such a spectacle. Getting to the top of the falls you will join your driver and transfer back to the lodge.

Day 10 – Transfer to Budongo Forest while birding through the escarpment

Today you shall transfer to Masindi/Budongo forest while birding through the escarpment.

Day 11 – Whole day birding the royal mile in Budongo Forest and transfer to Hoima

Today you shall have a whole day birding in Budongo Forest which is the biggest forest in Uganda and East Africa. Budongo is home to about 360 bird species, of which 2 species are not found anywhere else in East Africa. You will take on the “Royal Mile” the main birding trail in Budongo forest. Key birds include Ituri Batis, Puvel’s illadopsis, African Paradise Flycatcher, White-thighed Hornbill, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, etc…

Later you shall transfer to Hoima for the overnight.

Day 12 – Drive to Semuliki National Park

After breakfast you shall travel to Semuliki National Park

Day 13 –The whole day birding in Semuliki to look African Piculet

You will set out for birding in Semuliki National Park. Situated on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Semuliki National Park protects the Ituri forest of central Africa which brings central African species into East Africa. You bird along the Kirumia trail which is the most popular trail in Semuliki. Top of on the list of birds to spot in Semuliki is the African Piculet and other species of the central Africa which cannot be found anywhere else in East Africa.

Later you shall drive to Kibale Forest National Park.

Day 14 – Whole day birding in Kibale looking for Blue-breasted Pitta and Bigodi birding walk

You will have an early morning set off into Kibale Forest national Park. Kibale forest is home to about 375 birds species that have been recorded so far. One of the highlights of Kibale is the Green-breasted Pitta.

You will return from Kibale National Park in the afternoon.

After lunch you shall go for a walk in Bigodi wetlands which is quite productive as well.

Day 15 – Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, evening birding

After breakfast you shall transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park, check into the lodge for some relaxation.

In the evening you shall go for birding and safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Day 16 – Morning birding and afternoon boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel

Early rise and go for birding and safari in the savanna plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Queen Elizabeth N.P. boasts of the biggest bird list of all the parks in Uganda with more than 600 species recorded. This is attributed to the park’s diversity of habitats. After close to 4 hours in the park you shall return to the lodge for lunch.

After lunch you shall go for the boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. The Kazinga Channel is 32km stream of water connecting two lakes, Edward and George. The channel is an oasis of birds hosting hundreds of bird species.

Day 17 – Transfer to Ishasha, evening birding and Tree climbing Lions

After breakfast you shall transfer to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park and after checking into the lodge you shall go birding and look for the Tree climbing lions which are unique to this area.

Day 18 – Transfer to Bwindi National Park/Buhoma sector

After breakfast you shall transfer to Bwindi National Park/ Buhoma sector

Day 19 – Whole day birding in Buhoma looking for Short-tailed Warbler

Today you shall commence your birding Bwindi National park. Bwindi National Park is ranked by the African Bird Club as the number one birding destination in Africa. Bwindi is home to 23 of the 24 Albertine rift endemics found in Uganda. Today you will bird in the Buhoma sector and top on the list of the Albertine rift endemics is the Short-tailed Warbler

Day 20 – Gorilla tracking in Bwindi National Park

Today you shall go for the gorilla tracking adventure in Bwindi National Park. Bwindi accounts for close to half of the remaining Mountain Gorilla population in the world. You will report to the park office at 7am to meet the park guides for briefing and assigning of the gorilla group and thereafter head off into the forest for the unforgettable gorilla encounter.

Day 21 – Transfer to Ruhija through the neck

Today you shall transfer to the Ruhija sector of Bwindi National Park while birding through the neck.

Day 22 – Whole day birding in Mubwindi Swamp to look for the African Green Broadbill

Today shall go birding in the Mubwindi Swamp which is known to offer the highest chances of recording the elusive African Green Broadbill, one of the most sought after Albertine rift endemics.

Day 23 – Transfer to Mgahinga National Park

After breakfast you shall transfer to Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

Day 24 – Whole day birding in Mgahinga National Park

Today you shall go hiking and birding in Mgahinga National Park. Mgahinga national park protects Uganda’s part of the Virunga mountains range. The park has about 180 bird species recorded. Top on the list is the Rwenzori Turaco, the only Albertine rift endemic not Bwindi National Park.

Day 25 – Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for a day of relaxation

Today you transfer to Lake Bunyonyi to relax. You will do a canoe ride on the lake to explore the beautiful scenery.

Day 26 – Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park

After breakfast you shall check out and transfer to Lake Mburo National Park. Lake Mburo National park is the small savanna park in Uganda. The park will breakdown your journey back to Kampala/Entebbe but also offer a rewarding birding and safari experience.

Day 27 –morning birding and afternoon boat cruise on Lake Mburo

You will set out for early morning and safari in lake Mburo national Park. Lake Mburo national park has an impressive bird list of about 350 species and many mammals.

In the afternoon you shall go for the a boat cruise on Lake Mburo to spot some birds species. The African Finfoot is the most sought after bird on the lake.

Day 28 – Departure back to Entebbe for your flight

Today you shall transfer to the airport for your flight.

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