African Golden Cat, Bwindi Forest Uganda by Patrick Gijsbers

Tour 1: Tuesday 8th – Saturday 19th March 2022 (Entebbe to Entebbe)
Tour 2: Monday 21st March – Friday 1st April 2022 (Entebbe to Entebbe)
Tour 3: Thursday 12th May – Monday 23rd May 2022 (Entebbe to Entebbe)
(Entebbe to Entebbe)
Tour Price: £3,375pp plus flight
Gorilla & Chimp Permits: Not included but optional during tour
Estimated Flight Price: London to Entebbe approx. £600 return
Deposit: £500 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £150
Minimum Number: 4 people
Maximum Group Size: Just 4 people to ensure we give everyone the best opportunity to see as much as possible when spotlighting.

Target Species
Mammals: African Golden Cat, African Forest Elephant, Demidoff’s Dwarf Galago, Thomas’s Dwarf Galago, Northern Lesser Galago, L’Hoests Monkey, Guezera Colobus, Ashy-Red Colobus, Red-tailed Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Blue Monkey, Yellow-backed Duiker, Black-fronted Duiker, African Civet, Rusty-spotted Genet, Side-striped Jackal, Spotted-necked Otter and more! Plus numerous bat species.
Birds: Although this tour is not focused on birding, we are sure to see a great selection of East African bird species during the afternoons when looking for wildlife. Also, on our last full day we will make a specific effort to see Shoebill. There is also a possibility of trying for Green-breasted Pitta in Kibale for those interested.

Tour Summary
This is a pioneering tour very much focused on trying to see African Golden Cat and other mammals. We will also see a good selection of East African birds but our primary focus will be mammals. Therefore if you are keen to visit Uganda but are more focused on birding you would be best to join our birder’s tour in July.

African Golden Cat has been seen in the wild by very few people, despite having a sizeable distribution throughout areas of Central-East and West Africa. This beautiful and mythical cat is considered to be most closely related to the Caracal and Serval and not closely related to the Asiatic Golden Cats.
However, in recent years there have been a number of sightings emerging from within the forests of Uganda and it is here that we will focus our effort. We will spend the nights spotlighting quiet roads and forest tracks in Kibale and the Ruhija section of Bwindi Forest. We will concentrate in areas where previous sightings of African Golden Cat have occurred and we will also have a local researcher assisting us for some of the tour who has studied mammal movements in the forest through the use of trail cameras. This knowledge will help us further pinpoint hotspot areas to increase our chances of success. Of course there are no guarantees of a sighting and we will still need a little luck to be successful with such an elusive cat, but we believe targeting the areas that we have identified will give us the best chance!

Regardless of our fortunes with the elusive cat, there will of course be plenty of other wildlife to see during our spotlighting sessions. We will have many opportunities to look for primates and other mammals and birds during some daylight hours after resting from a night’s spotlighting. There will also be opportunities to look for Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee dependent on permit availability (not included in tour price). Our last full day will be spent looking for Uganda’s most iconic bird, the mighty Shoebill!

ACCOMMODATION: 11 nights in Uganda
A mix of the best quality hotels available and good quality lodges.
1 night Entebbe, 4 nights Kibale, 4 nights Bwindi Forest, 1 night Mabamba Swamp, 1 night Entebbe
Inclusive Meals: Full board

DAY 1: Arrival Entebbe
Arrive at Entebbe International Airport and transfer to our accommodation. After checking into our accommodation we will then visit he nearby botanical gardens and Lake Victoria where we are sure to find our first Guezera Colobos and a chance of Spotted-necked Otter on the lake. Overnight Lodge near Lake Victoria

Guerza Colobus, Entebbe Botanicla Gardens by Chris Townend

DAY 2: Entebbe to Kibale Forest
After breakfast we will travel to Kibale Forest, a journey of around 300Km to the west. The journey time is approximately six hours and we will make a couple of stops en route for any wildlife before arriving at our accommodation by mid afternoon. We will visit the Kibale Forest area during the early evening before starting our first spotlighting session until the early hours. Overnight Kibale Homestay

DAYS 3 – 5 : Kibale National Park
We will spend the next two evenings and early hours of the morning spotlighting quiet roads and forest tracks for African Golden Cat. More common mammals that we expect to see during the night include, African Civet, Rusty Spotted Genet, Thomas’s Dwarf and Demidoff’s Dwarf Galagos and maybe African Forest Elephant. We will rest during the mornings and head out again in the afternoon to look for diurnal species.

Great Blue Turacos by Chris Townend

Of course Kibale National Park is famous for the highest concentration of Primates in Africa and it is a reliable site for habituated chimpanzees. Chimp Trek: We hope there will be an opportunity to buy a last minute Chimp permit on one day. Regardless, primate sightings of species such as Red-tailed Monkey and Grey-cheeked Mangabey will be a daily occurrence during the afternoons.

Chimpanzee, Kibale Forest by Chris Townend

Although not the best time of year, Green-Breasted Pitta is possible in Kibale and it is by far the best place in Africa to find this Pitta. If any birds are present and people are interested to try, we will also offer this as an option. Overnight Kibale Home Stay

DAY 6: Kibale to Ruhija
This morning we will leave Kibale after breakfast and head 350Km south to the eastern edge of Bwindi Forest in the Ruhija section of this vast forest. The journey time will be around 6 hours and we will arrive by mid afternoon ready to start our first evening spotlighting session. Overnight Broadbill Camp/Trekkers Tavern

DAYS 7 – 9: Ruhija
The Ruhija section of Bwindi has been a recent hotspot area for sightings of African Golden Cat. We will spend the next four evenings and early hours of the morning spotlighting quiet roads and forest tracks for African Golden Cat. More common mammals that we expect to see during the night include, African Civet, Large Spotted Genet, Thomas’s Dwarf and Demidoff’s Dwarf Galagos, Northern Lesser Galago, Black-fronted Duiker and Side-striped Jackal. As before, we will rest during the mornings and head out again in the afternoons to look for diurnal species.
Gorilla Trek: We hope here will be the opportunity to take a Gorilla trek, but it very much depends on the last minute availability of permits during our stay.

Eastern Gorilla, Bwindi by Helen Booker

Day 10: Ruhija to Mabamba Swamp
Today will be a very long day of travel. We will make some stops en route but the journey time is expected to be 10 hours. Overnight Nkima Forest Lodge

Day 11: Mabamba Swamp
After an early breakfast we head a short distance to Mabamba swamp on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the few remaining wetlands in the country protected by the local communities. It is an extensive papyrus swamp with channels and lagoons, classified as an Important Bird Area and home to several pairs of Shoebill. This species is the only representative of its family and one of the most sought after birds in Africa. We will take a boat trip through the papyrus channels to find this amazing bird where we hope to get some stunning views!

Shoebill, Mabamba Swamp by Chris Townend

There will of course be a good selection of other classic African water birds to see here. These may include Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Pink backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath, Purple, Squacco and Black-headed Herons, African Fish Eagle and African Marsh Harrier, Yellow-billed Duck, African and Lesser Jacanas, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Swamp Flycatcher, Hamerkop, African Water Rail, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Grey-crowned Crane, African Openbill Stork and maybe Allen’s Gallinule too. There should also be a good selection of Weavers such as, Northern Brown-throated, Orange, Golden-backed and Black-headed Weaver. We will also look for Red-chested Sunbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Winding Cisticola and African Grey Parrots may be seen flying overhead. At the edge of Mabamba swamp in the farmland areas, we may find Great Blue and Ross’s Turacos, Western Banded Snake-Eagle, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, African Pied Hornbill, Superb Sunbird and Splendid Glossy Starlings. Overnight Entebbe

DAY 12: Transfer to Entebbe
We will do some final pre-breakfast birding around lodge before departing for Entebbe airport where the tour concludes.

Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides

Leaders: Wise Birding leader and local guides including local researcher in Kibale.
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, all meals, bottled water, all entrance fees, boat trip at Mabamba Swamp and services of the leaders
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, optional Gorilla and Chimp permits, drinks other than above and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £175
Transport: A/C Landcruiser throughout
Difficulty: Easy
Much of our time will be spotlighting from a vehicle with a pop-up roof. Other general wildlife viewing will be done from roads or forest trails. When walking forest trails, we will be walking at a slow pace and walking an average of around 4Km.
Gorilla Trekking: Easy – Difficult
Trekking for gorillas can take a matter of minutes or a whole day and it is just pot luck where the animals are feeding on the day. For the majority of occasions, gorillas tend to be found within the morning. The trekking is uphill and can be strenuous dependent on where the animals are found.
Climate: Day time temperatures mid to late 20C and rain is possible.
Tour Start Point: Entebbe International airport, Uganda
Tour End Point: Entebbe International airport, Uganda
Suggested Airlines: Emirates or KLM 

African Golden Cat, Bwindi Forest Uganda by Patrick Gijsbers