African Golden Cat, Bwindi Forest Uganda by Patrick Gijsbers

Tour 1: Wednesday 8th – Sunday 19th March 2023 (Entebbe to Entebbe)
Tour 2: Wednesday 22nd March – Sunday 2nd April 2023 (Entebbe to Entebbe)

Tour Price: £3,599pp 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 5  people to ensure one vehicle and a window seat.

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, 1 night near Inshasha, 4 nights Bwindi Forest, 1 night Lake Mburo 
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 the 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 – Mabamba Swamp – Kibale Forest
After an early breakfast we head  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! 
By ate morning 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 early evening. We will visit the Kibale Forest for our first spotlighting session. Overnight Kibale Forest Lodge

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 Forest Lodge

DAY 5: Kibale to Queen Elizabeth NP
Today we travel through Queen Elizabeth National Park where we will see a great selection of mammals and birds in very different habitat to the forest. Overnight near Inshasha Road

DAY 6: QENP to Ruhija
This morning we will head  to the eastern edge of Bwindi Forest in the Ruhija section of this vast forest. The journey time will be around 3 hours and we will arrive by mid afternoon ready to start our first evening spotlighting session. Overnight Broadbill Camp/Trekkers Tavern

DAYS 7 – 10: 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 11: Ruhija to Lake Mburo
Today we will leave very early and arrive at our lodge for breakfast. We will then enjoy exploring the Lake Mburo NP where we will tae a boat trip on Lake Mburo. There will be a good selection of classic African water birds to see here. These may include Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath, Purple and Squacco Herons, African Fish Eagle and African Marsh Harrier, Yellow-billed Duck,  Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Swamp Flycatcher, Hamerkop and Papyrus Gonolek. This is also an excellent site to see African Finfoot. There should also be a good selection of Weavers such as, Slender-billed and Black-headed Weaver.

During the evening we will do some spotlighting in the park where there are chances of seeing Serval and Leopard as well as commoner species. Overnight Rwakobo Lodge

Shoebill, Mabamba Swamp by Chris Townend

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