African Golden Cat by Patrick Gijsbers

Dates: Thursday 25th April – Tuesday 7th May 2024 (Entebbe to Entebbe)
Tour Price: £4,350pp 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: 5 people
Maximum Group Size: 5 people to ensure one vehicle and a window seat.

Target Species
Mammals: African Golden Cat, Serval, Lion, African Forest and Savannah Elephants, Demidoff’s Dwarf Galago, Thomas’s Dwarf Galago, Spectacled Lesser Galago, L’Hoests Monkey, Guezera Colobus, Ashy-Red Colobus, Red-tailed Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Blue Monkey, East African Potto, Lord Derby’s Anomalure, Black-fronted Duiker, African Civet, Rusty-spotted Genet, Side-striped Jackal, Spotted-necked Otter and more!
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. On our first full day we will make a specific effort to see Shoebill

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 where we have invaluable information from our trail cameras.
See one of our many videos below.

We will concentrate in areas where previous sightings of African Golden Cat have occurred through our local guide’s knowledge which 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 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). This tour also includes 3 boat trips, one to see numerous mammals in QENP and another on Lake Mburo and of course our first full day will include a boat trip to look for Uganda’s most iconic bird, the mighty Shoebill!

African Golden Cat, Kibale Forest from one of Wise Birding’s Trail Cameras

ACCOMMODATION: 12 nights in Uganda
A mix of the best quality hotels available and good quality lodges.
1 night Entebbe, 7 nights Kibale, 1 night Queen Elizabeth NP, 2 nights Bwindi Forest (Buhoma), 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 Colobus and a chance of Spotted-necked Otter on the lake. Overnight Lodge near Lake Victoria

Guerza Colobus, Entebbe Botanical 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 late 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 travel directly in order to arrive at our accommodation by early evening ready for our first spotlighting session. Overnight Guereza Canopy Lodge

DAYS 3 – 8 : Kibale National Park
We will become mostly nocturnal for the next 6 nights 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, East African Potto and maybe African Forest Elephant. We will rest during the mornings and head out again in the late afternoon to look for diurnal species. Our lodge is in a wonderful location where there are some fabulous birds to be seen in the garden and Serval and African Forest Elephant are also recorded every now and then!

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 may also be able to offer this as an option. Overnight Guereza Canopy Lodge

DAY 9: Kibale to Queen Elizabeth NP
Today we travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park where we will see a great selection of mammals and birds in very different habitat to the forest. The travel time to QENP is only around 3 hours from Kibale and we will enjoy an afternoon boat trip on the Kazinga Channel (between Lake Edward and Lake George). Whilst on the water, we should enjoy numerous mammals including Savannah Elephants, Waterbuck, Hippo and a good selection of waders including Kittlitz’s Plover, Water Thick-knee and there is also a possibility of Skimmers too! Overnight Queen Elizabeth NP

DAY 10: Queen Elizabeth NP to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
This morning we will take a game drive in QENP where we have a good chance of finding Lions and if lucky we may find Leopard too. Another key target will be Giant Forest Hog as we check a number of mud pools where they like to wallow during the late morning. We will then travel along the famous Ishasha Road where we are sure to make numerous stops for wildlife as we pass numerous wetland areas and we will keep an eye out for tree climbing Lions. We will arrive in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest by early evening. Overnight Ride 4A Woman

DAY 11: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
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. Later in the day we will have the opportunity to visit a project that is helping to protect Pangolins in the area and we may have the opportunity to see one too. Overnight Ride 4A Woman

Eastern Gorilla, Bwindi by Helen Booker

Day 12: Bwindi to Lake Mburo
Today we leave after breakfast and head towards Lake Mburo NP. Here, we will enjoy our final boat trip on Lake Mburo. There will be a good selection of classic African water birds to see here. These may include the commoner species such as Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Purple and Squacco Herons, African Fish Eagle, Water Thick-knee, Swamp Flycatcher, Hamerkop and a good selection of Weavers such as, Slender-billed and Black-headed Weaver. This is also an excellent site to see African Finfoot and maybe White-backed Night Heron. During the evening we will do some spotlighting in the park where there are chances of seeing Leopard and Thick-tailed Greater Galago as well as commoner species. Overnight Arcadia Cottages

Shoebill, Mabamba Swamp by Chris Townend

DAY 13: 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, optional visit to Pangolin Centre, drinks other than above and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £250
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 via Dubai 


African Golden Cat, Bwindi Forest Uganda by Patrick Gijsbers