The mighty Shoebill, found in the Papyrus Swamps of Uganda by Chris Townend

Tour Dates: Monday 1st – Sunday 14th July 2024 (Entebbe to Entebbe)
Tour Price: £4,495 plus flight (Plus Gorilla / Chimp Permit)
Estimated Flight Price: London to Entebbe approx. £600 return
Deposit: £600 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £200 – £300
Minimum Number: 5 people
Maximum Group Size: 6 people

Target Species
Birds: Shoebill, Green-breasted Pitta, Grater’s Broadbill, Papyrus Gonolek, Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, African Finfoot, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Bocage’s Bush Shrike and Luder’s Bush Shrike to name just a few of the great species we hope to find!
Mammals: Eastern Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Guezera Colobus and Red-tailed Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, Blue Monkey, Leopard, Lion, Elephant and more!

Tour Summary
Uganda is a beautiful country with an incredibly diverse range of habitats and a number of exciting Albertine Rift Valley endemics making it one of the best places in East Africa for birding. This shorter itinerary is specifically designed to ensure you see a good variety of Uganda’s wildlife and visit some of the country’s most well known National Parks.
After our first night near the capital we head straight to the Mabamba Swamp where we hope to see what is arguably one of Africa’s most impressive birds, the mighty Shoebill! The rest of the tour then focuses on two key habitats, the wonderful forests of Kibale and Bwindi and the more grassland and wetland habitats of Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National Parks. Of course, no trip to Uganda is complete without seeing Gorillas and Chimpanzees and we will have designated days to see these wonderful primates whist exploring the forests. We also have an excellent chance of finding two highly sought after species; the Green-breasted Pitta whilst in Kibale and the Grauer’s Broadbill whilst in the high altitude forest of Ruhija.

ACCOMMODATION: 13 nights in Uganda
A mix of the best quality hotels available and good quality lodges.
1 night Lake Victoria, 3 nights Kibale, 2 nights Queen Elizabeth NP, 5 nights Bwindi Forest, 2 nights Lake Mburo
Inclusive Meals: Full board

DAY 1: Arrival Entebbe
Arrive at Entebbe International Airport and take a short transfer to our accommodation. Once settled into our accommodation we will do some relaxed birding around our accommodation or in the nearby Botanical Gardens. Overnight Lodge near Lake Victoria

Papyrus Gonolek by Chris Townend

DAY 2: Mabamba Swamp
After an early breakfast we head to Mabamba swamp on the shores of Lake Victoria west of Entebbe International Airport. 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 make a special effort to find this amazing bird by taking a boat trip through the narrow water channels where we hope to get some stunning views!
There will of course be a good selection of other classic African water birds to see here. These may include a number of species such as Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, Pink backed Pelican, Goliath Heron, Black-headed Heron, African Fish Eagle and African Marsh Harrier, Yellow-billed Duck, African Jacana and Lesser Jacana, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Swamp Flycatcher, Hamerkop, Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, Grey-crowned Crane, African Openbill Stork and maybe Allen’s Gallinule.
There should also be a good selection of Weavers including Northern Brown-throated, Orange, Golden-backed and Black-headed Weaver.

During the afternoon we head west to the Kibale Forest. During our journey we should see many new species. Some of the commoner species to expect include 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 Kibale

Great Blue Turacos by Chris Townend

DAYS 3 and 4: Kibale National Park
Kibale National Park is famous for the highest concentration of Primates in Africa and it is a reliable site for habituated chimpanzees. We will focus much of our time trying to see these intriguing primates as well as giving time to see the key birds of this forest. One such key bird species is the Green-Breasted Pitta and Kibale is by far the best place in Africa to find this Pitta and our local guide knows the best area!

Green-breasted Pitta, Kibale Forest by Chris Townend

Other species we will look for include, White-spotted Flufftail and Red-chested Flufftail, Jameson’s Wattle Eye, Red-chested Owlet, Crested Guineafowl, White-throated Greenbul, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Petit’s Cuckoo-shrike, Superb, Green-throated, Tiny, Orange-tufted and Green-headed Sunbirds, Dark-backed, Black-necked and Yellow-mantled Weavers, Dusky and Olive longed-tailed Cuckoos, Thick-billed and Willcock’s Honeyguides, Uganda Woodland Warbler and many more! Overnight Kibale

Chimpanzee, Kibale Forest by Chris Townend

DAYS 5 & 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park and Boat Cruise
We will leave early for Queen Elizabeth National Park where we enjoy a boat cruise in the afternoon. During the boat trip we will have our first chance to see African Skimmers, Saddle-bill Stork, African Spoonbill, Kitlitiz’s Plover, Yellow-billed Stork, Goliath and Grey Herons, Malachite and Pied Kingfishers, African Fish Eagle, Black Crakes and many other migratory and resident shore birds. Other wildlife may include Elephants, Uganda Kob, Bushbuck, Hippopotamus, Spotted Hyenas, Banded Mongoose, Waterbuck, Lion and with luck, maybe a Leopard too! We then have another full day to explore this wildlife rich National Park.
Overnight Queen Elizabeth NP

African Skimmer, Kazinga Channel by Chris Townend

DAY 7: Game Drive Queen Elizabeth National Park – Bwindi Forest
Queen Elizabeth National Park is yet another area with some of the highest biodiversity than any other game park in the world. Its varied habitats of open savannah, acacia woodlands, tropical rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and lakes make it one of the most wildlife rich parks in Africa.
During the morning we will look for species such as Trilling, Red-faced, Croaking, Stout and Zitting Cisticolas, Holub’s Golden Weavers, White-headed and Double-toothed Barbets, Sooty Chat, Broad-tailed and African Moustached Warblers, Martial Eagle, Bateleur, Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Long-crested Eagle, White-headed, Lappet-faced, African White-backed and Ruppell’s Griffon Vultures, Arrow-marked and Black-lored Babblers and much more. Again we will look for Leopards if we had no success the previous day. During the afternoon we will travel to Bwindi Forest. Overnight Bwindi

DAY 8: Gorilla Trek
Today we will have an early breakfast ready for our Gorilla trekking experience! The walk to see these gentle giants is completely random, sometimes it may only take 30 minutes, yet on other days it may take a few hours. Regardless, by the end of the day we hope to have enjoyed close views of adults feeding, grooming and resting as young animals swing from vines in a delightfully gentle display. In addition we may see Ruwenzori and Yellow-backed Duikers, Blue Monkey and Guereza Colobus Monkey. Overnight Bwindi 

Eastern Gorilla, Bwindi by Helen Booker

DAY 9: Birding the Buhoma Trail
Today we will be birding the Buhoma trail, looking for some very special species like Neumann’s Warbler, African Broadbill, Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Red-capped, Grey-winged and Blue-shouldered Robin Chats, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Oriole Finch, Ansorge’s Greenbul, Black-billed Turacos, Pink-footed Puffback, Many-coloured, Luhder’s Bush Shrike, Mountain Illadopsis and Red-faced Woodland Warbler to name just some of the species we hope to see. Overnight Bwindi

DAY 10: Buhoma to Ruhija via the Neck
The Neck is a relatively narrow stretch that separates the two sections of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, those being Ruhija and Buhoma. This section of forest is characterised by riverine forest vegetation and has many specialities such as African Black Duck, Mountain Wagtail, Kakamega and Red-tailed Greenbuls, Toro Olive and White-throated Greenbuls, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black-billed and Brown-capped Weavers, Dusky Tit, Grey, Buff-throated and Black-throated Apalis, Red-headed Malimbe, Red tailed Bristlebill, Narrow-tailed, Purple-headed, and Stuhlmann’s Starlings. It is also the best place in Uganda to find the stunning Black Bee-eater. Overnight Trekkers Tavern

DAY 11: Ruhija – Mubwindi Swamp
A full day birding the forest trails.
One of the key target species here will be the Grauer’s Broadbill.
This stunning vivid green-coloured bird is most definitely on every birder’s wish list when visiting Uganda!
Other species we will look for include numerous specialities of this region such as, Handsome Francolin, Mountain Masked Apalis, Ruwenzori Apalis, Chestnut-throated Apalis, White-browed Crombec, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Doherty’s Bush-Shrike, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Dusky Twinspot, Grauer’s Rush Warbler, White-stared Robin, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, Mountain Thrush, Mountain Oriole, Ruwenzori Batis, Archer’s Robin, Evergreen Forest Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Chubb’s Cisticola, Banded Prinia, Oriole Finch, Mountain and Yellow-streaked Greenbuls, Olive Pigeon, Regal Sunbird, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Blue-headed Sunbird, Strange Weaver and Black-billed Weaver, Mountain Yellow Warbler, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher and much more.
We will also try for some nocturnal species such as Ruwenzori Nightjar and African Wood Owl. Other wildlife we hope to see includes Boehm’s Squirrel, Ruwenzori Sun Squirrel as well as L’Hoests and Blue Monkey. Though Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzee are fairly common, they are rarely seen. Overnight Trekkers Tavern

DAY 12: Travel to Lake Mburo NP
Today we will depart early before we take the long journey to Lake Mburo. Overnight Lake Mburo NP

DAY 13: Lake Mburo National Park
Today we visit Lake Mburo and the only place in Uganda where we can see the more typical southern savannah species. Of particular interest we will look for Red-faced Barbet, Tabora Cisticola, African Finfoot, and White-backed Night Heron. Most of the park is dominated by tall grass savannah dotted with Acacia and Euphorbia trees. Common birds in this habitat include, Crested Francolin, Brown Parrot, Blue-naped Mousebird, Lilac-breasted Roller, Green Wood Hoopoe, African Grey Hornbill, White-headed and Double-toothed Barbets, Nubian and Cardinal Woodpeckers, Trilling Cisticola ,Yellow-breasted Apalis, Northern Black Tit, Chin-spot Batis, Greater Blue-eared Starling , Marico Sunbird, Black-headed Gonolek, Brown-backed and White-browed Scrub Robins, Rufous-chested Swallow, Black-bellied Bustard, African Wattled Plover, Rufous-naped and Flappet Larks, Coqui Francolin, Yellow-throated Longclaw and Southern Red Bishop.

Female African Finfoot, Lake Mburo by Chris Townend

We also have a good chance of Brown-Chested Plovers that can be seen from the second week of July to December. At night if the weather is good we will look for nocturnal species such as Black-shouldered Nightjar, Swamp and Pennant-winged Nightjars, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and African Scops Owl. The park will also give us a variety of game viewing opportunities such as Buffalo, Impala, Warthog, Zebra, Hippo, Waterbuck, Dwarf and Banded Mongoose, Topi and Eland. Overnight Lake Mburo NP

DAY 14: Transfer to Entebbe
We will do some final pre-breakfast birding around the 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 guide
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, all entrance fees, boat trips, all meals, bottled water and services of the leaders.
Not included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, gorilla and chimp permits, drinks other than above and any airport/visa fees
Single Supplement: £300
Transport: A/C Landcruisers throughout
Difficulty: Moderate 
Most birding is done on forest trails, from the vehicles when on game drives or in lodge gardens and grounds. When birding the forest trails, we will be birding at a slow pace and walking an average of around 4 – 6Km. The longest birding walks will be in Bwindi/Ruhija when we will spend the whole day birding the trails. However, although long days they will be at a very slow pace and with many breaks.
Gorilla Trekking:
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 20 degrees Celsius
Tour Start Point: Entebbe International airport, Uganda
Tour End Point: Entebbe International airport, Uganda
Suggested Airlines: Emirates via Dubai

Birding on the Mbamba Swamp, home of the Shoebill