General

Shoebill in Mabamba

Uganda Birding/Game/Cultural Tour for 17 days.

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe. Overnight Lake Victoria Hotel.

Upon arrival, you will be met by our professional driver and then transferred to your hotel for overnight stay.

Day 2: Transfer to the Source of the Nile in Jinja. Stay at Jinja Nile Resort.All rooms overlooking the Nile. After an early breakfast, we transfer to Jinja – the Source of the Nile. This is the site where on July 28th 1862, John Hanning Speke declared that he could see the “old father Nile” emerge from its source the Victoria Nyanza. An obelisk  onument was raised on the spot where he stood on the west bank of the Nile to mark that historical event. The Source of the Nile Gardens are serene, spacious with a variety of indigenous birds and a number of monkeys that appear at particular times of the day. The place offers a beautiful view over Lake Victoria, the world’s largest fresh water lake and the Source of the River Nile here.

Day 3: Birding Mabira Forest (am). Drive to Kampala for city tour. Stay Hotel Acacia After breakfast, we will transfer back to Kampala via the Mabira forest where we have a spell of birding in this beautiful forest. Mabira Forest Reserve is the largest block of moist semi-deciduous forest remaining in the central region of Uganda. The reserve occupies gently undulating country, characterized by numerous flat-topped hills and wide, shallow valleys. Some of these valleys have papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamps. The closeness of Mabira to Kampala, and the presence of various ecotourism facilities, makes this Important Bird Area a popular site for birders. The bird list for Mabira forest contains almost 300 species. They include the Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Hawk, White Spotted Flufftail, Afep Pigeon, Gray Parrot, Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, Black Shouldered Nightjar, Sabine’s Spine Tail, Cassin’s Spine tail, Blue Throated Roller, African Dwarf Kingfisher, White – bellied Kingfisher, Forest

Wood hoopoe, Black and White Casqued Hornbill, Speckled Tinker bird, Yellow – throated Tinkerbird, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Cassin’s Honeyguide, Buff Spotted Wood pecker, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Golden-crowned Woodpecker, Green-breasted Pitta, African Shrike Flycatcher, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Gray-green Bush-shrike, Papyrus Gonolek, Sooty Boubou, Western Black-headed Oriole, Blue-headed Crested Flycatcher, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Dusky-crested Flycatcher, Dusky Tit, Buff-throated Apalis, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Olive-green Camaroptera, Gray Greenbul, Plain Greenbul, HoneyguideGreenbul, Leaf love, Toro Olive Greenbul, White-throated Greenbul, Common Bristlebill, Red-tailed Bulbul, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Yellow Longbill, and many others.

Later after lunch, we proceed to Kampala City for a city tour. We will visit the Uganda Museum; a display of Uganda’s cultural heritage, where you can see ethnological, and natural-historical exhibitions, a vivid reminder of the country’s colorful past. We will also visit the Uganda Craft markets at the national Theatre and the Uganda Craft Village on Buganda Road. Hotel : The luxurious Acacia Apartments.

Day 4: Birding to Mabamba Wetlands for the Shoebill. Tour in dugout canoes. Drive to Equator stop for lunch, photos and shopping. PM-Drive via main entrance to Lake Mburo National Park.Stay at Mihingo Lodge.

Early breakfast, then out to Mabamba Wetlands on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is one of the few remaining swamps in the country protected by the local communities – an extensive papyrus swamp with its labyrinth of channels and lagoons, classified as an Important Bird Area, and home to several pairs of Shoebills, Uganda’s most famous avian resident. This charismatic monotypic species is certainly amongst the most sought-after birds in Africa, and we’ll make special efforts today to find it by paddling through the channels by boat. There will of course be a good selection of classic East African water birds, including Pink-backed Pelican,Long-tailed Cormorant, Goliath Heron, African Open-billed, Saddle-billed, and Marabou Storks, Hammerkop, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Yellow-billed Duck, African Fish-Eagle, AfricanMarsh-Harrier, African Water Rail, Purple Swamphen, Allen’s Gallinule, African Jacana, Long-toed and Spur-winged Plovers. Apart from the numerous water birds, we are likely to see a nice variety of open country and water edge species, perhaps including Speckled Pigeon, African Green Pigeon, Eastern Plantain-eater, Malachite, Giant, and Pied Kingfishers, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Crowned Hornbill, Angola and Rufous-chested Swallows, Winding Cisticola, Greater and Lesser Swamp-

Warblers, Papyrus Yellow Warblers, Swamp Flycatcher, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Papyrus Gonolek, Slender-billed, Northern Brown-throated, and Golden-backed Weavers, and Papyrus Canary.

In the afternoon we’ll travel to our first of many national parks, Lake Mburo. This park has varied habitats from open Acacia woodlands, to a number of papyrus-lined lakes and swamps. Later in the afternoon, after our lunch, we bird to Lake Mburo national park where we will be covering several different habitats. Some of the many species we’ll search for en route to the park, in the woodland in the immediate vicinity of Rwonyo (at lake Mburo) and within the park include Black headed, Squacco, and Rufous-bellied Herons, Hadada Ibis, Yellow-billed (Black) Kite, Spur-winged Goose, Comb Duck, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Lizard Buzzard, Palm-nut and White-backed Vultures,

Wahlberg’s and Verreaux’s Eagles, Crested Francolin, Crowned Crane, African Finfoot, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s and Bronze-winged Coursers, Senegal, Crowned, Wattled, and Brown-chested Lapwings, Emerald Spotted and Blue-spotted Wood Doves, Brown Parrot, Red-eyed Dove, Great Blue Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, White-browed Coucal, Speckled and Blue-napedMousebirds, Mottled Spinetail, Little, White-rumped and African Palm Swifts, Woodland Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Lilacbreasted and Broad-billed Rollers, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Common Scimitar-Bill, African Grey, Crowned, Black-and-white Casqued, and African Pied Hornbills, Spot-flanked Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Angola Swallow, African Pied Wagtail, African andLong-billed Pipits, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Darkcapped Bulbul, African Thrush, Trilling Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Greybacked Camaroptera, Grey-cappedWarbler, Red-faced Crombec, Northern (white-winged) Black  it, ChinspotBatis, Mariqua, Olive-bellied, and Red-chested Sunbirds, Pied Crow, Greater Blue-eared,Splendid, Rüppell’sLong-tailed Starlings, Black-headed, Northern Brown-throated, Yellow-backed, Vieillot’s Black, and Slender-billed Weavers, Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, Bronze Mannikin, and Yellow-fronted Canary.

Day 5: Hiking Trail into Lake Mburo National Park. Sit in hide overlooking salt lick. Watch for animals, birds. Relax, swim. 4 PM-Game drive through Lake Mburo National Park.Stay at Mihingo Lodge. Lake Mburo National Park contains multiple habitats, and our time will be divided between birding an extensive area of wetland, some forested areas, and open country with numerous mammals. No fewer than 300 different bird species have been recorded in the park, an indication of the high diversity present here. The more open grassland north of the camp, particularly along the Zebra Track, is worth exploring for species such as Coqui Francolin, Red-necked Spurfowl, Black-bellied Bustard, Temminck’s Courser, and African Wattled Lapwing, and it is here where small numbers of the migratory Brownchested Lapwing can be regularly observed. Mammals will be a large part of our visit to this park, and the many species we might see include the shy Oribi, graceful Impalas, and Common Zebras, all found

out in the open, park-like woodland.

Day 6: Boat trip on Lake Mburo. Travel to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest via main roads. Stay at Mantana Camp (Engagi Lodge) On this day we have a morning boat trip on Lake Mburowhere we have chances of seeing game like

Water Buck, Impala, Eland, Buffalo, Topi, Burchell’s Zebra, Bush Buck, Warthog and Dwarf Mongoose among others. There are also numerous birds that we have chances of finding including Squacco Heron, Fish Eagle, Black-crowned, White-backed Night Herons, Swamp Flycatcher, African Finfoot, Giant Kingfisher. We then proceed to Bwindi Impenetrable national park. The Park is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to approximately half of the world population of 600 Mountain Gorillas. This vast reserve offers arguably the most productive montane forest birding in Africa and supports 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemic bird species. Once part of a much larger forest that included the Virunga Volcanoes in neighbouring Rwanda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is now an ecological island within a sea of human cultivation and therefore of immense conservation importance. Buhoma lies in the valley of the Munyaga River at 5100 feet and is flanked by steep, forested hills. Overnight: Mantana Tented Camp.

Day 7: Whole day birding in Bwindi forest. Stay at Mantana Camp (Engagi Lodge). Forest birding at Bwindi ranks among the best bird watching experiences in Uganda and Africa as well, having been voted as the number one birdinghot spot in Africa. It is home to over 23 highly-localized Albertine Rift endemics. Special birds include Black-faced Rufous Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Banded Prinia, Black-faced Apalis, Black-throated Apalis, Mountain Masked Apalis, Red-throated Alethe, Yelloweyed Black-Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Chin-spot Batis, RwenzoriBatis, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-bellied Crested-flycatcher, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Mountain Illadopsis, African Hill-Babbler, Dusky Tit, Blue-throated Brown Sunbird, Blueheaded Sunbird, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Grey-headed Sunbird, Mackinnon’s Fiscal, Sooty

Boubou, Pink-footed Puff back, Doherty’s Bush-shrike, White-naped Raven, Montane Oriole, African Golden Oriole, Stuhlmann’s Starling, Narrow-tailed Starling, Waller’s Starling, Strange Weaver, Browncapped Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Dusky Crimsonwing, among others.

Day 8: Gorilla tracking. Stay at MantanaCamp(Egagi Lodge). On this day, early morning drive with packed lunches to assemble at the park headquarters before proceeding on the Gorilla Trek.

Day 9: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Watch for birds and game enroute. Stay at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Today, we shall start early after breakfast and drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Our route to the park will be determined by road conditions, either passing through the Ishasha sector, well-known for its climbing lions, or alternatively driving through the beautiful sceneries of Rukungiri district. The park, which is named after Queen Elizabeth who visited it in 1954, is the second largest national park in Uganda, and ranks highest with respect to overall diversity, with a species list exceeding 600. The park has a mosaic of habitats from moist forest at Maramagambo to wild savannah excellent for Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Hyenas, Ugandan Kobs, Side-striped Jackal, Baboons, Giant Hogs, just to name a few. While at the park we’ll participate in a game drive, and one of the big highlights of this area will be the boat ride on the Kazinga Channel, which is one of the best and thrilling in Africa. This trip is one of the better places to look for African Skimmers, which are sometimes present, while just some of the many species possible include Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Grey, Purple and Goliath Herons, Saddlebilled and Yellow-billed Storks, Sacred and Glossy Ibises, African Spoonbill, Egyptian Goose, Black Crake,

African Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, Water Thick-knee, Spur-winged, African Wattled, Kittlitz’s, and Threebanded

Plovers, Collared Pratincole, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Brown-throated Sand Martin, Greater and Lesser Swamp Warblers, Carruthers’sCisticola, and Papyrus Gonolek. Other interesting species found in Queen Elizabeth National Park include Black-rumped Button-Quail, African Crake, Brownchested Plover, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Black Bee-eater, Shining Blue Kingfisher, White-tailed Lark, as well as Marabou Stork, Black-shouldered Kite, Hooded, African White- backed, Rüppell’s Griffon, Lappetfaced and White- headed Vultures, Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Gabar Goshawk, Wahlberg’s, Tawny, Martial and Long-crested Eagles, Lanner Falcon, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black- bellied Bustard, Rednecked Spurfowl, Senegal and Crowned Plovers, African Mourning, Ring-necked and Laughing Doves,

Diederik Cuckoo, Black and Senegal Coucals, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Blue-napedMousebird, Grey-headed Kingfisher, among others.

Day 10: Game Drive in a.m. / 3 P.M. – Boat ride along the Kazinga Channel. Stay at Mweya Safari Lodge. Go for a morning game drive in this verdant park. Later, after lunch at the Mweya Safari Lodge, we have an exciting boat  ruise on the spectacular Kazinga Channel where you have chances of viewing hippos and schools of elephants, among other game.

Day 11: Game drive in a.m. Afternoon at leisure.Evening bird walk around hotel grounds.Stay at Mweya Safari Lodge. Another early morning game drive as well as birding for the savannah birds in the park is ideal . After lunch, we have the afternoon at leisure. There will be an optional bird walk from the hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 12 :Transfer to Kibaale National Park birding en-route, dinner and overnight at Primate lodge/ Mountains of the moon.

Day 13 : Early morning birding, pm chimp trekking and overnight as above.

Day 14: Early morning transfer to Murchison Falls National Park.Cross with the evening Ferry.Stay at

Paraa Safari Lodge.

Day 15: Game drive to the delta. Afternoon Boat ride to Murchison Falls.Nightdrive.Stay at Paraa Safari Lodge.

After breakfast, we will have a game drive to the rolling plains where you will have chances of viewing lots of mammals and really get a feel of the wildlife of Africa. We’ll once again have a chance for magnificent beasts such as Hartebeest, Lions, Buffalo, Primates, Giraffe, and Elephants. After lunch at the Lodge, we will have an afternoon launch cruise to the bottom of the falls and there, you will view huge Nile Crocodiles, big Pods of Hippos, and other wildlife. You will also be able to see a wide variety of water birds and have yet another chance for incredible birdssuch as Shoebill, Secretary Bird, Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, Red-necked Falcon, Senegal Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Blackheaded Lapwing, Long-toed Lapwing,Little Bittern, Abyssinian Roller, and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfishers, Red-throated and Blue-breasted Bee-eaters.

Day 16: Game drive out of park. Drive on paved roads to Entebbe. Stay at Golf view inn After breakfast, we take a game drive out of the park and drive to Kampala – Entebbe having lunch en route. Dinner and overnight at Golf view Inn. Early morning return flight or if time allows do the botanical gardens before departure.

Activities

Birding, Game Drive , Cultural Tour

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