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This specialist birding tour of Uganda is ideal for those looking for wildlife-watching opportunities in Africa’s best birdwatching regions. Uganda is noted for both the large number of bird species which call the country home (over a thousand) and the easy access to bird-rich habitats.
The tour starts in Entebbe and winds through the south and west of the country, exploring Uganda’s swamps, forests, highlands, savannahs, woodlands, lakes and rivers. They’ll be stop-offs in Mabamba Swamp, Kibale Forest, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi, Lake Mburo, Mabira and Jinja.
You’ll be treated to the sights of smirking shoebills, the regal halo of the grey crowned crane (Uganda’s national bird) and the vivid feathers of the green-breasted pitta, among many others. Lake Mburo is the only place in the whole of Africa where you can easily see the aquatic African finfoot.
However, birds aren’t the only impressive creatures in this region. In Kibale, you’ll see chimpanzees, elephants, buffalo and lions at Queen Elizabeth National Park; in Bwindi, you’ll encounter mountain gorillas; while the flat plains of Ankole feed long-horned cattle.
Uganda is a bird-lovers paradise, and this birdwatching and wildlife tour is perfect for amateur ornithologists and seasoned birders. Start planning your dream birding adventure by contacting our African travel specialists today with your requests, preferences and interests.
You’ll arrive at Entebbe International Airport and will be greeted by a private driver in the Arrivals Hall. Then, it’s just a quick five-minute drive to The Boma Guesthouse, where you’ll be staying, so you can start relaxing or conveniently drop your bags and head out exploring, depending on your energy levels and flight arrival time.
The Boma Guesthouse has the rustic charm of a 1940s estate, decorated in a fusion of colonial and African styles. Look out at the lush views of tropical gardens out to Lake Victoria, take a dip in the luxurious swimming pool, or enjoy a quiet game of croquet or boules!
If you’d rather head out to the town, it’s only a few minutes away and can be explored via one of the guesthouse’s rental bikes. Take a wander around the Botanical Garden and explore the rainforest surroundings for the chance to sport a colobus monkey or your first species of birds on your birdwatching trip, with a guide to help you with introductions.
From Entebbe, it’s a five-hour transfer through Uganda’s stunning countryside to the town of Fort Portal, located at the foot of the Rwenzori Mountains and gateway to nearby Kibale Forest.
Between Entebbe and Kibale, you’ll stop off at the Mabamba Wetlands, where you’ll take a canoe safari through the swamp to find rare shoebills, as well as a number of others, including the malachite kingfisher and blue-breasted bee-eater.
You’ll be staying at Kibale Forest Camp, situated right in the heart of Uganda’s rainforest. Your room is a luxury safari tent equipped with an en-suite bathroom, hot water and a private balcony. Refuel with a four-course dinner and spend the evening listening out for the calls of wood owls.
Today, you’ll explore Kibale Forest even further as you head to central and south Kanyanchu. Look out for the colourful plumages and melodic tunes of joyful greenbuls and whinchats, but keep your eyes peeled for birds of prey, such as the western banded snake eagle and the lizard buzzard.
With the cost of a chimp trekking permit included in your tour, there’s also an opportunity to track the troops of chimpanzees that also call the upper branches of Kibale Forest home. The forest is full of primates, including colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys. However, these monkeys are wild, so note that your encounters could range from a faraway sighting to something close-up and personal, depending on their mood!
Next, you’ll transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park for game drives to see more of the region’s mammals and birds. This gorgeous park can be found at the base of the Rwenzori Mountains, near Lake Edward and Lake George. QENP is particularly noted for its large elephant population.
You’ll be staying at Mweya Safari Lodge, located in the heart of the park, with lovely views of the Kazinga Channel. If you need some rejuvenation, opt for a massage at the health club and spa or sip on a cocktail by the infinity-style swimming pool.
QENP has a plethora of wild-watching opportunities. One of the best birdwatching spots in Africa, the park and particularly the area around the Kazinga Channel, is home to pelicans, African spoonbills and yellow-billed storks, among many others. Other options include boat safaris across the Kazinga Channel, which connects Lake Albert and Lake George, for a chance to see hippos, crocodiles and buffalo; dawn and dusk game drives in search of big mammals, such as elephants, leopards and lions; as well as spectacular hot air balloon rides over the area to really get a “bird’s eye view” of the park.
The next stop on your Uganda wildlife tour is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Don’t let the name put you off, as this is the only park in Africa that is home to both chimpanzees and gorillas, offering some once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences.
You’ll be staying at Buhoma Haven Lodge, elevated above Buhoma Village, to show stunning views across Bwindi National Park. The six cosy cottages are all elegantly designed and en-suite and were built using local materials.
It’s an early start for your gorilla trek through Bwindi (your trekking permit is included in your tour), where you’ll get to encounter one of the nine habituated groups of gorillas that live in these mountains. These groups live varying distances from the base, up to eight hours away, so which group you choose to trek to and meet depends on your preferences, fitness levels and party size. En route, you’ll also be able to spot birds such as the fork-tailed drongo, cuckooshrikes and the martial eagle.
Your second day in Bwindi will be focused on birdwatching. There are plenty of species to look out for – up to 360 in Bwindi alone - including pink-footed puffbacks, white-headed wood hoopoes and tinkerbirds.
From Bwindi, you’ll move onto Lake Mburo National Park, with beautiful landscapes and a healthy population of game. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a game drive, a bush walk and even a mountain bike safari.
You’ll stay at Rwakobo Rock Lodge, an eco-friendly and family-run hotel perched on a scenic outcrop just outside the park with stunning views. You’ll most likely see zebra, warthog and impala gathering at the waterhole directly beneath the dining area.
Birding at Lake Mburo is often a highlight of a birding safari tour of Uganda. In the day, you might see the kivu ground thrush, stripe-breasted tits and the impressive mohawks of bare-faced go-away-birds, among hundreds of other species. After dark, look and listen out for the African scops, owls and various species of nightjar.
In the morning, you’ll transfer to Mabira Forest, Uganda’s second-largest forest, which covers around 300 square kilometres. The forest is home to many endangered species, such as the Uganda mangabey; a species of Old World monkey only found in Uganda.
You’ll be staying at the Rainforest Lodge in an individual cabin with en-suite facilities, as well as a private deck, where you can sit out and admire the view (and do a bit of birdwatching, too). The property also has a swimming pool and massage options, so you can relax during your time off from trekking and birding.
On your last day in Uganda, you’ll transfer to Jinja, a large town in the east of the country, around 80 kilometres from the capital city of Kampala. Jinja is also the source of the Nile River and the perfect place to engage in activities such as kayaking, rafting and horse riding.
You’ll be staying at The Haven, a relaxing eco-river-lodge that overlooks the White Nile’s first waterfall. The property includes a swimming pool, restaurant and varying accommodation options from suites to bandas to cottages to tents. The lodge is solar-powered and uses UV-filtered spring and rainwater.
Look out for monkeys, monitor lizards and otters along the river, as well as the incredible number of bird species which call this place home, including the fish eagle.
All too soon, it’s back to Entebbe to depart from Uganda and catch your flight home with a camera full of photos and a heart full of memories. We hope this birding tour of Uganda has shown just how much the country has to offer, especially for wildlife watching, thereby inspiring you for your next safari adventure.