Overview

The 14 Days Uganda Gorilla & birding safari is a rewarding safari that brings together wild game viewing, bird watching and primate tracking including the common chimpanzee trekking in Kibale and Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. the safari takes you through Budongo Forest Reserve with one of the old trees in East Africa and bird endemics like Puvel’s illadopsis, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary the only site where the rhinos can be found in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park with counts of giraffes, lion, leopard, buffaloes, Jackson hartebeest and elephants, the Kibale National Park dubbed as the primate capital of the world, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the famous Mabamba Swamp.

ziwa-rhinos

Safari Highlight:

Day 1: Encounter birds in Mabamba swamp

Day 2: Transfer to Budongo Forest Reserve & do Rhino tracking en route

Day 3: Undertake a bird walk in Budongo Forest & transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

Days 4: Explore the birds of Murchison Falls National Park.

Day 5: Transfer from Murchison Falls to Kibale National Park.

Day 6: Explore the birds of Kibale National Park & afternoon Chimpanzee trekking.

Day 7: Do Bigodi Wetland bird walk & transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park for an afternoon relaxation.

Day 8: Explore the birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park & a launch cruise along Kazinga Channel.

Day 9: Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Day 10: Encounter birds of Ruhija, birding in the Mubwindi swamp & transfer to Nkuringo.

Days 11: Do Gorilla trekking & relax at the lodge

Day 12: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, & have whole day relaxation & boat cruise.

Day 13: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & do a walking safari in the afternoon.

Day 14: Encounter birds of Lake Mburo & transfer to Kampala.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Encounter birds in Mabamba swamp

Transfer after an early breakfast to Mabamba swamp which is about 50kms west of Kampala. On your way to the destination and at the destination, you will have opportunities of encountering White Shouldered Tit, Papyrus Gonolek, Red Cap, White Winged Warbler, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Weyns Weaver and White Spotted Fluftail. Mabamba swamp offers ideal encounters with the rare and endangered shoebill stork along with other species like Allen’s and Purple Gallinule, Jacanas, Grey herons, Ruffaus Squaco, Purple and Goliath Heron, Bellied Heron, the Pallid Harrier which is globally threatened and migrant species of blue swallow, egrets, ducks among others. The bird encounter is done on a canoe where you also have opportunity of encountering the elusive Sitatunga Antelope. You will retire and transfer back to Kampala.

Accommodation: Lake Victoria Serena Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Boma Hotel (Mid-range/Standard) or Airport View Hotel (Budget/Basic)

Day 2: Transfer to Budongo Forest Reserve & do Rhino tracking en route

After breakfast in the morning, you’ll set off for Masindi, passing through undulating grasslands and mosaic woodland where we’ll keep looking out for savannah species like the White-crested Turaco, Bronze-tailed Starling, Black Bishop, Yellow Bellied Hyliota and White-Headed Barbet. Do white Rhino tracking in Ziwa Sanctuary en route and spotting some impressive savannah birds in the sanctuary. Continue to Budongo forest for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Budongo Eco-Lodge

Day 3: Undertake a bird walk in Budongo Forest & transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

Embark on an early morning forest walk looking for birds in the mighty forest of Budongo. The walk presents chances of spotting a range of bird species Nahan’s Francolin, excessively noisy White-thighed Hornbill, graceful Cassin’s and Sabine’s Spinetails, rather secretive Blue-throated Roller, Yellow-browed Camaroptera puffing out its blue cheek patches as it pipes incessantly, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher high in the canopy, Ituri Batis and Black-capped Apalis, Puvel’s illadopsis, Yellow and Grey Longbill, Yellow Billed Barbet among others. After this encounter, embark in the transfer to Murchison Falls National Park for relaxation, dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Murchison River Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Days 4: Explore the birds of Murchison Falls National Park.

This day you will explore this splendid park. Visit the awesome Murchison Falls, where the mighty White Nile is forced through a thirty-foot-wide gap. A highlight of the visit will undoubtedly be the boat trips to the delta area, and of course the one bird that will be on everyone’s mind is the bizarre Shoebill. Superb views can be had of this wonderful bird, and the captain and naturalist on the boat rarely disappoint their passengers. There will be other birds including vivid Red-throated Bee-eater as well as mammals such as Rothschild’s Giraffe, Elephant, Waterbuck and many others. Our drives around the extensive plains will provide classic African vistas complemented by exciting birds. Among others on the lookout for Saddle-billed Stork, African Finfoot, Red-necked Falcon, Senegal Thick-knee, Rock Pratincole, Giant, Woodland Grey Headed, Malachite, Pygmy and striped Kingfishers. In the scattered woodland and savanna, you will search for Heuglin’s Francolins irrupting on noisy wings from the rank grass, gem-like and graceful Swallow-tailed and Blue-breasted Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Rollers, comical Abyssinian Ground Hornbills and buzzing jewels in the form of Northern Red Bishops.

Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Murchison River Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Heritage Safari Lodge (Budget/Basic).

Day 5: Transfer from Murchison Falls to Kibale National Park.

Transfer to Kibale National Park which is 441km about 9 hours’ drive thus it is a whole day drive. Towards Hoima there are a few papyrus swamps where specialties such as White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek can be found, while the surrounding scrub may harbor, Double-toothed Barbet, Black-bellied Seed cracker and Gray-headed Olive back.

Accommodation: Ndali Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (Mid-range/Standard) or Rwenzori View Guesthouse (Budget/Basic)

Day 7: Explore the birds of Kibale National Park

Undertake a morning bird walk in the forest with possibilities of encountering Blue-headed bee-eater, Nahans francolin, masked apalis, White-naped Pigeon, Cassin spine tail, Crested fly catcher, Green- brested Pitta, Red Winged Francolin, Joyful Greenbul, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Red- chested fluff tail, Grey winged Robbin, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Western Nicator, White-spotted Flufftail, White-tailed Ant-thrush, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black Bishop, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, White-breasted Negrofinch, Superb Sunbird, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Black-crowned Waxbill and Brown-throated Wattle-eye. Retire for lunch and head for the Chimpanzee trekking in the afternoon. Encounter the man’s closest apes as they thrive in the forest of Kibale along with other 12 primate species.

Accommodation: Ndali Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse (Mid-range/Standard) or Rwenzori View Guesthouse (Budget/Basic)

Day 8: Do Bigodi Wetland bird walk & transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park for an afternoon relaxation.

Bigodi has 200 species of birds thus it offers opportunities of encountering a range of birds including; great blue turaco, papyrus gonoleks, waxbills, hornbills, weavers, kingfishers, cuckoos, flycatchers among others. Take a wetland walk in the morning and then transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park arriving in afternoon for relaxation at the lodge.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Game Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 9: Explore the birds of Queen Elizabeth National Park & a launch cruise along Kazinga Channel.

Today you will explore Queen Elizabeth National Park in detail birding along Mweya Peninsula, Kasenyi Area and along the Katunguru Bridge Area. Birds that can be encountered include; Martial Eagle, comical Red-necked Spurfowl, secretive Black-rumped and Common Buttonquails, cautious African Crakes peering out from the gassy verge, in the afternoon you will have a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel, the narrow neck of water that connects Lakes George and Edward. Here you might have fine views of many water birds and some of the skulking birds in the reedbeds. African Skimmers cutting a trench across the waters in the quiet bays, enormous Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl booming around the lodge in the evenings, crisp Sooty Chats, glistening Red-chested Sunbird and Slender-billed Weaver coming into the dining room to share breakfast.

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Game Lodge (Mid-range/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 10: Transfer from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Drive through Ishasha in search of tree climbing lions and do birding with in the Ishasha sector with opportunities of encountering birds like Palm-nut Vulture, Shoebill, Hooded Vulture, Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, African White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, Long-created Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Helmeted Guineafowl, Grey Kestrel, African Crake, African Wattled Plover, Black-bellied Bustard, Senegal Plover, Ross’s Turaco, African Green Pigeon, Striped Kingfisher, Double-toothed Barbet, Broad-billed Roller, White-headed Barbet, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Grey Woodpecker, Greater Honeyguide, Green Crombec, White-browed Robin-Chat, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Cisticolas and Grey-backed Fiscal. Arrive in Bwindi in the evening for overnight.

Accommodation: Gorilla Mist Camp / Broadbill Forest Camp

Day 11: Encounter birds of Ruhija, birding in the Mubwindi swamp:

After breakfast, you head to birding encounters in Umubwindi swamp where you might have chances of encountering; the beautiful leafy looking broadbill, Olive, Elliot’s and Fine-banded Woodpecker, Black-billed Turaco, African Hill Babbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Mountain Illadopsis, Mountain Greenbul, Red-faced Woodland, Grey Cuckoo Shrike, Chestnut-throated Collard and Black Throated Apalis, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Stripe-breasted Tit, Mountain, Shelley’s and Yellow-streaked Greenbul, African Green-Broadbill, Regal Sunbird and Rwenzori Batis among other bird species. Return through the hilly forested landscapes of Ruhija with sights of birds like; Macknon’s Fiscal, Augar Buzzard, Tropical Boubou, Ayre’s Hawk Eagle, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Mountain Buzzard and Wagtail, Western Bronze Naped Pigoen, Barred and Dusky Long Tailed Cuckoo, Black Faced Rufous Warbler, White Headed Wood Hopoe, Ducky Tit, Ludhur’s and Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Grey Cuckoo-Shrike, Grey-Green Bush-Shrike, White Eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Chestnut Throated Apalis, Streaky Seed-Eater, White Starred Robin, Stripe Breasted Tit among others. Transfer to Rushaga in the evening 98km about 3 hours’ drive for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation: Chameleon Hill Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Gorilla Valley Lodge (Midrange/ Standard) or Wagtail Eco-Safari Camp (Budget/Basic).

Days 12: Do Gorilla trekking

After your early morning breakfast, gather at the Park Headquarters Rushaga for briefing from the park rangers about the conduct of gorilla trekking activity. After the short briefing, you embark on the challenging trek through the impenetrable jungle of Bwindi with its rugged landscape involving valleys, swamps, steep slopes and rocky areas amidst amazing jungle sounds and bird songs which is an attraction in its self. You will finally come across these endangered apes in thriving in their ancient habitat foraging or socializing. You will marvel at the gorillas as they welcome you, interact and finally say bye when your one hour with them is used up. The opportunity to take as many photos as you can is availed to you while asking questions to your guide about these apes is up to your discretion. The activity ranges between 2 – 8 hours. After the activity, relax at the lodge.

Accommodation: Chameleon Hill Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Gorilla Valley Lodge (Midrange/ Standard) or Wagtail Eco-Safari Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 13: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, & have whole day relaxation & boat cruise.

After a relaxed breakfast, transfer to Lake Bunyonyi 80km about 2 – 3 hours’ drive. Upon arriving, you will undertake a thrilling boat cruise to explore the beauty of this lake with 29 islands surrounded by the famous Kigezi Highlands dubbed the Switzerland of Africa considering its temperate climate. You can also visit the island communities to explore into their traditions. It’s a relaxation experience. The afternoon will be spent at the lodge.

Accommodation: Birdnest @Lake Bunyonyi Resort (Up market/Luxury), Lake Bunyonyi Eco-resort (Mid-range/Standard) or Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (Budget/Basic).

Day 14: Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park & do a walking safari in the afternoon.

Embark on the transfer to Lake Mburo National Park 199km with a lunch stop at Igongo Cultural center 12km past Mbarara town. Continue for 33km to the park arriving in the afternoon to embark a game walking safari exploring the savannah landscapes of the park with impressive wild game including Zebras, Impala, Topis among others.

Accommodation: Mihingo Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Arcadia Cottages Bunyonyi (Mid-range/Standard) or Eagles Nest (Budget/Basic).

Day 15: Encounter birds of Lake Mburo & transfer to Kampala.

After an early morning breakfast, embark on the full day search of birds in the savannah landscapes of Lake Mburo National Park. Explore the park on foot following the respective trails in the company of an armed ranger to save you from attacks of wild animals. Explore the Miriti and Warukiri swamps, the salt lick or the extension to the Rubanga forest. The encounter offers you chances of spotting Rufous-bellied Heron, Bateleur, Coqui Francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Brown-chested Lapwing, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Black-bellied Bustard, Red-headed Lovebird, Ross’s Turaco, Brown Parrot, Green Wood-hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Red-faced Barbet, White-headed Barbet, Long-tailed Cisticola, Nubian Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike, Finfoot, White-winged Tit and Yellow-breasted Apalis among other birds. Retire from the half day encounter for lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to Kampala 240km about 3 – 4 hours’ drive with a stop at the Uganda Equator crossing – Kayabwe. Catch up with a night flight if so wish.

End of Safari: