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Uganda

A unique birding and wildlife experience combining some of the most diverse forests in Africa, with the incomparable Shoebill, a whole host of Albertine Rift endemics, and, of course, near-guaranteed encounters with both Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee!

Next Dates

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Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

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Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

7

Deposit: $

TBD

Rwanda Extension

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Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

7

Deposit: $

TBD

Please note that the Gorilla trekking permit is subject to unpredictable changes in cost, and so is not included in the tour price. This will be added to your final invoice, at-cost, closer to the date of departure. At the time of writing, the permit is $725USD.

Accommodation:

Comfortable hotels throughout.

Walking difficulty:

Generally easy walking and roadside birding, with a few slightly longer forest trails.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: International arrivals into Entebbe (EBB) and overnight at a nearby hotel.


Day 2: Early this morning, we will visit the nearby Mabamba Swamp and take a boat ride through the typical papyrus swamp inhabited by the incomparable Shoebill. This is our best chance to locate this highly-desired species, which belongs to its own family! We may have a chance to see the uncommon Weyn’s Weaver, another range-restricted species that occurs in the area, as well as the scarce Lesser Jacana. Time permitting, we may stop nearby for Blue Swallow. We will then transfer northwards to Murchison Falls National Park. On the way, we will be passing by the capital city of Kampala and crossing a marshy area, where we will search for the localised Marsh Widowbird. Driving into Murchison Falls National Park in the late afternoon, we will enjoy stunning views from the top of the falls, over which the impressive Victoria Nile drops and continues its way to Lake Albert. While watching the spectacular volume of water surging down, we will be looking around for the Rock Pratincole. Afterwards, we will make our way to our comfortable lodge. Night at Murchison Falls National Park.


Day 3: We will spend the full day exploring the spectacular national park. A boat ride downstream along the Nile to the delta should deliver excellent wildlife-watching opportunities. Impressive Nile Crocodiles and Hippopotamuses should be easily seen along our navigation, and we may have another chance for Shoebill. Here, we are also likely to find many other new species such as African Darter, Goliath Heron, Little Bittern, Saddle-billed Stork, Spur-winged and Egyptian Geese, Knob-billed Duck, Black Crake, Grey Crowned Crane, African Jacana, Senegal Thick-knee, Spur-winged Lapwing, Blue-headed Coucal, Red-throated Bee-eater, Carruthers’s Cisticola, and the beautiful Papyrus Gonolek. We will also take some exciting game drives in various drier habitats - woodlands, typical savannas, and grasslands overlooking the Nile, hoping for sightings of animals such as Rothschild’s Giraffe, African Savanna Elephant, Lake Chad Buffalo, Defassa Waterbuck, and Uganda Kob. If we are lucky, we may even see a Leopard! Of the avian specialties, we will focus on the skulking Dusky Babbler and the Heuglin’s Spurfowl, along with a whole host of more widespread species, including the stunning Northern Carmine Bee-eater, White-backed, Rüppell’s, Lappet-faced, and White-headed Vultures, Brown and Western Banded Snake Eagles, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, Crested and Heuglin’s Francolins, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black-billed Wood Dove, White-crested Turaco, Senegal Coucal, Blue-naped Mousebird, Blue-breasted and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, and Double-toothed and Black-billed Barbets. In the evening, we will go out in search of the incredible Pennant-winged Nightjar. Night at Murchison Falls National Park.


Day 4: Today, we will have a long travel day to Kibale National Park, making various stops along the way. These include the Buliisa Plains, where we will be looking for White-rumped Seedeater, the scrubby hillsides of Butiaba Escarpment where we will search for the Foxy Cisticola, and sites for White-winged Swamp Warbler and Grey-headed Oliveback. We should reach the edge of Kibale National Park just in time for some late afternoon birding, focusing on tracking down the much-wanted Lowland Masked Apalis and Joyful Greenbul. Night at Kibale National Park.


Day 5: This exciting day will start before dawn, as we will try to locate the sought-after Green-breasted Pitta, an elusive species that usually prefers to display at first light. Later, we will focus on THE main attraction of the area: Chimpanzees! Kibale National Park has certainly got to be the best place to see our closest relatives, and we have a very high chance of observing them. We will also be looking at other primates that inhabit the forests, namely Central African Red and Guereza Colobuses, Olive Baboon, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, and L’Hoest’s and Red-tailed Monkeys. Bird species we may come across include Narina Trogon, Afep Pigeon, White-headed Woodhoopoe, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, stunning Black and White-throated Bee-eaters, Cassin’s Honeybird, Grey-throated and Yellow-billed Barbets, Buff-spotted and Yellow-crested Woodpeckers, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Western Oriole, Velvet-mantled Drongo, Red-billed Paradise Flycatcher, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Chestnut-winged, Purple-headed, and Narrow-tailed Starling, Red-tailed Antthrush, Ashy, Cassin’s, and African Dusky Flycatcher, Brown-throated Alethe, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Superb Sunbird, Mountain Wagtail, Ross’s Turaco, and more. At night, we may also find African Wood Owl. Night at Kibale National Park.


Day 6: This morning, we will go for a walk in the nearby Bigodi Wetland, a diverse and usually very productive birding area containing papyrus swamp, riparian woodland, and various cultivations. Here, we will be searching for the range-restricted Speckle-breasted Woodpecker and with luck, we may locate the rare White-collared Oliveback. Later today, we will transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park and will enjoy some late afternoon birding around our luxurious accommodation overlooking the Kazinga Channel. Night at Queen Elizabeth National Park.


Day 7: The stunning Queen Elizabeth National Park is the highlight of many trips to Uganda, and we will spend the full day exploring the incredible wildlife that this reserve has to offer. Among the extensive savannas and acacia woodlands, we will be enjoying some further game drives in search of some rare African birds such as African Crake, White-tailed Lark, and Black-rumped Buttonquail, as well as a variety of other species like Red-necked Spurfowl, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, African Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, Greater and Lesser Honeyguides, Rufous-naped Lark, Red-breasted Swallow, Arrow-marked and Black-lored Babblers, Trilling, Wing-snapping, and Stout Cisticolas, Orange-breasted (or Sulphur-breasted) Bushshrike, Purple-banded Sunbird, Lesser Masked and Spectacled Weavers, Southern Red Bishop, Fan-tailed and White-winged Widowbirds, Green-winged Pytilia, Brimstone Canary, and Golden-breasted Bunting. Mammals are much in evidence here, with Common Warthog, Giant Hog, Defassa Waterbuck, Lake Chad Buffalo, Scrub Hare, Marsh Mongoose, Banded Mongoose, Spotted Hyaena, and Lion. We even have another opportunity to encounter a Leopard. An evening boat ride on the Kazinga Channel will offer excellent opportunities for other waterside birds and mammals. Night at Queen Elizabeth National Park.


Day 8: This morning, we will drive through the Ishasha section of the park, famous for tree-climbing Lions. Afterwards, we continue our journey to the lower section of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where we will spend the next three nights.


Day 9: The dense forest here is one of the most biologically diverse in Africa and goes by the evocative name of the “Impenetrable Forest”, due to the steepness of the mountains. Fortunately, we will be able to see most of the specialties of this wonderful area by walking along the roads and nice trails. It is also the world’s best-known area for Mountain Gorilla trekking, and we will devote our morning to searching for these marvellous creatures. In the afternoon, we will start tracking down a selection of Albertine Rift endemics and other exciting species in the forest near Buhoma. Night at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.


Day 10: We will spend most of the day looking for the key Albertine targets, including Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Red-throated Alethe, Willard’s Sooty Boubou, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, and the skulking Neumann’s Warbler. Other good birds to track down are Black-billed Turaco, Equatorial Akalat, Ansorge’s Greenbul, and African Broadbill. Night at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.


Day 11: For the next part of our journey, we will leave the lower section of Buhoma forests and transfer to the higher areas around Ruhija. As we progress up to our destination, we will make a few productive stops en route and expect to come across more higher-altitude specialties such as Dusky Twinspot, Handsome Spurfowl, Stripe-breasted Tit, Rwenzori Apalis, Albertine Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Hill Babbler, Purple-breasted, Blue-headed, and Regal Sunbirds, and Strange Weaver. At dusk, we will be looking for the localised “Rwenzori” Montane Nightjar. Night at Ruhija.


Day 12: The main reason for coming to Ruhija is to trek to the Mubwindi Swamp, where some additional range-restricted species occur. The area around the swamp is suitable habitat for the Grauer’s (or African Green) Broadbill, which is undoubtedly one of the rarest and least seen Albertine Rift endemics. While trying to locate it, we will be looking for more regional endemics such as Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Grey-chested Babbler, Archer’s Ground Robin, Rwenzori Batis, Mountain Masked Apalis, and anything we might have missed the previous day. Night at Ruhija.


Day 13: Today, we will head off early from the Bwindi Impenetrable forest and embark on a long drive to our last destination of the tour: Lake Mburo National Park. We plan to arrive in good time in the afternoon and get ready for our last “game drive” of this African adventure. We will search for Red-faced Barbet, the prime target in the area, as well as the sought-after Brown-chested Lapwing. At night, spotlighting should deliver a nice set of nightjars, including Black-shouldered, Swamp, Square-tailed, and even Pennant-winged Nightjar (in case we missed it at Murchison Falls NP). Night at Lake Mburo National Park.


Day 14: We will spend our last morning on a boat ride on Lake Mburo chasing some last species. African Finfoot will be our prime target, along with White-backed Night Heron. Later, we will transfer to Entebbe, where our tour ends.



RWANDA EXTENSION


Day 1: We will take a flight to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, for overnight.


Day 2: Known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, Rwanda’s incredible scenery, friendly people, and extraordinary biodiversity certainly make it one of the most remarkable countries in Africa. In recent years, the government has put some serious effort toward developing ecotourism, and the country has some great birding to offer. Today, we will transfer westwards to the spectacular Nyungwe National Park, and begin our exploration in the afternoon.


Day 3-4: Nyungwe National Park protects Africa’s oldest and most diverse forests and is home to a whole host of Albertine rift endemics, with an even greater diversity of these range-restricted species than any site in Uganda. During our two full days, we will focus on finding the two key Albertine Rift endemics of Nyungwe Forest: the incredible Red-collared Babbler (Nyungwe is probably the only reliable and safe location to see this bird) and the range-restricted Kungwe Apalis. As the ultra-rare Albertine Owlet and Shelley’s Crimsonwing have been recorded in the park, we will of course keep an eye out for these mega rarities, although our chances of finding them are minimal. We will also be searching for some key Albertine Rift species and other special birds, with many being much easier to find in this lovely forest than in Uganda. These include Handsome Francolin, Dwarf Honeyguide, Williard’s and Mountain Sooty Boubous, White-browed Crombec, Rwenzori and Mountain Masked Apalis, Neumann’s and Grauer's Warblers, Red-throated Alethe, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Yellow-eyed Black Flycatcher, Ruwenzori Double-collared, Blue-headed, Purple-breasted, and Regal Sunbirds, the local form of Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Ruwenzori Batis, Mountain Oriole, White-tailed Blue Flycatcher, White-bellied Crested Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Tit, Chubb’s Cisticola, Black-faced Prinia, Mountain Illadopsis, Ruwenzori Hill Babbler, Archer’s Ground Robin, Equatorial Akalat, Strange Weaver, and Dusky Crimsonwing, plus two highly desired bushshrikes: Lagden’s and Doherty’s. Ultimately, our birding will be focused on anything we might have missed during the main tour. At dusk, we will be looking for the beautiful Red-chested Owlet and have another chance for “Rwenzori” Montane Nightjar. Nights at Nyungwe National Park.


Day 5: After some final birding at Nygungwe National Park, we will return to Kigali International Airport (KGL), where our Rwanda extension ends.

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