Day 1: Leave Kampala at 08:30hrs for Masindi with birding stops en route. The terrain changes and becomes noticeably drier as you approach Masindi. The stops may reveal marabou stork, bataleur, long-crested eagle, piac piac, grey hornbill, speckled mousebird and black shouldered kite amongst many others. Dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel.
Day 2: Depart at the crack of down for Budongo forest. Along the "Royal Mile", you may see Sabine's and Cassin's sponetails, pugny crakes and several types of kingfishers including chocolate-backed, blue-breasted and dwarf. After a packed lunch, proceed to the Lake Albert area, which has magnificent views over the lake towards the distant mountains of the Congo. In this verdant habitat, crested francolin, black-headed plover, namaqua dove, dove, firefinch, robin, black-and-white cuckoo, spotted finch, barbets, arrow-marked babblers and cliff chat may be encountered along with over 300 additional species. Dinner and overnight at the beautifully situated Sambiya River Lodge.
Day 3: Boating on the Nile, upstream and down, will have birders craning their necks to see the bizarre shoebill stork. It is confined to the papyrus swamps. Here, see also African darter, Goliath and purple herons, saddlebill stork, African spoonbill, spurwinged geese and plover, skimmers, batis, flycatchers, malachite and pied kingfishers, fish eagle, white-collared pratincoles and beautiful red-throated bee eater. Return to the cozy Sambiya River Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Days 4-5: The dry woodlands, savannah and marshy places are our venue for today's birding. Dark chanting, goshawk, little sparrowhawk, heuglin's francolin, harlequin quail, helmeted guinea fowl, spotted thick-knee, blue-spotted wood dove, and sooty chat may be seen. During an evening drive enjoy the antics is special species of nightjar including plain, standard-winged and pannant-winged varieties. Return to the comfort of Sambiya River lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Transit to Kibale Forest today. In the marshy areas we may see African jacana, blue-breasted bee-eater, sitting cisticola and black-winged red bishops. Frequent stops will be made in the swampy and scrubby vegetation areas. Dinner and overnight at Crater Valley Resort or Ndali Lodge.
Days 7-8: Kibale Forest National Park has over 400 recorded species of birds. At dusk and down flocks of noisy grey parrots fly overhead. Purple-headed glossy starlings and Afep pigeons move about. At night listen to the hoots of the African wood owl. Look out for dusky long-tailed and red-crested cuckoos, yellowbill, scarce swift, Nanna's trogon, white-headed wood hoopoe, hairy-breasted and yellow-billed barbets, honeyguide, super and green throated sunbirds. Keep special watch for yellow-mantled weaver. Overnight at Crater Valley or Ndali Lodge. After lunch on day 8, proceed to Semuliki National Park for one night in the Semuliki Game Lodge.
Day 9: Keep your eyes and ears open to see dusky long tailed and red chested cuckoo, yellow bill, yellow rumped tinker bird, velvet mantled drongo and black-and-white manikin. Afternoon transfer from Semuliki National Park to Queen Elizabeth National Park Of the over 500 species recorded here, an excellent variety can easily be seen including pelicans, storks, ibises, thick-knees, plovers, skimmers, kingfishers, martins, swifts, weavers, raptors and canaries. At dusk, you may find black-shouldered kite and white-tailed nightjars resting on the sandy tracks. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.
Day 10: Birding commences today on Kizinga channel, which joins Lake George and Lake Edward, and in the open savannah of the Northern tracks. Mweya Safari Lodge is our accommodation for another night.
Days 11-12: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a habitat of great beauty and home of the endangered gorillas. This tropical forest may be the richest in East Africa for plant, mammals, bird and butterfly. Watch for the red-throated alethe, equatorial akalat, forest robin, rare Fraser's eagle owl and the superb thrushes. Turaco, pigeon, cuckoo, trogon and several starlings may make an appearance. All meals and overnight at Buhoma Homestead or Luxury Tented Camp.
Days 13-14: Transfer to the Guesthouse at Ruhizha. A lot of luck is needed to see the African green broadbill. We may also see African black duck, Rufon's sparrowhawk, mountain buzzard, Ayte's hawk, olive pigeon and brown parrot. The red-chested pygmy crake may be heard but not seen. Also, watch for the banded woodpecker, Western green tinkerbird, mountain sooty, boubou, pink-footed puffback, Doherty's bush shrike and yellow-crowned canary.
Days 15-16: Our next stop is the environs of Lake Bunyoni, Lake of the Little Birds. Overnight at Far Out Island Camp or Bushara Island Camp. Water birds that skim, twitter, dive and sing abound. Cranes, storks, egrets, kingfishers, darters and others are seen in this areas.
Days 17-18: We travel eastwards, making several stops amongst the open plains and rocky hill-sides to see grey kestrel, black-bellied bustard, crowned plover, red-capped and naped larks, southern red bishop and likely the bronze and variable sunbirds. Dinner and overnight at Rwonyo Rest Camp or Mantana Camp in lake Mburo National Park. In this attractive area consisting of lake, swamps and grasslands with dense clumps of bushes, we may also encounter papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler, Carruther's cisticola, lilac-breasted rollers and black tits. Other possibilities are coqui francolin, bare-faces go away bird, Senegal plover, boubou, mariqua sunbird and golden-breasted rock bunting.
Day 19: After early morning birding, you proceed to Kampala for overnight at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. Birding en route. Afternoon free for birding in Sheraton Gardens or shopping in the many craft markets.
Day 20: Proceed to Entebbe. In the early morning light, view the variety of plants and birds to be found in the Botanical Gardens. We may find black-headed heron, hadada, broad-billed rolles, pied crow, African pied wagtail, long-tailed cormorant, squacco heron, open-billed stork, African hobby, pied and giant Kingfishers and orange weaver. Overnight at Botanical Beach Hotel.
Days 21: After breakfast, private exploration of Botanical Gardens and packing up are in order as this is the final day of safari. Airport transfers can be arranged.
Combine this bird watching itinerary with many excursions for mammals including gorilla trekking in one of the gorilla sanctuaries. This itinerary can be extended or shortened based and the requirements of your group.
Most the tours listed are guaranteed a departure from Kampala with a minimum of 4 people unless otherwise noted. The costs for smaller groups will be slightly higher and of course, larger groups may qualify for a discount.
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