• A rare mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Birds & Mammals Of Uganda

The perfect birding safari experiencing Uganda’s top birding hot spots with expert local birding guides! Renowned as a birders paradise, this trail through the west of Uganda gives you the chance to seek out rainforest and savannah bird species, including Albertine Rift endemic species such as the Green-breasted Pitta and the Yellow-footed Flycatcher. Explore rainforest trails in Bwindi Impenetrable and Kibale National Parks, the savannah plains of Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Parks and seek out the infamous Shoebill by gliding through the waters of Mabamba and Lugogo Wetlands. Of course you’ll also be at Uganda’s top destinations to spot the ‘Big 5’ savannah species, the rare mountain gorilla in misty rainforests and meet a chimpanzee family in East Africa’s top primate destination.

Gallery

Itinerary - Birds & Mammals of Uganda [TACP3-036]

Day One

To Mabamba Wetlands

On completing immigration and collecting your luggage you will be met by your driver / guide at arrivals in Entebbe International Airport. They will help you with your bags and they will drive you the short distance across Entebbe to reach the Nakiwogo-Buwaya ferry crossing. Here you will take to the water on a vehicle and passenger ferry and make the short trip across the inlet on Lake Victoria and then continue to drive a short distance to reach Nkima Forest Lodge.
Estimated journey time: 1 hr 30 mins [This option using the ferry is only available if your flight flight arrives before 14:00]

Spend some time unwinding at your rainforest lodge. Take a dip in the lodge’s private pool to cool off from the heat of the day or relax on the shaded sun loungers with a good book. Alternately explore the forest trail through the lodge grounds to spot some of the abundant birdlife and monkey species chattering in the trees. Of course you can also retire to your private terrace, where you can unwind in the shade to the sights and sounds of the forest.

Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Nkima Forest Lodge, cottages. 

Day Two

Shoebill Tracking

Meet your guide at the jetty on the shores of Mabamba Wetlands, a protected RAMSAR site. Take to the water in a motorised canoe to spot a variety of wading species. As you glide through the water you will be struck by the lush green vegetation, dotted with bright purple water lilies and feathered papyrus flowers swaying over your head. You will spend several hours exploring the swamp with your main goal to seek out the infamous Shoebill, a prehistoric looking bird. Reaching 140cm tall they spend their time wading through the swamp fishing in a very slow manner, making them almost look like statues. While in the swamp you will be able to spot a variety of other bird species such as the Saddle-billed Stork, Papyrus Gonolek, Lesser Jacana, and Purple Swamphen. 
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Key species: Shoebill, Lesser Jacana, Papyrus Gonolek, Purple Swamphen, Garganey, African Pygmy-goose, Purple Heron, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue Swallow, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Weyns’s Weaver, White-backed Duck. 

You will depart from Nkima Forest Lodge and follow a winding unpaved road through the farmlands and villages on the flat leading down to Lake Victoria. Pass around the edge of Masaka town and journey on with views over rolling hills, dotted with low scrub vegetation amongst which you will spot herds of Ankole cattle with their impressive horns being grazed on the hills. You will then turn off the main road and meander your way through the African bush studded with rocky outcrops to reach Lake Mburo National Park.
Estimated journey time: 3 hrs 30 mins 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock, cottages.

Day Three

A Game Drive, a Water Safari and a Birding Walk

Lake Mburo National Park’s mix of rolling hills, acacia woodland and rocky outcrops offers a stunning backdrop to view the park's abundant bird species and savannah mammals. You will drive onto the plains and wind your way along the bright red mud roads with your expert local guide and ranger as you make your way to popular birding sites such as the shores of Lake Mburo and Rwonyo. You will have several hours to explore the park at your own pace as you keep watch to spot bird species such as the Crested Barbet, Red Faced Barbet and Martial Eagle which are all found here.  You’ll also get the chance to spot a variety of game species such as zebra, eland, topi, impala and warthog and if you’re lucky the small group of giraffes recently reintroduced to the park.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Key Species: Red-faced Barbet (higher chances around Rwakobo Rock Lodge), Striped Crake (when the ponds are dry, the chances are low), Crested Barbet, Black-collared Barbet, Martial Eagle, Blue-naped Mousebird, Common Scimitarbill, Long-tailed Cisticola.

Drive down to the shores of Lake Mburo itself for a water safari and a briefing on the Lake Mburo-Nakivali wetland system. The lake is known for its high diversity and populations of birdlife with 350 different species recorded as living along the shores including African Finfoot, White-backed Night-Heron, Papyrus Gonolek, Shining-blue Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, which you’ll have the chance to spot from the boat. The lake is also home to a large hippo population numbering around 300 individuals, dwarf crocodiles and monitor lizards, which you’ll have a good chance of spotting before returning to the lake’s shore.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 

Key Species: African Finfoot, White-backed Night-Heron, Papyrus Gonolek, Shining Blue Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, White-winged Warbler, African Fish Eagle, African, Marsh Harrier, Sedge Warbler. 

Meet your Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger for a briefing on your walking safari on the savannah of Lake Mburo National Park. With your ranger and bird guide you will follow a series of tracks through the park, some made by the larger wildlife species living here including hippopotamus, eland, zebra, topi and warthog. You will be able to wander through the savannah at your own pace with walks lasting from 2 to 4 hours. This will give you plenty of opportunity to spot species such as the Crested Barbet, Red Faced Barbet and Martial Eagle as you explore the park’s savannah forest and grasslands dotted with acacia trees.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 

Key Species: Red-faced Barbet, Striped Crake (when the ponds are dry, the chances are low), Crested Barbet, Black-collared Barbet, Martial Eagle, Blue-naped Mousebird, Common Scimitarbill, Long-tailed Cisticola. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Rwakobo Rock, cottages.

Day Four

Transfer to the Kingdom of Gorillas

Depart from Lake Mburo National Park, watching out for zebras as you drive and of course the herds Ankole cattle with their impressive horns as they graze along the park boundaries. You will then drive east passing Mbarara town and branch off the main road to wind your way through rolling hills of tea fields, banana plantations and small rural villages. You will then follow a winding unpaved road along and through the edge of the rainforest to reach Ruhija village on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Estimated journey time: 6 hrs

Take a walk along the boundaries of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Park, home of the rare mountain gorilla. You will be following the community trails around Ruhija village and you’ll be accompanied by a local guide to show the way and help you spot a variety of species such as the White-starred Robin, Regal Sunbird and Black-headed Oriole as you search the trees, bushes and farmland on the edge of the rainforest. You’ll also be able to enjoy the stunning views over the rolling hills covered in rainforest and patchwork of terraced farmland.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 30 mins

Key Species: Regal Sunbird, Black-billed Turaco, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Black-headed Oriole, Archer’s Robin-Chat, White-starred Robin, Rwenzori Nightjar (nocturnal), Red-chested Owlet (nocturnal). 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge, cabins.

Day Five

Gorilla Tracking

Experience Uganda’s greatest natural wonder, an intimate meeting with one of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park’s gorilla families! Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is an incredibly important conservation site as it protects around 320 mountain gorillas, roughly half of the population left in the wild. Dating back over 25,000 years, Bwindi is one of Uganda’s most biologically diverse and most ancient rainforests, with an amazing 400 species of plants present and 350 species of birds, including 23 Rift Valley endemic species recorded. The rangers accompanying you will be able to identify the local plants, birds and wildlife as well the general ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as you trek. This morning you will rise early and your driver / guide will escort you to the trailhead into the rainforest. Here you will receive an orientation on tracking the gorillas from the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers who will then guide you through the dense forest. The trek length varies, depending on where the gorillas spent the night, ranging from thirty minutes to seven hours. Once you find these incredible creatures you will spend one hour with them. We think you’ll agree - to experience this unique family feed, socialise, nurse their young, patrol and display their prowess - is the most magical experience you can see in nature. After tracking you will make your way back to your accommodation on the edge of the rainforest.
Estimated excursion time: 2 - 8 hrs (including 1 hr viewing) 

Key Species: Chestnut-throated Apalis, Black-tailed Oriole, Black-billed Turaco. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Bakiga Lodge, cabins.

Day Six

Through 'the neck'

Spend the day following the 45km winding mud road along the edge of the rainforest between Buhoma and Ruhija villages in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You will be stopping off frequently along the way with the 45km drive taking you about seven hours of birding along the edge of the rainforest. With your guide you will be able to spot a variety of rainforest species including the Red-tailed Greenbull, Many-coloured Bush-shrike and Black Bee-eater amongst the trees and bushes. You will specifically be exploring an area called ‘The Neck’, where a narrow corridor of rainforest crosses the road surrounded by the sounds of the rainforest, under the shaded tree canopy.
Estimated excursion time: 7 hrs 

Key Species: Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Black Bee-eater, Mountain Wagtail, Red-tailed Greenbull, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Many-coloured Bush-shrike, Little Grey Greenbul, Elliot’s Woodpecker.  

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Haven Lodge, rooms.

Day Seven

Buhoma Main Trail

Bwindi forest dates back over 25,000 years, and is one of Uganda’s most biologically diverse and ancient rainforests. The rangers accompanying you will be able to identify the local plants, birds and wildlife as well the general ecosystem of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as you trek. There are an amazing 400 species of plants present and 350 species of birds, including 23 Rift Valley endemic species. You will be following the flat route through the rainforest between Buhoma and Nkuringo, following the path about 4 km into the rainforest giving you the chance to spot an array of birdlife including the Pink-footed Puffback, Red-throated Athlete and Black-billed Turaco. You will be able to explore the paths at your own pace as you immerse yourself in the rainforest on your birding walk through the impenetrable forest.
Estimated excursion time: 5 hrs 

Key Species: Archer’s Robin-Chat, Black-billed Turaco, Neumann’s Warbler, Black-tailed Oriole, Black-billed Weaver, White-bellied Robin Chat, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Pink-footed Puffback, Grey-winged Robin Chat, White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher, Black Bee-eater, African Broadbill, Red-throated Athlete, White-tailed Ant-Thush. 

Spend some time relaxing at your rainforest forest lodge, which commands stunning views over the rainforest canopy with the mist rising and falling over the densely vegetated slopes. You can unwind in privacy from your room and even take a bath in the sunken bathtub with views of the rainforest or make your way to the main lodge and relax on the terrace. Alternately we can offer additional activities such as a guided community walk through the village, a guided nature walk in the rainforest (*for an additional cost) or a visit to the local craft shops.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge, classic rooms.

Day Eight

Transfer to the Savannah

Depart from the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and leave the rainforest behind you as you pass through rolling hills covered in a patchwork of tea plantations, small villages and farmland. You will then pass Kihihi town, from where you will slow the pace of your journey to spot a variety of savannah birds including the Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Black-chested Snake-Eagle and Rufous-naped Lark as you wind your way through the savannah landscape. The edges of the road are a mixture of acacia trees, thick bushes mixed with clearings of savannah grassland offering you great opportunities to spot a variety of savannah birds on your list.
Estimated excursion time: 9 hrs 

Key Species: Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Western Banded Snake-eagle, Bateleur, Rufous-naped Lark, Black-chested Snake-Eagle, Flappet Lark, Southern Red Bishop. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge, classic rooms.

Day Nine

Savannah Plains & Channel Cruise

Explore the savannah of Kasenyi Plains on a game drive, set to stunning views of the Rwenzori Mountains or ‘Mountains of the Moon’ running along the skyline. These plains are home to a number of kob leks or kob breeding grounds for Uganda kobs, where they battle for mating rights. The large game herds make the area a prime location to track prides of lions, which hunt the game herds found here. On your game drive you’ll be searching for a variety of bird species such as Collared Pratincole, Black-rumped Buttonquail and White-tailed Lark. Once you’ve crossed the plains you will make your way to the salt lake where you have the chance to spot the Lesser Flamingo which is seasonally found here.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Key Species: Collared Pratincole, Lesser Flamingo, Black-rumped Button-quail, White-tailed Lark, Little Bee-eater, Blue-naped Mousebird, Buff-bellied Warbler, Martial Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Black Coucal. 

Embark on a water safari to explore the Kazinga Channel to view vast flocks of African Skimmers as well as the chance to spot the Saddle-billed Stork, White-fronted Plover and Goliath Heron. This channel connects Lake Edward and Lake George, flowing through the heart of the park and is an excellent way to view a variety of savannah wildlife. As you meander your way along the river banks you will also have the chance to spot elephants, buffalo, warthogs and waterbuck as they come down to the water's edge to cool off in the heat of the day. The channel is also a prime location to view crocodiles and hippo pods. After a couple of hours on the water you’ll reach a fishing village at the end of the channel where the river enters Lake Edward, where a large number of birds often congregate sunning themselves on the river banks from where you will make the return boat trip to the docks on the Mweya Peninsula.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs

Key Species: African Skimmer, Saddle-billed Stork, White-fronted Plover, Great White Pelican, Goliath Heron, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Stilt, Common Greenshank, Black Crake. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge, classic rooms.

Day Ten

Kasenyi Savannah Plains

Explore the savannah of Kasenyi Plains on a game drive, set to stunning views of the Rwenzori Mountains or ‘Mountains of the Moon’ running along the skyline. These plains are home to a number of kob leks or kob breeding grounds for Uganda kobs, where they battle for mating rights. The large game herds make the area a prime location to track prides of lions, which hunt the game herds found here. On your game drive you’ll be searching for a variety of bird species including Collared Pratincole, Black-rumped Buttonquail and White-tailed Lark. Once you’ve crossed the plains you will make your way to the salt lake where you have the chance to spot the Lesser Flamingo which is seasonally found here.
Estimated excursion time: 4 hrs

Key Species: Collared Pratincole, Lesser Flamingo, Black-rumped Button-quail, White-tailed Lark, Little Bee-eater, Blue-naped Mousebird, Buff-bellied Warbler, Martial Eagle, African Fish Eagle, Black Coucal. 

Depart from the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park and drive north following the Rwenzori Mountain chain or ‘Mountains of the Moon’. After passing Kasese town you will branch off the main road and follow a winding road through the Ndali-Kasenda crater lake fields, a stunning landscape of rolling hills dotted with crater lake pools. It’s then just a short drive on through vast tea fields to reach the rainforest of Kibale National Park.
Estimated journey time: 2 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Isunga Lodge, cottages.

Day Eleven

Dawn Pitta Search, Chimp Tracking & Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Rise at 05:00 to meet your team at the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters for your chance to spot the rare Green-breasted Pitta! After a briefing you will walk into the rainforest, listening for the Green-breasted Pitta displaying in the early morning light. With your expert guides and their local knowledge this gives you the highest chance to spot this rare species and of course get the chance to seek out other birds such as the Joyful Greenbul, Chestnut Wattle-eye and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat amongst the dawn chorus.Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 

Key Species: Green-breasted Pitta, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Joyful Greenbul, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Tullberg’s Woodpecker. 

Meet with your Uganda Wildlife Authority tracking team for a briefing on tracking the chimpanzees in the rainforest. Kibale National Park is one of East Africa’s premier destinations to chimp track with a 95% successful tracking rate. This ancient rainforest is also home to one of the highest concentrations and diversities of primates found anywhere on the continent. The tracking team will be escorting you throughout your time in the rainforest and will be able to identify and give more information on the species found here including the 325 species of birdlife, 250 tree species and over 80 species of mammals as you trek. Groups of chimps live in communities containing between 10 and 100 members and once you’ve found your group, amongst the dense rainforest you will spend one hour with them. You will be able to observe their natural behaviour in the rainforest as they play, eat, socialise and display their prowess. You will then make the return hike along the rainforest paths to meet your driver / guide.Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs (including 1 hr viewing) 

Key Species: Great Blue Turaco, Narina Trogon, Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush. 

Explore Magombe Swamp at the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, with your bird guide and a local guide who’ll accompany you round this protected RAMSAR site. The path meanders along the edge of the swamp and along a raised boardwalk through dense clusters of papyrus, taking a couple of hours to complete. This community run project offers the chance to spot up to 138 bird species including the Great Blue Turaco, Joyful Greenbul, White-spotted Flufftail, Brown Illadopsis, Papyrus Gonolek and Yellow-billed Barbet. The swamp is also home to a vast array of butterflies and perhaps what the swamp is best known for; its population of monkeys. As you ramble around the swamp your guide will be able to identify the local flora and fauna as well as the seven species of monkey found here including red colobus, grey-cheeked mangabey, L’Hoest, vervet, black and white colobus, blue monkeys and baboons. Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 30 mins or 4 hrs 30 mins

Key Species: Joyful Greenbul, Leaf-love, Blue-headed Coucal, Brown Illadopsis, Yellow-billed Barbet, Great Blue Turaco, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Green Hylia, Blue-throated Roller, White-spotted Flufftail, Yellow-billed Barbet, Ross’s Turaco, White-collared Oliveback, Buff-throated Apalis, Carruther’s Cisticola, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Isunga Lodge, cottages.

Day Twelve

Another Pitta Search & Kibale Forest Walk

Rise at 05:00 to meet your team at the Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters for your chance to spot the rare Green-breasted Pitta! After a briefing you will walk into the rainforest, listening for the Green-breasted Pitta displaying in the early morning light. With your expert guides and their local knowledge this gives you the highest chance to spot this rare species and of course get the chance to seek out other birds such as the Joyful Greenbul, Chestnut Wattle-eye and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat amongst the dawn chorus.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs 

Key Species: Green-breasted Pitta, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Joyful Greenbul, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Tullberg’s Woodpecker. 

Discover the ancient rainforest of Kibale National Park and spot an impressive array of rainforest bird species with your knowledgeable birding guide. You will be escorted throughout your time in the forest and your guides will be able to identify and give more information on the species found in the park. Kibale National Park is incredibly diverse with 325 species of birdlife found here, 250 tree species and over 80 species of mammals. The terrain is relatively flat with a network of paths for you to explore the forest and spot species such as the Tullberg’s Woodpecker and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat. There’s also a chance that you can spot the elusive Green-breasted Pitta displaying amongst the trees, but the highest chances for this are on the dawn birding walk.
Estimated excursion time: 5 hrs 

Key Species: Green-breasted Pitta, Chestnut Wattle-eye, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Joyful Greenbul, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Tullberg’s Woodpecker. 

Enjoy some time relaxing at Isunga Lodge, with it’s welcoming staff (and friendly resident dogs). The lodge commands stunning views across three national parks, the vast rainforest of Kibale National Park below, the savannah of Queen Elizabeth National Park spans the distance and mountain peaks of the Rwenzoris can be seen on the horizon. Enjoy these stunning views and relax with a good book in the comfortable communal lounge / bar area or unwind in seclusion from your rooms private veranda. The lodge also boasts a refreshing plunge pool complete with shaded deck chairs, the perfect place to unwind. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Isunga Lodge, cottages.

Day Thirteen

Transfer to Budongo Forest

Depart from Kibale National Park and drive north to reach Fort Portal, before following the edge of the rainforest to reach Kyenjojo trading centre. Here you will turn off the main road and follow an unpaved road through western Uganda. The scenery as you meander through rural Uganda is stunning, as you journey through vast tea fields which blanket the hills, small villages and forests. You will be moving at a comparatively slow pace which gives you all the more time to enjoy the scenery until you arrive at Masindi town.
Estimated journey time: 8 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Masindi Hotel, rooms.

Day Fourteen

The Royal Mile at Budongo Forest

Depart from Masindi town and drive west following the edge of the forest and passing through farmlands and forests to reach The Royal Mile, which is part of the Budongo Forest Reserve on the edge of the Albertine rift.
Estimated journey time: 45 mins

Explore the Royal Mile, considered to be one of the top birding sites anywhere in Uganda! You will be able to follow a flat 2.5km dirt road through the forest giving you excellent access into the forest and the chance to spot a variety of bird species such as the Dwarf Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Chestnut-capped Flycatcher and Uganda Woodland Warbler. Of course you will also get the chance to seek out the Yellow-footed Flycatcher amongst the trees. This is an endemic species to Budongo forest, making it the only place to spot this bird in East Africa! The forest is also still home to a vast range of species such as the 280 butterflies varieties, 9 species of primates and 465 species of plants, including the Mahogany trees which can grow up to 80 meters in height. You will have the day to explore the Royal Mile at your leisure and enjoy this fantastic birding hotspot. 
Estimated excursion time: 7 hrs

Key Species: Yellow-footed Flycatcher, Ituri Batis, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Cassin’s Spinetail, African, Crowned Eagle, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Spotted Greenbull, Dwarf Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Illadopsis, Blue-throated roller, Sabine’s Spinetail. 

Depart from the rainforest of of Budongo Forest Reserve, and leave this birding hot spot behind you to follow a winding road through rural Uganda to reach Masindi town, the gateway town to the south of Murchison Falls National Park and the road to Kampala and Entebbe.
Estimated journey time: 45 mins

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Masindi Hotel, rooms.

Day Fifteen

Water Safari on The Nile

Depart from Masindi town and drive a short distance north to reach the Kichumbanyobo gate to enter the southern sector of Murchison Falls National Park. You will then drive through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest watching out for the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill on the roadside until you reach an escarpment which offers stunning views across the park. From here you will drive down the escarpment and through the African bush below to reach the ferry crossing and dock on the river Nile.
Estimated journey time: 3 hrs

Embark on a water safari on the river Nile and cruise upstream to the base of Murchison Falls waterfall. Also known as Kabalega Falls, this is one of the most popular activities in the park and offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. As you cruise up the river you will be able to view giant Nile crocodiles basking in the sun, hippo pods calling to each other across the water and a multitude of bird species living and nesting on the riverbanks. Species such as the African Darters, Cormorants, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, Fish-eagles, Giant Kingfishers and Goliath herons. As you pass Nyamusika cliffs you should also be able to spot the Red-throated and Northern-carmine bee-eaters and towards the base of the falls you may find the Rock Pratincoles. A variety of game species such as buffalo, waterbuck, elephants and Uganda kob can also be viewed on the riverbanks as they come down to drink and cool off in the heat of the day. After two hours you will reach the base of the thundering falls where the White Nile surges through a 7 metre wide gap in the rock face, cutting through Fajao Gorge and falling 43 meters to continue its journey through the park.
Estimated excursion time: 2 hrs

Key Species: Egyptian-plover, Rock Pratincole, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Giant Kingfisher, Red-throated Bee-eater, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, African Darter, African Fish Eagle, Saddle-billed Stork, Senegal Thick-knee.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge, classic rooms.

Day Sixteen

Shoebill on The Nile and a Savannah Drive

Take to the water on a boat cruise to the Victoria Nile delta where the river Nile empties into Lake Albert. The delta is a birders paradise and is particularly known as the habitat of the iconic shoebill, listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as ‘vulnerable’. As you meander downstream you’ll get the chance to spot elephants, giraffe, waterbuck and crocodiles on the river banks as well as hippo pods calling across the water until you reach the edge of Lake Albert. On reaching the delta the experienced guides accompanying you will try to spot this rare prehistoric looking bird with a 70% chance of success. You will also be able to seek out many other bird species living in the delta including the saddle billed stork, goliath heron, African skimmer, African jacana, and malachite kingfishers. After around 5 hours on the water you will make your way back upstream and disembark from your boat.
Estimated excursion time: 5 hrs

Key Species: Shoebill, Egyptian-plover, Papyrus Gonolek, White-backed Night-Heron, Black-headed Weaver, Black Crake, Saddle-billed Stork, Common Sandpiper.

Explore the game tracks of Murchison Falls National Park with stunning views over the savannah, as wind your way through Acacia scrub and grasslands dotted with palm trees. You’ll be joined by a knowledgeable ranger to give your highest chance of tracking down the lions and leopard. They will help you track down the Rothschild giraffe, elephants, buffalo, Jackson’s hartebeest, and bushbucks grazing on the savannah. Of course you will predominantly be searching for a variety of bird species, with 451 having been recorded in the park including the Denham’s Bustard, Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill and Grey Crowned Cranes. Towards the end of your game drive you’ll be able to stop off at the hippo pool on the Victoria Nile delta where you’ll see the hippos wallowing in the shallows and calling to each other across the water. If you are lucky, you might even see a Shoebill here.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs 30 mins

Key Species: Secretary Bird, Shoebill, Speckle-fronted Weaver, Black-bellied Firefinch, Martial Eagle, Rupell’s Griffon Vulture, Dark Chanting-Goshawk, White-fronted Black Chat, Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Grasshopper Buzzard, Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Red-winged Grey Warbler.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Paraa Safari Lodge, classic rooms.

Day Seventeen

Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

You will leave the banks of the river Nile and drive south with the chance to spot Uganda kob and several savannah bird species amongst the thick African bush. You will then drive up an escarpment which offers stunning views of the savannah plains stretching off the distance. Continue your journey through Kaniyo Pabidi Forest, watching out for the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill on the roadside before exiting the park through the Kichumbanyobo gate. Your route will then take you past Masindi town and on through rolling hills, farmlands and forest to reach Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Estimated journey time: 4 hrs

Visit Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to seek out the rhinos living in the safety of this semi wild reserve. As you trek over the grassland and through the African bush you will be able to spot an array of savannah and forest bird species such as the Bruce’s Pigeon, African black-headed Oriole and Common Scimitarbill. Of course your main goal is to track on foot with a ranger to visit Uganda’s most endangered creature, the Southern White Rhino! Your ranger is very experienced and knowledgeable about the rhinos and will be able to identify each individual and tell you about their characteristics, as well as give you more information on the effort to recover Uganda’s rhino population. This is the only place in Uganda where the rhino survives and breeds with the hopes of one day being introduced to the wild. All the proceeds from your visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary go towards funding the rhino’s future.
Estimated excursion time: 1 hr

Key Species: White-crested Turaco, Bruce’s Pigeon, African black-headed Oriole, Common Scimitarbill, Red-headed Weaver.

Explore the savannah woodlands of grasslands dotted with acacia trees protected by Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. While primarily the home to protected rhinos the sanctuary is also home to 40 species of mammals and reptiles, as well as in excess of 300 birds recorded here. You will follow the paths and secondary roads through the sanctuary with your guide to seek out species such as the Common Scimitarbill, African-crowned Eagle, African Black-headed Oriole, Bruce’s Green-Pigeon, and White-crested Turaco. While this is primarily a walking trip you can also use your vehicle to cover the sanctuary to explore the different habitats found here with your expert guide.
Estimated excursion time: 3 hrs

Key Species: Bruce’s Green-Pigeon, White-Crested Turaco, Beautiful Sunbird, African Hoopoe, Western Banded Snake-eagle, African Black-headed Oriole, Common Scimitarbill, Crested Francolin, Black-headed Gonolek, Black-headed Weaver, African Crowned Eagle.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Amuka Lodge, chalets.

Day Eighteen

Shoebill Tracking

You will rise early to meet your guides who will take you out on to Lugogo Swamp. A strict 06:00 departure is compulsory, which gives you the best chance of spotting as many bird species as possible and allows you to watch the beautiful sunrise over the swamp. You will drive through the African bush for 45 minutes to reach the edge of the swamp. You then will take to the water in a local motorised canoe to glide through the water to seek out this rare and prehistoric looking species, with trips into the swamp taking approximately 4 hours. Aside from the Shoebill you will also have the chance to stop some of the other +300 species living here including the Malachite Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Heron and from the swamp walk; Black Crake and Common Squacco Heron. On return to dry land you will also be able to take a walk along the swamp edge, depending on the water levels, giving you further opportunities to tick more species off your list. You will then drive back through the African bush to your lodge.
Estimated excursion time: 4 hrs

Key Species: Shoebill, Woolly-necked Stork, Black Crake, Rufous-bellied Heron, Common Squacco Heron. 

Depart from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and drive south passing plains, villages and roadside markets selling a range of fruits such as bananas, jackfruit, mangoes, papaya and passion fruit, which you may wish to stop off and sample along the way. After several hours' drive you will reach the hustle and bustle of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. You will pass through the city and drive south to reach Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Estimated journey time: 5 hrs

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Not included.