22 days bird watching safari
22 days bird watching safari gives a chance to see Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-headed coucal, Brown-chested Lapwing, Carruther’s cisticola, Greater painted snipe, Hairy-breasted barbet, Mosque swallow, Papyrus gonolek, Papyrus yellow warbler, Red-faced Barbet, Shoebill, Tabora cisticola, White-winged Warbler, Yellow-rumped tinkerbird.
There can be few bird-watching safari destinations on Earth where one can expect to find over 600 bird species in one park alone – Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is one. Uganda is arguably the best birding destination in Africa. With over 1040 bird species already recorded in the country, Uganda is the best place to go birding in Africa.
Uganda bird-watching safari
Uganda is not new to birders. Several tourists have visited the country on different birding trips and visited different bird-watching destinations that include forests, wetlands, savannah grasslands etc. Accolades for Uganda’s birding delights are rarely understated. Nigel Wheatley, for instance, in Where to Watch Birds in Africa (1995), said: “In terms of its size, Uganda is the richest country for birds in Africa.” And this immense volume and diversity occur in a space that keen birders can cover in a short visit.
Itinerary 22 days Uganda bird watching safari.
Day 1 Arrival to Uganda through Entebbe international airport. Overnight in Entebbe
Day 2 Fly to Kidepo with Areolink dinner and overnight Savannah camp. Afternoon wildlife and birding game drive.
Day 3 Morning Birding and afternoon birding on this 22 Days bird watching safari; here are the key species among the 470 species; Abyssinian roller, Abyssinian scimitarbill, Black-breasted Barbet, Carmine bee-eater, Chestnut weaver, D’Arnaud’s barbet, Fox kestrel, Golden pipit, Jackson’s hornbill, Karamoja Apalis, Purple grenadier, Pygmy falcon, Red-throated bee-eater, Rose-ringed parakeet, Rufous chatterer, White-bellied go-away bird, White-eyed kestrel.
Best time for bird watching
The birdlife in Kidepo is year-round good, but at its best from March to April for all the specials and the many migrants. November to February has the least rain, while June to August has more. Rain shouldn’t be too much of a problem in this semi-arid part of the country. Migratory birds are in the valley from November to April. For wildlife viewing, the middle and end of the Dry season (November to February) are best.
Dinner at Apoka lodge and overnight at Savannah camp.
Murchison Falls national park is excellent for seeing a wide array of common birds and specials, including the sought-after shoebill.
Sightings of this sought-after bird are almost guaranteed on a boat trip on the Victoria Nile towards the Lake Albert delta. This boat trip, as well as the more popular ‘launch’ trip towards Murchison Falls, are, in fact, great for checking off many water-associated birds. With 53 species recorded, raptors are also very well represented.
Day 4 We start early as we bird watch on the way to Murchison falls national park with lunch to be had in Gulu town. Thereafter continue heading to Murchison falls, entering the park via the northern tangi gate. Head to Pakuba safari lodge in the heart of the park for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 full day birding within the park; among the species are Abyssinian ground hornbill, African jacana, African quail-finch, Black-billed Barbet, Black-headed gonolek, Black-headed Lapwing, Blue-headed coucal, Denham’s bustard, Eastern grey plantain-eater, Giant kingfisher, Goliath heron, Malachite kingfisher, Palm-nut vulture, Piapiac, Red-throated bee-eater, Shoebill See photos, Silverbird, Speckle-fronted weaver, Squacco heron, Swamp flycatcher, White-browed sparrow weaver.
Best time for bird watching
The bird watching in Murchison falls is best done from January to March. This is the low tourist season, but there is plenty of bird activity. December to February has the least rain, while April to May and August to October have the most rain. The heavy rains might result in delays due to impassable roads and slippery hiking trails, which will eat into your birding time. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Day 6 Morning birding on the delta, lunch at the Paraa lodge and an afternoon boat ride to the bottom of the falls. Travellers will hike up to the top of the falls, where the vehicle will pick you up and take you to the budongo forest for overnight at the budongo eco-lodge.
Royal mile 22 days bird watching safari
Day 7 Transfer to the royal mile pristine haven, an ideal destination for a keen birder. The royal mile is a habitat for some of the following birds African Crowned Eagle, Nahan’s Francolin, White-spotted Flufftail, Sabine’s Spinetail, Cassin’s Spinetail, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Dwarf Kingfisher, Blue-throated Roller.
Also, Piping Hornbill, White-thighed Hornbill, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Yellow-billed Barbet, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Spotted Greenbul, Fire-crested Alethe, Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat, Red-capped Robin-Chat, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Rufous-crowned Elemomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Black-capped Apalis, Ituri Batis, Chestnut-caped Flycatcher.
After several hours of birding, we will have a packed snack and head to Hoima, where you spend a night at Kibale forest national park 370 species have been recorded, and many are forest specials, including the sought-after African pitta. Four bird species have not been recorded in any other National park of Uganda: Cassin’s spinetail, blue-headed bee-eater, Nahan’s francolin and Masked Apalis. The best bird-watching spot is the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary – a community project where experienced guides take you on a four-hour trail.
Day 8 drive takes to Kibale forest area overnight stay at the Kibale forest camp.
Best time for bird watching
The birdlife in Kibale is good year-round but at its best from March to May and from September to November. June to September is the main fruiting season, so food is abundant, and many birds are breeding plumage. Migratory birds can be found here from November to April.
December to February and June to July have the least rain while March to May and September to November have the most rain. The rains might result in delays due to impassable roads and slippery hiking trails, limiting your bird-watching time.
Day 9 Morning birding and afternoon chimpanzee forest walk
Dinner and overnight
Semliki Wildlife Reserve is not among the top destination for wildlife viewing, but for a bird-watcher, it is a paradise. With more than 460 species recorded within different sectors of the reserve. Boat trips on Lake Albert are ideal for a chance to see the elusive shoebill stork. The adjacent Semuliki National Park offers a great opportunity to add several species associated with the Congolese rainforest. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Day 10 You head to Semliki wildlife reserve for another epic birding experience. Notable species include Abyssinian ground hornbill, African crake, African moustached warbler, African pygmy goose, Black coucal, Black-billed Barbet, Black-chinned quail finch, Blue-breasted bee-eater, Broad-billed roller, Double-toothed Barbet, Green wood-hoopoe, Marsh tchagra, Pennant-winged nightjar, Piapiac, Red-necked falcon, Red-tailed leaflove, Red-throated bee-eater, Shoebill, Standard-winged nightjar.
Best time for 22 days bird watching safari
Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve bird watching is good year-round, reaching its pick at the height of the breeding season in March, just after the dry months from December to February. There is occasional rain throughout the year, but March to mid-May and August to October are the wettest months. Migrating birds are in the Toro-Semliki wildlife reserve from November to April.
Dinner and overnight.
Queen Elizabeth national park has a big bird checklist of any area in East Africa, with over 600 bird species. This is due to the wide variety of habitats: from savannah to forest to wetland. Many of the birds in the park are special within East Africa, which makes it a prime destination for birders. The swamp areas in the Ishasha sector are a good place to look for the elusive shoebill stork.
Day 11 Semlike wildlife reserve to Queen Elizabeth national park is a good year-round destination for bird watching, but at its best from late May to September, when the rain is less and food is abundant. June to July has the least rain, while April to May and September to November have the most rain.
African finfoot, African hobby, African skimmer, Ayres’s hawk-eagle, Black bee-eater, Black-rumped buttonquail, Broad-billed roller, Caspian plover, Collared pratincole, Crab plover, Great blue turaco, Great white pelican, Grey-winged Robin-chat, Palm-nut vulture, Papyrus gonolek, Pel’s fishing owl, Pink-backed pelican, Red-chested Sunbird, Rufous-bellied heron, Sand martin, Shoebill, Siberian gull, Spotted redshank.
Dinner and overnight
Day 12 Full day birding watching dinner overnight at Queen Elizabeth national park.
Day 13 Drive to Ishasha the swamp areas in the Ishasha sector are a good place to look for the elusive shoebill stork. The park is great for raptors as well. Dinner and overnight
Day 14 Bwindi forest national park, which should be on every birder’s itinerary. The park offers some of the best montane-forest (mountain-forest) bird watching in Africa. There are an estimated 350 bird species, with 14 not recorded anywhere else in Uganda. There are 23 birds endemic to the Albertine Rift (which is 90% of all Albertine Rift endemics), including the short-tailed warbler and blue-headed sunbird. The main birding spots are along the Buhoma waterfall trail, the Mubwindi swamp trail and the bamboo zone. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Dinner and Overnight
Best time for bird watching
The birdlife in Bwindi is good year-round but at its best in March and September. June and July have the least rain while March to mid-May has the most. Heavy rains might result in delays due to impassable roads and slippery hiking trails, which can limit your bird-watching time. The main nesting season is in May and June, with food being abundant from late May through September. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Day 15 Full day bird watching in the forest with these notable species African broadbill, African green broadbill, Black bee-eater, Black-billed turaco, Black-faced Warbler, Blue-headed Sunbird, Cinnamon-chested, Collared Apalis, Handsome francolin, Many-colored bushshrike, Mountain greenbul, Mountain-masked Apalis, Purple-breasted sunbird, Regal Sunbird, Rufous warbler, Shelley’s Crimsonwing, Short-tailed Warbler, Western green tinkerbird, Yellow-streaked greenbul.
Dinner and Overnight
Day 16 gorilla tracking dinner and overnight
Day 17 drive to Ruhija; this drive opens up through the neck of the forest into the Mubwindi swamp. Dinner and overnight.
Day 19 Drive to Mgahinga forest, where not much research has been done so far regarding the birds of Mgahinga, but the park is still of great interest to birdwatchers. Over 180 bird species have been recorded, and several are localized forest birds – 12 of which are considered endemic to the Albertine Rift. There are several guided mountain hikes on offer where birders get an opportunity to tick off some Afro-alpine endemics, such as the scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Dinner and overnight Kisoro
Day 20 half-day Mgahinga forest bird watching for the following notable species Alpine chat, Alpine swift, Archer’s robin-chat, Blue-headed coucal, Dusky Crimsonwing, Kivu ground-thrush, Olive Pigeon, Olive woodpecker, Ruwenzori batis, Ruwenzori nightjar, Ruwenzori turaco, Scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird.
And travel to Lake Mburo national park after your lunch. Dinner and overnight
Day 21 Full day bird watching, Lake Mburo has over 310 bird species recorded in Lake Mburo national park. This park is the best place in Uganda for acacia-dwelling birds. Forest species are also present in Rubanga Forest. A bonus for birders is the swamps, in which six papyrus endemics are resident, including the spectacular papyrus gonolek and the blue-headed coucal. Lake Mburo is also a place to find southern species at the northern limit of their range, including the Black-collared barbet and southern ground hornbill. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Here are some the notable species Abyssinian ground hornbill, African finfoot, African scops owl, Bare-faced go-away bird, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-headed coucal, Brown-chested Lapwing, Carruther’s cisticola, Greater painted snipe, Hairy-breasted barbet, Mosque swallow, Papyrus gonolek, Papyrus yellow warbler, Red-faced Barbet, Shoebill, Tabora cisticola, White-winged Warbler, Yellow-rumped tinkerbird.
Day 22, drive back towards Kampala and head to Entebbe for your flight home.
Ready to Book?
- Transport using a 4×4 with the open roof;
- passengers and public liability insurance;
- full board accommodation;
- driver/birding guide and ranger;
- all fees for the excursions – activities as in the day-by-day program;
- all park entrance fees;
- return airport transfer.
- International/Domestic Flights
- Travel Insurance
- Tips $10 per person per day
- Activities not in the Itinerary
- Items of personal nature such as phone calls
- Gorilla permit value $700
- Chimpanzee permit value $150
Terms and conditions of 22 days bird watching safari
- Book with a deposit of 40% of the total amount of the trip.
- Book at least 60 days before the date of departure.
- Steady Safaris Ltd reserves the right not to accept bookings made less than 60 days prior to the date of departure.
- Full payment has to be made not less than 30 days before the departure date of the tour.
- If the full amount is not paid in due time, Steady Safaris Ltd reserves the right to treat it as cancelled.
- Cancellations: 60 days prior to the departure date of the tour, full refund of deposit; between 60 and 30 days, refund of 50% of deposit; less than 30 days, no refund.
- Gorilla permits are non-refundable.
- Travellers should reach Entebbe on the tour starting the day before 8 am and leave from the same airport at the end of the tour after 8 pm.
- If these times can’t possible, then 1 or 2 days should be calculated for the overnight in Kampala.
- Children under 12 years of age will not see chimpanzees.
- Kibale National Park offers small walks of 1 or 2 hours with creative activities.
- Gorilla trekking is not for anyone under 15 years of age.
- Prices for private safari. No extra passengers.
- All prices have VAT.
- Prices are in United States dollars (USD).
- Gorilla permits are available at least two months before the departure date.