11-Day Primates and Birding Safari in Uganda -the Pearl of Africa
11 days Itinerary
1:Arrive Entebbe Airport, pick up and transfer to the booked hotel.
Upon arrival at Entebbe International Airport, a Home to Africa assigned English-speaking professional birding driver-guide will receive and welcome you to Uganda – the Pearl of Africa. Thereafter, you will transfer to the booked accommodation (Entebbe). Optional (extra cost): In case you have had an early landing in Uganda and interested, you can proceed to visit the Entebbe Botanical Garden. The Garden is one of the places around Entebbe where you can spot many species of birds and a few primates such as: the black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys. It is also a place of tranquility and peace, a feast for the eyes with notable absence of people and you simply immerse in nature with the sounds of birds breaking the stillness of the moment.
2:Visit Mabamba swamp in search of shoebill stork and thereafter, transfer to Kibale NP.
You will have breakfast at the accommodation and then move out for the Mabamba excursion. The wetland is one of the few places in Uganda that boasts of the opportunity for one to see the elusive and endangered Shoebill stork. The bird is easily seen in the morning when they stalk their main prey – the mudfish or frogs but may be spotted all day. They may stand absolutely still for long periods awaiting the movements of their prey and then suddenly strike with a marvelous speed. It’s fascinating to watch the behavior of this elusive bird firsthand in their natural habitat. From Mabamba, you will embark on a transfer to Kibale Forest NP.
3:Chimp habituation Experience - Kibale Forest and Birding Bigodi wetland.
You will move to the rangers’ point for briefing. From the briefing, you will proceed for a lifetime experience of chimp habituation in Kibale Forest. The activity allows you to accompany Kibale Forest’s research and habituation team on their daily routine. You will spend the first half of the day in the presence of these amazing human closest relation with the wild and witness them nesting, de-nesting, feeding, playing etc. while getting first hand explanation of the experts on the ground.
Return to the accommodation for some rest and lunch before going out again for the Bigodi birding experience. The Bigodi wetland boasts of extensive array of biodiversity among which are several primates’ species like the baboon, black & white colobus monkey. The Bigodi is also a paradise for bird watchers. Among the major bird species within the sanctuary is the Great Blue Turaco. Return for dinner and overnight rest.
4:Morning birding – Kanyanchu or Bigodi (again) and transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP.
Be up early, have breakfast and move out for birding in the Kanyanchu area of Kibale Conservation Area. Some bird species spotted in the area may include; Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler, White-collared Oliveback and Papyrus Canary among others. Return for some rest and lunch at the accommodation. After lunch, you will drive off to Queen Elizabeth NP. If time allows, you can do some afternoon-evening game viewing plus birding before finally heading to the accommodation for check in, dinner and overnight stay.
5:Morning game drive plus birding and Nature walk plus birding Maramagambo Forest.
Be up early and have your breakfast. Proceed for a morning game drive in the Kasenyi plains where you have the chance to spot wildlife; lions, leopard (but hard to spot), herds of elephants, buffalos among others. You will also be able to spot a number of bird species during the game drive. Return to the accommodation for some rest time and lunch.
After lunch, move out to explore the nearby Maramagambo Forest. Buzzing with primates including; baboons and several monkey species, the forest is also alive with numerous birds including the rare Forest Flycatcher, White-naped Pigeon and the striking Rwenzori Turaco. After Maramagambo, return to the accommodation for dinner and overnight.
6:Transfer to Bwindi via Ishasha sector in search of tree-climbing lions plus occasional birding.
Have breakfast then set off for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park through the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park – famously known for its resident tree-climbing lions. The chance of spotting these lions is about 70% though sometimes they are hard to spot (most especially when they are down in the grassland looking for prey). Along the way you will also be birding. From Ishasha, continue to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With a strenuous day ahead, you will do less on arrival but just check into your accommodation, relax as you prepare for the Bwindi gorilla trekking experience the following day.
7:Gorilla trekking Bwindi Forest. Return, rest and move out birding around.
Have breakfast and move to the rangers’ post. You will receive some briefing (from a ranger guide) on the dos and don’ts during trekking. Thereafter, you will enter the Bwindi Forest for your adventure. The beauty of this rain forest is spectacular! The area offers dramatic steeply forested landscape and is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access to tourists. The time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of these great primates. Once you have located a gorilla group, you will be allowed an hour in their presence. The thrill of spending time observing these gentle but endangered giants is unforgettable. Return to the accommodation for some rest before going out birding the nearby area – outside park.
8:Birding - the Mubwindi Swamp trail and later transfer to accommodation close to Mgahinga NP.
Be up early, have breakfast and set out for a birding experience along the Mubwindi Swamp trail. The trail offers the opportunity to spot; Banded Prinia, Handsome francolin, African green broadbill, Grauer’s Rush warbler to mention but a few. You will return for lunch at the accommodation. Thereafter, check out and bird your way to the accommodation close to Mgahinga National Park – Kisoro.
9:Golden monkey trekking Mgahinga Forest and Birding – the Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo.
Although not well known by most travelers, golden monkeys are yet the second, most interesting attraction in Mgahinga after the mountain gorillas. Scientifically, these species are called Cercopithecus Kandti and exploring them is what makes a full tourism package in Mgahinga gorilla national park. The activity starts with a briefing by the ranger guide and thereafter you continue to trek this awesome but endangered species of monkeys. Thereafter, take some rest and also have lunch before going out on a birding experience along the Gorge Trail between Gahinga and Sabinyo. The trail offers opportunity to spot; Cape Robin-chat, Kivu-ground Thrush, Olive Thrush, Brown-crowned Tchagra to mention but a few. Thereafter, drive back to the accommodation for dinner and overnight rest.
Accommodation: (Travellers Rest Hotel-Lower Mid-range)| Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Drive time: Approx. 40 minutes to and from.
10:Transfer to Lake Mburo National Park. Enjoy walking safari plus birding.
Enjoy your breakfast and then embark on a journey to Lake Mburo National park via Mbarara City. Upon arrival, you will check into the booked accommodation, take some rest before moving out for the walking safari plus birding in the presence of an armed Uganda Wildlife Authority ranger-guide. On this guided walk, you will have the opportunity to spot; Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Brown headed Parrot, Ross’s Turaco, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Green Wood-hoopoe to mention but a few. Also, you will encounter (at close range): Zebras, Giraffes and Eland, Topi and other antelope, Cape buffaloes among others. Later, retire to the accommodation for dinner and overnight.
11:Morning birding - Rubanga Forest and then return to Entebbe to catch flight out.
You will have breakfast and then set out to explore Rubanga forest. Though small, this tract of forest on the western side of Lake Mburo provides a taste of tropical high forest with a closed canopy. It is home to a variety of forest birds but the rare Red-faced Barbet – only seen in Lake Mburo National Park is one of the forest’s featured species. Commoner species being the Green Pigeon, Narina Trogon and Double-toothed Barbet among others. From Rubanga Forest, you will embark on a return journey to Entebbe Int’l Airport to catch flight out (recommended for 20:00 onwards).