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30 Days of Birding in Uganda

For the real enthusiast! This journey will take you to every corner of Uganda and the variety of species on show will blow your mind. Uganda´s birdlife comes in all shapes and sizes. Just make sure you don’t forget the telescopic lens!


30 Days of Birding in Uganda Day One: Arriving at the airport you will be met by a representative from Churchill Safaris who will transfer you to your hotel and give you a briefing about your safari. Depending on time of arrival you can be shown around Entebbe’s Botanical Gardens, which is home to a variety of birds including the Diedrerik Cuckoo, Black Bishop, and Gaber Goshawk or go for a visit at the Uganda Wildlife Educational Center before returning to your hotel for dinner. Keys Species of Entebbe: Great Reed, Ashy Fly Catchers, Black Kite, Black Headed Weavers, Great Blue Turacos, Green Throated Sunbirds.

Day Two & Three After breakfast you set off eastbound to Mabira Forest for two nights. The forest is easily accessible through a network of well maintained trails, and supports over 300 bird species, many which are difficult to see elsewhere. Go for a bird watching activity in the afternoon before retiring for the evening. We set off early the next morning for a full day of birding in Mabira Forest. In the afternoon you can continue birding or transfer to the source of the Nile in Jinja for a picnic lunch overlooking the wild rapids of the Nile before returning to Mabira in the evening. Key Species of Mabira Forest: Key Species: Purple Throated Cuckoo Shrike, Nahan’s Francolin, Forest Wood Hoopoe, Green tailed Bristlebill, Red headed Bluebill, Yellow Billed Barbet, Joyful Greenbul, Tit Hylia, Grey Longbill and the Sooty Boubou.

Day four & Five Your safari continues as you depart to Lake Mburo for two nights. We first have a stopover at Namugabo near Mabamba Wetland. This recently discovered site is the newest birding destination in Uganda, and is a better option than Mabamba, although both are located on the shores of Lake Victoria. Namugabo has a recorded 260 species and is the number one destination to see the elusive and prehistoric looking Shoebill Stork (Balaeniceps Rex). Later on we continue Lake Mbruo for the evening. Key Species of Namugabo: Lesser Jacana, Blue Swallow, Black-Shouldered Nightjar, Afep Pigeon, Blue Breasted Bee-Eater, Papyrus Gonolek, White Winged Warbler. It’s an early start the next morning as we explore Lake Mburo. Lake Mburo is an extension of the Tanzanian Plains and has distinctly different fauna compared to other Ugandan parks. It is the best place in the country to see Eland Antelope, Zebra, Topi, Impala, and Acacia. The five lakes within the park attract hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of water birds, while fringing swamps hide black and yellow papyrus gonalek. Take a morning game drive and then a boat safari in the afternoon to get a closer look at the water birds of the park. Key Species of Lake Mburo: Brown Chested Plover, Red Faced Barbet, Southern Ground Hornbill, Papyrus Yellow Warbler, Yellow Billed Oxpecker, African Finfoot, Black Collard Barbet


30 Days of Birding in Uganda Day Six & Seven The next day you continue to the Southern part of Uganda to Mgahinga National Park for two nights. Passing through the verdant countryside you will notice the dramatic change in scenery and landscape. Arriving in the late afternoon you will have dinner at your hotel before retiring for the evening. One of Uganda’s smallest National Parks, Mgahinga lies in the remote South West corner of the country, bordering Rwanda’s Parc des Volcano and Parc des Virungas in the DRC. The park holds three extinct volcanoes which tower above this extremely biologically rich park, which contains an abundance of animals and over 115 bird species. Starting out the next morning we will explore the Gorge Trail which navigates around Mt. Sabinyo and a variety of habitats. A full day of exploring will conclude with returning to the lodge for dinner and an overnight. Key Species of Mgahinga: Alpine Chat, Kivu Ground Thrush, Flycatcher, Bush Shrike, Malachite Sunbird, Rwenzori Nightjar.

Day Eight Today after breakfast you continue on to Ecuya Forest Reserve for a full day of bird watching. Ecuya Forest Reserve is part of the biodiversity rich Albertine Rift, and holds significance for birders as it contains over 137 species, including the globally threatened Grauers Swamp Warbler. We later continue on to Ruhija for the night. Key Species of Ecuya: Mountain Hill Babbler, Ludher’s Bush Shrike, Northern Double Collared Sunbird and Black Faced Rufous Warbler.

Day Nine & Ten YWe spend the next two nights in Ruhija, which is a section of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Africa’s number one birding destination. The Montane Forest is home to over half the world’s remaining gorilla population as well as 23 Albertine Rift Endemics, which can be found no other place on Earth. Entering the park entrance we will head toward Mubwindi Swamp, the hilly terrain is challenging but offers rich rewards for birders. We continue birding, finishing up in the afternoon and later retiring to the loge. The next day we explore the main road, wandering off onto shorter trails or where the bird sounds take us. A local guide will be able to tell you about the variety of bird species in Bwindi and more about the botanical diversity. Return to the lodge in the evening. Key Species of Ruhija Bwindi: Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Nightjar, Rwenzori Batis, Olive Pigeon, African Green Broadbill, Strange Weaver, Yellow-Eyed Black Flycatcher, Purple Breasted Sunbird, Regal Sunbird.


30 Days of Birding in Uganda Day Eleven - Thirteen We are nowhere near being done with Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and continue to a section of the park called Buhoma for three nights. As we transfer to Buhoma we explore an area called “the neck of the forest.” This is an excellent area for bird watching, and if we are lucky we may see such species as the Lagden’s Bush Shrike and Black Bee-eater. With packed lunches in hand the next morning we set off on the waterfall trail of the forest. The dense forest is filled with wildlife; the myriad of bird calls makes it clear why Bwindi is Africa’s premier birding destination. The walk takes you through the forest to the bases of several gushing waterfalls. We conclude the day returning to the lodge for dinner. Our last day in Bwindi we spend looking for birds that dwell along the forest edge. Note: Substitute a day of birding and go gorilla trekking in Bwindi. Staring into the eyes of these gentle giants is one of the most moving experiences that Africa has to offer, and should not be missed! Key Species of Buhoma Bwindi: Black Faced Rufous Warbler, Red Fronted Antpecker, Many-Colored Bush Shrike, Kivu Ground Thrush, Elliot’s Woodpecker, Mountain Illadopses, and Red Throated Alethe.

Day Fourteen Your safari continues as we head north to Ishasha, just outside Queen Elizabeth National Park. Although Ishasha is best known for their tree climbing lions there are also a variety of bird species in the area. Arriving in the afternoon we have a bird watching activity before returning to the hotel for the evening. Key Species of Ishasha: Brown Chested Plover, Diederick’s Cuckoo, Wattled and Violet Backed Starlings.

Day Fifteen - Seventeen Today you depart for two nights to Queen Elizabeth National Park, which boasts one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game park or reserve in the world. From open savannah to rain forest, Queen Elizabeth has a wealth of over a 100 mammal species, and an astounding 606 bird species, making it a premier birding safari destination. Arrive in the park in the afternoon, and go for a game drive and birding in the early evening. Spend the whole next day in the Park viewing the various birds and wildlife. We will visit the infamous Maramagambo Forest and Kasenyi Plains in search of birdlife. In the afternoon you will go for a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel to view the hippos, crocodiles, and birds that congregate to the river’s edge. You will also get the opportunity to visit the Queen Elizabeth Bird Observatory which was founded in 1997 to study the patterns of migratory and resident birds. Key species of Queen Elizabeth: African Skimmer, Black Rumped Button Quail, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, Red Footed Falcon, Lesser Flamingoes, Grey Capped Warbler, White’s and Abdim’s Storks (in season), Amur Falcon, Ovampo Sparrowhawk, Wooly-necked and Saddle-billed Storks, Vultures and Plovers.


30 Days of Birding in Uganda Day Eighteen & Nineteen Today you depart for Kibale National Forest for two nights. The large block of rainforest is the home to over thirteen primate species including chimpanzees, red colobus, and L’Hoest monkeys. Kibale National Forest is also boasts 355 bird species, and a range of other animal species including the elusive forest elephant. The next morning go for an optional Chimpanzee track or birding activity. Later in the afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, which is rich in bird species, vegetation, and wildlife. This is also a great opportunity to support local tourism initiatives which benefits social and economic development in the area. Key species of Kibale: White Collard Oliveback, Leaflove, African Broadbill, Willcock’s Honeyguide, Green Breasted Pitta, African Pitta, Grey Winged Robin, Red Winged Francolin, Joyful Greenbul, White Bellied Crested Flycatcher, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Red Chested Fluftail, Grey Winged Robin, White Napped pigeon, Chestnut Winged Starling.

Days Twenty & Twenty One You continue with your safari as you head north to Semliki Valley National Park for two nights. Based in Western Uganda, Semliki holds part of Congo’s Ityiru Forest. With over 350 bird species being recorded, Semliki is an extraordinary birding location, drawing many wetland varieties. Relatively new to the tourism circuit, new species are still being discovered in the reserve. You may be lucky enough to discover one! Driving into the park we will stop at the hot springs before continuing to the wildlife reserve to spend the evening birding en route. The next day we will continue birding at the National Park, spending the afternoon on a boat in Lake Albert to look for wetland varieties. Key species of Semliki: Shoebill the African Pygmy Goose, Red-necked Falcon, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Blue-breasted Bee-Eater, Black-billed Barbet, Piapiac, Leaflove and Black-chinned Quail-Finch.

Days Twenty Two & Twenty Three The next day we continue on to Budongo Forest Reserve for two nights. The forest lies at the edge of the Albertine Rift Valley to the south of Murchison Falls National Park and protects the largest natural forested area in East Africa. It boasts an impressive 350 bird species and is home to Uganda’s largest population of Chimpanzees. An excellent network of trails known as “The Royal Mile” which was the historical leisure spot for the Bunyoro King and is one of Uganda’s best birding destinations in Uganda. Spend the afternoon birding returning to your hotel in the evening. Key Species of Budongo: Nahan’s Francolin, Cassin’s Spinetail, Ituri Batis and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher, Chocolate-backed, Blue-breasted and African Dwarf Kingfishers.


30 Days of Birding in Uganda Day Twenty Four We continue on to Murchison Falls Park the next day for one night. Have a game drive as you enter the rolling plains of Uganda’s largest National Park, where you will have chances of viewing lions, giraffes, elephants, and the 450 bird species that call the park home. In the afternoon, continue birding or go for a boat trip to the base of Murchison Falls, where the Nile thunders through a small 7-meter gap, plunging 43 m into Lake Albert. The banks of the Nile are densely populated with crocodiles, hippopotamus, and range of other water birds that come to the river to drink. Key species of Murchison Falls: Egyptian Plover, Secretary Bird, Silver Bird, Denham’s Bustard, Rock Platincoles, Wire-tailed Swallow, Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eater, and many more.

Day Twenty FIve For the final part of your safari we travel to Kidepo National Park, Uganda’s best kept secret. Located in the furthest corner of Uganda, in the semi-arid valleys of Karamoja province, Kidepo Valley is Uganda’s most isolated National Park. The few that dare to take the pilgrimage are rewarded with stunning scenery and an unparalleled abundance of wildlife including lions, cheetahs, ostriches and water buffalo. Kidepo also boasts an impressive 475 bird species, with some of East Africa’s rarest and most sought after species including the Black-breasted barbet and the Karamoja Apalis. Birding en route we stop in Kitgum, resting and preparing for the final leg of the journey to Kidepo the next day.

Days Twenty Six - Twenty Eight Early the next morning we continue onwards to Kidepo. The treacherous road conditions are horrible, at best and it may take anywhere from 2-4 hours to reach the park. On the positive side the scenery is stunning, and the trip provides a rare glance into the Acholi and Karamojong cultures, something few visitors get to experience. Arrive to the park in the late afternoon for a short game drive before retiring for the night. Experience the beauty of one of East Africa’s most isolated and spectacular natural parks. The scenery and wildlife simply cannot compare. The best part is that the park is completely yours, with the likelihood of encountering another vehicle minimal. Spend the day exploring the beauty of Kidepo and birding concluding the day with an exciting walking safari in the evening. The adventure continues the next day as you travel to the Sudanese border to visit Kidepo’s ostrich population, and have a bush lunch overlooking the park. Participate in an optional birding activity or visit to the Karamojong communities in the late afternoon. Key Species of Kidepo: Ostrich, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Fox Ketrel, Ethiopian Swallow.


30 Days of Birding in Uganda Day Twenty Nine After breakfast we have a game drive leaving the park, driving back to Gulu for one night. Stopping in Kitgum for lunch, you will get to experience “the African massage� as we make our way towards Gulu. Spend the evening relaxing at the hotel.

Day Thirty Leaving Gulu you make your way to Entebbe, stopping at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens for some final birding and lunch, before you transfer to the airport for your return flight home.


30 Days of Birding in Uganda |Tour Prices MAIN TOUR PRICES

INCLUDED IN THE MAIN TOUR PRICE

THINGS TO BRING FOR BIRDING

Budget ; From $4,663 per person

Budget: Makes sure everything is covered

• Binoculars - one pair per person

All Overland Travel - A 4x4 vehicle with viewing hatch and

• A notebook

driver will be provided for all trips and journeys.

• A good flashlight and batteries

Premium : From $5,995 per person

Guided Tours - Our guides are the same professionals, Luxury : From $7,430 per person

[we will be looking for birds at night]

whichever package you choose.

• A bird field book

Accommodation - Basic but perfectly functional and com-

• A rain coat

Remember, as we build your perfect safari we

fortable hotels and lodges.

• Camera / video equipment

can add the bits you really want and remove the

Meals - Three meals per day provided by your hotel or

bits you don’t to help you manage your budget.

lodge.

Premium : Our Most Popular Choice All Overland Travel - A 4x4 vehicle with viewing hatch and driver will be provided for all trips and journeys. Guided Tours - Our guides are the same professionals, whichever package you choose. Accommodation - Comfortable and well appointed hotels & lodges Meals - Three meals per day provided by your hotel or lodge.

Luxury : Travelling in style! Overland Travel & flights - A 4x4 vehicle with viewing hatch and driver will be provided for all trips and journeys. Optional Domestic flights. Guided Tours - Our guides are the same professionals, whichever package you choose Accommodation - You will be offered a choice of luxury hotels and lodges. Please remember all our trips can be tailored to meet your needs.

Meals - All meals are specially prepared by the first rate chefs at your chosen hotel or lodge.

THINGS TO BRING FOR SAFARI • Jacket • Sunscreen • Sunglasses • Safari Hat • Water (will be provided) • Camera • Guide book

THINGS TO BRING FOR GORILLA TREKKING • Packed Lunch (will be provided) • One-two liters of water (will be provided) • Hiking Stick (will be provided) • Day Backpack • Rain jacket • Light weight long sleeved shirt • Light weight long pants • Sunscreen • Handkerchief, bandana • Waterproof hiking boots • Snacks, energy bars, small pieces of candy or chocolate • Camera


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