20 Days Birds and Gorillas in Ugandan Forests: Best Forest Birding - MABAMBA SWAMP, BUDONGO FOREST, KIBALE FOREST, SEMLIKI PARK, GORILLAS IN BWINDI

This is our longest birding tour. Uganda has more than 1,100 bird species, a rarity in many countries of the world. Visit Mabamba Swamp, Queen Elizabeth's unique location and diversity; the gorilla forest of Bwindi; and finish with Lake Mburo National Park. Birders could see up to 400 bird species, as well as other wildlife

7 primates, game. (The Gorilla tracking permit in Bwindi is included in the safari cost).

BIRDS IN UGANDAN FORESTS : BEST FOREST BIRDING WITH GORILLAS - 20 DAYS

(Tour Code UG 19)

ITINERARY FOR BIRDING IN UGANDA'S FORESTS WITH GORILLAS - 20 DAYS TOUR

Day 1: Arrival. Early arrivals will have the opportunity to bird the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. The gardens host a variety of open country and woodland species which include: Orange Weaver, Red-chested Sunbird, Verreaux's Eagle-owl, Slender-billed Weaver, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver, Sedge Warbler, Giant Kingfisher, Great Reed Warbler, Pied Hornbill, Great Blue Turaco and Ross's Turaco to mention but a few.

Day 2: Leave early in the morning for Mabamba Swamp with picnic lunch. We will look for the rare Shoebill and later we will transfer to Mpanga Forest. This forest is a stunning patch of remnant, medium altitude evergreen and swamp forest. Look out for Blue-breasted kingfisher, Weyn's Weaver, White-spotted Flufftail, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Grey Parrot, Lemon Dove, Black-billed Turaco, Fire-crested Alethe, Snowy-headed Robin-chat, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo, Hair-breasted Barbet, Woodland Warbler, Olive Greenbul, Sooty Boubou and do not be surprised to meet the shy Bush Pig. Drive back to Kampala for overnight stay.

Day 3: Set off for Budongo Forest with several stops for birds on the way. Look out for the White-crested Turaco, Ross's Turaco, and White-crested Helmet-shrike. Stop for lunch at Masindi Hotel. Continue to Budongo Nyabyeya Guest House. Evening birding may produce Bat Hawk, Black-shouldered Nightjar, White-crested Turaco, Crowned Eagle and African Wood-owl.

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Day 4: Budongo Forest. After an early breakfast start birding at the Royal Mile. This is the home to very rare Nahan's Francolin. We will look for Banded Snake-eagle, African Pied Hornbill, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black Bishop, Brown Twinsport, Black-bellied Firefinch, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, White-thighed Hornbill, Yellow-billed Barbet, Spotted Greenbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Slender-billed Greenbul, Black-capped Apalis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Green Hylia, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Forest Flycatcher, Fire-crested Alethe, Yellow Longbill, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Crowned Eagle, Yellow-footed Flycatcher, African Dwarf Kingfisher. As we bird, we will not forget that this forest is home to the chimpanzees. Return to Nyabyeya Guest House for overnight stay.

Day 5: Budongo Forest. Set off after an early breakfast for the Busingiro Sector for a whole day birding. We hope to see chimps, baboons, Ituri Batis, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Forest Francolin, Yellow and Grey Longbills, Yellow-spotted Barbet, Red-tailed Antthrush, Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo and many other forest species. Drive to Masindi Hotel for overnight stay.

Day 6: Budongo Forest. Start early with packed breakfast and drive to Kanio Pabidi Section for birding and chimpanzee tracking. Special birds here include the Puvell's Illadopsis, Crowned Eagle, White-crested Turaco, Afep Pigeon, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Ross's Turaco, Narina's Trogon, Red-tailed Antthrush, Rufous-sided Broadbill and baboons. Return in the evening to Masindi Hotel.

Day 7 & 8: Start early to travel to Kibale National Park. Most of this park rainforest and is home to over 9 species of Primates. These include Chimpanzee, Red Colubus Monkey, Grey-cheeked Mangaby, Red-tailed Monkey and galagos. The forest is also home to Scaly Francolin, Marsh Tchagra, Black-bellied Seedcracker, Green-backed Twinspot, Bicoloured Mannikin, White-naped Pigeon, Afep Pigeon, Narina's Trogon, Joyful Greenbul, Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo, the superb Black Bee-eater and many others. A nature walk at Bigodi Wetland will be a good afternoon's birding. This is home to Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Scaly-throated Honeyguide and Black-faced Rufous Warbler. Overnight at Mantana Luxury Tented Camp.

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Day 9: Drive early morning with your packed lunch for Semliki Forest. This forest is a moist semi-deciduous forest that is home to Spot-breasted Ibis, Northern Bearded Scrub-robin, Capuchin Babbler, Lyre-tailed Honeyguide, Yellow-throated Green Cuckoo, White-bellied Kingfisher, Maxwell's Black Weaver, Black-winged Oriole, Red-eyed Puffback, Crested and Red-bellied Malimbe, Brown-crowned Eremomela, Zenker's Honeyguide and African Piculet. We overnight at Semliki Lodge.

Day 10 & 11: Whole day birding in the Semliki Forest.

Day 12: Start at dawn for Imaramagambo Forest west of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Key species here are Dark-capped Yellow Warbler, Fawn-breasted Waxbill, Black-headed Batis, Brubru, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Bat Hawk, Red-tailed Bristlebill, Green Crombec, Black and White Flycatcher, Brown-eared Woodpecker, Red-headed Bluebill, African Hobby, African Green Pigeon, Ross's Turaco, African Finfoot and many others.

Day 13: Whole day birding in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. In the afternoon enjoy birding on a boat trip along the Kazinga Channel, which joins Lake Edward and Lake George.

Day 14: Transfer southwards to the home of the giant cousins of human beings. Bwindi National Park is still one of the best virgin tropical rainforest in East Africa. Birding begins early in the morning with the early risers at the luxury bush camp. After breakfast carry a picnic lunch for a whole day birding in the only natural tropical forest in the area. This forest has over 300 bird species recorded. These include Red-throated Alethe, Equatorial Akalat, Forest Robin, Montane Oriole, Grey-throated Barbet, Hairy-breasted Barbet, African Broadbill, Black Bee-eater, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Narina's Trogon, Pettit's Cuckooshrike, Black-faced Rufous Warbler and many other forest rarities. This forest receives rainfall almost throughout the year; a rain jacket and hiking books are necessary solutions. Return for dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 15: Bwindi National Park - Gorilla trekking. Many birders who have been to this forest have shown interest in trekking these cousins of human beings in their jungle homes. Have this optional day for gorilla trekking. Carry your picnic lunch and enjoy the forest giants.

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Day 16, 17 & 18: Depart at the crack of dawn for a 50km drive to the highest peak of the forest – Ruhiija. Several stops at suitable birding sites may produce rare species such as White-starred Robin, Grey Cuckooshrike, Strange Weaver, Banded Prinia, Brown-chested Alethe, Slender-billed
Greenbul, Yellow-streaked Greenbul, White-browed Crombec, Mountain Illadopsis, Luehder's Bush-shrike, Grey-green Bush-shrike; all these and many others are among the 345 species recorded in this park. Birding to the Mubwindi Swamp is very productive. One has to be prepared to walk on steep mountain tracks. You drop from about 2400m to 2050m above sea level. Birding in the bamboo zone is good for the Handsome Francolin, Archer's Robin-chat, Stripe-breasted Tit, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Mountain Greenbul, Waller's Chestnut-winged Starling, Dusky Crimsonwing, Mountain Illadopsis, Mountain Yellow Warbler and we hope to see brief views of duikers. Birders who come with camping equipment can camp at Ruhiija Campground.

Day 19: Drive to Entebbe. Stay at Windsor Lake Victoria Hotel.

Day 20: Departure. Tour ends.

Contact us to enquire or book this tour

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ChimpanzeeOn this tour, you will be able to see Banded Snake-eagle, African Pied Hornbill, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Black Bishop, Brown Twinsport, Black-bellied Firefinch, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, White-thighed Hornbill, Yellow-billed Barbet, Spotted Greenbul, Cameroon Sombre Greenbul, Slender-billed Greenbul, Black-capped Apalis, Lemon-bellied Crombec, Green Hylia, Pale-breasted Illadopsis, Forest Flycatcher, Fire-crested Alethe, as well as chimpanzees, many species of butterflies, snakes, impala, eland, kingfisher, waterbuck, zebra, buffalo, crocs and of course the gorillas.