UGANDA - 17th June to 1st July 2018 - GORILLAS AND SHOEBILL
A birding and wildlife tour of Uganda in search of the enigmatic Shoebill and the few remaining Mountain Gorillas.
Led by John van der Dol
Grading: a certain amount of fitness required especially for the Gorilla and Chimpanzee tracking. Focus: on birds and mammals
Early booking recommended as group will be no larger than 12.
A photographer's paradise
Dates and price to be fixed when we have some idea of how many people are potentially interested. Rough guide £4 to 4.5K plus flight fully inclusive.
UGANDA - June 2018 - GORILLAS AND SHOEBILL
From the source of the White Nile on Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Range, the montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes, harbouring some of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas, to the extensive savannas around the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, Uganda is an equatorial country of astonishing contrasts.
No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats, and this richness is reflected in its incredible bird list of over 1000 species.
Amongst these are many highly sought-after birds, such as the unique Shoebill and the numerous spectacular endemics of the Albertine Rift Valley, currently impossible to find anywhere else.
The huge bird list is all the more remarkable given the small size of the country (approximately equal to Great Britain), making it, arguably, the richest African birding destination.
The tour begins and ends in Entebbe on the shores of Lake Victoria.
The trip is very diverse and visits most of the important National Parks around the country.
After arrival at Entebbe, the following day we set out straight away to find the most iconic bird of the tour – Shoebill!
We’ll spend a morning in the Mabamba Wetlands before heading west to beautiful Lake Mburo National Park for a two night stay.
Continuing south and west we visit first Mgahinga National Park for two nights, arguably one of the more scenic parks, as well as an excellent place for birds.
We then spend five days at two main locations in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, visiting the Ruhija and Buhoma sections, where we have the chance for many of the Albertine Rift Endemics.
Then driving through the “Neck” to the Gorilla resort for two nights, where we will spend a day tracking Mountain Gorillas.
Although the Gorilla trek can be strenuous, staring into the eyes of a Mountain Gorilla from a few feet away is nothing short of a life-changing experience.
About half the surviving Mountain Gorillas live within the boundaries of this national park, and to have the opportunity to meet these gentle giants and be part of their family group for an hour is a rare privilege indeed, and rated by many to be the greatest wildlife experience on the planet!
The next portion of the trip heads north and visits a series of fabulous national parks in the northwest portion of the country, and offers the chance for many unique bird species, as well as some of the finest mammal watching in the country.
First we travel to wonderful Queen Elizabeth National Park for two wonderful nights. Here we take a famous boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, which links Lakes George and Edward, and is one of the most productive of birding excursions!
From here we work further north to the Kibale National Park and a three night stay, and perhaps the best area in Uganda for primates.
Here we will have the opportunity for tracking Chimpanzees, as well as birding in excellent forest where we will search for the rare Green-breasted Pitta.
From here we’ll move to one of the most productive birding areas in East Africa, and spend three nights at famous areas such as Budongo Forest the “Royal Mile,” and Kaniyo Pabidi.
We will finish the tour in wonderful Murchison Falls National Park, perhaps the best park in Uganda for large game.
The tour will likely see more than 500 species of birds, which will include Shoebill, and a large percentage of Albertine Rift endemics, as well as a wide variety of representatives of many of the classic African families such as hornbills, barbets, bee-eaters, woodhoopoes, fabulous raptors, incredible water birds, and on and on! We will cover a multitude of habitats from lush rainforest, to wild savannahs, to dry acacia forests, to wetlands and swamps, to the shores of the incredible Nile River.
The scenery is varied and arguably some of the finest in all of Africa, and the mammal experience would be great enough with chances for about 50 species, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, and leopard, not to mention, of course, Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee.
The accommodations are excellent, and our guide Herbert is one of the more experienced local guides in Uganda. All in all – a trip of a lifetime!
Dates and price to be fixed when we have some idea of how many people are potentially interested. Rough guide £4-4.5K plus flight fully inclusive.
UGANDA - 17th June to 1st July 2018
15-Days Uganda Trip
Mabamba Wet land, Murchison Falls, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Lake Mburo National Parks
Day 1: Arrival June 17
Arrive at Entebbe International Airport meet & greet by your driver guide and proceed to accommodation about 7 minutes away. Dinner and Overnight at the Boma.
Bed and Breakfast.
Day 2:Mabamba June 18
Early breakfast and then with packed lunch proceed to Mabamba Wetlands where you will be paddled in a canoe through the swamp, looking for the mighty Shoebill and other birds like Pink-backed Pelican, Long-tailed Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Long-toed Plover, Blue-headed Coucal, Blue-breasted Bee-eater etc.
Dinner and Overnight at Masindi Hotel
Day 3: Drive to Murchison Falls National Park June 19
After breakfast, start birding your way to Murchison Falls National Park looking out for birds like Vultures, Raptors, Helmeted Guineafowl, Doves, Cuckoos, Mousebirds, Bee-eaters, Abyssinian Ground-hornbill, Barbets, Woodpeckers, Swallows, Cisticolas, Flycatchers, Babblers, Sunbirds, Shrikes, Tchagras, Starlings, Weavers, among others. Dinner and Overnight at Paraa Safari Lodge. Full Board.
Day 4:Game drive and Boat Trip. June 20
Have an early Breakfast and with your packed lunch, proceed for a game drive.
In the afternoon, head for a magical boat trip up to the bottom of the Falls, and it is possible to view hundreds of hippos, crocodile, and a variety of bird life.
Look out for birds like Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Black-headed Plover, Swallow-tailed Bee-Eater, Red-throated Bee-eater, Black-billed Barbet, Spotted Morning Thrush, White-browed Sparrow Weaver and more. Look out for mammals like the Graceful Roth child Giraffe, Lowell’s Hartebeest, Uganda Kob, Bushbuck, Defassa Waterbuck, Buffaloes, Elephants, Warthog, Hippos, Oribi and when lucky a leopard and Lion among others. Dinner and overnight at Masindi Hotel. Full Board
Day 5: Drive to Kibale June 21
After breakfast, drive south to Kibale in the Toro Kingdom birding en-route.
Look out for birds like Western banded Snake Eagle, Striped Kingfisher, Great blue Turaco, Lizard Buzzard, Lesser Striped Swallow, Joyful Greenbul, Chubb’s Cistcola, Masked Apalis, Cassin’s Grey Flycatcher, Whinchat, Stonechat, Green-headed Sunbird, Common Fiscal among others.
Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Guest House . Full Board.
Day 6: Bird Kibale National Park (Kanyanchu) June 22
Today, we bird Kibale National Park! Kibale National Park is one of the rain forests in Uganda and more to that, is famous for its primates.
It is home to 13 primate species making it the number one protected area with the biggest primate numbers on the African continent. These primates include Chimpanzee, Red Colobus, Black and white Colobus, Red-tailed Monkey, Grey-cheecked Mangabey among others. Chimpanzee trekking being the major attraction of the park. It is a home to 325 species of birds like the Red-chested Owlet, Green-breasted Pitta, White-spotted Flufftail among others.
After a very early breakfast, we proceed to bird the vicinity of Kanyanchu, looking out for the spectacular GREEN-BREASTED PITTA and other species like Yellow-billed Barbet, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black-billed Turaco, Narina Trogon, Blue-shouldered Robin-chat, Sabine’s Spinetail, Chestnut Wattle eye, Narrow-tailed Staring among others.
Dinner and overnight at Chimpanzee Guest House. (Full Board)
Day 7: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP June 23
After Breakfast you will head towards Queen Elizabeth National Park driving along the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains crossing the Equator. Game drive en-route to accommodation.
The park, which is named after Queen Elizabeth who visited it in 1954, is the second largest national park in Uganda, and ranks highest with respect to overall diversity, with a bird species list exceeding 600.
The park has a mosaic of habitats from moist forest at Imaramagambo to wild savannah excellent for Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Hyenas, Ugandan Kobs, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Baboons, Giant forest Hogs, and Warthog among others. Look out for birds like White spotted Flufftail, Yellow-billed Barbet, African Emerald Cuckoo, Black-billed Turaco, Kingfishers, Lesser Striped Swallow, Cisiticolas, Shrikes, Starlings, Widowbirds among other birds.
Dinner and Overnight at Enganzi Game Lodge. Full Board.
Day 8: Bird Queen Elizabeth National Park June 24
Queen Elizabeth National Park is the second largest national park covering an area of 1978 sq. km.
A cup of tea or coffee and a muffin at 6:15 am in the lounge and set off with your packed breakfast for a safari/birding.
Lunch at the Lodge and in the afternoon go for the boat trip on the Kazinga Channel, to see a variety of wildlife, hundreds of hippos, crocodile and bird life from a boat for two hours. Look out for birds like Pelicans, Green-backed Heron, Storks, African Spoonbill, Martial Eagle, Common button Quail, Kittlitz’s Plover, Senegal Plover, Wattled Plover, Larks, Yellow-throated Longclaw, Babblers, Sunbirds, Weavers, Widowbirds among other birds.
Look out for mammals like Uganda Kob, Bushbuck, Defassa Water buck, Buffaloes, Elephants, Warthog, when lucky a leopard, spotted Hyena and Lion among others.
Dinner and Overnight at Enganzi Game Lodge. Full Board
Day 9:Bird as you transfer to Bwindi June 25
After breakfast with your packed lunch, bird your way to Bwindi.
Look out for species like Raptors, Bee Eaters, Kingfishers, Barbets, Tinkerbirds, Woodpeckers, Apalises, Honeyguide Greenbul, Swallows, Larks, Cisiticolas, Pipits, Chats, Shrikes, Starlings, Widowbirds and many more.
Dinner and Overnight at Engagi Lodge. Full board.
Day 10: Gorilla Trekking June 26
After an early breakfast, start gorilla tracking at 8:00 a.m. in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
We recommend you to wear good walking shoes and carry good rain gear and enough drinking water. Trekking can be tough and challenging and so we trust you are in reasonably fit condition.
You will carry a picnic lunch with you into the forest and you will be thrilled to have seen these rare primatesand the return journey could be easier.
In the afternoon if you are not so tired, go for a Nature walk or Cultural walk.
Dinner and Overnight at Engagi Lodge. Full board
Day 11:Bird Bwindi Impenetrable National Park June 27
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of those nature's unspoiled National Parks found in south western Uganda covering an area of 331 sq. km.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has vast diversity of mammals and birds species and a home to a number of endangered wildlife species.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is also home to a special group of birds species only found in the western rift valley popularly known as the Albertine Rift Endemics.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to 23 Albertine Rift Endemics. These bird species are only found in Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to half the world's rare apes the Mountain Gorillas. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the only protected area in the world where Mountain Gorillas and Chimpanzees live together.
After an early breakfast, we find that Bwindi Impenetrable Forest doesn’t quite live up to its name as we enter it looking out for species like Black Bee-Eater, Tinkerbirds and Barbets, Woodpeckers, African Broadbill, Greenbuls, White-bellied Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Grauer’s Warbler, Mountain Masked Apalis, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, Luhder’s Bush-shrike, Pink-footed Puffback, Petit’s Cuckooshrike, Starlings, Sunbirds, Black-billed Weaver, Brown-capped weaver, among others.
Dinner and Overnight at Engagi Lodge. Full board
Day 12:Bird to Lake Mburo June 28
After breakfast, bird to Lake Mburo National Park looking out for birds like Bateleur, Crested Francolin, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Stripe-breasted Tit, Mountain Masked Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, White-napped Raven, Fork tailed Drongo, Black-crowned Waxbill, and Black-headed Waxbill among others.
Dinner and Overnight at Rwakobo Rock. Full Board.
Day 13: Bird Lake Mburo National Park June 29
This is one of the small National Parks in Uganda covering 260 sq. km but still special in its own way. It got the name from the lake that has got an interesting story behind it. Ask your guide to tell you this story. Lake Mburo National Park is home to 320 bird species and 68 mammal species.
The parks special birds include African Finfoot, Brown-chested Plover, Red-faced Barbet and Long-tailed Cisticola among others. Here there are mammals like the Eland, Mac Donald's franchise (Macpala) Impala, Zebra, Topi, Oribi, Bohor Reedbuck among others.
Whole day birding Lake Mburo National Park looking for species like the Bateleur, Crested Francolin, Black-bellied Bustard, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Brown Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Blue-napped Mousebird, African Grey Hornbill, Spot-flanked Barbet, Long tailed Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis and more.
Look out for animals like the gorgeous Eland, Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Reedbuck, Topi, Waterbuck Bushbuck, Hippos, Oribi, Bush-duiker and others.
Dinner and Overnight at Rwakobo Rock. Full Board.
Day 14: AM Birding Lake Mburo National Park and Birding on Way to Entebbe June 30
After breakfast, we will be able to spend another full morning birding at Lake Mburo starting at 7:30 AM, likely focusing on some of the bird species we may have missed.
After lunch and after some final birding at Lake Mburo, we will proceed for the return journey back to Entebbe. Look out for species like Bateleur, Long-crested Eagle, Grey Kestrel, Crested Francolin, Red-necked Spurfowl, Grey Crowned Crane, Speckled Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Broad-billed Roller, Lilac-breasted Roller, White-headed Barbet, Brown-backed Scrub Robin, Black-lored Babbler, Tropical Boubou,arriving in the late afternoon.
Once at the Boma, the group can clean up and have a final supper together to wrap up the trip.
Dinner and Overnight at the Boma. Bed and Breakfast.
Day15: Departure July 1
With your luggage depending on your departure flights, head to Entebbe International airport for the journey back home.
Cost of Safari based on two people sharing in a double/Twin
USD 8,350per person for two people
USD 6,000 per person for four people
USD 5200 per person for six people
USD 4,940 per person for eight people
USD 5,050 per person for ten people
USD 4,810 per person for twelve people
- Bed and Breakfast while in Entebbe
- Full board Accommodation while on the trip.
- Internal private transportation in a 4wd, inclusive of fuel.
- Park entrance Fees.
- Walk fees
- Boat rides at Mabamba, River Nile, Kazinga Channel and Lake Mburo.
- 1 Gorilla permit (Subject to availability), which is likely to go to USD 600 per person.
- Drinking Water.
- 1 Chimpanzee permit (Subject to availability), which is USD 150 per person.
- Air Ticket
- Visa fees and Airport departure tax.
- Cost of personal nature (e.g. drinks, Laundry, tips etc.)