Arrival at Entebbe International Airport. Meet your tour guide and transfer to Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel. (Birders who will arrive in the early hours of the day will have a welcome birding experience in the afternoon around Entebbe Botanical Gardens). Look out for the Slender-billed Weaver, Brown-throated Weaver¸ Golden-backed Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver, Grey-headed Gull, Long-tailed Cormorant, Common Squacco Heron, Yellow-billed Duck, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Swamp Flycatcher, Broad-billed Roller, Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill, Splendid Glossy Starling, Black-headed Gonolek, Orange Weaver, Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, Red-chested Sunbird, Ross’s Turaco, Pied Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Open-billed Stork, Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grey-capped Warbler and many others.
Early morning birding the Lincoln Trail. On a good day, a birder can record over 120 species. The local bird guides recommend this trail as the best birding site near Kampala and Entebbe. Look out for the White-headed Barbet, Red-headed Lovebird, Double-toothed Barbet, Brown Twinspot, Tambourine Dove, Black-headed Bush-shrike, Scaly Francolin, Tropical Boubou and many others.
After an early breakfast, drive to Mabamba Swamp 50km west of Kampala. Stop enroute in Mpigi Swamp for papyrus rarities. Open your eyes for a White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Gonolek, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Blue-headed Coucal and other swamp specialties. Continue on to Mabamba Swamp. Enjoy birding on a canoe as you look out for the Shoebill both in the sky and down on the marsh. Also look out for Swamp Flycatcher, Purple Swamphen, African Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Lesser Jacana, African Jacana, African Pygmy-goose, White-faced Whistling-duck, Squacco Heron, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, Winding Cisticola, Goliath Heron and Black Crake to mention but a few. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Depart early morning for Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) birding en-route. Stop at Mbarara town for lunch. Check in at Mweya Safari Lodge for Dinner and over night.
QENP has over 600 recorded bird species. Serious birders may be interested to know that the one-day record for QENP is 296; one of the highest in the whole World. An excellent variety seen here includes Pelicans, Skimmers, Kingfishers, Thick-Knees, Storks, Martins, Swallows, Weavers, Raptors, Canaries, Kites, and many Grassland Specialties. Birding in the park begins early in the morning on the open savannah. We return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon enjoy birding the Kazinga Channel on the lounge cruise. This channel joins Lake Edward and Lake George. The highlight on this boat trip is the African Skimmer. Return to the Mweya Safari Lodge for Dinner and overnight stay.
After an early breakfast, birding around the hotel is productive. Check out at 10:00am for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Enjoy your picnic lunch as you bird en-route. When you arrive in Bwindi you will be given a typically enthusiastic African welcome. Enjoy your dinner in the noiseless jungle close to the home of those marvelous forest giants: the gorillas. You won’t miss the early morning songs of the Snowy-capped Robin-chat and the Grey-capped Warbler. Listen to the Luehder’s Bush-shrike as you enjoy your breakfast. On a lucky day, the Grey-green Bush-shrike, Black Bee-eater and Narina’s Trogon will be seen around the bandas.
Birders have described the bird watching in Bwindi as one of the best birding in the world! Birding begins early in the morning around the luxury bush camp. After breakfast we carry a picnic lunch for a whole days birding in the only natural tropical forest in the area. This forest has over 300 species of bird recorded. Don’t miss to watch the 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 Cuckoo-shrike, Shelley’s Greenbul, Ansorge’s Greenbul, White-bellied Robin-chat, Black-faced Rufous-warbler, Kivu Ground-thrush, Short-tailed Warbler, Red-fronted Antpecker, Oriole Finch and many other forest rarities. This forest receives rainfall almost throughout the year. A rain jacket and hiking shoes will be very useful. Return for dinner and overnight at the camp.
Optional day for gorilla trekking. Most birders who have been to this forest have shown interest in trekking these cousins of human beings in their native jungle homes. Carry your picnic lunch and enjoy the forest giants.
Day 9, 10 & 11
Depart at the crack of dawn for a 50km drive to the highest peak of the forest – Ruhiija. Several checks en-route at good birding sites may produce rare species such as White-starred Robin, Grey Cuckoo-shrike, 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 on the way to and at the Mubwindi Swamp is very productive. One has to be prepared to walk on steep mountain tracks with the chance of seeing African Green Broadbill. You drop in altitude 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, Grauer’s Warbler, Rwenzori Batis, Waller’s Chestnut-winged Starling, Dusky Crimsonwing, Mountain Illadopsis, Mountain Yellow Warbler to mention a just a few. Birders who come with camping equipment can camp at Ruhiija campground. Also seen here are L’hoest’s Monkey, Guereza Colobus, Blue Monkey and several duikers. A thorough birding in this area needs about 3 days. The sounds of birds coupled with ape calls give an experience of a lifetime!
Travel eastwards through the terraced mountains of Kigezi to the open plains and rocky hillsides of Ankole. Your drive is punctuated with several stops to see Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Wattled Lapwing, Southern Red Bishop, Variable Sunbird, African Harrier, hawks, larks, and many others. Enjoy the fabulous Long-horned Ankole cattle as you bird. Dinner and overnight at Mantana Luxury Tented Camp with its excellent views in Lake Mburo National Park. Enjoy the songs of Morning Dove, Dideric Cuckoo, Grey-capped Warbler, Black-headed Weaver and Ring-necked Dove.
Leave at dawn to see the African Finfoot at Lake Mburo before it disappears into the papyrus beds floating on the lake. Look out for Brown-chested Lapwing, Lilac-breasted Roller, Black-bellied Bustard, Helmeted Guineafowl, Coqui Francolin, Rufous-napped Lark plus many raptors. Of course this is the only park with Eland, Burchell’s Zebra and Impala in the whole of this region. Return for lunch at the camp. Enjoy an afternoon rest with the spectacular view and cool breeze of Lake Mburo. (Evening birding can be arranged for nightjars).
After a morning game-drive, proceed to Kampala. Lunch at Masaka. Stop at the equator for the monument, Mpambire drum makers, and at Kampala for shopping if required.
Transfer to the airport for departure.